Saturday, September 17, 2011

The George W. Bush Fiasco at Tyndale: A Sad and Shameful Episode in Our History

On Tuesday, September 20, the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush, was due to speak at an event organized and paid for by a Tyndale supporter as a means by which people who do not know much about Tyndale could be introduced to the mission of Tyndale.

He was to speak on the role of faith-based institutions in the world of higher education, a subject on which he has a unique perspective as the author of significant, ground-breaking policy in this area during his years in office. The speech was an opportunity for Tyndale to make its case, through a high-profile political figure, for the legitimacy of a Christian university operating in public as a recognized, accredited institution of higher education even though it is privately-funded and even though it dissents from the reigning secularism of the contemporary culture.

I would have thought that anyone supportive of Tyndale would be happy to see this dialogue beginning to occur in the heart of secular Toronto. If Tyndale is to grow and develop as a Christian institution it must secure funding and, more importantly, public recognition as a legitimate alternative to publicly-funded universities. Otherwise, it might as well go back to being a school for the preparation of clergy only. If what we want is to bring Christ into the midst of the public square and bear witness to him there, then having this kind of dialogue with the kind of people who would have attended this event is exactly what we should want to see occur.

But not everybody thought so. A small group of ideologically-driven, left-leaning, former students decided to put up a website, start a petition that accused George Bush of being a war criminal and call for the event to be canceled, Bush's speech to be censored and Tyndale to apologize for having the temerity to invite him to speak.

This led to the cancellation of the event. By whom? We don't know. Why? We don't know. Tyndale's official spokesman has gone silent and faculty and staff have been asked to keep quiet. Why? Nobody knows. What happens next? Good question.

I want to point out a few things here that ought to be taken into consideration in formulating an evaluation of this situation.

First, the tone of smug, self-righteousness, judgmental, condemnation of a fellow Christian by those who profess to be Evangelicals should be a dead give-away that this whole crusade of censorship is not a good thing. George Bush is a sinner just like you and me. He had perhaps the most difficult and complicated job in the world in 2001 and he undoubtedly made some mistakes, although he also did many fine and commendable things. Would any of us have done better in his place? It is easy to think so and easier still when you are blinded by Utopian ideology.

The angry, secular Left hates George Bush because he is not a socialist. That is the fundamental reason they attack him. Barack Obama does not get the vitriol, the hatred, the slanderous attacks, the rush to judgment that Bush gets because Obama is perceived as left-leaning. Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay. He didn't. Obama promised to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He didn't; in fact, he helped start a new one in Lybia. Obama increased the unmaned drone strikes on terrorist targets in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan that have killed many civilians. Obama ordered a Navy Seals team to enter a foreign country and kill Osama bin Laden. That got a few murmurs of disapproval from the Left for a week or two. But generally speaking when Obama does it the Left goes tsk, tsk and then shifts the blame (somehow) to George Bush. The Left does not hate war or violence; it just hates such things if the Right does them and if they can be turned into a stick with which to beat their enemies. Much of the anti-Bush hate is just partisan politics and it stinks of hypocrisy. It is distressing to see Tyndale students and alumni get caught up in the hypocrisy of the angry, secular Left.

The ambivalence of Evangelicals over certain of his policies has caused his natural allies to speak up less vociferously in his defense than they normally would do for a fellow conservative and fellow Evangelical Christian. This factor has made it possible for the Left to demonize Bush to a ridiculous extent and get away with it. He has been turned into a symbol of all that is evil; he is Capitalism, War, Violence, Exploitation, Imperialism, Racism and Sexism all rolled up into one neat package suitable for burning in effigy and spitting on.

In this frenzy of hate stoked by the Left one thing has been forgotten. George W. Bush is also a man. He is a son, a father, a husband, a sinner, a believer and a flesh and blood human being. There is more to the man than just decisions surrounding the Iraq War. He encouraged faith based organizations to get involved in social service work instead of marginalizing them. (I don't fully agree with this program but I acknowledge his good intentions.) He did much for the relief of suffering caused by AIDS in Africa. Ask any African. And he did as much as he could under the constraints of political realities to protect innocent, unborn human beings from the cruel knife of the abortionist.

I have no problem with people disagreeing with his politics; let's have the debate. I would defend George Bush on many points and criticize him on others. But to turn him into the devil incarnate, someone we should not even talk to, someone we should piously separate ourselves from like the Pharisees separated themselves from classes of ritually unclean sinners - that is not following Christ. It is unfair, nasty and unchristian. It is also no way to run a university.

A university should be a place of debate, dialogue and sharp, but civil, disagreement. It should not be a place of propaganda, censorship and angry self-righteousness. All over North America we are seeing marching, chanting protestors shutting down free speech and threatening or carrying out physical violence against Jews, conservatives, Christians, pro-lifers and others. The police have been used to silence the pro-life witness at the University of Calgary and the University of Ottawa. Ann Coulter was prevented from speaking at the University of Ottawa by an angry mob. Modern universities have speech codes, speech police and ideologically narrow boundaries in which public speech is allowed. This is one reason why we need Christian universities - to uphold the noble Western tradition of free speech and open debate.

So when the tactics of the angry, secular Left are brought into the Tyndale community it is doubly sad. Why should anybody bother to make donations to allow us to operate if we are no different from the secular universities around us? Why should students come and pay high tuition to Tyndale when they could go to York and watch angry, left-wing mobs shut down free speech for half the price?

There are a hundred campuses in Canada that would refuse to listen to George Bush. If one or two gave him him a hearing, would the sky fall? We hear a lot about diversity and tolerance but we should remember that those who talk loudest about diversity and tolerance are not talking about ideas. When it comes to the clash of ideas they are rigid, narrow and intolerant. For them diversity and tolerance apply to incidentals: the color of the skin of the person making the speech not what he is saying. Thomas Sowell and Allen West are tolerated - so long as they keep their mouths shut. The same applies to Prem Watsa.

There is an old joke about diversity as applied to the Political Science department. There is the Black Marxist professor, the woman Feminist Marxist professor, the lesbian Marxist professor and the token white male Marxist professor. There is the kind of diversity the Left admires. Heaven help us if we allowed a capitalist professor anywhere near the place.

If the students who were upset would have devoted their website to a discussion and debate over the moral issues raised by Bush's presidency and would have stuck to the issues leaving personalities and partisan politics out of it, they could have done a good service to their university and to the public. If only they had wanted dialogue instead of shutting down the event. They got what they wanted but in the process they did themselves no credit.

What I find so sad and shameful is that they instead chose to adopt the tactics of the angry Left: propaganda, censorship, shouting down and demonizing. Those methods owe more to Saul Alinsky than to the Sermon on the Mount. In important ways they are just as violent as George Bush. Politics for them is war carried on by other means and those with whom we disagree are the enemy, not merely wrong.

We saw this with the viciousness of the attacks that were launched on Tyndale's president by one of the group in particular. (I'm not linking to their stuff; I just can't bring myself to do so. You can look it up if you like.) Sarcasm, insinuation and assumptions about motives are just not fair or good.

You can believe the president of Tyndale did not handle this well but we all should remember that we lack knowledge that might put his actions in a different light - just like we lack knowledge about the situation George Bush faced, which might put his actions in a different light as well. Being president of anything is hard. Setting up a website and taking pot shots is a lot easier.


Colin Kerr said...

Here, here, Dr. Carter. This Catholic Theologian stands 100% behind you. That cancellation is a shame and one that undermines what your school is all about. Sorry that happened.

David said...

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear this Craig. Who cancelled, was it the funder? This is so unfortunate as Tyndale is amazing and deserves the profile (and funding impetus) this would provide.
Of course, Tyndale is one of the few (the only?) Higher education institutions in Canada who would have had the resources, ambition and vision to invite GWB in the first place, so there's much to be thankful for! I' sure that's little consolation in light of what has happened and what it says about the disheartening slide of some sections of Evangelicalism.

S Masson said...

I think you are right on the money with this.

Leslie Puiras said...

I can agree with you. I signed the petition to have the event stopped, but was disappointed to see the hurtful and destructive tone the website took on. The reason I opposed in the first place was because the reality is most university-aged people really don't like Bush.. Whether their judgement of him is fair or not is neither here nor there. The bottom line is that Tyndale needs to be involved in things that will attract students, not associating with someone that many university-aged people dislike.

Tyndale said...
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R Davis said...

I agree with everything said here. I also appreciate your having said it.

Lily by the Creek said...

I totally agree with you, Dr. Carter. I am a Tyndale student. When I heard that Mr. Bush was coming, I was so excited. But soon the event was cancelled since a few former students launched a petition. I feel so shameful of Tyndale. Tyndale has been influenced by the left wing, and if it goes too far, the seminary will probably be liberal in the future. Since I am new to Canada (I am from the States), I was so surprised to know that the Canadians have such a negative view on Mr. Bush...sigh!!!

DanO said...

For the sake of others who read this post, it may be worth correcting a few of the more blatant errors in Craig's post.

(1) You state that we hate "George Bush because he is not a socialist. That is the fundamental reason they attack him." First, of all, I don't "hate" Bush, nor do I know others involved in this campaign who "hate" him (more on that later). Secondly, this is an absurd statement. I am not a socialist, nor do I know anybody else involved in this process who is. Why, then, would we want Bush to be a socialist?

In actuality, the reasons why we oppose Bush are very clearly stated on our website (cf. the post on the practices of Bush vs. the values of Tyndale). You ignore this altogether.

(2) Nobody on our website has said anything to praise Obama. In fact, in a note in one of my posts, I suggest that he is just as bad or worse than Bush. However, Obama is not discussed because he was not the one invited to speak. Had he been, I would have opposed him coming just as strongly (would you still be talking about "the noble Western tradition of free speech and open debate" if that were the case?)

(3) There has been no forgetting that Bush is a human being and a human being who should be loved. However, as I address in my post about love, this does not mean we refuse to hold Bush accountable. Instead of just trotting out lines that contradict the evidence on our website, you could try writing a substantial refutation of my argument about why what we are doing is a way of loving Bush. As my post makes clear, I am very NOT turning Bush into "the devil incarnate."

Ya know, Craig, you say "let's have a debate" but I posted more than one substantial post (take the one on Bush's practices vs. Tyndale's values or the one on love within the context of oppression) and you are pretending they don't exist.

(4) As for your remarks about Bush's assistance in relation to AIDS in Africa, well, you may want to balance the picture:

Refusing to provide funding for condoms or those who distributed condoms actually made the crisis worse.

(5) You write that "[y]ou can believe the president of Tyndale did not handle this well but we all should remember that we lack knowledge that might put his actions in a different light" but it is worth remembering that the only reason why we lack this knowledge is because the President, or any other official representative or authority, have steadfastly refused to respond to any queries or questions about this matter (as you state earlier in your post).

Anyway, Craig, you're been around the academy for awhile. If you want to debate (as you say you do) then engage the substance of what was written. Don't just make things up or pretend nothing was said. That other faculty members -- folks who also should be able to engage things in an academic manner -- have affirmed this post makes me wonder what in the world passes as academic endeavours at Tyndale these days.

Craig Carter said...

I wondered how long it would take for the trolls to show up.

(1) You should read more carefully. I said that "the angry, secular Left hates GWB because he is not a socialist" and I criticized your group for buying into the views of the secular Left. Most of the people signing that petition probably don't even know how "statist" "NeoMarxist" and "socialist" differ from each other. You do though.

I didn't accuse you of being a Socialist. I realize you are too slippery to pin down. You are some sort of Leftist, as is plain to anyone who reads your blog (maybe an anarchist who believes in order?)

You recommend Marxist propaganda sites, but you play label games. It is so typical. If somebody accuses a Leftist of being a "socialist" he will indignantly deny it and claim to be a Marxist. If you label him a "democratic socialist" he will insist he is a "social democrat" or a "progressivist." If you say: "Marxist" he will say "Maoist." You know, after a while people just say "whatever." You hate capitalism and freedom and like Cuba and Vietnam so call yourself whatever you like this week: I reject whatever it is.

(2) I didn't say you praise Obama; he is likely too mild a leftist for you. My point is that the demonization of Bush has a left-wing political agenda and that is true.

(3) Your way of "loving Bush" is pure sophistry. It is offensive to portray your Marxist analysis of "love under the structure of oppression" as Christian. Your Liberation Theology is not really Christian.

(4) You may regard the Guardian as "holy writ" but it is just a left-wing propaganda sheet. Get the facts before you pontificate. You can get the facts on the ineffectiveness of distributing condoms to fight AIDS in Africa from Edward C. Green, Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard University School of Public Health. Here is a link to his new book: "Broken Promises: How the AIDS Establishment Betrayed Developing Countries."

And here is a link to a brief op ed in the Washington Post entitled "The Pope was Right":

Craig Carter said...

I forgot point 5.

(5) If you are so proud that you think that you are entitled to write the stuff you wrote about Dr. Nelson just because he hasn't had time to meet with you yet, you are just rationalizing. You don't show much patience or mercy for someone who is so sure he is on the side of "justice" and "the poor." You give every indication of reveling in striking a pose.

Dan, you need to apologize to Tyndale, to George Bush and to Dr. Nelson. Calling GWB a war criminal is, as Michael Coren put it, childish and utterly wrong. Until you do apologize, nobody should listen to what you have to say.

Ryan Klassen said...

I agree that it is disappointing that the breakfast with President Bush was cancelled, but I find myself disagreeing with pretty much everything you have written here. This event was not about academic free speech or even about raising the public profile of Tyndale as a legitimate university. If the event had gone off the way it was planned, no one but those in attendance would have ever known about it. The event certainly had a purpose (and a legitimate one, I might add) but it was not public promotion of Tyndale or academic dialogue.

I was also put-off by some of the posts on the petition website. But if you read the comments on those negative posts, you would have seen that uncharitable remarks about Tyndale or Gary Nelson were immediately and consistently called out and opposed. The majority of the people opposed to President Bush speaking on behalf of Tyndale or as a keynote speaker at an event promoting Tyndale were not motivated by left-wing ideology but the sincere belief that a fellow believer who claimed to act in God's name while doing things that were contradictory to the Gospel should not represent Tyndale or speak on behalf of Tyndale, as it would imply that Tyndale approved of those actions.

This was, as you say, an event to raise the profile of Tyndale (and Christian higher education in general) to those who might consider supporting Tyndale financially. And there is nothing wrong with that. Universities do it all the time. When students heard about it (from a poorly written article buried in the online version of the Star newspaper mere days before the event), those who were opposed made their position known and called others to join them. That sounds like a use of academic freedom in the face of institutional secrecy to me, and to engage in this kind of partisan name-calling stifles free speech more than anything the petition website tried to do.

I am not a left-wing ideologue (I voted Conservative/Reform until I was no longer able to do so in good conscience and have spoiled my ballot ever since). I am a strong detractor of President Bush, as I saw him acting in ways contrary to the Gospel while claiming God's authority, and those actions caused the deaths of many innocent people. Yet I think it is a shame that the event was cancelled. There will be other events like this where controversial speakers will come to Tyndale. Hopefully in the future the school will be upfront about the speaker and the purpose of the event so that any debate can be had in an open, honest manner as befits a Christian university.

BleachBB said...

"Until you do apologize, nobody should listen to what you have to say." -Craig Carter

You say this to Dan for being harsh, others say this to Bush for exploitation, murder and torture. Neat.

Peter W. Dunn said...
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Aaron Hampshire said...

I lived in Dallas when a similar (but larger) issue happened with SMU and the GWB presidential library. What I remember most is that those on the "left" had very specific reasons why they didn't want the library housed at SMU. Supporters of the library attempted to engage these leftists by "exposing their bias" and labeling them extreme left-wingers -- as if by labeling them, they could dismiss them without a real debate.

Sadly, I don't see much more happening here. It appears that those at have some very specific reasons why they reject a visit. Your response seems mostly about reminding them they would never have voted/supported GWB because of their left of center politics.

At some point, I would like conservatives to stand up and face some of the issues surrounding the GWB presidency thoughtfully. If Dan's "liberation theology" is "unchristian", why don't you replace it with a more meaningful theological interpretation? Can you give us anything more than "George W. Bush is also a man" and some links to a few articles?

Because calling it "leftist", "marxist", "anarchist", "liberation" and "unchristian" seem like just a bunch of labels to me...

RkBall said...
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RkBall said...

Bush is a war criminal. We know this because we have read at least 100 leftist bloggers -- 100 points of blight? -- who all say he is. This makes it so. And only our opinion counts. The opinions of the generous sponsor don't count. The opinions of the 150 who willingly signed up to hear George Bush speak don't count. The opinions of other Tyndale students and alumni who may dissent with us don't count. Reality is a social construct, and our socially constructed reality says that George Bush is a war criminal.

We are willing to stir up discord among the brethren in the name of peace.

If the warmongering, cigar-smoking war criminal Winston Churchill should show up at Tyndale, we will chase him off campus. We would, however, be very interested in hearing anything Neville "peace in our time" Chamberlain might have to say to us.

Craig Carter said...

If George W. Bush is a war criminal, then here are the consequences:

1. So are all the members of the US Congress, which approved the war (including people like Hilary Clinton and most Democrats).

2. So are the leaders of all the Coalition countries who joined in the war including the British Prime Minister, etc.

3. The entire UN Security Council would also have to be war criminals too, since the war was authorized under UN resolutions.

4. Every US president who served during a war (most of them)would also have to be a war because none of the other wars of the US were as clearly legal as Iraq II.

The whole "Bush is a war criminal" meme is pure propaganda.

I expect the authors of this website to put up a similar website and demand the cancellation of the event every time any of these people speak in Toronto.

Let's see whether or not it is partisan politics.

Peter W. Dunn said...

I reposted this comment from this morning to correct an error:

Now that Dan Oudshoorn has responded on his blog, saying that Dr. Carter hasn't "engaged the substance" of what has been said by the protesters, I'd like to mention that the main point of the anti-Bush contingent was the he is a war criminal and that therefore Tyndale should not have invited him. And I hope to some people, my arguments here will seem banal and obvious, and this explains why Carter hasn't engaged the arguments. To do so assumes that your opponents are morally incapable of debate and sound reasoning.

Calling Bush a war criminal is a profoundly stupid and highly partisan claim. Childish and utterly wrong, indeed! Let's take the example of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was responsible for deaths in the millions. The removal Saddam was thus a magnanimous act of mercy, and meanwhile, Bush is blamed for every death caused by Islamic radicals instead of for saving Iraq from a mass murderer and the world from its most important terrorist, who paid the families of Palestinian suicide bombers $25,000, then $50,000. Saddam harboured Al Qaeda (al-Zawhiri) training camps in his country, and he was hung by his own people for crimes against them--including the murder of thousands of Kurds with weapons of mass destruction.

Al Qaeda, it should be remembered, carried out a brutal attack against the United States on September 11, 2001. Therefore, Bush carried out a policy by which he would use the US military to root out the strongholds of state-sponsored terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus, Bush did not start these wars--he responded in what is called a "counter attack", to be sure, but he was not the one who started it. I remember the day this war started in earnest (because Al Qaeda had already committed several other provocations which would in other times have been sufficient casus belli--e.g., the USS Cole), where I was and what I was doing. I remember the people jumping to their deaths to avoid a fiery demise. I remember the towers that crashed, ashes to the ground, killing hundreds of rescue workers along with innocent people who worked in the towers doing their jobs. I remember the United flight taken down by brave passengers in a Pennsylvania field. I have not forgotten the reasons that President Bush wanted to take the war to the terrorists and I agreed with him.

For as President of the United States, George W. Bush took an oath which required him to defend the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic, and he carried out those duties in very difficult times. To accuse Bush of being a war criminal suggests that it is never possible for a Christian to become the leader of country, because at some point, in order to protect his people, he is going to have to make tough choices that lead to the death of bad people who are trying to destroy the country. Bush made tough choices, but he did so in order to protect his country to the best of his ability and knowledge. We cannot ask more of Christian president, unless we want to forbid Christians from ever becoming president. This is why there's never been and never will be an Amish president--of any country.

I think George Bush is a true Christian and pretty decent human being--as human beings go. I agree with you that he had a very difficult job. He's not perfect. But he is no war criminal.

Amy said...

Might I recommend a campus-wide prayer meeting?

mp said...

i'm troubled by the polemics of this debate. Particularly the terms "left" and "right". Why are we as people who are complex and multifaceted, in various states of brokenness and healing, termed in these crude and ultimately meaningless stereotypes...? The critique is one of power and not person, and how dangerous it can be to wield it for those who aspire or who are called into such positions...

jaylocke said...


I feel that this should be said.

Signing a petition which one feels strongly about is a good, peaceful act of protest - one which most of us would engage if the right topic surfaced. I think that those who signed the petition (including myself) should not feel bad for this act.

Furthermore, I would hazard a guess that a good number of those who signed the petition are not angry, secular, smug, self-righteous, hateful, judgmental, effigy-burning, hypocrites. Many of us are not pro-abortion, not pro-censorship, and not the tactical-marxists this post generalizes us to be. Perhaps some who have spoken are, but rest assured that most are not.

I would like to suggest that if that petition were the great act of leftist, angry, secular protest it is being made out to be, then it is THE MOST effective virtual protest ever to have been composed in human history. There has to be more to this story.

But - - I'm starting not to care about the rest of the story anymore. I'm getting tired of the extreme voices which accuse more than listen. What should have been a peaceful protest (as prof. Neufeldt-Fast has so eloquently expressed on the .co site) has, in my opinion, turned into gratuitous, unnecessary bickering - and equally loud, from both sides.

Perhaps we should begin to explore a way to draw the Tyndale community (present and past) back together to pursue a peaceful resolution to the past number of days. And I don't say this because I think we ought not to disagree with one another...but rather because even when we disagree with one another we still have to be the church together. Perhaps it's time to draw near and speak words of peace one to another - God knows we long to hear them. I would volunteer to sit in the circle when this discussion happens.

In love,
Jason Locke

Craig Carter said...

You are right that there is nothing wrong with signing a petition to express a point of view. Nothing I said could fairly be taken as implying that. (Read my post again, 4th paragraph from the end.)

What I object to is the goal of the petition being, not to express disagreement with the policies of G. W. Bush, but to call on Tyndale to disinvite him a week before the event and to shun him as if it would corrupt Tyndale to have him come and speak. That is where peaceful expression of opinion turned into coercion and exclusion.

I think you are right that many students who signed the petition had their hearts in the right place. I think they were used. They were drawn into a political fight because they did not think through the implications of what they were doing. This is why I have written what I have written.

NathanColquhoun said...

Dr. Carter, is there a single person that because of who they are or what they did or the systems that they represent that you would say "you know what, this doesn't seem like the right move for Tyndale to invite into an invite only dinner to associate themselves with simply to raise the school's profile?"

Or would you, under the flag of freedom of speech, say that anyone under any circumstances should be allowed to speak at an invite only breakfast where the said person would then represent Tyndale to wealthy people and the people that they are representing are not even invited?

Pastor John Blackman said...

Craig ... I appreciate your efforts. Too bad such a great opportunity was turned into such a fiasco by some self proclaimed spokesman for who knows what agenda. I hope the students who got pulled into the deliciousness of a cynical hissy fit will think twice before becoming sucked into such a poorly thought out and now seriously damaging smear campaign.
Gary Nelson is not under my bus!
Pastor John Blackman
Renaissance Baptist Church
Tyndale Class of 85 and 89

Craig Carter said...

Yes, there are people I think should not be invited to speak at Tyndale. In such cases a petition such as yours would be appropriate. There are actually 3 groups:

1) Those who are fellow Christians who we are glad to have come and speak even if they differ from us on minor points of doctrine or strategy etc.

2) Those who are anti-Christians who would disgrace Tyndale by their presence.

3) There are professing Christians who are, by our lights, doctrinally unsound and non-Christians who agree with us on some issues, but with whom we have a reasonable hope of having some sort of constructive dialogue. The event should be an academic one (not a chapel or convocation sermon) and there should be a panel or respondent who can challenge the speaker and there should be opportunity for Q&A.

I put someone like Richard Dawkins in #2, someone like Brian McLaren in #3 and someone like George Bush in #1, although I realize someone like you might well want to put Bush in #3 and a good number of faculty and students would put McLaren in #2.
There is room for debate here.

But I think putting Bush in #2 is unjustified. He is a professing believer in Christ. He was supported by a very high percentage of our Evangelical brothers and sisters in the US. He is unjustly attacked and slandered by the Left as a war criminal in a partisan and unfair manner. He make a major contribution to government policy regarding the partnership between faith-based organizations and the government. He stood up to the enemies of freedom who wanted to kill those who have liberty, which was his sworn constitutional duty as president of the United States.

One point to bear in mind is that Tyndale is not a pacifist institution. Pacifists are welcome here but pacifism is not a shared, core belief of the school. It is something we agree to disagree on.

As I said in my post, I am not against a debate on this issue. But I think calling Bush a war criminal and calling for him to be dis-invited a week before the event was extreme, uncharitable and going too far.

Yet, I am not against debating his policies and I don't think he is above criticism.

NathanColquhoun said...

OK, A few points just for clarification and further conversation.

1. Are you saying we should not invite Richard Dawkins under any circumstance?

2. So the only people we should invite are Christians or professing Christians?

3. You think putting Bush in the #2 category is unjustified, but it is obvious that we are not alone in thinking it is justified. So besides what is considered by some a slanderous post by Dan O, did we not handle ourselves appropriately to what we think is justified by starting a petition and showcasing support?

4. When you call George Bush's breakfast cancellation shameful and sad, is it because Dan O seemingly attacked Nelson or is it because students stood up for what they thought would be a "disgrace of Tyndale by their presence"?

5. After reading through Dan O first post on entitled "The Values of Tyndale and the Practices of George W. Bush" I thought it was pretty clear in his opinion as to it not just being pacifism as to why Bush and Tyndale are incompatible. In fact, I have yet to read a single response from anyone, including yourself to that post. I'd be curious if you could respond to that? Because from my standpoint, I thought it was well articulated and at least gave validity to the reasons as to why many students would have opposed such a relationship. But you seem to just say it's because he's a "list of labels" why he said those things and does the things he does.

RkBall said...

Too often we mistake non-violent with peaceful. This may have been a non-violent protest, but there was very little if anything about it that was peaceful.

Calling a former US President a war criminal and murderer, saying the invite was "unacceptable", and indicating that an apology was expected from Tyndale's President, Tyndale's board members, and previous Tyndale Presidents -- none of this was peaceful. This was an act of aggression, an ideological declaration of war.

Going all peacey-lovey now is going to be a hard act to pull off.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Nathan, I more than adequately responded to Oudshoorn's nonsense in my comment above. Bush did not start the war; the terrorists who instigated 9-11 started it. They were using Afghanistan and Iraq as bases for their operations and training. Bush therefore took the fight to where the terrorists had their bases. Bush is no war criminal, and as Craig Carter has pointed out, Tyndale is not a pacifist institution. There is no incompatibility therefore with Bush receiving an invitation to speak at a fund raising event.

But please stop this whine: "In fact, I have yet to read a single response from anyone, including yourself to that post." One reason I have trouble taking you folks seriously is that Oudshoorn has blocked me from commenting on his blog , while I have freely allowed him to comment on mine. That's doesn't sound like a man who is interested in having real debate, but someone who prefers to speak into a sycophantic echo chamber. So why would I bother debating you folks when the man who wrote the post has not been open to debate in the past? (at least not on a blog he where he is the author). Besides, when I have debated him at City of God, he immediately goes into ad hominem, or says that if you haven't read some marxist or other sort of book (like Foucault on sex), you have no idea what you are talking about when discussing the Scriptures.

Daniel said...

@DanO, nice to see you away from that "sycophantic echo chamber" you call your blog! and l agree with those that praise your perseverance and patient wisdom (alas, I have little confidence that such reasonable discourse will have much affect on folks like brother cArter--hi craig, love you bro!). I have asserted elsewhere the notion that people rarely change based on ‘facts’ or the rationality of propositions (the latter Wittgenstein denouncing the earlier for example, though some few are always likely to embrace even the most unreasonable, even fanciful ideas, like the sermon on the mount!). God bless you for your enthusiasm. When my older brother left the military after Vietnam, unlike many vets who returned and became super patriots, he became quite the agnostic, leftist, radical, and in a recent discussion over the republican debates he said something like: ‘it’s pointless talking to these people anymore you just have to beat them down again and again...or just kill them!--(sort of half jokingly?). I pathetically mumbled something about Jesus, and cheek turning and enemy loving, and he sort of just patted me on the head like I was his naive and imbecilic kid brother and that I shouldn’t worry cause when “the shit comes down” he and his kind will make a safe place for all of the childish, utopian, pussies like me (you know, kinda like how Carter writes about you). Now my big brother is a great guy, smart, generous, kind he’s just had it with all the right-wing bullshit, especially from the God talkers. When I popped over from your blog and started reading the first post I looked at was the one on all the marvels of capitalism, and since I know your a Cormac McCarthy fan, you know that part in “No Country for Old Men,” where Carla Jean says to Chigurh, “I knowed you was crazy the minute I seen you sittin there?” well, that’s how I felt about Carter after reading 3 mins of his Ode to Capitalism (LOL, just kidding, I mean were Catholic brothers for Christ’s sake and I’m as much capable of self-delusion as he is, I just ain’t as good at articulating it!). Take this line for example: “Capitalism implicitly recognizes the truth of two major Christian doctrines....” Over and again he personifies capitalism as if it was like just another form of the Holy Spirit, like a ‘dove,’ or a ‘ghost,’ it’s really creepy. (sorry, running long so cont below, the Spirit's got aholt of me! don't ask which one though!)

Daniel said...

These mergers of Falangist Catholicism with the super nationalistic evangelicalism of Bush/Perry/Bachman (or Canadian equivalent) is a harbinger of bad times a-coming brother and I don’t think a rainforest of folded peace cranes is gunna get er done (the Kingdom of God that is). Guys like Carter function for the mannequins of corporate, commodity, capitalism like Konstantin Pobedonostev did for Tsar Nicholas, providing religious ideology and tutoring for all the little Tsaristas coming up and articulating talking points for Fox ‘News.‘ Pobedonostev wrote poetically about the ‘mystical union between God’s chosen vessel, the Tsar, and 'his children' (we'd call em peasants)(though not with the same orgasmic ecstasy as Carter when he is twiterpating over “free enterprise”). Not since Andrew Jackson delivered his famous victory speech praising peace after winning the war of 1812, while standing on a mountain of Native American corpses, have I read something so oblivious to counter-factual perspectives. One wonders WTF took Jesus so long about getting around to the ‘really really good news?‘ of late modern capitalism? So where does that leave me (and maybe you DanO?) when ‘the shit comes down?’ (as if it ain’t already raining turds on most folks on the planet already!), well they had a name for all those middle countries (like Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, etc.) caught between Soviet Russia and Germany in WWII, they were called “The Bloodlands.” That’s where most of the killing, the dying and the suffering happened, including those few cheek-turning pussies Stalin hadn’t already starved to death or Hitler hadn't shot. Of course there were some other survival options, take Franco for example (or Tito for the commies). Sort of a Murderous Catholic, dictator “lite!” If we’re lucky here in the USA maybe Bachman or Santorum will turn out like one of those, rather than like the more overtly death-dealing Rick Perry and his minions of death-penalty cheer-squad, God-talkers (do they just cheer ‘capital punishment’ because it has the word ‘capital‘ in it?). Well, I have no idea what to do about all this, I’m glad you all kept Bush out of Canada though, his practice of ignorance and depraved indifference murder would have awed Pope Pius XII. Do whatever seems best though, I trust you. Still, if it's true what Carter argues above, “If Tyndale is to grow and develop as a Christian institution it must secure funding and, more importantly, public recognition as a legitimate alternative to publicly-funded universities,” then let's face it, Jesus caught the last train out of there headin for the coast a long time ago. Pray God forgives me my complicity, hypocrisy, and gluttony, and that the Blessed Virgin will pray with you, blessings and obliged, Daniel.

Gordonhackman said...


Your double post would look a lot less like the insane rantings of a seriously unbalanced crazy person if you would actually utilize the grammatical innovation known as the paragraph break occasionally. Just sayin.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Gordon: You see I was right to call Oudshoorn's blog a sycophantic echo chamber--a comment doesn't have to be coherent, as long as it kisses his feet--as Daniel has done here. Though I wonder how long Craig will leave it here, since it contains profanity and all.

RkBall said...

Please tell me that Daniel is not a Tyndale grad.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Apparently, this Daniel is perhaps not a Tyndale graduate, but Dan Oudshoorn is.

Anna said...

I agree with you, Dr. Carter. I was a Tyndale student. I do believe this is such a shame. My husband studied political science at UofT and is also a part-time student at Tyndale in theological studies. He comments that, " if Bush is considered a criminal in what he did, then the international criminal court will take charge of him." The point is, we are all criminals/sinners, and so we have no right to judge anyone in such a way unless we our profession is a judge in high count. Bush did have a very difficult presidency and yet, he remained faithful to this duty. As a former Tyndale student, I find the decision of cancellation is a shame to the institution. As christian, we need to listen to other people's views, though may be different from our own beliefs. we cannot reach out to them with the gospel unless we first listen to their views. Didnt Jesus himself listen to those who are not like him? I just do not understand why we Christians read the one Bible, believe in One TRUE God, and follower of the ONE Jesus, and yet we live and voice ourselves so differently from our faith.

I am very sadden by what Tyndale did.

Daniel said...

Dear Brothers and Sisters, sorry for any offense I may have given you and any misunderstanding is surely my own fault. Please, let me give this another whack; one good reason that Brother Bush should not be honored by Tyndale is because he has fallen into sin and heresy (pride, lying, nationalism, promoting avarice and gluttony, depraved indifferance murder--at the least,, etc.,sure pretty much every pres. including Obama is guilty as well...hmmm, maybe Christians aught to rethink their relationship with the Emperor?). Now if George was just addicted to internet porn or cocaine then this would be more of a personal matter for the local body, but since his sins are global this really needs a global response don’t you think? May I suggest some of the elder brothers and sisters there at Tyndale go down to Texas and see if George could be brought back into communion with the Church? You could make a big to-do about it, media and all, strap a big ole King James bible on the hood of the van etc., take up donations on the way, talk about a money maker for y’all! Then, after George confesses his sins and repents, he could be invited to give his testimony there at Tyndale! (now that’s something I would pay to see!). I’m not asking George to do anything I haven’t done myself, and there is a lot of precedence for this kind of thing. Henry II, full of remorse over killing Thomas Beckett did penance imposed by the Pope. He walked to Canterbury Cathedral in sack cloth and ashes and allowed himself to be flogged by the monks there (Lord knows I could use a good floggin from time to time!). And don’t forget Pope Gregory threatening Hank VI with curses and hell fire, and of course, who can forget St, Ambrose chastising Theodosius for that massacre in Thessalonica. Sure, the Church had already pretty much become Mammon’s bitch by then, but who ain’t? And hey, stop by Wash state and pick me up on your way down, let’s do it around the time of the SXSW music festival and reduce our carbon footprint! God bless y’all, Daniel.

Peter said...

I hope someone can begin to answer this question:

Does Tyndale really have a solid, coherent identity?

I like what was said above - that there are some things central to the belief system of the school, and other things that we agree to disagree on - but something like 'orthodoxy' can't really be the only identity marker.

As a school, Tyndale has wrestled (poorly) with the same questions. Does Tyndale seek to be a viable alternative to other mainstream Canadian universities, or does it seek to be a niche school? Is the AUCC important or unimportant? Should it fund and expand academic focus programs or ministry focused programs?

Most of these questions have been difficult to answer because, as far as I can gather, Tyndale isn't entirely sure what it is.

I bring this up because most of the comments I've read here and elsewhere about this Bush thing cite Tyndale's "image", or assert "Bush representing Tyndale" as a major grievance, or even "Tyndale as a ______ ought to..."

But does Tyndale really know what it is? Is it at all secure in its identity? And isn't that the real problem?

I hope some commenters will address these questions.

Craig Carter said...

I don't usually tolerate profanity on this blog. (It indicates an inadequate vocabulary.) But at the request of several people, I'm leaving Daniel's rambling comments up as a monument to the caliber of mind that we are up against. (Some were of the opinion that those who oppose my views wish I would take them down, which makes sense.)

Daniel said...

Dear brother Carter, thanks for your forbearance it speaks of a maturing heart and spirit. True, my vocabulary is limited (I’m really just a folk/country songwriter who often gets in over his head in these kinds of hifalooten discussions), but I really wasn’t aware that I used any profanity here and I apologize and would not be offended if you edited or removed anything you thought inappropriate (I ain’t one of them stickler ‘auteurs’ that thinks every word I write is scripture, LOL, I’m much more into deconstructing discourses and questioning “author function” anyway, as a certain un-named French philosopher used to gab on about). But hey, what did you think about my “Gospel Repentance tour” idea, seriously, after dropping by Waco Texas and calling GWB to repentance, you could swing on over to the whitehouse and call out brother Obama on his transgressions too! Noodle on it a bit and let me know. Thanks again for not expunging me and I’d appreciate it if when you say your daily rosary you would keep me in mind (you did said you were Catholic right?, just checking) and I will do the same for you. Interesting bunch of folks you got yourself here, it’s been a pleasure chatting with Y’all, obliged, and blessings.

Daniel said...

P.S., Funny thing Bro, I read your earlier comment, “I'm leaving Daniel's rambling comments up as a monument to the caliber of mind that we are up against,” as a compliment! My wife read it though, and then she smacked me on the back of the head and said something like, ‘you idiot, he’s making fun of you and calling you a...hmmm, no profanity...poophead! I said no he ain’t, look how he and all the others go on about loving our brothers and sisters and Jesus and not calling GWB and each other any names etc., no, he’s saying mine is some mighty ‘high caliber‘ writing and he’s leaving er up on the blog for others to see.‘ Anyway, my wife is smarter than me but this time I think she’s wrong, so thanks for the compliment. P.S.S,. I don’t mean to nitpik but I don’t understand the “up against” part; I’m not ‘up against‘ y’all and I hope your not ‘up against’ me either. I reckon it that we’re fellow travelers on the search for wisdom. I often quote the well known old saying by Thomas Aquinas.: “We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth and both have helped us in the finding of it.” It's at least 75% true don't you think? Lord lead us all to grace, Obliged, Daniel.

NathanColquhoun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RkBall said...

"Does Tyndale really have a solid, coherent identity?"

Good question -- probably deserves a post all its own.


JustPassinItOn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JustPassinItOn said...

Most Canadians have no clue of America, it's presidents, nor it's politics but they certain drink the left, liberal, socialist kool-aid that is fed to them by the totally liberal Canadian media and the majority liberal media of America. Canadian cable companies even filter out any conservative media channels. How different would they think if the CN Tower, the Air Canada Centre, and the Parliament Buildings were hit by the terrorists that hit America? I am a Canadian and an American citizen, lived in Toronto in the mid-90's when the name of the college was changed to Tyndale, went to some classes and events there...but their humanistic, political, and partisan anti-American philosophy has now been accepted by the administration. The best thing for these staff and students should not be to get their own way but for the administration to stand up, unless they have drunk the kool-aid as well. This is what ruins good Christian colleges as another one bites the dust. I will no longer support or recommend Tyndale unless there is a reversal in the decision, Bush given the opportunity to come and/or the right to refuse, and an apology. This makes me ashamed of what happens when Christians work on misplaced emotions without wisdom and common sense, let alone grace and compassion, and instead let their lack of knowledge make fools of themselves and their school.