A Reader Asks about Michael Voris’ Fusillade Against Pat Robertson

A Reader Asks about Michael Voris’ Fusillade Against Pat Robertson August 12, 2013

He writes:

I just finished watching the following video by Michael Voris that I’ve seen posted by a few friends in various venues:

I was interested in your reaction to it.

I think there’s much that’s true in what Voris says in this video; however, like some of his other presentations, I found it unnecessarily antagonistic/combative as well as being skewed factually in some ways. For example, early in the video, Voris said, “Robertson, in typical Protestant fashion – meaning an answer made up out of thin air based on nothing other than his own feelings and opinions and misreading of Sacred Scripture…”.

Well, wait a minute.  Sure, where Protestants differ from the teaching of the Catholic Church, they’re wrong and they ultimately are left appealing to their own personal (and non-authoritative) interpretation of Scripture.  In the specific case at hand, Robertson is wrong on contraception. But, does that justify disparaging their entire approach to searching for the truth as making things up out of thin air based on nothing other than feelings and opinions and misreading Sacred Scripture?  In general, Evangelicals have far more *right* than wrong.  To broad-brush Evangelicals like this in such a disparaging way seems designed to merely provoke and incite rather than to edify and persuade.

Also, laying central blame for the societal acceptance of contraception today at the feet of Protestants seems, at the least, unfair.  After all, it was John Rock, a Catholic, who led the invention of the birth control pill. (Ironically, his intention was reportedly to comply with Church teaching, but he was still wrong.) He campaigned for Catholic approval of the pill. He published a book, “The Time Has Come: A Catholic Doctor’s Proposals to End the Battle over Birth Control”, and was featured by Time and Newsweek. He also gave numerous interviews with the networks.  “The pill” was critical to the so-called “sexual revolution.”

Catholic priests and theologians effectively defected from the faith over this issue and treated Humanae Vitae as DOA. The bishops didn’t have the knowledge or fortitude to stand. Now Catholics use birth control just as much as pagans, Buddhists, Jews and Protestants. And, as many have pointed out, that’s a good part of the reason we’re facing the immoral HHS mandate now.

Catholics led the way on “the pill” and when presented with “Peter’s” teaching, rejected it. That’s not the fault of Protestants who do not have Peter. If anything, I would say that Catholics are most to blame for society embracing contraception. We should have known better. We had the teaching. We had Peter. We had the Sacraments.  We had the One True Church to which Voris refers in his video. We didn’t care.

I think Voris would have been better served by taking an approach more like Protestant Charles Provan in his book, “The Bible and Birth Control.”  Provan does good job demonstrating for Protestants that they had always been – and should have remained – opposed to birth control. He presents historical examples and Scripture in a compelling but non-polemical way.

I’ve used him numerous times and to good effect with Protestant friends and family.  In my personal experience, I’ve found that Evangelical Protestants are largely open to hearing us on the issue of contraception.  In fact, “life issues” like this have played an important role in leading some Evangelicals home to the fullness of the faith in the Catholic Church.

I think approaching them with a hammer like this is unnecessary and wrong-headed.  I get the “hard truth” thing, but the “hard truth” at least needs to be “the truth” as well as being fair.  Being tough and unfair doesn’t typically persuade anyone that isn’t already in the choir. Clanging gongs and all that.

I like some of Voris’s work and he clearly seems to mean well.  But I think he missed the mark on this one.  Your thoughts?

I hold no brief to Pat Robertson’s frequent crazy commentary (most recently he was accusing video gamers of being guilty of “virtual murder” for blowing up stuff in games).  I’ve commented in this space several times that the guy needs to be taken out of media rolodexes and his daffy ramblings taken as seriously as Grandpa Abe Simpson’s.

That said, I agree with my reader that Voris manages to pull defeat from the jaw of victory with his absurd triumphalist commentary on Robertson’s dumb remarks.  All this video serves to do is tell Catholics in the bunker “You are awesome and the Protestants outside Fortress Katolicus are bad.”  That’s more or less what Voris’ schtick is.  It’s not interested in evangelism.  It is, in fact, hostile to it.  It’s interested in telling the denizens of Fortress Katolicus that they must at all costs defend the Fortress from the unclean hosts besieging it–and keep a wary eye on those in their ranks who may betray some sign that they too are not pure enough to be allowed inside. Those beseiging hosts, in addition to all Protestants indiscriminately, include such dangerous people as the bishop who investigated Fr. Corapi, the Knights of Columbus, Catholic news agencies that look into Michael Voris’ non-profit status, people who like “Amazing Grace”, the Knights of Columbus and anybody else who is pre-emptively declared to be a liar whose falsehoods are to be “trapped and exposed”.

It goes without saying that when Michael Voris teaches that Judaism is a false, manmade religion in the teeth of Nostra Aetate or when he declares that Catholic monarchy is the form of government Real Catholics[TM] should endorse, he’s not just “making things up out of thin air based on nothing other than feelings and opinions and misreading Sacred Scripture”.

Dave Armstrong does a more thorough autopsy on this particular video here.

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