One of the most irritating things I’ve had to put up with as a blogger is not disagreement, which I can handle. It’s when people put words in my mouth, then attack and refute their own words as if I had said them. This is an ancient rhetorical trick, and it really shouldn’t require much of a defense, because there is no need to defend what one did not say. But then, if one remains silent, the folks who launch this kind of attack will maintain that they defeated your “argument” — even though the argument was constructed by them and not you, and was thus theirs to defeat.
Most of the time, this sort of attack has come from leftists (example here), but today I saw it coming from someone I can’t call a leftist, but don’t want to call a rightist. He calls himself a Jacksonian Christian and he finds me guilty of hypocrisy based not on things I said here, but on things he must have wanted me to say. Excerpt:

….the writer hopes that the sexual connection is made by the public in hopes that such behavior would be seen as acceptable.
G: How so?
S: Who would you rather be confronted by, your mugger or your murderer?
G: The mugger, without doubt!
S: So you approve of the next mugger who assaults you?
G: I see! False dilemma. By demanding that a choice be made between the lesser of the two evils, actual torture and sexually based humiliation, the author hopes to obscure the fact that the American people have the choice of choosing to support neither.
S: Very good, but another irony remains.
G: How so?
S: The motive imputed to our brothers is sexual repression, with the implied threat of violence, while the author’s motives is disinterested freedom and liberty.
G: But the accusation is not true. If anything, the evidence of honor slayings, the imposition of the veil, and of female circumcision (or I should say, clitoral mutilation), upon the part of the Islamists, with a corresponding lack of such acts on the part of Christians, should prove that a difference should be made between the two.
S: Not entirely. There may not be honor slayings, but the concept of dishonoring the family via sexual indescretions still exists. Christians do not impose the veil, but insist on modesty in dress and behavior. Female circumcision is imposed to physically destroy the supposed mainspring of infidelity. What did the Crusaders use to ensure fidelity while they were gone?
G: Chastity belts. A barbaric, ignorant time, since those who wore them incurred infections that either killed them or rendered them infertile. Not much different in effect than clitoral mutilation, and much more deadly, because the belt prevented medical intervention.
S: Correct. However, the goal was to preserve the woman’s capacity for pleasure as well as her chastity. It’s use miserably failed due to incompetence, like everything else about the Crusades. The intent of the alternative was to destroy the possiblity of pleasure alltogether, by design and full intent, not by accident. Today, we insist on the will and devotion of both partners to discharge the task of defending the honor of the marriage bed while they are absent from each other.
G: So there is no difference between us Christians and the Islamists?
S: Only in implementation, and only marginally in motive and degree. And therein lies the irony.
G: How so?
S: Because the author pleads that the differences between what happened at Abu Ghraib and what happened there while Saddam ran it are also those of motive, degree, and implementation.
G: I see! He implies that such differences are relevant for his argument, but not for ours! Indeed, he deliberately counfounds and conceals the differences between Islamists and Christians, and hoping that nobody notices.
S: Indeed, hoping to transfer the just wrath one feels at the foul deeds of the Islamists unjustly upon Christians who insist on modesty, discretion, and moderation.
G: So he is a hypocrite?
S: Yes, but see that you do not mention it while we are there. We would be guests there, and should not be insulting, no matter how true it is or how deserving he is of it.
G: My thanks for sparing me that indescretion! However, what does that have to do with the question of substance and their good opinion?
S: Do you covet the good opinion of a hypocrite? Theoretically speaking, of course.
G: No, because he may be hypocritical about it. Theoretically speaking, of course.
S: And what harm would come of his bad opinion?
G: Unless we fell to blows, naught whatsoever.
S: So, do you fear anything now?
G: No. Let us proceed to defend our brothers in the faith, then!
S: We already have.
…….
G: What of our witness?
S: Pleasing the ears or mores of those in the world, and who appear hostile to the things of God, is not the way of giving our witness. The Christ did not say that the world would know we are his disciples by being nice and deferential to those hostile to him and his ways. Or being generous and charitable to the unfortunate. They would know us by the way we loved one another, those who know and love him.
G: In that, I fear, we Christians are not as good as the Islamists, who rise up in response to the pains and sufferings of their bretheren more readily than we rise up in response to the sufferings of our own.
S: Quite Right.

I’m not sure who the S and the G are in this dialogue, but they certainly have me saying and implying a lot of things I neither said nor implied.
I guess I should look at this piecemeal.
the writer hopes that the sexual connection is made by the public in hopes that such behavior would be seen as acceptable
How the hell do they know what I hoped? I never argued that sexual humiliation is acceptable; only that I do not see it as the equivalent of physical torture. While I would prefer sexual humiliation (I mentioned the man leashed as a dog) to physical torture, to say that I hoped such behavior would be seen as acceptable is absurd.
Bear in mind that I was responding to a man named Robert Knight, who made the illogical assertion that homosexuals, pornography, and Howard Stern (!) are guilty of creating a climate which led to Abu Ghraib, and the beheading of Nick Berg. I cannot imagine anything more ridiculous, and hence my post (as well as an earlier one).
False dilemma. By demanding that a choice be made between the lesser of the two evils, actual torture and sexually based humiliation, the author hopes to obscure the fact that the American people have the choice of choosing to support neither.
Where did I “demand” that such a “choice” be made? Both are bad, but saying the latter is worse than the former is as valid as if I said that beatings and sleep deprivation are not as bad as being fed feet-first into a plastic shredder. If I said the latter, would that be a “false dilemma?”
S: The motive imputed to our brothers is sexual repression, with the implied threat of violence, while the author’s motives is disinterested freedom and liberty.
G: But the accusation is not true. If anything, the evidence of honor slayings, the imposition of the veil, and of female circumcision (or I should say, clitoral mutilation), upon the part of the Islamists, with a corresponding lack of such acts on the part of Christians, should prove that a difference should be made between the two.

First, what’s with this “brothers” business? If Robert Knight is the man’s brother, then I see his point. But if not, then why does he call Knight a “brother”? Are not all men brothers? Or does he refer only to Christians as brothers? If so, does he include Christians who do not subscribe to his particular interpretations of religious texts? Or are those Christians who disagree with him not Christians? I don’t know, but because of the tone, I tend to suspect the latter.
As to “sexual repression, with the implied threat of violence,” I don’t impute such a thing to anyone except those who believe in it. Those who would utilize the power of the state to arrest and imprison other people for unapproved, consenting sexual acts between adults do, by their own admission, believe in sexual repression by means of an explicit threat of violence, directly applied to the sexual offender. I don’t believe it is a good form of Christianity, but in fairness they have just as much right to call themselves Christians as I do. What bothers me is when they assert that those who don’t share their view are not Christians.
the evidence of honor slayings, the imposition of the veil, and of female circumcision (or I should say, clitoral mutilation), upon the part of the Islamists, with a corresponding lack of such acts on the part of Christians, should prove that a difference should be made between the two
Damned right there is a difference between the two, and I have said so in this blog. Why the need to attack me for saying things I not only did not say, but do not believe?
But that’s because right after that I must stand convicted of “deliberately counfound[ing] and conceal[ing] the differences between Islamists and Christians, and hoping that nobody notices.”
As I have said before, there is a vast difference between Christian and Muslim fundamentalists:

Despite my regular differences with Biblical literalists of the Christian variety, I should make it clear that Koranic literalists are far worse — and far more dangerous.

Once again, words are placed in my mouth even though my opinions are quite the opposite, and beyond that, I am said to have hoped nobody noticed what I never said and do not believe!
Remarkable!
Then there’s the conclusion, which I find troublesome.
we Christians are not as good as the Islamists, who rise up in response to the pains and sufferings of their bretheren more readily than we rise up in response to the sufferings of our own.
That depends on how you define “brethren,” doesn’t it? There are Muslims like Sayyid Kutb who believe that Muslims who disagree with them are not Muslims, and (as I have said before) there are Christians who believe that Christians who disagree with them are not Christians.
Of course, I have not read enough of this blog to know one way or another whether he believes those who disagree with his interpretations of religious texts are not Christians, so I will not put words in his mouth. (Saying someone said something he did not say is inconsistent even with my low standards.)