One of the manipulative and abusive tactics of the St. Paul’s Montvale protesters has been gaslighting, including claiming that they didn’t do things that they clearly did do. Additionally, they like to threaten people, including this publication, with lawsuits, criminal charges, and more.
But even a cursory review of police records in the matter reveals, inter alia, that someone purporting to be Joseph Wahler has referred to St. Paul’s priest Jill Williams as a “radical fat unhappy LGBTQ bitch.” This is reflected in the social media posts located on page 19 of the included PDF. Note that the document was redacted by the Montvale police department, but has not been redacted or otherwise altered following receipt by Anglican Watch.
For the record, Joseph Wahler appears to be the owner of J Wahler Contracting, located in Montvale. Indeed, looking closely at his postings, he includes a reference to his business in his profile photo. So we have no issue with publicizing his views and letting the chips fall where they may.
In his posting, Wahler urges people to attend the Catholic church. Yet he ignores the Catholic catechism, which teaches that “LGBT people are to be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Also telling are the facially illogical comments in Wahler’s post. He decries cancel culture, even as he urges people to do a little canceling of their own, leave St. Paul’s, and head to the Roman church.
Wahler’s comments are ugly, hateful, divisive and contrary to any notion of Christianity. Those who support Wahler, including Steve and Dawn Hopper, Beth Harris Abrahamson, Anne Bosch, and others, are equally culpable.
As to those like Ginny Bartlett, who claim that they are not taking sides, there is no such thing in the teachings of Jesus. Indeed, if there is anything to be learned from the Easter story, it is the evil and betrayal that occurs when organizations, groups of people, and bystanders act like Pontius Pilate and wash their hands of personal responsibility for injustice and oppression.
We also note that several protestors claim that none of their group have engaged in this behavior. As to that claim, we let Wahler’s comments speak for themselves.
Similarly, far too many Christians passively act like sheep, accepting the ugly rhetoric of a popular and charismatic leader. When this happens, abusive groups close ranks, pull a DARVO (look it up), and claim that the truthteller is evil, a liar, mentally ill, LGBT, or whatever other label they choose to dehumanize their victim.
In short, that is exactly what Joseph Wahler is doing—trying to use ugly labels and rhetoric to dehumanize his victims. In doing so, his actions reflect badly not on St. Paul’s, nor on Jill Williams, nor on the church’s vestry. They reflect badly on this group of fake Christians and the haters who surround them.
Nor should possibly well-intentioned people like Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali be offering hot chocolate or other aid and comfort to haters. While we note that most Episcopal churches are really bad at dealing with peaceful protestors and do childish things like flip protestors off, threaten them, or call the police, there is no need to welcome protesters when behavior that crosses the line like this.
Anglican Watch calls on Wahler and the dissidents to repudiate these comments in writing. There is no excuse for such comments, ever. Full stop.
Further, we call on all persons of faith to reject every form of hatred and oppression, including anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. In doing so, we ask persons in the Montvale area to boycott Joseph Wahler’s business. No one should knowingly fund hate.
We also have provided copies of the police report to Catholic officials in the area and hope they will publicly reject Wahler’s vicious, ugly comments.
And if you are thinking of moving to Montvale, or using the services of a business based in the area, choose wisely. There are some really hateful, ugly people living there.
Joseph Wahler, we are looking at you. And we are looking at the other haters, whose social media posts are captured below.