Doug Wilson: Obama’s Election Is God’s Judgment

There have been a lot of different responses by conservatives to the results of the election nearly two weeks ago. Some have advocated for “doubling down,” arguing that Republican candidates weren’t conservative enough and didn’t talk about issues like abortion and gay marriage enough while others have argued that conservatives in general, and the Christian Right in particular, need to change their tactics and recognize that changes in voter demographics are likely to be permanent.

Conservative Calvinist evangelical and Christian Patriarchy leader Doug Wilson has posted some of this thoughts on the election on his blog. He argues that Obama’s election is God pouring out his judgement on mankind (but also that those who voted for Obama brought down judgment on the nation) and that Christians should respond by repenting not mobilizing or organizing (but also that Christians should be turning to new strategies in fighting the “culture wars”).

1. The first principle is not just that Jesus is Lord. That wonderful phrase is our foundational confession; it is not simply a sweet sentiment to tide us over until the sweet by and by. Rather we must say that Jesus is the Lord of history, and so He is the one who gave this electoral outcome to us. We don’t fully know why He did, but we know that He did.

This is some serious Calvinist thinking. Christians generally believe that God is all powerful, but they differ in just how much God has to do with what happens on earth. Some emphasize mankind’s free nature while others emphasize God’s control. While some Christians would say that God “let” the election turn out the way it did, not interfering and and allowing people to make their own choices, Wilson suggests that God “gave” this election to mankind.

2. Given the wickedness of key elements in Obama’s agenda (abortion, sodomy, thievery through taxation, etc.) we know that whatever the Lord is doing, it is for judgment and not for blessing. And in Scripture, whenever judgment is pending, or has begun, the appropriate response is repentance — not mobilization or organizing our remaining tatters.

The argument that God’s purpose in Obama’s election is to bring judgment on mankind is something I’ve heard before. At some point in the last decade, I forget exactly when, James Dobson stated that he had stopped praying for God to save America and had instead started praying for God to bring judgement on America. What Wilson is saying here is similar. The idea is that America has gone too far off a moral cliff and judgement, rather than salvation, is not inevitable and deserved.

As for Wilson’s call to repentance rather than mobilization, evangelicals and fundamentalists have long sought to work out just how much involvement in mainstream culture, and how much withdrawal from mainstream culture, is appropriate. While some withdraw from the world and waits for the end to come, focusing only on evangelism, others embrace a greater degree of engagement, an embrace most fully seen in the political activism of the Christian Right. Wilson seems to be suggesting that Christians should rethink that balance and perhaps shift slightly more toward withdrawal.

3. No principled vote cast yesterday, offered in faith before the Lord, was a wasted vote. Those who went to the polls with true faith in Christ and a sincere commitment to do what His Word required of them offered up a vote that was part of their living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2). And if He received it, so should we — even if the vote cast differed from our own.

4. Every unprincipled vote, offered to the bitch goddess of the state on the left, or the bitch goddess of pragmatism on the soft right, or the bitch goddess of ideology on the libertarian right, was simply thrown away. Professing Christians who voted for Obama were either confusedly or rebelliously heaping up judgment for all of us. Christians on the right who voted for Romney for no other reason than that he was “electable” found out that he was not as electable as all that. And Christians who voted for absolute ideological purity (which is, remember, a form of impurity) found out that that kind of purity wasn’t in the running.

Wilson’s word choice here is telling. I mean, “bitch goddess”? Really? Wilson argues that he holds women in highest esteem, but the reality is that complementarians and patriarchalists like him only honor and defend women who remain in their “proper” female roles. To women who step outside of those roles they offer only disdain. Hence the rhetorical force that words like “bitch goddess” take for them.

That said, Wilson starts talking in a circle here. First he says that God “gave” us this election and that “the Lord” is bringing judgment on us, but now he says that Christians who voted for Obama were “heaping up judgment for all of us.” I suppose he could mean that God used people who voted for Obama as tools in his plan to bring judgment on America, but that seems to violate the idea that those individuals have free will. On the other hand, if the people who voted for Obama did so of their own free will, then God did not “give” us this election as judgment, because his hands were tied and the election was decided not by him but by the people. This is the sort of problem you run into with Calvinism.

6. If you want this conservative to vote with you, stop trying to entice me with non-conservatives. Stop trying to feed bacon to your horse. One of the numbing numbers to come out of this fiasco is the fact that if Romney had simply gotten the same number of votes that McCain did, Romney would have won. This deflation happened without a robust third party candidate siphoning off a large number of votes. The results of this election should not cause us to think we need to “move to the center.” Two establishment Republican candidates in a row have gone down, and this second time the centrist lost to a failed presidency. I mean, think about it.

It’s truly amazing how many on the Right are arguing that the problem in this election was not running far enough to the right. I’ve even seen some suggest that Republican politicians didn’t talk about abortion and gay marriage enough. That’s really not at all what I took away from this election, but if they want to run further to the Right, that’s fine with me. It will only hurt them in the long run.

Over the next four years our energies should be focused on getting all Christian kids out of the government schools. If your kids are educated by people who are soft in the head, why would you expect them to grow up and not vote for people who are soft in the head? Students become like their teachers (Luke 6:40). Don’t lament the fact that Obama won if over 90% of your children’s teachers voted for him.

Why anyone is surprised by the connection between homeschooling and conservative strains of Christianity I don’t know. Homeschooling allows these parents to remove their children from outside influences in order to ensure that they will be properly indoctrinated. Sure, there are lots of homeschoolers who homeschool for other reasons. But for conservative strains of Christianity that want to keep their children from being exposed to mainstream culture, homeschooling serves an important function.

We also need Christians with a thorough-going biblical worldview writing good books, making good movies, and recording good music. As I have argued before, you can’t have a naval war without ships, you can’t have tank warfare without tanks, and you can’t fight a culture war without a culture. And by Christian culture, incidentally, I do not mean pious schlock and I do not mean hipster poses with extra mousse in your hair to make it stick up.

This idea of influencing culture, rather than just politics, is a key component of dominionism. “Seven mountains” dominionism, for instance, speaks openly of reclaiming Business, Government, Media, Arts and Entertainment, Education, Family, and Religion. Similarly, Patrick Henry College in Virginia was founded in 2000 to educate homeschool graduates not only to enter and influence government but also to enter and influence education and the entertainment industry. Vision Forum’s Doug Phillips is involved with a film training school working to do this same thing – to challenge Hollywood by creating good, quality Christ-filled entertainment. Wilson’s reminder is that government is not the only battlefield in the culture wars. Wilson’s suggestion that Christians should move from “organizing” to repentance, then, is quite short lived. It lasts a mere five or so paragraphs.

Conservatives are having both a demographic problem and a messaging problem. Whites, and white males even more so, are a decreasing percentage of American society. Minorities, women, and youth skew progressive. Furthermore, I don’t see messages like “it doesn’t matter if gay people love each other, if they can get married it will destroy America” suddenly becoming more palatable. The game’s up. It’s over. There’s more to be done, but things are changing, and Wilson’s ideal society will almost certainly never be anything more than a pipe dream.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Sarah Moon

    Bitch Goddess would make a great band name.

    • Bix

      Ha! That was my first thought too!

    • Amelia

      Sometimes these comments need a “like” button or similar :)

  • Jason Dick

    Because even the more moderate policy proposals of the Republican party are so terrible, I’m somewhat hopeful that they stick to this hard-line approach, as it will mean electoral death for years to come.

    Except in the House, where we would need a 5-6 point Democratic win in the popular vote just to break even in seats.

  • Didaktylos

    When a Water Buffalo is bitten by a Komodo Dragon, the poor beast is a long time dying and it isn’t a pretty sight.

  • MM

    “Thievery through taxation”? Someone once said “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” I can’t think of who exactly that was, but I think he was pretty famous at some point.

    Jeebus…if people don’t like the President because he is black, have the balls to come out and freaking say it, don’t hide behind busted theology and feigned indignation over shit that has been accepted by the majority of Americans for decades.

    • Christine
    • ScottInOH

      I was struck by that phrase, too, because it shows a neat way they have come to link the anti-tax message with the Bible: taxes are theft, which the 10 commandments prohibits. I’d actually never heard this before and have long wondered how they could feel so righteous in their anti-tax arguments.

      (I realize there are other verses that point in other ways and that the idea that taxes = theft is nonsense, but I thought the connection was interesting, nonetheless.)

      • D Johnston

        The taxes = theft/slavery is a popular one among certain circles. Thing is, most people who say it are not true anarchists, so it’s just a bit of hyperbole. However, it seems like Calvinist theology would at least be compatible with anarchism, so maybe that is what Wilson is hinting at (though I doubt it).

  • Lana

    OMG this is so funny, having been raised that way. Yes, Calvinist thinking, and then turns around and blames us for it? unbelievable.

    The funniest part is his excuse about public education. I used to think that too. But i no longer think indoctrinating our kids with one perspective is healthy either. ugh.

  • machintelligence

    They seem very resistant to applying Occam’s razor to the results: Democrats won because God favors the Democrats/democratic policies. It would be much simpler than tying themselves in logical knots trying to explain the outcome. Of course it would also require them to admit that they were wrong…

    • Michael Busch

      Occam’s Razor: People voted. Gods did not.

  • jasdye

    Is there anything he says that is correct? It’s like running into an acerbic Glenn Beck, without the chalk boards and fascination on the Rockefellers.

  • Kubrick’s Rube

    Isn’t his whole argument one big tautology? G-d will punish America for voting for Obama by making America vote for Obama? Or maybe he means that G-d is punishing America for being the type of country that would vote for Obama by not overturning the election results through divine fiat?

    • jasdye

      He means God punished America by allowing a black man to be our president. To his racist, Confederate-lovin’ mind, that’s among the worst punishments we could get.

  • Bix

    Well, I agree with Doug Wilson on one point: Hollywood controls a lot of our cultural narrative, and if you want to effect social change, the movies are a great place to start.

    • Amelia

      I agree with that too – although not Christian, so I probably have slightly different issues with the cultural narrative that comes out of Hollywood to what Doug sees as the issues.
      Then again, even has regular complaints about the cultural narratives that come out of Hollywood, so this is not a new thing…

    • Rosa

      making GOOD movies would be a start. Making Fireproof wasn’t really.

  • wanderer

    This guy comes across as a mix of a whiny little boy and a crotchety old man. what in the hell is he talking about when he talks about a “pious shlock”? Is he serious about the mousse thing being hipster? Cause…. maybe in 1982….
    Regarding entertainment, his tone is one of someone who actually is an amazing filmmaker and has earned the right to be harsh and demanding with those who produce lesser quality films. But … has he any experience himself? And he seems to take this tone about EVERY area of his “7 mountains”.
    Apparently he’s just gifted at being hateful and dismissive of an ever-growing segment of the world. What a small, sad soul.

  • smrnda

    I have to laugh every time a Christian brings up the need for better media to compete with secular entertainment. That is a real problem, but seriously, I’ve never encountered any Christian media that wasn’t laughably amateurish. The reason is that art has to be true to life, and it can’t just be propaganda meant to prop up a worldview or else it comes up as having about as much depth as a sloganeering bumper sticker. Christian media is just meant to be a long, roundabout way of stating “we’re right, they’re wrong” which isn’t really going to be a message that lends itself to quality products.

    • Christine

      I can’t help wishing they *would* take on secular entertainment a bit more. I suspect one thing they’d try and target first is fantasy roleplaying games, because they are clearly inspired by Satan and all gamers must be saved. And trust me, we are very, very good at making fundies’ heads explode.

      • Steve

        Already happened. In the 80s. They tried that with D&D:

      • Christine

        @Steve: And still they keep trying!

      • Jayn

        It’s usually pretty funny when they do. Ever hear about how Mass Effect has a fully interactive sex sequence at the end? The only way anyone could say that seriously is if they’re deliberately lying, or have never played the game.

        (As far as DnD goes, we’re planning to visit a preacher friend of ours for a game soon. Somehow I can’t not be delightfully amused.)

      • Christine

        Some friends of mine in the Society for Creative Anachronism once got hauled to court by some fundie neighbours for being bad neighbours – I can’t remember the charges. Anyway, they were living in a block of flats and the fundie neighbours objected to some of the social gatherings they hosted. SCAdians tend to be geeks and often dress “a bit weird” and the fundie neighbours didn’t like the visitors. They decided that the weekly gaming sessions (which included board games) and …. wait for it… RECORDER AND DANCE PRACTICE were obviously Satanic rituals, and took my friends to court. The magistrate took one look at the case and threw it out, with the fundies having to pay all costs. My friends sounded out other people living in the building, and they got the fundies evicted for being bad neighbours. Turns out my friends weren’t the only ones being harrassed, and also the fundies were behind in rent and utility payments.

  • minnie
  • Amethyst

    “No principled vote cast yesterday, offered in faith before the Lord, was a wasted vote. Those who went to the polls with true faith in Christ and a sincere commitment to do what His Word required of them offered up a vote that was part of their living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2). And if He received it, so should we — even if the vote cast differed from our own.”

    I’m a person who has true faith in Christ. God’s word says that what God requires of me is to do justice, love mercy, and walk in humility (Micah 6:8). After analyzing the two candidates’ platforms, I concluded that Obama’s was both more just and more merciful than Romney’s. So I cast my vote for my fellow Christian Barack Obama, not in spite of my religion, but as a reflection of it. In doing so, I risked sacrificing my credibility as a Christian who cares about my faith, an American who cares about my country, and a decent human being who cares about standards and ethics. So God received my sacrifice and deemed it acceptable, and Doug Wilson & Co. should, too, right?

    Nope, since I voted for theft, sodomy, and murder, my vote was cast in the service of Luperca. Actually, she raised the founders of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known, so maybe voting for the Bitch Goddess isn’t such a bad thing after all.

    • smrnda

      I like your post. If we had to lay out the whole “Christian agenda” Obama hits more points than Romney.

  • Alan(UK)

    Why doesn’t somebody say the obvious; if Romney had been elected, you would have had a MORMON for POTUS. Instead you got a Christian.

  • dux

    Obligatory link: God Replies to A Christian From 2012 at (it is about 2008 election,but applies perfectly to 2012, too.)

    • Little Magpie

      thanks for that, dux… i’m enjoying it immensely.

  • Joy

    God’s judgment for electing Obama is that we should have healthcare. Sweet, sweet healthcare.

  • ScottInOH

    Does Wilson typically use the phrase “b!tch goddess”? That’s another one I hadn’t seen before, and it totally shocked me. If it’s not just a random misogynistic insult, I have no idea what he’s talking about.

    • Rae

      I’m just mentally envisioning a bunch of gigantic, supernatural female labrador retrievers sitting on some clouds, trying to figure out ways to help the humans, but constantly getting distracted by balls and squeaky toys and squirrels.

      • Little Magpie

        as someone said upstream, some times this blog just needs a “like” button..

  • Steve

    “Conservative Calvinist” is a tautology (though it doesn’t work both ways)

  • Katherine

    Bitch goddess-hmm. The second I read that I thought of the Whore of Babylon. Also, it’s scary he thinks that everyone who doesn’t think and live like him deserves to suffer. His “us vs. them” mentality keeps him so out of touch with reality.

  • miss amoeba

    “free will” — If I remember correctly, we were taught “free agency”, meaning that post-fall, humans are born enslaved to a sinful nature (i.e. free to choose what they want, but only wanting sin & still responsible). The elect supposedly would become increasingly free not-to-sin by acts of grace, reaching complete freedom from sin in heaven. Since each act of “good” is only enabled by the HS, divine omnipotence supposedly does not negate human responsibility. The words “Professing Christians who voted for Obama” imply that the author doubts the authenticity of their salvation (i.e. no true scotsman), although in a previous point, he accepts the legitimacy of a “principaled [christian] vote” (as opposed to pragmatism or idolatrous “Christian Right” ideologies). I don’t think he’s advocating withdrawal from politics, but that ballot-box christians need to be more involved and more ‘grassroots’.

    Also, in the phrase “bitch goddess”, he might have been referring to the “whore of babylon”.. his misogyny is certainly not without precedent.

    I’ve realized I’m not elect for a while now (; so this might be off. Anyway, I’ve wasted enough time trying to parse his nonsense.

  • phoenix_860

    Bitch goddess! I didn’t read passed that part, because it was too awesome. The nickname “bitch goddess” was coined for me at Skepticon. Now I’ll go read the rest of this post.

  • caroline851

    The phrase ‘bitch goddess’ comes from D. H. Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The passage is about how men chase the ‘bitch goddess Success’ instead of the authentic goal of love, truthfulness and intimacy. Lawrence was a somewhat, if unwittingly, misogynist writer but his other views would hardly appeal to the American Right. I wonder if Wilson knows the source of his phrase?

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      True. Although, except for the adultery part, the sexuality in that book totally lines up with Wilson’s values. It’s all about how Connie Chatterley discovers true sexual pleasure when she allows herself to be conquered by manly, manly Mellors. (“Conquered”=rape but she ends up loving it because he makes her feel like a natural woman!) When I read that book, I was completely disgusted.

  • Lee Shelton

    Let’s set aside the author’s misgivings about Wilson. Are we to believe that the election of a president who advocates the murder of unborn children is NOT some form of judgment? Is it actually a blessing?

    • Rapunzel

      Your premise (“Obama’s election is a judgment on the nation”) is dependent on us accepting your conclusions (“the nation deserves judgment because abortion is murder”) before the argument even begins. We reject the assertion that medical abortion is equivalent to murder based on a lack of verifiable evidence to support that assertion. You lose.

      QUIT or RETRY?

    • Rosie

      Also, the unspoken premise “there is a deity actively involved in the politics of the US” is not shared by the blogger nor by most of the regular commenters here. Most of us don’t think it’s either judgement or blessing from some deity, but simply the result of a nation-wide popularity contest. Or, well, the result of the complicated process by which a whole lot of diverse people attempt to distill their values and worldviews into soundbites and then pick one of two people they think more accurately represents them and then cast votes which are filtered through the electoral college by which one of the two major-party candidates wins. I still don’t see any deities intervening in the election process, for good or ill.

    • Twist

      “Is it actually a blessing?”

      Well, yeah. If you happen to be a woman, that is. And of the rational and reasonable sort (of woman or man) who rather than seeing abortion as MURDERING TEH PRECIOUS BABBYS OMGG!!!11 see it as a neccessary medical procedure that has to happen sometimes, and has to be an option if women are to function in society as equals. The instant you start to restrict abortion laws, you put us on a slippery slope that leads toward a woman who could have been saved being sacrificed against her will by her doctors, so they could give her unviable fetus an extra two days in the womb. Hey, did I read about something like that happening recently?

    • minnie

      Christian bible god is a happy-go-lucky self proclaimed baby killer. Pro-life christians are RAPE loving liars.

      Isaiah 13:16
      “Their infants also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished.”

      Ezekiel 9:6
      “Slay outright the elderly, the young man and the virgin, the infant and the woman; but do not touch or go near anyone whom is the mark. Begin at My sanctuary. So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple [who did not have the Lord's mark on their foreheads].”

      2 Kings 2:23-24
      “He went up from Jericho to Bethel. On the way, young [maturing and accountable] boys came out of the city and mocked him and said to him, Go up [in a whirlwind], you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!

      And he turned around and looked at them and called a curse down on them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and ripped up forty-two of the boys.”

      2 Kings 15:16
      “Then Menahem smote Tiphsah and all who were in it and its territory from tirzah on; he attacked it because they did not open to him. And all the women there who were with child we ripped up.”

      Hosea 13:16
      “Samaria shall bear her guilt and become desolate, for she rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women shall be ripped up.”

      1 Samuel 15:3
      “Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

      PSALM 137:9
      “Happy and blessed shall he be who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock!”

      31: 17 “Now therefore, KILL every male among the little ones, and Kill every woman who is not a virgin.

      31:18 “But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.”

      Christian bible god telling soldiers to rape twelve and thirteen year old virgin girls.

    • minnie

      St. Augustine said, “Any woman who acts in such a way that she cannot give birth to as many children as she is capable of, makes herself guilty of that many murders.”

      Martin Luther wrote: “God created Adam lord of all living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all. Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house and bear children. And if a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing; she is there to do it.”

      “Anders Behring Breivik christian terrorist, pro-forced-birther, killed seventy seven people.
      What he thinks about womens rights, women need to breed, breed, breed.

      1. Limit the distribution of birth-control pills (contraceptive pills): Discourage the use of and prevent liberal distribution of contraceptive pills or equivalent prevention methods. The goal should be to make it considerably more difficult to obtain. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points but would degrade women’s rights.
      2. Reform sex education: Reform the current sex education in our school institutions. This may involve limiting it or at least delaying sex education to a later age and discourage casual sex. Sex should only be encouraged within the boundaries of marriage. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points.
      3. Making abortion illegal: A re-introduction of the ban on abortion should result in an increased fertility rate of approximately 0,1-0,2 points but would strip women of basic rights.
      4. Women and education: Discourage women in general to strive for full time careers. This will involve certain sexist and discriminating policies but should increase the fertility rate by up to 0,1-0,2 points.
      Women should not be encouraged by society/media to take anything above a bachelor’s degree but should not be prevented from taking a master or PhD. Males on the other hand should obviously continue to be encouraged to take higher education – bachelor, master and PhD.”

      “Self-Described ‘Christian Counterpart To Osama Bin Laden’ Arrested In Plot To Bomb Abortion Clinic
      Justin Carl Moose describe “himself” as the Christian counterpart to Osama bin Laden. Moose wrote: “I have learned a lot from the muslim terrorists and have no problem using their tactics.”

      Each year about 890,000 women have abortions in Pakistan, and every day 10 women die because they had an unsafe abortion. Some 560,000 Filippina women have unsafe illegal abortions every year, with 90,000 suffering complications from the procedure and 1,000 dying.~

      Pro-forced-birthers favorite piece of literature of all time.

      Genesis 3:16
      “I will greatly multiply your grief and your suffering in pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing; with spasms of distress you will bring forth children. Yet your desire and cravings will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

      “In the 1800′s when chloroform was introduced to the US to help ease the excruciating pain of childbirth for women, it was woman-hating Christians who fought against its permitted use on the grounds that easing women’s childbirth pain was contrary to God’s will. They cited the book of Genesis where God punishes women with the curse of pain in childbirth.”

      What pro-forced-birthers think of raped little girls. Pro-lifer porn.

      ”Church excommunicates mother of 9-year-old rape victim – but not accused rapist.”

      “A senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church’s decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.”

      “Police believe the girl was sexually assaulted for years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six. That she was four months pregnant with twins emerged only after she was taken to hospital complaining of severe stomach pains

    • lucrezaborgia

      Where in the bible does it say abortion is wrong?

  • Jaimie

    One of the things that was so frustrating when I was a Christian was how everything had to be interpreted according to what one “thinks” is the will of god. And because life can happen in random and surprising ways, that interpretation had to be reinvented time and time again. The story was always changing to the point to absurdity. It creates inner instability like we see here. A lot of anger too.