More on the Bad News Boors of the Gospel Coalition and Doug Wilson’s demented views on slavery

From Morgan Guyton:

I could say a lot about this, but I don’t have the energy to muster more than a single question. If, as Wilson writes, it is the nature of a man to “penetrate, conquer, colonize, plant” and it is the nature of a woman to “receive, surrender, accept,” then was Jesus being a woman on the cross?

Here’s Matthew Paul Turner:

I find Douglas Wilson’s thoughts about “biblical marriage” to be vile, manipulative, and downright dangerous. There’s so much garbage in those four paragraphs that I have hard time believing that Jared believes them to be helpful on any level to any conversation. … Any time words like power and control and authority and conquers and made-up terms like “true submission” are used in describing the relationship between a husband and wife, you’re not describing God’s ideal. You’re pretty much describing a gateway scenario to emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual, and/or mental abuse inside the confines of a marriage. … It’s sad that we still think it’s “evangelical” to portray God as being “pro male” and a misogynistic deity.

Here’s Rod the Rogue Demon Hunter:

This is what it means to be a God-centered church folks, it’s not god-centered at all, it’s phallus-centered.

Sarah Jones at Anthony B. Susan says much the same, albeit in more academic terms:

To paraphrase Franz Fanon: exploitation is something that is done to other people. The act described by Douglas Wilson is most definitely a thing that is done to another person. It is not mutual; it is inherently exploitive. It assumes acceptance and presumes submission. …

From Soliloquies of the English Cloister:

The Wilsons’ response to their critics is generally not worth the blog space it’s written on. They insist that they’ve been misunderstood, but fail to explain what they mean. They accuse their critics, in the passive-aggressive ‘Why do they hate us?’ fashion of the faux martyr, of trying to twist their words.

Dee at Wartburg Watch traces Doug Wilson’s “Disturbing views on slavery.”

Wilson and League of the South co-founder Steve Wilkins teamed up to write the pamphlet Southern Slavery: As It Was. This revisionist nonsense was so full of errors that two University of Idaho professors, William Ramsey and Sean Quinlan wrote a response, Southern Slavery As It Wasn’t: Professional Historians Respond to Neo-Confederate Misinformation. Dee takes the story from there:

Ramsey/Quinlan point out the Wilson/Wilkins believe that many of today’s problems in the United States found their roots in the  “theological heresies implicit in the abolitionist movement and its unfortunate victory over the South in the Civil War.”

Ramsey found it absurd that he would have to write a paper to state that the evidence does not show that slaves found their lot in life “pleasant.” He thought it was a done deal. So, the ensuing firestorm took the two professors by surprise.

“We failed to anticipate the depth of their commitment to pro-slavery ideology and the sophistication of their attacks. We underestimated the extent of their support base in northern Idaho and the ability of organizations such as the League of the South to refocus their efforts on Moscow and to mobilize activists.”

“The controversy made it clear that Douglas Wilson was more than just a local troublemaker and southern partisan. He had established two “Reformed” evangelical churches in town whose congregations, thanks to nationwide recruitment efforts, now represented 10 percent of Moscow’s entire population. He had founded a k-12 school called “Logos” that taught history from a “Biblical Worldview” and an unaccredited college called “New Saint Andrews,” where he had installed himself as “Senior Fellow of Theology.”

This is someone the Gospel Coalition regards as a respectable church leader, a spiritual adviser, and a credible Christian witness. Doug Wilson is none of those things. Doug Wilson is the opposite of those things.

For some more background on self-proclaimed “Paleo-Confederate” Doug Wilson and his Neo-Confederate buddy Steve Wilkins, here’s Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center writing in 2004: “Neo-Confederate Preacher Steve Wilkins Pushes Distorted View of History.”

See also:


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  • hidden_urchin

    Re: the Morgan Guyton post

    I think that’s why Rambo Jesus exists in the Left Behind ideology.  The Jesus of the Bible was not a masculine (as these people see it) figure, because he submitted to the authority of the time, and so they have taken it upon themselves to rewrite his character to better satisfy their worldview.

  • Turcano

    This is a repost of a selection of articles from Wilson’s periodical Credenda/Agenda the last time he came up in discussion:

    “Moving Beyond ‘Pro-Life:'” Christians shouldn’t be worried about non-Christians getting abortions because they will abort and buttsex themselves into extinction, leaving the world to us.
    “True Defiance:” Slaves were happy to take up arms in defense of their slavery.
    “Appomattox and Wounded Knee:” The Trail of Tears, enacted by a president from Tennessee on behalf of Georgia and Mississippi and in defiance of Supreme Court prohibition, was somehow the North’s fault.
    “Ministers in Skirts:” Letting women into the clergy turns men into sissies.
    “Beer:” Women’s suffrage is responsible for Prohibition and weak beer.
    “Buzz Flits By:” What a woman really wants is a man willing to put her in her place.
    “The Hearing:” Douglas Wilson fantasizes about being subjected to a Senate confirmation hearing by Democratic bugbears Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton on the assumption that there’s a president baked enough to appoint him as Secretary of Education.

    Sadly, I could not find the short story that includes the execution of a college professor who decided to moonlight as a serial rapist because book-learning makes you evil.

  • heckblazer

    I’m mildly disappointed that in the summary of America: The First 350 Years we don’t get to see John Brown called a radical secular humanist.

  • reynard61

    “This is a repost of a selection of articles from Wilson’s periodical Credenda/Agenda the last time he came up for discussion(…)”

    For the love of Luna’s left hoof! That was some of THE. WORST. POSSIBLE. WRITING. (outside of the LB books, of course) that I’ve ever had the misfortune to try to wrap my poor brain around. Why does *anyone* think that it’s a good idea to put writing implements in front of this clown?!?!?!

  • Turcano

    Also, here is the special edition they put out after 9-11:

    Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

    TL;DR: Jerry Falwell was right.

  • Donalbain

    I love the little line in Red Barn where the “Christian lady”* cleverly defeats the professor using his own logic. That is a common little trope in poorly written fiction and it is nice to see it here. I must say though, at the beginning, I thought the women reporter who was being made to cover her head was working for a Muslim company, and that was where the evil would come from.

    *Interesting that the writer seems to suggest it is only bad to swear at Christians.

  • Ymfon

    @reynard61: I really don’t understand why you’re so disapproving; I only had time to read Buzz Flits By, but that was some of the finest surrealist dadaism I’ve ever encountered. I think my favourite part was when Sandy and her friend discuss her recent breakup:

    “Sandy’s mind was dwelling on the uselessness of men and
    Jane’s on the tickishness of all of Sandy’s boyfriends so far. But Jane
    could never focus for long, and it was not yet a full minute after the
    silent musings had begun that she was wondering how many eggs could be
    balanced on Sandy’s lamp.”

  • nirrti

    It seems like misogyny and racism go together like peanut butter and jelly. I’ve rarely seen a group who possessed one of these traits but not the other.

    As for Wilkins thinking slavery was such a grand old time, all I can say to him is, “You first”.

  • Tonio

    Belief in “traditional” gender roles and strong opposition to homosexuality are common among 
    African-Americans and Hispanics. The former belief is simply another version of misogyny and sexism, and the latter is arguably sexist as well. To my knowledge, our language don’t have a good specific word that encompasses the attitudes about gender roles that drives both misogyny and homophobia. 

  • christopher_young

    Good grief, Turcano, did you actually read all that shit to be able to precis it like that? Have a shower. Have a drink. Have several drinks; you’ve earned them.

    But clearly this man is pathological, and needs specialist medical help. 

  • Tonio

    Tonio’s crackpot theory of the day…

    The mentality we’re talking about usually includes not only homophobia but also denial of climate change and fears of underpopulation in “developed” countries. Why are these people becoming more open about their bigotry at a time when the effects of the climate change are becoming increasingly obvious to casual observers? When Star Trek: Voyager debuted, a reporter asked Tim Russ about the logic of having a black actor portray a Vulcan. He answered that on a hot desert planet, there should have been plenty of Vulcans with dark skin. Assuming Russ is correct, maybe these people subconsciously believe that climate change will lead to a future with no white people and they want all whites to do everything possible to avoid such a calamity. This would include treating women as human Pez dispensers, and expecting gays to enter into straight marriages just so there’s more white children in the world. The irony is that when Richard Pryor saw futuristic movies like Logan’s run, he speculated that whites weren’t planning on blacks being around by then.

  • MaryKaye

    Many years ago someone on the Internet told me that science fiction (as opposed to fantasy) was a dying genre because it was becoming inescapably obvious that the future would be dominated by Middle Eastern and African-descended people, and readers (obviously, white readers–everyone knows brown people don’t read) didn’t want to hear about that.

    I owe him some gratitude, because that comment prompted us to run a roleplaying game set in a Middle-Eastern dominated starfaring society, and later for me to write a couple of stories set there.  It was a good way to get away from Star Trek/Star Wars cliches.  I also had to research the question “how are Islamic ceremonies adapatable to space travel?” which was interesting and broadened my horizons.  (The question “How do you face Mecca to pray while in orbit” has already come up, as it turns out, as have questions about day-length.)

    But the idea that anyone takes that argument seriously?  Ick. I mean, not the argument that people will be more brown than white–that’s quite possible.  But the argument that readers wouldn’t care about a story set in the future unless the characters were white?  Yuccho blech.

  • JustoneK

    Have you got some of that written down somewhere?  I’d like to play that!

  • AnonymousSam

    Wasn’t it Larry Niven who proposed that in the future, everyone will be of a cocoa-brown color regardless of race, even going so far as to apply spray-on coloration in order to blend in with the rest of society? XD

  • christopher_young

    But people are more brown than white, by a huge margin. It’s only in limited bits of North America and Eurasia that this could even be an issue. The apparent conviction of some inhabitants of those limited bits that the world stops dead at the edges of their territories as though it had hit a huge impermeable wall, is the most worrying aspect of all this.

  • Thanks for this wrap-up. I find this whole thing so nuts, it’s amazing they even have an audience.

  •  Sadly though the difficulty the PoC SF authors (especially non-American/non-British ones) have breaking into the big six (and even medium and small publishers) and the problem of whitewashed book covers suggest White Anglophone Publishers think just this.

    Female authors have a problem as well.

    Combine the two and you get…

    Well let me link a rant by a friend of mine:

  • I’m with reynard61 – My first thought upon reading those entries was not that the guy was a nut, but an abysmal writer. “The Hearing” is like a strawman museum, and suggests that our expert has never actually viewed a congressional hearing. Here’s my favorite part:

    SEN. CLINTON: Are you aware that what you are doing qualifies as hate speech?
    WILSON: That wouldn’t surprise me.
    SEN. CLINTON: Don’t you ever worry about being charged with hate crimes?
    WILSON: As opposed to what? The regular run-of-the-mill love crimes?

    I’ve seriously seen 16-year olds write better dialogue than that.

  • The_L1985

    I need that Futurama clip right now. The one where Bender says, “Oh, wait, you’re serious. Let me laugh harder.”

  • Yes, this was mentioned in the opening chapters of Ringworld, IIRC.

  • Mau de Katt

    Any time words like power and control and authority and conquers and
    made-up terms like “true submission” are used in describing the
    relationship between a husband and wife, you’re not describing God’s

    No, you’re describing Gor’s ideal.  Seriously, these folks are bad Gorean fan-geeks carrying a Bible paddle and a cross-shaped flogger.  “Phallus-worship” indeed….

  • Watching the Wilsons defend themselves is interesting. In essence, they are trying to argue that they respect women and can’t understand why others don’t see that. The problem is that the complementarian concept of “respect” is very different from that held by the dreaded egalitarians.

    Respect can have different definitions, depending on the object of respect – an ideal, a group or a person. A fundamental part of respecting a person is acknowledging his or her personal autonomy. After all, it is autonomy that makes that person unique and worthy of respect. Therefore, the complementarian view of respect – at least as it regards women – is false. Without that acknowledgment, what you have is not respect – it is infatuation at best and objectification at worst.

    People like the Wilsons demand that their respect be earned by surrendering that autonomy, but this is an illegitimate demand. A person who truly respects you will never demand your servitude.

  • Tonio

    Excellent! The complimentarians respect women like they respect someone else’s car, as an object or a property. Or else the respect is like that for a historical figure, someone who is safely dead and can’t object to the lack of personal autonomy.

  • One wonders how seeing humans as property can possibly still be countenanced in the 21st century. :(

  • LL

    If I thought such people were smart enough to contemplate and plan strategy, I’d say they’re deliberately trying to be beyond parody, to be so repellent and ridiculous that nobody could possibly make them seem more ridiculous. 

    Though the anti-birth control thing makes a little more sense now. I mean, what’s the point of having a penis (from these people’s point of view) if you don’t have proof that it’s penetrated your wife often enough to impregnate her?

  • I’m guessing this writer of those stories read the Left Behind series and thought, “Good attempt, but this Jenkins guy is being way too subtle with this stuff.”

  • Tricksterson

    How do we break it to you?  The surrealism wasn;t intentional.  That’s what the author considers good and serious writing.

  • Tricksterson

    And you don’t think there’s racism within black and Hispanic communites?  Just yesterday I heard a Puerto Rican coworker explode because someone called her a Dominican.  “I ain’t no black” was among the milder things she said.

  • Tricksterson

    H. Bean Piper also wrote a couple of stories in which a persons name and ethnicity were no longer synonamous with each other.  As I recall he had an Asian character with an Irish name and, not sure about this one but a Nordic chracter with an African sounding name.

  • Tricksterson

    H. Beam Piper, sorry

  • Ymfon

    I know. But the text doesn’t haunt you as badly if you read it as “Monty Python on drugs”.

  • Piper definitely believed there would be a lot of culture-mixing in the future. I think this is most obvious in Uller Uprising – if you take a look at the human names in that novel, almost every single one has a first name from one culture paired with a surname from a different culture (and were often explicitly described as “Irish-Japanese” or the like).

    (Uller Uprising also has one of the few mentions of Freyans in work published before his death. The planet Freya was introduced in the novella “When In The Course…”, in which a group of intrepid explorers discover a planet whose inhabitants are completely identical to Terran humans. Most of the plot and characters are familiar to anyone who has read the Lord Kalvan stories – apparently Campbell didn’t like the idea of parallel evolution and rejected the story with the suggestion to rewrite it in the Paratime universe. The original was eventually published in the anthology Federation.)

    (Yes, I’m a huge Piper fan.)

  • Tonio

    No question that those communities aren’t immune to harboring prejudices. I’m unsure if the example you cite would qualify as prejudice or racism, since the latter is a systemic phenomenon involving hierarchy and privilege. I suppose the Puerto Rican co-worker could really objecting to being ranked lower in the hierarchy, but that’s most likely a judgment call. In any case, I would say that’s a different phenomenon from a given white man’s racism and sexing being intertwined, because both are about maintaining his privileged position at the top of two hierarchies.

  • Thanks for the link, man. I appreciate it! 

  • JonathanPelikan

    Fuck. That reads almost exactly like Rayford or Buck engaged in their idea of adversarial conversation. I’m reminded particularly strongly of Buck’s dealings with Miss Zee or Rayford talking back to that GC cop.

  • JonathanPelikan

    That sounds like the shitty excuses Hollywood writers told themselves and others to try and somehow justify their terrible screenwriting practices like Only Male Heroes, White People Only, etc, “oh, it’s the audience that’s totally all biased and that’s the reason we have to be pragmatic and react to that”. ‘men never want to watch a female hero’. Which were both wrong and, even if it were factually true, would only increase their moral burden to buck these trends and preferences and put out better stuff.

  • JonathanPelikan

    I like ‘racism’ because it has a stronger emotional gut-punch, at least to be. ‘Prejudice’ is certainly Bad but on that gut-level… it’s the difference between ‘fool’ and ‘idiot’ and ‘dipshit’. When I see that stuff I want it hit with the most universal and ‘hard’ words available.

    (That makes it really fun when my (black) Californian fiance gets onto the subject of The Mexicans. Or her sister, who has far more of an issue with Them. As if living in Missouri didn’t give me enough chances to soak up that sort of thought.)

    Isn’t the term for the systemic business ‘institutional racism’? On your point, the thing is, though, it sounds like that’s pretty much what it was: “Don’t class me with that lower station by calling me ‘black'” or something. 

    I’m strongly reminded of a scene from Hell on Wheels where the bad guys are about to string up a black guy and the ringleader says to him, “you know, the Irish are the (n-word)s of the British Empire.” and the black guy pretty much figures that one of the reasons they’re doing this, and have been particularly shitty to the other freedmen on the railroad detail, is to have someone beneath them and thus feel elevated relatively.

    Ah, human race and racism. Infinitely fascinating and infinitely disgusting.

  • WingedBeast

    It seems that there’s a lot of noise made by southerners who want to paint their secessionist ancestry in a positive light.  The word “Neo-Confederate” is a good term for it, thanks Ramsey and Quinlin.

    They have to do two things, first they have to downplay slavery as it relates to the civil war.  They have to focus on “hey, we didn’t get to decide the President, so it was our right to take our ball and go home”, while ignoring that the reason they chose the other guy was explicitly that Lincoln wasn’t pro-slavery and that he wanted it to slowly die out in the south.  But, they also have to pretend that slavery wasn’t the soul-disease that it was.

    And, they also have to pretend that, even in their happy-shining world where slaves were well treated, all southerners supported secession rather than just plantation owners and the congressmen that lived in their pockets, and the reasons behind secession had nothing to do with slavery, that even that world with those particular moral stains wiped off of the Confederacy, that they weren’t still indulging in a deep cancer of the soul.

    Otherwise, they’d have to admit that defining themselves by the Confederacy is outright claiming to be evil.

  • Turcano

    Actually, the writers of this periodical have nothing but contempt for the Left Behind series; Wilson’s son wrote a parody of it.  I haven’t read it, so I can’t tell you how it is, but seeing how he wrote “Buzz Flits By,” you can probably hazard a guess.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ah, so this is why they’re referring to it as North-Atlantic Triangle Trade nowadays, completely removing any reference to the specific traffic.

  • Joshua

    ‘men never want to watch a female hero’

    Yeah, that’s why Alien was panned by critics, failed and the box office, and has now faded into obscurity. Its sequel was even less popular.

    Also, Terminator.

  • Tricksterson

    And why Xena and Buffy didn’t even make it to the end of their first seasons.

  • PJ Evans

    North-Atlantic Triangle Trade … completely removing any reference to the specific traffic

    Which kind of kills the ‘Triangle’ part of it.
    Did they sleep through their history classes too?

  • AnonymousSam

    … Should I note that in the same textbooks this appears in, Thomas Jefferson is barely acknowledged to have had anything to do with the Declaration of Independence, and a great deal of attention is paid to the importance of the gold standard and the heroism of Senator Joe McCarthy?

  • LMM22

    I’m unsure if the example you cite would qualify as prejudice or racism, since the latter is a systemic phenomenon involving hierarchy and privilege…. In any case, I would say that’s a different phenomenon from a given white man’s racism and sexing being intertwined, because both are about maintaining his privileged position at the top of two hierarchies.

    Tom-a-to, to-ma-to. This entire subthread is rapidly hitting a ‘no true Scottsman’ singularity.

    Honestly, the distinction between the racism of a white individual and the racism of an individual of another race only makes sense if one denies *every* other form of social hierarchy. The example I give is often that of a prof I knew. He was Asian, and often conducted group meetings in (his native language). If you were male and from (his native country), your life was awesome. If you were American and female, your life sucked.

    But — he was a professor. If you’re a miserable graduate student in his group, it’s not like you can do much. Turn him into your superiors? That’s not going to do any good — there’s no way to get him out of his position, short of major criminal charges. The system is such that he *was* in a position to maintain his group’s hierarchy, even if it differed from the American norm.

  • You know, if you’d asked me about the Civil War in the late 1980s and so on? I’d have said that I thought it was a settled, cut and dried matter: the insistence by the slave states in using “states’ rights” as the basis on which they wanted to rest their notions of secession was most soundly defeated by the free states, who insisted that slavery could not continue and used force of arms to prove their point.

    In short, the slave trade was acknowledged as such, and the Civil War was, while peripherally economic, centered around the question of the organization of society: Shall humans be equal in all respects, or shall some humans be permanently denied equality?

    I absolutely would not have countenanced the idea that people could or would try to slowly chip away at this rather settled understanding of history, going so far as to erase any idea that black people were understandably dissatisfied with being treated like property instead of people, and to erase any notion that traffic in human beings was the driving force of the ‘triangle of trade’ in the Atlantic in the 1700s and 1800s.

  • TheDarkArtist

    To put it poetically:

    Doug Wilson’s dick don’t work.

    Seriously, if you say that “sex isn’t an egalitarian pleasuring party”, it’s because your dick doesn’t work, and you can’t get a woman off. And you’re pissed about it. And probably a rapist. Yikes.

  • That’s more or less present-day Hawaii. Most folks are mixed-race, and surnames are all over the place.

  • Tonio

    I’m not really interested in quibbling over the definitions of the terms. I just see a distinction between a person from one group hating people from a different group, and the hate involving a power imbalance. Your example of the Asian professor involves the latter. In my original post, “white man” could be replaced in any other society with anyone else whose personal characteristics give him or her privilege. As a practical matter, it could be that most instances of hate involve social hierarchy based on personal characteristics, or a power imbalance with one group having a numerical or financial majority.

  • Tonio

    An even better example of the systemic problem would be if the vast majority of the professors at your college were Asian and followed the same practice.