Gloating and Slander: Michael Pearl, Nancy Ann Wilson and Christian Fundamentalist Responses to Criticism

Gloating and Slander: Michael Pearl, Nancy Ann Wilson and Christian Fundamentalist Responses to Criticism July 20, 2012

by Sierra

(Editor’s note: Many of our NLQ writers have sounded off on this situation. To see more visit Libby Anne, and Incongruous Circumspection. There are others who’ve also written of what happened that are worth checking out – Rachel Held Evans, The Friendly Atheist, Sarah Over The MoonDianna Anderson, and Are Women Human.)

Femina has been lighting up like a Christmas tree since The Gospel Coalition blog post that threw Doug Wilson into the spotlight for arguing that egalitarian sexual relationships were unnatural and that if “authority and submission” aren’t honored in sex, men turn to rape to fulfill their animal urges.

Now Wilson’s wife, Nancy Ann, has joined the fray:
10 Reasons to be Glad When Your Husband is Slandered

It’s mostly fluff: reasons like “It makes you grateful” aren’t exactly “reasons.” Nonetheless, there’s something strikingly similar about this response to the response of Michael Pearl to critics after 10-year-old Lydia Schatz was beaten to death by her Pearl-following parents.

Here’s Nancy Ann:

1. It makes him look good.
Of course it does! Karen Grant said that “big lights attract big bugs” and if there are some big uglies out there around the light, well, he must be big enough to be a threat to bring out all the bugs. And the light usually sticks around longer than the bugs.

3. It’s a good sign.
It’s a danger sign, according to Scripture, when everyone only has nice things to say about you. (Luke 6:26)

4. It’s a reason for a party.
If Jesus says we are to rejoice and be exceeding glad when people spread lies about us, then that means God wants us to throw a party! (Matthew 5:11-12)

6. You are in good company!
Jesus was slandered, Paul was slandered, and most, if not all, of the prophets and apostles were slandered. What great preacher was not slandered? Your husband must be doing something right.

And here’s ‘Laughing’ by Michael Pearl:

I laugh at mycaustic critics, for our properly spanked and trained children grow to
maturity in great peace and love.

My five grown children are laughing at your foolish, uninformed criticism of
God’s method of child training, for their kids-my 17 grandkids-are
laughing . . . because that is what they do most of the time.

They laughwhen Daddy is coming home. They laugh when it is time to do more
homeschooling. They laugh when it is time to practice the violin and piano.
They laugh when they see their Big Papa coming (that’s me) because Big
Papa is laughing and they don’t care why just as long as he laughs withthem.

My granddaughters laugh with joy after giving their baby dolls a spanking
for “being naughty” because they know their dolls will grow up to be the
best mamas and daddies in the world-just like them.

Even my chickens are laughing . . . well, actually it is more like cackling,
because they just laid another organic egg for my breakfast and they know
that it was that same piece of ¼ inch plastic supply line that trained the dogs
not to eat chicken.

Several writers have called out Michael Pearl for his arrogance and insensitivity in the face of a child’s death. The condescension in Nancy Ann’s response is barely a notch less overt. In a nutshell, both responses are empty posturing. “Too bad for you, I’m right, and your criticism only makes me more right” is pretty much the sticky residue you get after you boil off the redundant parts.

Here’s the hitch:

If being slandered means being right, your own daughter just made Rachel Held Evans a saint and a prophetess.


The criticism of Doug Wilson’s words did not stray nearly so far into slanderous territory as Bekah’s criticism of Rachel did. Joe’s criticism, by far the harshest, still focused on rebutting the false claims Wilson made. Bekah’s response, by contrast, was designed to malign Rachel’s character. This is the difference between substantive (if heated) critique and slander.

But let’s go a little farther.

If being slandered means you’re right, and means that God wants to throw you a party, what does that say about the rest of the people Christian fundamentalists like to slander?

President Obama may be the most-slandered president in American history.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are some of the most-slandered groups in present-day America.

Feminism has been slandered so much that many women refuse to identify with it anymore.

Atheists are slandered as having no morals.

Progressive Christians are slandered as being not really Christian at all.

Pro-choice people are slandered when they’re called murderers.


You see, anyone can play at this game. The fact that Doug Wilson is being criticized has nothing to do with his following the example of Jesus (who, by the way, was really not a fan of religious authority) and everything to do with the fact that he wrote something at best stupid and at worst malicious. It is not persecution when people call you out for saying hurtful things. It is not martyrdom when your reputation suffers because of something you actually did.

Now, to borrow a few of the Religious Right’s favorite lines:

Doug Wilson, why don’t you take some personal responsibility for your mistake and accept the consequences?

Comments open below

Read everything by Sierra!

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Sierra is a PhD student living in the Midwest. She was raised in a “Message of the Hour” congregation that followed the ministry of William Branham. She left the Message in 2006 and is the author of the blog  the phoenix and the olive branch

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce



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  • A few days ago, I spoke to my wife and told her that I had been holding back in my writing. Then, I wrote the Doug Wilson post and ever since, I have been branded as “angry” and now, you said my post was “by far, the harshest…”.

    I can die happy now. People are now seeing the real me.

  • I mean both of those things as the highest of compliments. Look at me, linking you again:

  • Saraquill

    Nancy Ann Wilson sounds like she was on illicit things when she wrote that piece.

  • Minnie

    I was born and raised in the southern baptist wife beating convention, went to christian home school, my grandfather was a southern baptist preacher, I went to his church three times a week every week for the first fifteen years of my life, my father was a deacon and sunday school teacher at my grandfathers church.

    Every one in my family is a southern baptist. So I know christian mentality very well, this is typical christian response to any thing that hurts and demeans women and little girls. I have never had my thoughts and feelings taken seriously by christians, christian men have always and will always mock, and desmiss women and little girls feelings. Everything is women and little girls fault, nothing is ever the mens fault.

    I was sexually abused by a bible loving baptist christian man, he mocked my feelings about rape just as these christian men mock women and little girls feelings about the disgusting things putrid Doug Wilson said.

    What these Wilsons are saying is extremely hurtful to me, not that causing raped women and raped little girls additiional pain slows down or worries christians in the slightest.

    If saying or doing something gives christians pleasure at the expense of sexually abused women or sexually abused little girls feelings, the christians are going to do and say it happily anyway, sexually abused women and sexually abused little girls be damned. As some one who was repeatedly sexually abused the first ten years of her life I am going to say that these Wilson creeps are ODIOUS, just pure ODIOUS, and so are their followers. This Wilson man has never been raped as a woman or little girl, he needs to shut his arrogant, know nothing, christian man mouth.

    Just because female submission to men gives him a sadomasochistic trill does not make it right.
    I was told all kinds of vile things by my rapist as a little girl, very hurtful demeaning things, he told me one time I was just a c**t. The worst most demeaning thing I was told that caused me the most trauma was that I have to be submissive to my husbnad, it made me feel pimped by god, the man who could and would set me on fire for eternity if I did not do what pleasured his vile man, I had already lived the men rule over me, me being submissive to men life, and it was abhorrent, not that the pro-rape christians give a tiny damn.

    I believe from the top of my head to the soles of my feet that the only reason any man is a chistian is because the bible tells men that their wives have to be submissive to them, and they are head of their wives. Christian men do not give a sh*t about Jesus Christ, or the god of the bible, their number ONE fixation and concern is female submission to men always has been always will be.

    Who besides christian men are obsessed with female subimssion to men? Answer, men who have sex with sex slaves in bondage, men who sexually demean and sexually torture their sex slaves in bondage, these women and little girls cannot say, NO! Christian men like rapist and pimps cannot tolerate a world were they are not in ownership, in full dictator-ship of every vagina on the globe. I see my rapist in every one of them.

    The baptist man who sexually terrorized me the first ten years of my life told me that the ten commandments does not say do not RAPE, he also told me that Jesus Christ never said do not RAPE. The bible and christianity told a child rapist everything he wanted to know. Christian men are sexually sadistic cretins, they prove it over and over, and get away with it over and over. I would rather cut my wrist and DIE then ever live with another christian man, they deserve to be ridiculed, and desmissed.

    “TIME ranks Southern Baptists’ rejection of sex-offender database as a top “underreported” news story of 2008″

  • suzannecalulu

    Joe, I love, love, love your title! Any title that is brave enough to mention “Blowjob” gets my vote~

  • stairway to heaven

    Minnie, your story does make a difference and I’m sure has touched many hearts.

  • One group that was slandered in Doug’s words was egalitarians (blamed for causing sexual violence) – would Doug and family say egalitarians are blessed because of this?
    Another slandered group was men – all of them allegedly dream of raping. Would Doug call men blessed because of his false testimony?
    Anyway, they got their theology wrong here: Those texts say we are blessed when persecuted for the sake of Jesus. Defending human power and lording over is not in keeping with the Jesus who condemned lording it over others. Bearing false witness (against egalitarians and men) is not serving Jesus. Saying things that need a trigger warning does not support the Jesus who will not break a bruised reed.