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

More on the Bad News Boors of the Gospel Coalition and Doug Wilson’s demented views on slavery July 19, 2012

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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  • PJ Evans

     Tells me all I need to know about what they’re learning. (Not enough reality, too much ideology.)

  • Beleester

     “Red Barn” is so badly written, I can’t even get upset with it.  It starts with a professor in jail and a bunch of people saying he should be hanged.  Now, in most genres, that would mean he’s innocent, but even in this genre, that should at least set up a nice tirade on how Obviously Evil he was.  There’s some hints about how the professor researched the Marquis de
    Sade, and I have to say, if you want to go Evil, the guy who invented
    “sadism” is probably a good place to start.  Instead, a bunch of people say he should be hanged, and he is hanged.  Where’s the tension in that?  Is there a problem, rising action, or climax?  The villain doesn’t even get to
    gloat!  A cartoonishly Evil villain is the easiest thing in the world to write, and he failed at that.

  • Mark Z.

    While I’m loath to get in the way of piling on Doug Wilson,

    – Erectile dysfunction is a physical disability, not a character fault.
    – The inability to have intercourse neither causes nor excuses treating women like crap.
    – It’s quite possible to pleasure a woman without the use of one’s dick.
    – Or even without having a dick.
    – Some women in fact prefer that.

  • AnonymousSam

    On the other hand, vocal ideology regarding how women being pleasured isn’t and shouldn’t be the point of sex, it’s kind of conspicuous. Oddly specific denial, if you know what I mean. Odds are it’s less “erectile dysfunction” and more “I KEEP THRUSTING BUT NOTHING HAPPEN. Y I NO SEX GOD?”

  • 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?

    Sure, he let himself be dragged up a hill and nailed to a cross … but he did it without any womanly whimpering or crying.  He took it like a man.  (See: Mel Gibson’s masochistic gorefest The Passion of the Christ.)

  • AnonymousSam

     Ugh, the deranged Catholic’s wet dream.

    I think if you tried to nail it down on them, though, they’d first say that Jesus might have been a man, but the God he represented is “both and neither male and nor female — the father and mother of all, transcending gender.”

    And then they’d elaborate on how you should always refer to God as “he” and why that’s always appropriate, but “she” is never so.

  • Thanks for the repost, and it’s good to see Douglas Wilson’s extremism exposed, especially RE slavery. I think he fetishizes slavery in the Confederacy for the same reason he’s able to speak positively of colonizing women. He clings to this ideal of the kindly paterfamilias. It gives him authority, maybe it even turns him on. It’s the same attitude he takes in the running of his church (Google is your friend here). 

  • Confederacy apologist historians started in the 1880s. The ideas that the Civil War was about states’ rights and that Reconstruction meant Northern carpet-baggers trying to force black people into a freedom they supposedly weren’t ready for was actually the dominant paradigm for a long, long time. There were always historians, particularly black historians, fighting that nonsense, of course, but it was an uphill battle.

    The book Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson marked a watershed in Civil War studies. After that, no one could claim the mealy-mouthed “states’ rights” crap and get much play any longer among real Civil War historians. It took a long time to trickle down, though, and I don’t know how much it actually has. In the early 90s, in a northern school, with a left-leaning textbook (relatively speaking) and a good history teacher, I was still being taught that the states’ rights bs had merit.

  • Steph

    A Hispanic guy I knew really made me mad with a terrible comment about Native Americans.  What’s strange in retrospect is the guy’s dark coloring means that he almost certainly had Native American blood in him.

  • Fair point. By the time I got to those encyclopedias a lot of the source material had been written by people who knew more than just “lol stoopid carpetbaggers” from Birth of a Nation.

    That said, it’s almost like from the mid 1990s onward there’s been an active attempt by fringe conservatives who would normally never have been able to echo chamber each other getting together and dinning up enough of a confusing noise to undo lessons almost set in stone by the late 1980s.

    Example: No serious historian prior to about 1995 ever thought the Nazis were real socialists or anything like a left-wing organization, particularly because of their insistence on creating and reinforcing racial and social hierarchies in purposeful opposition to the ideals of Communism, which explicitly attacked such hierarchies (at least in their rhetoric; in reality, anyone who professed sufficient zeal for the Marxist cause could be guaranteed access to better jobs and housing).

    But since then there’s been a steady drip of fringe people who seriously believe the “lol Nazis are socialists and commies” crap, and it wastes time and energy trying to explain this isn’t true, especially because painting Nazis as left-wing validates their “liberals are evil” ideology as well.

    Example #2: The aforementioned attempts to rewrite history so the Civil War was all about everything BUT slavery.