Remember Doug Wilson? I’ve never met him, but I met a few of his creationist acolytes when I visited the Palouse a few years ago, and they were a remarkably slimy bunch. I couldn’t even imagine how slimy, though. Doug Wilson is known for founding a particularly regressive church in Idaho, and also for a debate tour he did with Christopher Hitchens (they made a documentary about it), which was a total mystery to me. I don’t know whether Hitchens wanted to give Wilson a platform for his conservative ideology, or whether he thought Wilson was an obliging punching bag.
Here, though, is a brief introduction to Wilson’s version of Christianity.
In addition to his role as pastor, Wilson is also a co-founder of New St. Andrew’s College and Grayfriars Hall, a vocational seminary for young men. He has developed a reputation for being a harsh and constant critic, spilling tons of digital ink on issues from LGBT inclusion in the church (he’s against it) to his favorite topic, the implausibility of Christian feminism. Wilson makes his reputation as a shock-jock theologian; in his tendency to bloviate, he brings to mind a certain presidential candidate: “Make Christianity great again!”
Wilson is one of the figureheads of a set of beliefs known as Biblical Patriarchy, devoted to the idea that “father rule”—the literal meaning of patriarchy—is a guiding principle for the Christian life. He is convinced the Bible teaches that a woman’s primary domain is in the home, and only after her responsibilities are satisfied there can she think about going out to get some volunteer work or, perhaps, a part-time job. Female preachers are, naturally, out of the question. “Christian women ought to be domestic,” he once said. “Everything is directed toward home and family and kids.”
You may not want to read further into the article, because it gets even uglier. One of the cheap tricks of Wilson’s seminary is that he gets community members to house his budding seminarians for him. So picture this: this predatory, misogynistic church attracts predatory, misogynistic students, who are then housed with the trusting faithful of his congregation and their families, and then…well, this isn’t a sitcom, so I can’t cheerfully say that mirthful hijinks ensue. It’s more like sexual abuse of minors, stalking, and destruction of families. Or, in other words, typical Christian family life.
And, you will not be surprised to learn, the kicker is that Doug Wilson defends his students who are molesting 13 year old girls, and blames the parents in those households. He has a point: you are a bad parent if you let a Wilson-endorsed student anywhere near your children.