Thursday, July 19, 2012

Doug Wilson's Disturbing Views of Sex & Slavery


I'm not going to add much commentary to this since, well, the horror of these statements should be plain to persons with any sense of reason, understanding of history, and respect for others.  But I'm also not going to mince words here: Doug Wilson is a misogynistic apologist for southern racism.  I say this as a progressive Christian who is disgusted by the most conservative wing of my tradition today (which unfortunately gets most of the attention in the media, thus making Christianity as a whole look bad).  For me at least, to not speak out against such dangerous words would be irresponsible.  He is a prominent example of how the Bible can far too easily be used to support oppressive ideologies.  Even today, Wilson continues to defend the content of these two quotes that were written some years ago.  If you missed it somehow, there has been quite a backlash against the quote about marital sex, but little has been mentioned about his truly despicable defense of slavery in the south (I recommend reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States for a more honest account of southern racism and slavery that does not make excuses for the sins of white America).  I decided to juxtapose Wilson's quotes from two different books he wrote in a single post.  These are the sad and disturbing words of a white man obsessed with justifying power and privilege over women and non-white persons by attempting to speak on their behalf and white-wash/sugar-coat their histories of oppression:
Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based on mutual affection and confidence. There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world. … Slave life was to [the slaves] a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care.” (Southern Slavery As It Was, 23-25)
When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.  (Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man, 86)
For critical responses to the latter quote:

Sexual Conquering is Rape by JRD Kirk
The Gospel Coalition, sex, and subordination by Rachel Held Evans