In a November 13th commentary at Blog & Mablog, Doug Wilson discussed the closure of Vision Forum Ministries following Doug Phillips' October 30th resignation. He called the closure "fitting and appropriate", admitting that "the effects are devastating" when a man like Phillips fail to behave responsibly.
Unfortunately, he devoted much of his column to defending the supposed virtues of patriarchy, in spite of Phillips' misconduct. Wilson dismissed of feminists who criticized patriarchy, accusing them of "screeching". He lamented that the word "patriarchy" has been tarnished in the eyes of "saps" who have absorbed "feminist indoctrination".
"Feminists diligently labor to represent any form of father rule as inherently bad, or at least as bad as a relativist can make it out to be — which is pretty bad since the case need not be based on careful reasoning, but rather just screeching. Screeching goes a long way these days.Wilson defended patriarchy at length, citing Bible passages that gave husbands authority over wives and fathers authority over children. He called patriarchy "inescapable", arguing that our only choices are for men to act as responsible patriarchs and receive "blessing", or to fail at their calling and bring down "humiliation and chastisement" upon themselves.
So, after a generation of saps has gone through the feminist indoctrination that we call the university system, all you have to do is use the word patriarchy in some unapologetic way, and everybody stares at you like you were a six inch cockroach or something."
Throughout the commentary, Wilson refused to admit that male dominance in and of itself was problematic. He admitted that some "machismo patriarchalists" may have "gravitated to Vision Forum circles, and found what they thought was adequate cover there." However, he quickly added that "many marriages have been saved as a result of the things learned from Vision Forum", clinging to his belief that it is abuse of patriarchy, not patriarchy itself, that is the problem.
When a powerful man "with lots of testosterone" takes part in adultery, Wilson sees a sleazy, manipulative Delilah at work.
"A man with lots of testosterone is in a position to start a dynamic ministry that speaks to thousands, that fills conference halls, and that rivets people to their seats. Taking a hypothetical, that very same man is also in a much better position to succumb to the blandishments of a stripper with a stage name of Foxy Bubbles, and all in the settled conviction that his sin will not find him out. How could his sin find him out? He rivets people to their seats.Phillips was not a shaved, blinded Samson, but a man who made a conscious choice to engage in infidelity. What message does this send to the world about the woman Doug Phillips was involved with? We don't know who she was or what the nature of her contact with Phillips was. To boot, Phillips was a powerful man in his subculture, and we don't know what, if any role that power played in his inappropriate relationship. If his misconduct involved force, threats, or relations with a minor, rhetoric about Delilah and "sexual jiu jitsu" would be victim-blaming. Let's get all the facts before assuming that the woman in question was some wily Delilah.
Samson eventually had his eyes put out, but even before he lost his eyes he was not able to see what Delilah was doing with and to him. The thing that God was using against the Philistines, his strength, was also the thing that Delilah was using in a series of sexual jiu jitsu moves against Samson. It is an old trick, and it still works very, very well."
When an institutional crisis strikes, it's sadly common to see people circle the wagons rather than admit that systemic problems may exist. Any ideology, including Christian Patriarchy ideology, that arbitrarily gives one group vast power over another group will produce injustice and lack of accountability. Patriarchy is intrinsically unjust, and it becomes doubly toxic when propped up by religion. The Phillips scandal demands that we confront patriarchy. I'm disappointed that Doug Wilson fails to understand this.
In other words, how can we blame the woman.ReplyDelete
Lana -- His "sexual jiu jitsu" comment about Samson and Delilah did seem to be blaming the woman. Ick.Delete
Funny how they always do that when the "sinner" is a man, especially a man who happens to be a religious leader. If it's a woman who commits adultery, such excuse-making is mysteriously absent.Delete
Infidel -- The double standard is glaring, I agree.Delete
Disappointment in Mr. Phillips seems very, very generous, Ahab. His entire world view is based on patriarchy and religion. Why would a "mere" sexual escapade (which he probably internally as well as vocally blames on the temptress) lead him to question this view? He has gotten wealthy and powerful from promoting it!ReplyDelete
A rhetorical question, of course!
Brian -- Good point. People are less likely to question their worldview if it makes them comfortable.Delete
Wow, I mean why could the guy just not have an affair because he was sexually attracted to another women. I mean I feel sorry for his wife, but it is his fault squarely. They should have just had a swinging relationship to avoid all of this.ReplyDelete
Wish Christians had a wider worldview.
Christian -- I feel sorry for Phillips' wife and children too. This must be embarassing and painful for them. I also feel sorry for the woman Phillips committed misconduct with, and I'm relieved that no one has revealed her identity. She'd be targeted for public character assassination if her name ever got out.Delete
Doug Wilson in his most recent blog post (Blog & Mablog -- dougwils.com) has clarified that his use of the account of Samson and Delilah was not to presumptuously assign blame to the young woman involved, but rather to give an illustration of how men often fall when they think in their pride that they cannot fall.ReplyDelete
Brian -- Thanks for the link!Delete