How hard do you have to work to offend more people than Christopher Hitchens?
Posted by c. wagner on November 6, 2009
Christopher Hitchens offends a lot of people. A lot. A whole lot. The man has about as much subtlety as a chainsaw and a deep hatred for organized religion. He’s not going to be winning many popularity contests.
Last fall, he toured the country with a Christian pastor debating whether Christianity is a force for good in the world.
The pastor’s name is Douglas Wilson. He may offend even more people than Christopher Hitchens, if you dig into his background. More offensive than Christopher Hitchens. Really.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, devoted a long article to the man in 2004. They summarize Wilson’s teachings.
In his voluminous and often tedious writings, Wilson lays out an array of hard-right beliefs, many of them related to family and sexual matters. Overall, he told congregants last year, his goal is “the overthrow of unbelief and secularism.”
The world as Wilson sees it is divided not by race but by religion — biblical Christians versus all others. As he says in one of his books, “[I]f neither parent believes in Jesus Christ, then the children are foul — unclean.”
“Government schools” are godless propaganda factories teaching secularism, rationalism, and worse. Wilson’s congregants are instructed to send their children to private Christian schools (like the one he started) or to home-school them.
Woman “was created to be dependent and responsive to a man,” Wilson writes. Feminists seek “to rob women of their beauty in submission.” Women should only be allowed to date or “court” with their father’s permission — and then, if they are Christian, only with other Christians.
If a woman is raped, the rapist should pay the father a bride price and then, if the father approves, marry his victim.
Homosexuals, Wilson says, are “sodomites,” “people with foul sexual habits.” But the biblical punishment for homosexuality is not necessarily death, Wilson says in trying to distance himself from [Christian] Reconstruction [a religious, white-supremacy ideology]. Exile is another possibility.
Cursing one’s parents is “deserving of punishment by death,” Wilson adds. “Parental failure is not a defense.” And Christian parents, by the way, “need not be afraid to lay it on” when spanking, he says.
Indeed, “godly discipline” would include spanking 2-year-old children for such “sins” as whining.
It also doesn’t flatter the man in that he and a co-author
have together probably done more than any others to construct the theology now animating much of the neo-Confederate movement.
That’s right, Wilson wants to bring back an imaginary, pre-Civil War South, where all the plantation owners were “orthodox” Christians and slaves were happy being slaves.
You know, I think I’d rather live in Hitchens’ world without a god and religion than in Wilson’s world where I could be exiled or executed for having a girlfriend and where racism is enforced by law.