At a time when patriarchal preacher Doug Wilson was criticized for his handling of two underage sexual abuse cases1, he wrote an article on “sexual justice“. This article was supposed to be incorporated into his new book on the topic.
This same Doug Wilson also wrote that in the bedroom, the man “conquer, colonize” and the woman “surrenders, accepts“, that this is the way the world (and the bedroom) ought to be. Elsewhere he wrote: “Sex is something I do to my wife, not with her.” This man believes women should be overpowered and forced.
Even I, with my zero experience of actual intercourse, knows he is not the best person to write on sexual justice. If Jesus calls His followers not to lord it over others, and to love others as themselves, it must mean God does not want sex to be a win-lose scenario.
What does Mr. Conquer-Colonize say on sexual justice? According to him, the world cannot tell us what it is:
Our establishment no longer knows what sex itself is supposed to be, and so cannot know what sexual justice is supposed to be. We therefore ought not to rely on their “wisdom” about sexual justice as it relates to children. They don’t have any wisdom.
I am very partially on board when a Christian say something like: “The world cannot tell us what [some concept that relates to God] is.” The world does not know God, and unbelievers will not have a spiritual understanding of God. But many things are obviously against what we Christians claim to believe, and the world sure notices the hypocrisy.2
(He also conflates the views of varied minorities and call all of it the views of “society” at large.3) He spends about the first quarter of an article on sexual justice to tell us who not to listen to on the topic. But what does he say of the topic itself?
Before we move on to his view on justice, it may be wise to keep one thing in our heads: God’s justice not only concerns the criminal, but firstly the victim. God’s justice helps the victim and take up his or her case. Many Old Testament laws are about giving back that which was lost., and repairing what was damaged. Reading Wilson, I asked myself: 1) Does this promote justice toward the victim, and potential future victims? 2) Does this promote justice toward the criminal?
Here is (just) one example of secularist dogma that Christians are bound to reject. “Sex offenders don’t ever change.” This is not only an error, it is an error which strikes at the heart of the gospel’s efficacy…
Thus, if a sex offender is kept outside the congregation, and is served communion in a back room, then what you are actually doing is making a liturgical statement that he ought not be served communion at all… But if he can repent, and be brought to the Table, then he must be brought to the Table with all the other forgiven sinners — which perhaps includes the rest of us.
But, of course . . . the fact that a repentant sex offender can repent and can be truly forgiven does not mean that his professed repentance is genuine. We are not required to live in la-la land. Forgiveness and trust are two very different things.
I do not see anything about justice for victims here. Nor do I see much of a real statement on what “justice” for the offender is – it is somewhere between full exclusion and full inclusion, but that is very vague.
All this said, here are some key areas where remembering the principles of justice are most necessary.
Note that the principles he will use here are secular court principles, while earlier he said the secular world does not understand justice.
Accusation is not conviction. One of feminism’s many lies is that women “don’t lie about rape…4 This same problem is heightened when you are dealing with children who are testifying about something — particularly when the child witness is being “coached” by some expert with a head full of nonsense…The thresholds of proof in the Bible require independent confirmation of guilt (two or three witnesses), which is where we get our “beyond all reasonable doubt” standard. This means that, according to Scripture, in a world in which terrible things happen, the terrible thing of a guilty man going free is to be reluctantly preferred to the terrible thing of an innocent man being convicted.
Once again, Wilson is coming out on the side of helping the accused and not the victim – pointing out the small minority who lie, instead of the majority who speak the truth.
The fact that someone was convicted of a sex offense does not mean that all sex offenses are in the same category of offense. We do need to have the category of statutory rape, and it needs to policed with tough sanctions, but we also need to remember that it is a different kind of offense from the rape of a three-year-old… It is important to distinguish, in terms of legal consequences, the creep show from the fornicator.
This argues for not being too hard on statutory rapists. Wilson is still seeing justice in terms of how hard to be on the criminal, and not in terms of helping the victim.
Once the spirit of accusation has taken root, accusations are often leveled at more than the offender. One thing I have noticed about such meltdowns is that they often occur in churches in such a way as to provide someone with the opportunity to accuse the pastors and elders who are trying to clean up the toxic waste in the aftermath.
Sexual justice, in his view, include not having a “spirit of accusation” against pastors and elders “trying to clean up the toxic waste in the aftermath”.
Doug’s justice is all about being too soft, rather than too hard, on offenders. And not accusing the pastors/ elders who deal with those offenders.
“Seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)
God’s justice would have spoken up for the mistreated child or woman. Doug Wilson does not know justice at all.
1Look up Doug Wilson’s name in connection with Steven Sitler and Jamin Wight for more detail.
2Instead of justice being visible only to Christians, I think justice is perhaps more like a circle, and God the compass: when a shape deviates more than a microscopic bit from roundness, everyone can see it. But drawing a circle without a compass and a steady hand is very hard. Unbelievers can recognize injustice too – God wrote His law on people’s hearts. But without God, it seldom can be corrected.
3I also disagree with the way he generalize these things as views of “society” when some of them are minority views on opposite ends of the spectrum. Those who believe all PIV is rape (if they exist at all, the view have been wrongly attributed to radical feminists by taking a few sentences they wrote out of context) and those with a radical pro-porn view would be strongly opposed to one another.
4“Women don’t lie about rape” is not a lie but a generalization – estimates are that between 2-8% of rape accusations are not true (less than that is proven to be false). That is vastly overshadowed by the 92-98% of cases where women speak the truth.