Why men who submit to authority are prettier

Doug Wilson’s distracting us from the recent sex abuse hubbub by dishing up his usual insults about the kinds of females who displease him. Specifically, he gives us the supposed full picture of non-Christian females by stating “Unbelieving women either compete for the attention of men through outlandish messages that communicate some variation of ‘easy lay,’ or in the grip of resentment they give up the endeavor entirely, which is how we get lumberjack dykes. The former is an avid reader of Cosmopolitan and thinks she knows 15K ways to please a man in bed. The latter is just plain surly about the fact that there even are any men.”

Now, I’m pretty sure that, regardless of my actual beliefs, Doug wouldn’t count me as a Christian, since my doctrine is about as far from his as one could get. So which one am I — the shameless, Cosmo-obsessed hussy falling out of her clothing because she’s obsessed with getting men to look at her, or the resentful, man-hating, maybe-even “lumberjack dyke”?

Katie BotkinHere’s a helpful photo in case Doug’s having a hard time deciding which of these categories I belong in. In it, I’m wearing a dress my grandmother designed in the 1940s. Hussy, dyke; hussy, dyke. You know, I can’t really decide. Am I inviting the male gaze too much or too little? Because for the non-Christian/non-CREC woman, those are clearly the only options.

Doug’s pulled this distraction before, numerous times, commenting on e.g. “clueless women … who are themselves pushy broads, twinkies in tight tops, or waifs with manga eyes.” This works as a distraction because he then makes a big show of correcting the people who inevitably draw the conclusion that he’s being pretty insulting to women. Because, you see, he’s not insulting all women. He’s just insulting some women. He pats himself on the back for thus schooling the masses in logic.

Ahem. Ever heard of the straw man fallacy, Doug? Where you disingenuously act like your intellectual opponents are arguing something that’s easy to refute, then blow them aside like so much chaff? See, it’s not necessary to claim that you’re insulting all women in order to say you’re insulting women. Or are you linguistically disingenuous as well? “You’re insulting women” is ambiguous precisely because it doesn’t specify how many women you’re hurting. “You’re insulting all of womankind” would be something else.

Let’s put this another way. Let’s claim that men who spend all their time deflecting accurate criticisms by trolling the internet hordes with shots about “small-breasted biddies” are themselves bulbous, unattractive effetes whose physical masculinity is obviously so tenuous that they need to assert themselves by regularly throwing verbal tantrums like two-year-olds obsessed with the idea that not enough people think they’re in charge. Actually masculine men don’t need to spend all their time convincing people that they’re masculine. Actually witty men don’t need to spend all their time convincing people they’re witty. Men who actually show honor to women — all women, not just the perfectly-dressed, perfectly-submissive ones — don’t need to spend time protesting that they’re nice to all the women who deserve it.

I’ve said all this, but note that I’m not necessarily insulting Doug Wilson with those statements. In fact, I’ll specifically say I’m not. See how Doug’s logic works?

Now, as it happens, I actually believe that kind men — men who are kind to their own bodies and to the people around them — are far more attractive, both physically and emotionally, than men who insult [some] women for a living. And this, to cop a phrase, is “an erotic necessity.” It’s sexy when a man is confident enough that he lifts up everyone instead of maligning some. It’s sexy when men take care of themselves physically, and usually this translates to an ability to take care of women physically (wink, wink, Doug. What am I implying with this statement? Rest assured, it’s the opposite of whatever you assume it is).

Also sexy: consistency, and humility. And that goes double for any man who talks day and night about submission, patriarchy and trusting the judgment of the elders.

So for those of you who are not aware, let me take you down memory lane, back to the birth of Christ Church. Trust me, it’s relevant.

Christ Church, Moscow, was originally planted as a mission church of the Evangelical Free Church of Pullman in 1975. By the early 1990s, the church, then called Community Evangelical Fellowship (CEF), had grown to about 80 families. It was led by four elders: Bob Callihan, Fred Kohl, Terry Morin, and Doug Wilson. As this archived website states, “although the origin of CEF was in the Evangelical Free Church, the doctrinal character of Doug Wilson’s pulpit and teaching ministry began to take on a Reformed orientation, first embracing a postmillennial eschatology in the late 1980s, and moving toward a Calvinistic soteriology in 1990 or thereabout.” This was a matter of doctrinal concern to the other elders, and they, all PhDs and professors at UI, served Wilson notice that the church constitution required them to remove him from the office of elder. In a responsive letter to these other elders, Doug wrote “If you require me to cease teaching, I will submit to that. If you want me to step down as an elder, I will submit to that. In no way will I fight, or maneuver to resist you. If anyone else in the church were distressed over what I was being asked to do, I would use whatever influence I had to keep it from being a problem.”

The elders responded in turn by asking Doug to resign from the eldership, unless he could confirm that he was in line with the church’s statement of faith. They also informed the congregation of their decision.

So did Doug step down? No, he didn’t. Instead, he drafted a letter to revise the events that had taken place, listing the elders’ names at the bottom. The elders refused to sign it. Doug did not leave the church, which forced two of the elders to resign instead.

Of note here: Doug’s financial shenanigans had been an issue in this church as well — he’d borrowed money from the church to pay his tax debts, something the elders were not happy about. In an elders’ meeting, they instructed him on how to pay the debt back, and to stop self-allocating church money. Doug complicated the issue by drafting a set of fake minutes from this elder’s meeting in an attempt to show a different story, which was subsequently posted on the Christ Church website years later when all this came to light. When the authenticity of this document was pointed out as false (along with the letter that the elders refused to sign, which had also been posted as “proof” that Doug had done the right thing), Christ Church issued a non-apology apology that included the assertion that the church should have just paid Doug’s taxes because they hadn’t taken out enough from his paycheck every month (weird, I don’t expect someone else, least of all a nonprofit run on donations, to pay my taxes if I owe tax money at the end of the year — it’s called being financially responsible) and gave a bunch of excuses as to why Doug hadn’t resigned like he said he would do back in 1993.

Are we seeing a pattern here yet? Doug talks straight but plays crooked, and he’s always blaming someone else for this, even in matters of obvious personal responsibility such as paying his taxes.

Crooked men are rarely beautiful at his age, since a lifetime of self-justification and making enemies of countless former friends tends to cook you from the inside out.

I’m not saying this, of course. I’m just saying this.

30 thoughts on “Why men who submit to authority are prettier

  1. That dress and photograph and you are all utterly gorgeous. Also, I’ve really appreciated your thorough reporting and tracking down of source documentation. Most helpful.

  2. One quibble, although I think I understand the reasoning behind your word choice: I don’t think men who submit to authority are “prettier”. As you point out later in your post, men who care for themselves and others are far more attractive.

    There are some who confuse arrogance with confidence, and find it “sexy”. However, my father taught me early on to spot arrogant “pseudo-intellectuals”. He also taught me to value precision in language. I can recall having a theological question when I was in junior high, and my father handing me a huge volume containing what he said was a brilliant explanation. “Oh, I won’t understand it!” I protested, only to have my father explain that truly brilliant minds wrote their theological works clearly. He was right.

    I was taught by my father that if even just a very few people misunderstand what I say or write, the problem is mine for failing to communicate properly. I should not add insult to injury by impugning their motives and intelligence when the problem is mine to correct.

    Douglas Wilson could be the poster child for the type of man my father taught me to avoid — in any context — from an early age.

    I keep encountering a certain type of pastor or church that is almost like a caricature. He exudes not only pseudo-intellectualism but pseudo-masculinity. He is incapable of or avoids true empathy, compassion, and humility, replacing it with arrogance, pride, rudeness, and coarseness. He mocks true gentlemen as being effeminate, and is shameless of his gluttony and cloddishness, often sprawling or posing for pictures in ways that expose the physical effects of his over-indulgence to his worst advantage. While he is careless about his own appearance and manners, to the point of near or complete repulsiveness, he is highly critical of women whose appearance, dress, or demeanor does not meet his exacting standards. He refuses to apologize for creating offense, and refuses to acknowledge mistakes. He is never seen repenting, although he demands repentance of others. He can dish out insults, and heap further abuse on anyone who calls him on his lack of love and respect, but he cannot tolerate any perceived insult in return. To disagree with him, or to call him to account, is to become his enemy.

    I’m sorry, but men like that are UGLY. They make themselves so. The only people they attract are those who enjoy ugliness, or those who are similarly ugly.

    I’ve had the privilege of growing up around some truly masculine, handsome men — and most were very much submitted to Jesus. They reflected His strength and His gentle tenderness. They were humble, compassionate, self/disciplined, and protective. That combination of character traits is hugely, hugely attractive. And, in the right man, it’s extremely sexy.

    Sorry if I got carried away with the length of this comment!

    1. Well, yes. Doug’s title was “On Why Christian Women are Prettier.” Sadly, “Handsomer” has less of a ring to it. And it sort of brings up the point… who cares about being “pretty” anyway, male or female?

      1. Pretty is as pretty does!

        My wife and I have an agreement. We are allowed to window shop, but not to buy. I like looking at pretty women. I think most of us like looking at attractive people. But the people we like have attractive personalities.

  3. Katie, did you find the resignation letters for the other two elders? Seems like that might be helpful, and we could perhaps see their state of mind at the time in their own words. What happened at the end of February? They said in the December 3rd letter (which was both thorough and very gracious) that if he hadn’t changed his mind back to conform to the doctrinal standards of the church, they would expect his resignation. Obviously, that isn’t what happened, but how did that go down? Did he just drop it? Was there more communication about resignation at that time? What were the stated reasons for resignation from the two elders who did so? This would be helpful information.

    Just a couple rabbit trails for you there…

  4. This article is so perfectly worded the whole way through. You have an incredible way with words and know how to respond to bigots!

  5. How to be a real preacher: Preach love of all. Whenever you can corner one individual, evaluate their life by your enlightened standards: Their car, their houses, their closets, their underthings, even their thoughts. Own their evil and make them admit it. Show them that they have failed to be quite as obedient as necessary. Show them that Authority is the thing and they need to submit. Over come them with GOD. Modern men are weak. Children are deceiving and need correction. Women are mislead and need to be subdued, penetrated and submissive. Be firm and do not worry if it seems a bit mean. This is a sissy world and faith with teeth will toughen it up. (I am studying Preacher Wilson just now. He is quite amazing.)

    1. Yes, I think you’ve about got it. The Doug Wilson & Family Writing Style:

      1. Make up as many false dichotomies as you can.

      2. Insert as many as hominem attacks as possible directed towards the people on the other side of the dichotomy from you.

      3. Presto! Rejoice that all the really smart/manly/submissive/Godly people agree with you.

      The End

  6. After many years of admiring and respecting what appeared to me the pinnacle of christian intellectualism found in DW and his Credenda Agenda peers, I ended up, through a family tragedy, on the wrong end of their ecclesiastical stick. Much time and untold hours of reading, thinking, processing, I’ve come, personally, to believe that the language and logic of the Doug Wilsons of this world pretty accurately reflects the language and logic of the bible itself. To be fair, there are many followers of sacred texts who, because of their selective adherence, are reasonable, flexible and growing in ways that I can appreciate. I count them as good friends. But I believe that unless you take the reigns of your epistemology, you will end up as they have – reflective of an ancient human culture that is ultimately intollerant, judgmental and offensive to the growth of the human race.

  7. Thank you for posting the link to the material related to the history of Christ Church. It is important in understanding Doug Wilson and his modus operundi. I am grateful that the back story is finally publicly available. It should be noted that every single person who has shared their negative experiences with Doug is a person of courage. (I do not include myself – i just can’t abide bullies.) People who stand against Doug bear the threat (spoken or unspoken) of retaliation. It is my prayer that more people will come forward realizing that there is strength and protection in numbers. Silence is assent .
    Rose Huskey

  8. “…a lifetime of self-justification and making enemies of countless former friends tends to cook you from the inside out.”

    Perfectly stated. I have seen it happen far too many times.

  9. 1. Katie, you’re awesome. As in, I am in awe of you. I want to marry you and have your babies because you’re so awesome. Keep fighting this fight.

    2. Doug is going to get his. I can’t say with certainty how or when, but I am pursuing every sphere of influence I can come up with and disseminating this story. I fully intend to see Doug ground under, like an ear of corn on a railroad track. Doug is going to eat his smugness with a spoon. It’s just a matter of time.

  10. Here is my favorite part from DW:

    “It all comes down to this. Do you believe that the bride in a Christian wedding ceremony should have to promise to obey? Those who say yes are believers. Those who say no are unbelievers. I dare I call them unbelievers? Well, they don’t believe, right?”

    Well there you have it, Church. Pope Doug I has infallibly pronounced that all those who didn’t have the ‘obey’ part in the bride’s vows upon getting married, or who don’t believe it necessary, are not actually Christians.

  11. Katie,

    Very well written and researched.

    I found you by accident. I had an idea for a short story based in part on Doug Wilson’s ‘Southern Slavery as it Was’ based on a blog post by Libby Ann, and further research led me here.

    I’ve never been to Moscow, and only know Doug Wilson by his writings, but based on the stuff I’ve read on his blog, he’s a terrible priest/pastor.

  12. I tend to think of effete men as slight in build, but you convincingly point out they can also be bulbous. Not that I mean anyone in particular. No, no.

  13. I really like DW. Apparently there are some things I need to look into though. But please do yourself a favor and look in detail into his responses to the “prettier” post and the recent sexual abuse stuff. I think you will find you have not stated his positions fairly or clearly. I really really waffle when it comes to the language he uses. Is there a time and a place for seeing the perversions of this world and calling it out in harsh language… not sure, maybe.

    1. I read the responses. They don’t change my mind. His defense is that he’s “generalizing,” but even if he’s generalizing (as I say in the post after this) it doesn’t excuse it. And him insulting non-Christian men doesn’t change my mind either. It makes things worse. E.g. “testeronic rapist” … men aren’t rapists because they have a lot of testosterone, non-Christian or otherwise. And, to be fair, 100% of the rapists I’ve known personally have been Christian, and (at one time or another) part of the CREC. So if we’re generalizing, we should be generalizing that men within the CREC are either effete fatties or rapists who hide their crimes under a pious gloss. I dunno, does that seem fair? It doesn’t to me, because there are a lot of good men in the CREC.

      1. Oh I just can’t wait for heaven. When everyone who absolutely despises each other here on earth has to kneel at the same throne and embraces are one another. Knowing that they are brothers and sisters and all our sinfulness has been erased. What a day that will be. Super awkward don’t you think. 🙂

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