“And his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” Revelation 6:8
The image on the right is the book cover for Rules for Reformers, a book published by Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, in December 2014. On it Mr. Wilson wears a leather jacket with an imprint of the Grim Reaper on the back. Mr. Wilson poached the image from Sons of Anarchy, which was a television series about a fictitious outlaw motorcycle gang.
The name Grim Reaper was coined in the nineteenth century. Historically, his name is Death, because the Grim Reaper personifies Death (proper noun). The typical figure of Death is a skeleton with hollowed-out eyes, dressed in a monk’s black robe, and he carries an hourglass and a scythe. The hourglass signifies the exact moment of a person’s death, as when the last grain of sand falls through the bulb, and the scythe signifies the Grim Reaper’s task — he’s there to harvest. Images of Death date back to the Late Medieval Period — especially when the Black Death swept through Europe. Death became fixed in the occult with the emergence of tarot cards, which also originated in the fifteenth century. Jumping forward 500 years, the Hells Angels adopted a variation of the Grim Reaper for their logo and they were the inspiration for Sons of Anarchy, whose logo Mr. Wilson copied for his book cover.
Notice, however, that Mr. Wilson’s version of Death made two alterations to the Sons of Anarchy insignia. First, he replaced Death’s scythe with a baseball bat and, second, he replaced Death’s crystal ball1 with a flower pot. These alterations are significant because Mr. Wilson swings a baseball bat at flower pots in a music video he produced, which he titled Hold Your Peace. Mr. Wilson released the vid in December 2014, at the same time he published Rules for Reformers. In the video, Mr. Wilson and his minions toss flower pots into the air and smash them to pieces with baseball bats. Of course, the flower pots signify human beings — people.
So if we follow Mr. Wilson’s imagery to its logical conclusion, the insignia on his biker’s jacket does not signify the Grim Reaper — it signifies Doug Wilson, pastor of Christ Church, Moscow. Mr. Wilson didn’t simply alter Death — he personalized it. He adapted Death to suit his perception of himself as an agent of retribution who shatters people, to the rhythm of music, ostensibly for entertainment.
And don’t miss this. The historic Grim Reaper was constrained by time. That is, he did not wield his scythe until every grain of sand fell through the hourglass. But Mr. Wilson’s adaptation of Death removed this constraint. That is, he has no restraint. He acts unilaterally. He enjoys free license to smash whomever he wants whenever he wants — hence anarchy. Remember, he took the image from Sons of Anarchy.
Now, some may dismiss this interpretation as speculative over-spiritualization, but these naysayers face a difficult problem. They must account for Mr. Wilson’s well-documented track record of pitiless abuses, which he has delivered in public, without apology.
For example, in the last two months we have witnessed Mr. Wilson beating Natalie Rose Greenfield with his baseball bat, smashing her with one blow after another on the worldwide web. Mr. Wilson insinuated that the 13-year old threw herself at 23-year-old Jamin Wight, overcoming the defenseless man with her irresistible height, and Mr. Wilson tried blackmailing Natalie into silence by threatening to publish a private journal she kept. This is the same journal that the judge sealed in order to protect Natalie from the very harm that Mr. Wilson now threatens. But you must remember nothing restrains Mr. Wilson. He is a son of anarchy. He is Death.
Mr. Wilson has also smashed Natalie’s father with his Louisville Slugger, ruthlessly beating his reputation to death. I write as an eyewitness — Gary Greenfield is a dear friend of mine and I know firsthand his deep love for his family. I know, just as Mr. Wilson knows, that Gary does not have a malicious bone in his body. To be sure, I know, just as Mr. Wilson knows, that Gary is utterly harmless. And I know, just as Mr. Wilson knows, that Mr. Wilson blame-shifted responsibility for Jamin Wight’s crimes onto Gary out of spite. But bearing false witness against Gary Greenfield in a matter of public judicature came easy to Mr. Wilson. He is a son of anarchy. He is Death.
Mr. Wilson swung his baseball bat at Miss Katie Travis when he encouraged her to marry serial pedophile Steven Sitler. He knew this marriage would result in a life term of countless humiliations for Katie — annual mugshots for Idaho’s registered sex offender website, random polygraph tests, midnight visits from his parole officer, and the never-ending possibility of excruciating front-page headlines about her husband — no woman should have to suffer these indignities. Certainly not a 23-year old with her whole life before her. But this didn’t stop Mr. Wilson. In fact, he relished the moment, writing, “I officiated at the wedding and was glad to do so.” He is a son of anarchy. He is Death.
Mr. Wilson bashed Dr. Louis Schuler with his baseball bat, mercilessly beating him and his wife. He pumped the rumor mill full of awful lies about Duck to justify his termination. He never told anyone about the Christ Church Commitment to Loyalty, just as he didn’t tell anyone how he cancelled Duck’s insurance three weeks before Christmas, after Kim discovered a lump. He even mocked them, accusing husband and wife of nepotism. But Mr. Wilson did this because he is a son of anarchy. He is Death.
I could cite many more examples of Mr. Wilson exercising his ministry of Death, but these four suffice because most readers know them. And if Mr. Wilson doesn’t appreciate being called a son of anarchy — Death — then he shouldn’t have posed in a biker’s jacket that replicated the Sons of Anarchy for his book cover. Moreover, he shouldn’t have retrofitted Death’s tools to suit his own unique specifications and he shouldn’t have scripted let alone performed in a video where he played Death, randomly tossing flower pots in the air so he could obliterate them with his baseball bat.
But he did do these things and he did them for a reason. He wants the world to know that Doug Wilson is a son of anarchy. Doug Wilson is Death.
1 The insignia for Sons of Anarchy replaced Death’s hourglass with a crystal ball.