“And yet others in this splendid array of choices opt for that sexual kinkiness that makes their women dress up in prairie muffin dresses by day and submit to spousal rape by night. Why do you care? I care, of course, but I have this absolute standard that I appeal to. But why do you care? About anything?” Douglas Wilson
In the last two “age of consent” posts (here & here), we saw that Idaho code deems anyone under the age of 16-years old a “child” and Idaho denies that a child can legally consent to or participate in sexual behavior. That is, children do not have the legal capacity to consent. Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, affirmed his agreement with Idaho’s age of consent laws, specifically as they apply to Jamin Wight’s sexual violations of Natalie Greenfield. However, we saw that his public affirmation of the age of consent contradicted his testimony to the court, when he argued that 14-year-old Natalie consented to her abuse, describing the crime as “sexual behavior occurring between Jamin and Natalie.”
Doug Wilson has never accounted for this dishonesty. His tone suggests he could not abide a lesbian defending a higher moral standard than him. Whatever his reason, the truth is that Mr. Wilson believes Jamin Wight committed the crime of “sexual behavior with an underage girl,” which he claims “was a species of statutory rape.” However, Doug Wilson believes in a crime that does not exist. Idaho has no such law on its books, and at the time of Natalie’s abuse Idaho drew the line for statutory rape at 18 years of age. Natalie was 13-years old when Mr. Wight began grooming her and she was 14-years old when he began abusing her, which is why the state charged Jamin Wight with two counts of Lewd Conduct With A Child Under 16 and one count of Sexual Abuse Of A Child Under 16. Neither crime is a species. Both are child rape.1
The following list of blockquotes is a compilation of every use of the word “consent” from Blog & Mablog,2 as he applied the term to consensual sex. These citations cover a 13-year span and Mr. Wilson wrote all of them after Jamin Wight abused Natalie. In each case, Doug Wilson defends the age of consent with one exception — Natalie Greenfield.
Two quotes in particular deserve special consideration. Mr. Wilson’s entry titled “Vice, Victims, and Vision Forum” describes a hypothetical scenario that is exactly on point: Jamin Wight was “a trusted spiritual leader”3 and Natalie was 14-years old when he began abusing her. And in a post called “If I Were the Devil . . .” Mr. Wilson describes his assault on the age of consent in Natalie’s case. Readers may decide if he wrote autobiographically.
* * *
August 7, 2003
But obviously you believe that the law should be informed by morality. Otherwise, why would you care about consent? The need for consent is (obviously) a moral issue. But whose formulation? Whose morality? And if a fifteen year old girl is not competent to decide whether to join the harem of an old coot on the mountain named Elijah One Tooth, then how is she competent to decide whether to sleep with some fifteen-year-old in her class at school? (“gay marriage and bananas”)
August 22, 2005
“. . . the sexual behavior occurring between Jamin and Natalie . . . does explain what kind of criminal behavior it was.” (Letter to Officer Green)
June 15, 2006
I have received a couple of response to the question I posed to Joan Opyr about the age of consent. One question was from someone wondering if I have any trouble with our current age of consent laws. And the answer to that one is simple . . . no, I don’t. . . . But at the same time, Joan’s responses were generally reasonable, and I would answer just about all the questions she posed the same way that she did. “Was that 14-year old psychologically ready to engage in consensual sex with a man ten years her senior? In my opinion, no.” And so Joan and I agree completely. (“Age of Consent”)
September 26, 2012
Okay. I would define rape as having any kind of sexual relationship with someone apart from or against her or his consent. So far, so good, probably, but she then objects to our recognition of the possibility of varying degrees of foolishness on the part of the victim, and she interprets this recognition as somehow meaning “when they say they are against rape they don’t mean all rape.” (“A Tall Tree and a Short Rope”)
When the bad guys have pushed that kind of thing sufficiently, they will then take the next step. In fact, their agenda is far enough along that they have already been taking it. What’s with that tired old category consensual? The first place that this comes under assault is with age of consent laws. Those laws presuppose the old order of Christendom, and a childhood protected from sexual predations was a cultural artifact of the Christian gospel. I thank God for it. The apostles of Progress are trying to dismantle the entire thing, and I really don’t think we should be helping them in any way. (“If I Were the Devil . . .”)
At the same time, of course, we should make allowances for those situations where an abused girl was never given the opportunity to become a responsible adult. If a trusted spiritual leader starts abusing a girl when she is 14, it is not as though, after 7 years of abuse, a magic moment happens when she turns 21, making it easy for her to now walk away. In a situation like that, the word victim is appropriate. But we ought to reserve the word for situations like it, and not use it in circumstances like this one. (“Vice, Victims, and Vision Forum”)
May 20, 2014
Just watch. The drumbeat to lower the age of consent is going become impossible to ignore very soon, and the Christians most likely to give way to the new demands will be the very same ones who are giving way to the current demands now. Biblical law teaches us what the standards are, and what the consequences ought to be, and the gospel of grace teaches us to receive with grace every repentant sinner. (“Crime in a World Without Crimes”)
October 1, 2015
The Wight Situation
The other main object of attention in Rod’s post was the situation with Jamin Wight and Natalie Greenfield. We are in the process of reconstructing a detailed and documented time line for that situation as well. But in brief, Jamin was one of our Greyfriar ministerial students who was exposed in 2005 as having been engaging in criminal sexual behavior with Natalie Greenfield a few years before. . . . As my letter makes plain, Jamin was guilty of sexual behavior with a girl who was below the age of consent. She was underage. Our letter acknowledged fully that Jamin was guilty of criminal behavior, and we wanted him to pay the penalty for that criminal behavior, which was a species of statutory rape. . . . But the question before the court was what kind of criminal behavior it was, not whether it was criminal. . . Our elders had no problem with him being charged for the crime of sexual behavior with a girl who was not capable of giving legal consent (she was 14 and he was 23). . . Jamin’s crime was that of engaging in sexual behavior with an underage girl. (“Doug Wilson’s ‘Reluctant Response’”)
October 27, 2015, Christ Church HOH Meeting
“So I believe on just theological grounds that uh, we can’t, um, we, we can’t absolve someone who is 13-, 14-, 15-years old of moral agency, I don’t think we can give them full responsibility of an adult, I think we need to adjust it accordingly because different kids mature at different rates, but the things that were going on between Natalie and Jamin, she was fully capable — she’s a bright girl, she was fully capable of understanding that this would not be pleasing to her parents, that this was not good. I’m — and in saying that I’m not trying to flatten the responsibility between Jamin and — so Jamin 100 ×, Natalie 3 ×. . . .” (Doug Wilson to the Kirk HOHs, Unpublished Transcript)
* * *
In this last quote to the Kirk heads of households, Doug Wilson prorated the amount of responsibility he assigns to Natalie for Jamin Wight’s crimes much like an insurance adjuster prorates the value of damage to an automobile. He rated her responsibility at “three times” (3 ×). However, Mr. Wilson’s standard for this judgment is arbitrary and capricious, if not downright imaginary like his make-believe law “sexual behavior with an underage girl.” Moreover, there is no bluebook that can estimate the damage Jamin Wight did to Natalie — she was a lamb of the flock, not a Buick.
Pastor Doug Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, has a well-documented record on the age of consent and he claims he has “this absolute standard” that he appeals to. But he has never explained why he waived this “cultural artifact of the Christian gospel” that ensures “a childhood protected from sexual predations” in Natalie’s case. And I suspect this is because Doug Wilson’s commitment to the Christian gospel is as resolute as his commitment to the truth.
This post has been corrected. It gave an incorrect number of criminal charges against Mr. Wight, and it incorrectly stated that Idaho code drew the line for statutory rape at 16 years of age. At the time of Natalie’s abuse, Idaho drew the line at 18-years old. HT: Boudica
1 As an aside, Idaho code does not make exception for children who are “beautiful and striking” and “about eight inches taller” than the man who rapes them. According to the law, age defines a child, contra Doug Wilson.
2 I have included Mr. Wilson’s statement to Officer Green of the Moscow Police Department, and his response to Rod Dreher, as well as his comments to the Christ Church heads of households, for points of reference.
3 During the time Mr. Wight abused Natalie, Doug Wilson trusted him enough that he allowed him to attend the weekly Kirk elders’ meetings and he sent him to California to fill pulpit supply.