“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12
Today we remember the fool of Moscow and the crimes he committed on April Fools Day 1999. Of course, this fool is Pastor Doug Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, and he memorialized his criminal behavior in writing, for all the world to behold:
By the time you receive this, our local police will probably have forgotten all about it, so a little bragging is now safe, and perhaps it is even in order. But first some background. Our local city council, through a series of ridiculous circumstances, decided to quit restricting female toplessness. The noble senior editor of this journal, encouraged by some winks and nudges from me, not that he needed any, made up a flyer which announced a topless and proud lecture series by topless feminist scholars. The titles of the talks were the typical postmodern hoohah — “Topless Shadows: A Personal Narrative,” “Destabilizing the Topless/Bottomless Duality,” “Breasts as Embodied Intuitions,” you get the drift. Some of our stalwart young Christian men, majoring in Christian culture and skylarking, papered the university with these flyers, and the next morning a bunch of them were faxed all over campus. Now you know that we live in sad days, days when satire is increasingly difficult, and almost impossible. The radio station announced the lectures all day, an instructor out of the women’s center announced the lectures to a class, and the English department (listed on the flyer as sponsor) called the announced location to find out if they were in fact going on.
Well, some authorities at the University of Idaho went sideways, and had the cops out looking for the culprits. When they demanded to see the film from the security cameras at Kinko’s (whence the faxes had been sent), our noble editor contacted the established authorities (Rom. 13), who told him it wasn’t funny. He responded that on the contrary it was, and the next day gave out a press release on how the university was trying to repress the true, the good and the lovely.
Needless to say, lots of people showed up for the non-event, and all this happened on April 1. All in all, it was a bad day for the tight-lipped fundamentalists of the left. (Credenda/Agenda, Volume 11 number 3, page 20)
In this narrative Douglas Wilson told half the story. The other half, which he omitted, makes a difference. For example, consider these facts:
- Doug Wilson failed to note that a member of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, stole a letterhead from the English department at the University of Idaho in order for Mr. Wilson to commit this fraud (see the police report, which calls the crime “Theft”). Mr. Wilson does not say who stole the letterhead, though two Kirk elders held high positions in the UI administration at that time. One of them most likely did the deed. Doug Wilson approved this with “winks and nudges.”1
- Doug Wilson wrote that “The noble senior editor” (Doug Jones) of Credenda/Agenda “made up a flyer which announced a topless and proud lecture series by topless feminist scholars.” Mr. Wilson failed to note that Doug Jones made this flyer to look like an official press release from the UI by using the stolen UI letterhead. In doing this, Doug Jones represented himself as a member of the UI administration.
- Doug Wilson wrote that “some . . . young Christian men” (plural) “papered the university with these flyers.” But since Mr. Wilson omitted the detail about the stolen letterhead, the reader wouldn’t know that he recruited these young men to be accessories to the crime. He said they majored in “Christian culture and skylarking,” which suggests he enrolled two or more students from New Saint Andrews College. Aaron Rench was one of them; he now serves as Doug Wilson’s publicist and he co-owns Canon Press. Crime does pay — for graduates of New St. Andrews College.
- Wilson noted that someone faxed the falsified announcement across the Palouse from Kinko’s. He failed to note that a Kirk deacon named Virgil Hurt used his office as manager of the local Kinkos to fax the falsified document across the Palouse (see Lewiston Morning Tribune below). At the time Mr. Hurt attended Greyfriars’ Hall to learn ministry from Doug Wilson. Mr. Hurt now pastors a church in the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC).
- A Kirk perp established a phony front organization called the “Committee for Progressive Rights,” with an actual live telephone, to legitimize the fraud (see the Lewiston Morning Tribune article below). This phase of the crime demonstrates exceptional criminal calculation.
At least six kirkers participated in this crime: four officers and two NSA students. As for the motive, Doug Wilson suggested the reason but he didn’t state it, when he wrote,
Our local city council, through a series of ridiculous circumstances, decided to quit restricting female toplessness. . . Now you know that we live in sad days, days when satire is increasingly difficult, and almost impossible. . . . it was a bad day for the tight-lipped fundamentalists of the left.
Apparently Doug Wilson was politically motivated. He believed that the Moscow City Council deserved ridicule for its liberal policies.2 More specifically, Mr. Wilson deemed the Moscow City Council’s politics so immoral that it exempted him and his followers from keeping the laws of God & man. Two wrongs make a right, which is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s moral relativism. Moscow City Council passed a silly law; therefore Douglas Wilson could satirize the law by breaking an entirely different set of laws and by harming a third party who was unrelated to the city council — namely, the University of Idaho. He went to these lengths for a few yuks at someone else’s expense. Now note this line: “a little bragging is now safe, and perhaps it is even in order.” Doug Wilson bragged about it.
This crime displays all the elements of Douglas Wilson’s sociopathic personality:
- Premeditation to do wrong;
- Contempt for lawful authority — city council and the civil magistrate;
- Reliance upon wholesale public deceit;
- Gross misrepresentation of others;
- Material fraud (confidence game);
- Corruption of others — including students in his charge;
- Disregard for the harm he inflicts on others;
- Boasting in the deed.
What a fool. He committed these crimes to advance the cause of “Christian culture.”
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MOSCOW — Pranksters took to the fax machine Thursday to promote a bogus topless lecture series, supposedly sponsored by the University of Idaho English department.
“All speakers topless, legal and unashamed,” read the flyer sent Thursday morning to news media and university departments from Kinko’s Copies in Moscow.
Although sent on UI letterhead, and declaring the UI Department of English as the sponsor, English faculty say the notice is a hoax.
“We’re positive it’s a joke,” said Joanne Carr, department vice president for advancement. “We’ve received a number of calls, but most people are taking it in the spirit of today being the first of April.”
The release was faxed around 9 a.m. Thursday, but Kinko’s manager Virgil Hurt would not reveal any information about the sender. According to Hurt, since customers can send their own faxes, store employees do not monitor what is sent.
“I may have heard some things,” he said of the flyer. But as far as it being a joke, all he would say was “if it’s something that seems loopy, then it may be.”
The flyer advertised lectures titled “Breast as Embodied Institutions,” “Constructing a Topless Culture Locally” and “Topless Shadows: A Personal Narrative,” among others, by women speakers from out-of-state universities.
It also listed the Committee for Progressive Rights as a co-sponsor. An answering machine at the supposed group’s phone number responded only “Having phone trouble, will try to get back to you . . . this is Ed, of course.”
Lori Graves, a Moscow activist whose topless walk down Washington Street last summer started a controversy over public exposure, said she had heard nothing of the sans-shirts lecture series.
“I think I would have heard about this, if it was true. I bet it’s an April Fool’s Day joke.”
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1 “Theft occurs when property is transferred from an unwilling ‘donor’ without the express authorization of Scripture.” (Douglas Wilson, More on Government Thievery, April 12, 2010)
2 Apparently he also believed that the UI’s English department deserved to be misrepresented, though he didn’t say why.