“The last few years have been bone-bruising for our small community in a number of ways — and our churches have been more than a little involved in it.” Douglas Wilson, 2007
“In short, we have had a good period of peace and quiet for the last few years, and if the election goes well, it can remain that way.” Douglas Wilson, 2017
Two days ago Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, threatened to disturb the “peace and quiet for the last few years,” if the election does not go well. He delivered the threat on his personal website:
“In short, we have had a good period of peace and quiet for the last few years, and if the election goes well, it can remain that way.” (Blog & Mablog, Moscow City Council Election 2017, November 5, 2017)
The words “if the election goes well” mean “if my [Doug Wilson’s] candidates win.” This means that if his candidates do not prevail, he intends to disrupt the “good period of peace and quiet” until elected officials do his will. This is business as usual. He will bully and intimidate politicians to make them cave, which they inevitably do.
Ten years ago on November 16, 2007, he wrote this for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. He wrote it less than three weeks after he injected “vitriol” into the election:
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Douglas Wilson | Faith Matters
The shrewd unbeliever Ambrose Bierce once defined a Christian as one who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book, admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. And of course this natural tendency to apply spiritual truths to the other guy first is one that is addressed in the Bible itself — Jesus commented on those who attempt delicate eye surgery for others when their vision has been obscured by the railroad tie they have gummed to their own contact lens.
This tends to happen because we judge ourselves in line with our intentions (which only we know) and judge others by their actions. We don’t expect them to flip it around and do the same thing we just did, but rather expect them to be a photo negative of us, and to judge themselves by their actions, and us by our intentions. When they fail to perform this quite simple task, we are astonished and dismayed.
This kind of thing also happens with groups — men and women, tall people, short people, liberals, conservatives, star-bellied sneetches and those without — we collide in part because we assume that we know exactly what the other group is up to and why. We make this determination on the basis of what our motives would have had to have been in order to get us to do what they just did. We jump to conclusions — another way of putting it is that we impute motives. A soft-spoken person who hears an out-going person make a satiric comment reflects that in order for him (the soft-spoken guy) to say anything like that, he would have to be seething with anger and hatred. Therefore, the other person must be seething with anger and hatred but actually he just said it because he thought it was funny.
Another assumption that helps perpetuate confusion and conflict is the assumption that conflict is always the result of radical dissimilarity, when actually the real cause of conflict is precisely the reverse of this. Conflict comes about because of how much we have in common. How many fights did you have growing up with your brother and how many fights with your fourth cousin once-removed? In a similar way, we are all inhabitants of the same small town, with very different views of what the future should look like. They can’t all be right, and we do have to decide to do certain things that exclude other things. But we can labor to work through this process while remembering that commonality.
The last few years have been bone-bruising for our small community in a number of ways — and our churches have been more than a little involved in it. There is no magic wand that will make it all go away, but there are a few things we can all do to keep it from spiraling out of control. In pastoral counseling, I have often warned folks with serious difficulties that there is no problem so bad but that you can’t make it a little bit worse. If we have difficulties and troubles in our town, and we certainly do, then we should try to be good stewards of those troubles. In part, this means that all of us have to check our own hearts first.
Douglas Wilson is pastor of Christ Church in Moscow.
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Notice how he used the passive voice: “The last few years have been bone-bruising for our small community in a number of ways — and our churches have been more than a little involved in it.” He would have incriminated himself if he had used the active voice. And if he does not get his way today, then he intends to inflict some more “bone-bruising” on Moscow. Because he’s a political animal first, before anything else.