Hush Up, Now, Little Lady… or Else

From flame-thrower pastors to online trolls (sometimes the same guy is both!)

Sarah Stankorb

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Troll cosplay, screenshots of Doug Wilson in his fire-centric November videos.

It’s November. For my writer friends, that makes it NaNoWriMo, and some of you may be spitting out pages of a new novel. For Americans, we’re headed toward Thanksgiving, a time for family that can be joyous or as complicated as the holiday’s origin. But for Doug Wilson, intentionally controversial pastor based in Moscow, Idaho, it means video trailers of himself setting fire to things, followed by a month of putting others on blast. For all the damage caused by his ministry and teachings, Wilson is a master content creator. The whole month of vicious wordplay on his blog is a tool for advertising his books (published by his own press). He’s happy to give them away, they’re so good! At the end of a month of gnarly posts, he packages the whole thing into an anthology. Click. Hate the libs. Read more vitriol. Repeat. Buy the anthology!

Douglas Wilson, on a flaming couch, for his 2018 No Quarter November trailer. SOURCE: YouTube

Douglas Wilson, on a flaming couch, for his 2018 No Quarter November trailer. SOURCE: YouTube

Sadly, at this point there’s little new about a shock jock pastor, ready to spew incendiary comments for attention. Wilson does play with actual fire more than others. But for as macho (and wildly dumb) as his tactics are, it’s also part of a broader strategy of fear and control that should be taken very seriously.

Since I started reporting on Moscow and the impact of Wilson’s teachings, I’ve heard from people all over the country. Some were originally from Moscow and determined the only way to leave the church and feel safe after criticizing Wilson was to move. Some hide their location out of lasting safety concerns. Others attend churches with pastors trained at Wilson’s Greyfriars Hall pastoral program or who attended Wilson’s New Saint Andrews College, and as his model of control spreads across the country, those who ask questions about Wilson’s aggressive behavior and appalling rhetoric find themselves attacked at their churches, silenced by their pastors. Some are in frightful marriages where wifely submission is demanded, as dictated by Wilson’s writings. Some took…

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Sarah Stankorb

Sarah Stankorb has published with The Washington Post, Marie Claire, Glamour, O, and The Atlantic (among others). @sarahstankorb www.sarahstankorb.com