More On Wilson’s Prayers For Violence
Wilson’s recent post on imprecatory prayer is a good example of how dangerous Doug Wilson’s enemy theology really is. Consider just the rhetorical manipulation and deceit that continually overwhelm what might have been scrutiny from those inside Wilson’s reconstructionist world, scrutiny that might have been otherwise sensitive and rational enough to understand what is going on. I have already pointed out the deceit in this recent post on imprecatory prayer. But I want to emphasize this further here.
Wilson and Doug Jones have helped fashion a barbaric practice of imprecatory prayer against real people they know; this is not singing the Psalms “with meaning,” but rather a very unique method of praying literal harm against real people. What kind of people? Murders? Those who relentlessly shed innocent blood? Those who are currently hunting Wilson down in the woods to butcher him just after burning his house down and raping his wife? Not quite. Rather, these prayers have been used primarily against those individuals who have simply opposed Doug Wilson and his ministries in a public way; some of these people have in the past been under Doug Wilson’s pastoral care and have received the blows of Wilson trying to accomplish the goals of some of these imprecatory prayers with his own social and rhetorical genius. When I speak about the imprecatory prayers at Christ Church I am not talking about a theological position about Psalm singing—however important that discussion might be—but rather the actual practices of Christ Church against real people. Since I do not think Wilson genuinely prays, I am not concerned about God listening and doing something mean; I am concerned about the sociology of imprecatory prayer, the sociology that Wilson himself would be very aware of. It is the liturgical war drum of Christ Church; it creates the required ethos for the persecuted “insiders” while also psychologically berating those trying to expose the lies and corruption of Wilson. This kind of liturgical violence is the kind of thing that could easily drive any culture into a more barbaric existence if fully unleashed and accepted.
If you can understand these points you have everything you need to understand how Doug Wilson has just once again intentionally confused and deceived his audience. After all the public heat about imprecation, I am not sure how frequently it is now used; I doubt that there has been any more literal imprecatory rituals like there was a few years ago. However, Wilson still has this big problem on his hands: how many people are really going to buy the past imprecatory prayers of Christ Church? In one sense, Wilson has to sweep this one under the rug, just like he does with a hundred other things; however—and this is what is so disturbing by the lack of public vehemence about this—Wilson can also help immunize our sensitivity to such barbaric practices over the long haul. Using the book Crying for Justice by John Day is a way to accomplish just this. In part, it is a way of baptizing his violent behavior in the past as a cutting edge, legitimate Christian practice. But using this book in this way will only work for those who do not understand the blatant deceit involved in referencing this book at all. Just from a quick scan of the material available at amazon.com, it is clear that this book does not attempt to defend the kinds of practices that Doug Wilson has encouraged and engaged in. This fact is plain and clear and Wilson knows it is plain and clear.
I am thankful for the sanity that Alexei Rayu and Richard have attempted to bring to the thread attached to this imprecatory post of Wilson’s. Rayu had been previously showing signs of a theonomist; as I noted already, he had only helped make Sam Harris’ analogy between Islam and Christian Fundamentalism tighter. But in this thread, it seems clear that Rayu does have a human heart to him. And I’ll leave you with Richard’s insightful comment directed to Doug Wilson:
Maybe this prayer is better prayed against those who defend the abusers of Church office. At least with David we know who he is talking about.
This was in response to Wilson’s strange prophetic word that seems like a word against himself if anyone:
When they pray to You, let the ceiling above them remain silent. Cut short their days. When they have abused offices within Your Church, let other faithful men rise up to take their place.”
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