Many of us are familiar with the controversy surrounding Doug Wilson and his church’s relationship with convicted sex offender Steven Sitler. I have so far refrained from commenting on this situation, as I do not have all of the facts. The facts which Wilson admits (or at least has not denied) are:
- Sitler had an unknown history of child molestation when he became a student at New Saint Andrews College.
- While at NSA, he molested children in his host family. (NSA students do not live in dorms, but rather with members of Wilson’s church.)
- Wilson publicly states that child molesters should be put to death, but because the state won’t do that, the church has no option but to minister to them since the church lacks the power of the sword. Neverthless, Wilson writes a letter to the judge in the case asking for “measured and limited” civil penalties for Sitler.
- Sitler was sentenced to probation for life, after a short stint in jail. As part of probation, he must be under continual supervision when around children. He is classified by the state as highly likely to reoffend.
- Sitler continues to attend Christ Church and appears repentant for his sin.
- Some time later, an elder at Wilson’s church, Ed Iverson, seeks to set up a courtship between Katie Travis, an NSA student who lives with him, and Mr. Sitler.
- Travis and her family are aware of Steven’s past and consent to the marriage. Wilson marries the couple. They have a child.
- Recently, Sitler fails a polygraph as part of his probation. The allegations involve inappropriate sexual contact with his infant son. Both his wife and her parents may be disqualified as chaperones relating to Steven’s son.
Wilson’s recent post relates to these latest allegations (which he does not mention specifically) as a defense of his church’s actions. What interested me most was his defense of the marriage:
Seventh, in the latest round of accusations, much has been made of the fact that Christ Church approved of Steven’s wedding to Katie through the fact that I officiated at the wedding. First, it should be noted that in our community, weddings are not arranged or determined by the church. Katie and her family had all the facts when she agreed to marry Steven, which was important, but the decision to marry was the couple’s decision, not ours. That said, I officiated at the wedding and was glad to do so. While we do not believe that marriage is an automatic “fix” for the temptations to molest children, we agree with Judge Stegner who approved the wedding and said that ‘an age-appropriate relationship with a member of the opposite sex from Mr. Sitler is one of the best things that can happen to him and to society” (emphasis added). Moreover, if everything is on the table, we do not believe the church has the authority to prohibit or “not allow” a lawful marriage.
The last sentence is a key tell. As a Biblicist, Wilson sees no ground for a church to prohibit a “lawful” marriage. A Biblicist like Wilson is someone with an autistic sense of wisdom: if we can’t point to a verse expressly prohibiting a marriage, the church is helpless to refuse. As an Alienist, he knows that a consideration of wisdom in making marriages would quickly lead to conclusions he would not like. Even in this extreme circumstance, he is willing to sacrifice wisdom so that he can maintain a view that all marriages not directly prohibited in the New Testament are lawful.
Many have commented that the state of Idaho is helpless to prevent this, despite the fact that a pedophile marrying and producing children presents all sorts of problems – and some have called for a marriage ban for pedophiles. To Wilson, any law that would prevent what he sees as a “lawful” marriage is void and can be disobeyed by the church.
We here at F&H support families employing wisdom when forming marriages. We may offend some by our notions that interracial marriages are a bad idea, but with our worldview comes a robust spiritual immune system that protects against the obvious error of marrying your daughters to pedophiles.
I have no doubt that Wilson and his elders encouraged the marriage of Sitler. I believe their motives were good, but their ideology and simplistic view of the world prevented them from employing wisdom, and when presented with a formulaic body of evidence for Sitler’s rehabilitation, they encouraged the marriage. The young lady was impressionable, and yes, aware of the situation, but the approval for the marriage was coming from authority figures in her life. Just as Wilson and his ilk cannot comprehend that there are hard-wired biological differences between the races, they cannot accept that sociopathic pedophiles can never, ever be trusted, likely again due to biology. Sitler may be incapable of thoroughgoing repentance, as sociopaths literally have defective brains. He may be elect in the same way that a person with a 50 IQ may be elect, but that election is unlikely to manifest itself in a repentance that would enable him to be trusted with children ever again. While the church should minister to such people, it is foolish to marry them.
Foolishness is the way of life for an Alienist. If you love your daughters, you will avoid the simplistic Biblicism of Wilson and embrace the accumulated wisdom of your ancestors in the faith. Because of the inseparable bond of children, wise discrimination in marriage is the highest duty of any family.