Doug Wilson’s Disciples Question Women’s Right to Vote

By Steve Rabey
wilson women vote
In a Jan. 12, 2022 video titled "A Matter of Rank," Douglas Wilson discusses his views on submission of women to men. (Video screengrab)

A century after the 19th Amendment to the U.S Constitution gave American women the right to vote, a group of male leaders associated with controversial pastor Doug Wilson say that was a mistake.  Women, they say, lack the discernment to vote, and therefore, shouldn’t be given the agency.

“Yes, women are more easily deceived than men . . .” tweeted Joel Webbon of Right Response Ministries, which partners with Wilson on lectures, YouTube videos, and events. “Yes, the 19th Amendment was a bad idea.”

Similarly, Bnonn Tennant, co-author of the book It’s Good To Be A Man, published through Wilson’s publishing company, Canon Press, wrote in a Facebook exchange: “Voting is an act of rulership. . . Since rulership is not given to women, women should not vote.”

A Facebook comment from author Bnonn Tennant (Screengrab)

In an email to The Roys Report (TRR), Tennant claimed his position “does not differ from the historic Reformed view” and cited a booklet by author and pastor Phillip Kayser. He also noted a  century-old article claiming that women don’t want to vote. 

Tennant added that in a modern society where “women are allowed/expected to vote, it is prudent for a husband and wife to discuss how to vote, so they can double the impact of their household vote.”

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Jesse Sumpter is an editor with Fight-Laugh-Feast and CrossPolitic—two enterprises linked to Wilson’s growing Christian theonomist empire, which has attracted many Reformed and Baptist believers and was featured on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Sumpter tweeted, “Brothers, a friendly reminder for elections: make sure your wife votes exactly as you do.”  

Josh Bishop, a web content manager who’s pursuing a master’s degree at Wilson’s New Saint Andrews College, likewise tweeted: “Every election day, before we head to the polls, I go over our sample ballot with my wife. This is who we should vote for, this is how we should vote in propositions, and these are the ones I don’t care how you vote on . . . She trusts me to make the right calls, and we work together to make it happen.”

women
Multiple tweets from Josh Bishop, a student at New St. Andrew’s College (Screengrab)

Bishop later deleted his tweet, explaining to TRR that “the replies and interactions were getting out of hand and quite rude (as you might imagine).” But he has not changed his views, which he argued are not “as horrifying an arrangement” as some think.

Bishop added that personal factors come into play. “If my wife were more politically interested and engaged than I am, or if she trusted my judgment less than she does, we might very well have a different way of doing things,” he said. 

Stephen Wolfe, author of The Case for Christian Nationalism, published by Wilson’s Canon Press, tweeted that he believes only heads of households should vote. When asked by Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, if he affirmed “franchise for all adult men & women,” Wolfe replied, “No.”

TRR reached out to Wilson and Canon Press for comments about women’s suffrage, but neither responded.

However, in a blog post, Wilson writes that in churches, he favors voting by heads of households. Under this arrangement, women get a vote only if they are the head of their household.

Wilson added, “Because we live in a time when egalitarianism is running a full court press, who cannot see that if a disgruntled woman insists on defining herself as ‘excluded’ because her husband cast a ballot (when she did not), that she will continue to see herself as excluded even if she could vote? The vast majority of the votes determining the future of the church will be taken at the session level, which really does exclude women (1 Tim. 2:12).”

Some conservative women agree with Wilson’s view.

Allie Beth Stuckey, who blogs as The Conservative Millennial, discussed the female vote in “Repeal the 19th Amendment?” on her show on Blaze TV. On the episode, Joy Temby and Summer White Jaeger, daughter of apologist James White, say they favor one vote per household. However, Temby and Jaeger said they don’t want to repeal the 19th Amendment.

Watchdog links patriarchy to misogyny, abuse

The Tweets about women voting were compiled by the anonymous administrators of Examining Moscow, a group that warns of Wilson’s growing influence in Moscow, Idaho and beyond through a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account.

Examining Moscow’s comprehensive timeline shows how Wilson’s influence has grown in part through his many ministries based in in Moscow, Idaho:

The group, which claims to include former insiders, argues that recent posts on women voting are consistent with Wilson’s sometimes X-rated theology of male leadership and female submission.

douglas wilson
Douglas Wilson

During intercourse between husband and wife, the man must “conquer” and the woman must “surrender,” Wilson wrote. “However we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party.”

Wives can’t say “no.” “A husband is never trespassing in his own garden,” wrote Wilson’s wife Nancy in her own book. Perhaps it’s no surprise that claims of marital rape are common in Wilson’s Moscow.

Wilson describes himself as an expert on women and their most important attributes: “I am in a good position to state that there is a marked difference between Christian women and women in the general population. Christian women are a lot prettier.”

“The patriarchy is deeply ingrained,” said the Examining Moscow administrator, who wished to remain anonymous. Examining Moscow links Wilson’s attitudes about women to a series of sexual abuse convictions by male community members. In some cases, Wilson has pled for leniency in sentencing of the offenders.

The most recent Wilson disciple found guilty of a sex crime is former Christ Church Deacon Alex Lloyd, who was indicted for having pornography featuring children under 12 years of age on his iPhone. Lloyd pleaded guilty in August, and is to be sentenced Dec. 19.

At the time, Wilson told TRR that “we regard this entire tragic episode as one more casualty in the unconscionable pornification of our culture.”

Vice published the most extensive report on sexual abuse in Wilson’s Moscow community in its article: “Inside the Church That Preaches ‘Wives Need to Be Led with a Firm Hand.” And one former Christ Church member describes how she was groomed and abused in a YouTube interview

In 2019, Wilson created six episodes of a talk show for Amazon Prime. Man Rampant featured episodes entitled “The Sins of Christian Women,” “The Sin of Empathy,” and “The Lie of Servant Leadership.”

Wilson’s satirical novel, Ride, Sally, Ride, is about a Christian college student who is arrested for destroying a neighbor’s sex robot. Some have criticized the book for being overly sexually explicit.

Wilson’s growing influence

Wilson’s influence on evangelicals has grown further through his partnerships with other ministries, including:

  • Tom Ascol and Founders Ministries
  • Josh Buice of G3 Conferences
  • Jeff Durbin of Apologia
  • Summer Jaeger and the Sheologians
  • James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries
  • John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church and Bethlehem Baptist Seminary
John Piper Doug Wilson
Authors and pastors, John Piper and Doug Wilson debate hot-button topics at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, MN, in 2013.

Examining Moscow started out 15 years ago as Examining Theonomy, which means God’s Law. The theonomy movement calls for society to be ruled by divine—and largely Old Testament—precepts, and overlaps with Christian Reconstructionism and Christian nationalism.

“We’re conservative Christians who are committed to protecting the church and marking out men who are dangerous wolves,” said a site administrator in a phone call. “We recognized that Doug Wilson had, at some point, become a figurehead of the theonomy movement, which he was rebooting and rebranding.”

The group is not related to The Truth About Moscow, another group that monitors Wilson’s activities.

Wilson says he wants to “make Moscow a Christian town,” and sees his efforts as a model or “microcosm” for Christian rule across America.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to accurately state the affiliation of Allie Beth Stuckey and to clarify Bnonn Tennant’s stance.

Steve RabeySteve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

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49 thoughts on “Doug Wilson’s Disciples Question Women’s Right to Vote”

  1. Susan Vonder Heide

    Some biblical truth might be helpful here. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is a passage often ignored in favor of more cherry-picked verses. Another verse often ignored in favor of more cherry-picked verses is Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

    I would like to see better statistics on voting patterns by gender just as I would like to see better statistics on voting patterns by ethnic group but the way to do that is by persuasion not by disenfranchisement. Disenfranchisement sounds like the opposite of the biblical love of neighbor to which we are called.

    1. Susan,
      Excellent, insightful/thoughtful response – showing FAR more discernment than any in the Wilson camp.

      Thanks for the quality input!

      Greg

  2. Thank you for featuring me. Some clarification is necessary:

    The way you have written your piece implies that I am citing Lyman Abbot as proof of my view being Reformed. This is not so. As I recall, Abbot was a Unitarian heretic.

    When you emailed me for comment, what I said was: “for clarification of my position I would direct you to Phillip Kayser’s booklet, Universal Suffrage: A History and Analysis of Voting in the Church and Society.”

    You can read this online for free here: https://leanpub.com/universal-suffrage/read

    I then further recommended Abbot’s article because it was both incisive and prescient. But the proof of my Reformed credentials is Kayser’s booklet, not Abbot’s article.

    Thanks again,
    Bnonn

      1. I don’t agree with Wilson and his supporters, but I think if you accuse someone of logical fallacies, you should point out what the fallacies are.

        1. Gordon: my comment was directed to Bnonn, who (supposedly) trained as he is in logic, rhetoric, the “classics,” etc., *should* have no trouble spotting a logical fallacy, even in his own arguments. But deeply deceived as he is, who knows.

          1. I understand that. I’m just saying that if you accuse someone of having logical fallacies in their argument, you should state what the fallacies are so that your readers can assess them and see the fallacies for themselves.

    1. George – keep hoping – that spirit, like the spirit of nationalism, fascism, violence, mockery, deceit and I could go – have infected high and low throughout white American evangelicalism. Wilson is simply speaking the quiet part out loud.

      1. I think that’s very uncharitable of you Greg. My impression, as someone who has been in and around evangelicalism for most of my life, is that Wilson is an outlier.

  3. What a crock! It’s these kind of people that make possible last week’s election results. Folks think conservatives are nuts and vote for the other side.

    Men have dominated history and have done such a fine job, haven’t they? Who wouldn’t want men to continue having the sole say so about things?

    As far as his notions of wife-husband intimacy are concerned. . . I think he is putting his testosterone and his need to control things ahead of loving his wife. Is he overcompensating for something?

    1. IN response to Mohr’s comment that people view conservative, Evangelical Christians are nuts, and vote against them, the Lordship of Jesus Christ is offensive to those in the world. You would expect the world to gladly submit to Christ? No, it/they simply believe lies and act accordingly.

      1. In response to Mr. Stadter’s comment . . . if we hope to influence government policies in a particular direction, we should be mindful of how we appear to other people, people that we hope to influence. If those people think that we want to go back to the nineteenth century as far as how women are treated, they are not going to vote our way.

        It’s no use to refer to “the Lordship of Jesus Christ” as though this settles the argument. It is clear in American history (if not the history of everywhere) that Christians have done a very good job of ignoring our Lord’s command that we love our neighbor. How many racist people (overwhelmingly men) were elected to government by voters in the so-called “Bible Belt” and fought desegregation for many decades because they didn’t like Black people? How many of these same people were happy for women not to have the vote or not to receive equal pay for equal work?

        The idea that being conservative and evangelical is enough to persuade people is insufficient. Conservatives had their chance to show people how godly they are. How much more time do they want?

  4. Eric Bennett Rasmusen

    Interesting question. In ancient Israel, from Moses to the Babylonian Captivity, *nobody* had the right to vote, so it doesn’t seem to really be a natural right; certainly not a biblical one. And nobody voted for the government in the New Testatament either. It’s more prudential as to who should run the government. We don’t allow 16-year-olds to vote, for example, male or female.

  5. “He wants to make Moscow a Christian town.” Unlikely as it is a party town dominated by the University of Idaho (four students were murdered there yesterday). And if I recall, it was R.C. Sproul Jr. who was caught up in scandal there a few years ago. Maybe we should focus more on winning a dying world to Christ than subjugating women.

  6. MAGA and Christian Nationalist women need to realize the the days that those men consider “great” are the days when women couldn’t vote or hold office.

    This is from the number one book by Christian Nationalists.

    “Without masculine leadership, feminine virtues will inevitably become disordered and self-destructive. […] Christian nationalists must affirm and restor gender hierarchy in society for the good of both men and women.”—Stephen Wolfe, The Case for Christian Nationalism, pg. 451.

    Lest anyone think this is fringe, Michigan’s 3rd Congressiona district has been conservative Republican for decades. Republican Justin Amash was ousted in 2020 for supporting Trump’s first impeachment. His Republican replacement Peter Meijer was ousted this year for supporting Trump’s second impeachment.

    Trump’s handpicked replacement Republican John Gibbs claimed the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote has “destroyed” this nation and should be repealed.

    But God, in his infinite and providential wisdom, defeated Gibbs with a woman Democrat Hillary Scholten.

  7. “We don’t allow 16-year-olds to vote, for example, male or female.”
    Because they lack maturity.
    I think everyone would agree you don’t want children voting and so a minimal age is agreed upon.

    I hope you are not saying there is similar justification for excluding women?

  8. Basically what these men are saying is they own two votes
    I wonder if the case could be made that voter intimidation is taking place in some of these households. I’m not sure the wives are always willingly giving up their vote to their husbands.

    1. Preach it, Sister! Those men are a disgrace. It doesn’t matter how much God-talk they wrap up their stuff with, it’s still wrong. We men shouldn’t be pushing our wives around.

      Next they’ll say that someone needs a minimum amount of property to be eligible to vote – oh, wait. That was how it was before. My bad.

      I have an idea for Moscow, Idaho. Why not have just one political party (guess who?) and they offer a slate of one candidate for each office when an election rolls around. When I was an English teacher in China during the 1980’s, that’s how it was done there. It really simplifies things; no drawn-out election campaigns or pointless speculation about who’s going to win. The winners are known before the count is done. No screaming about stolen elections, either. What a deal!

    1. Sara – If you feel uncomfortable about your ability to make dispassionate, reasoned decisions based on facts, then I agree – you should not vote. Please don’t!

      1. I think that Sarah just likes to own the libs. She throws bombs but when questioned or challenged she very seldom responds if ever. I am not sure as I don’t pay much attention to her comments anymore.

    2. You have to be trolling…….since you don’t have a rationale to support your point (A characteristic of most online trolls)

    3. Sara, it would be helpful to us the readers if you were delineate which points of Wilson you find helpful and which points to of his you find unhelpful.

  9. The article quotes Wilson saying, “The vast majority of the votes determining the future of the church will be taken at the session level, which really does exclude women (1 Tim. 2:12).”
    This is VERY important and highlights the stripping of power not only from the women, but eventually from the men as well. As a former member of Wilson’s denomination (CREC), I want to expand upon this.
    In many CRECs, votes on a congregational level are very rare and often symbolic only. Power is heavily centralized in the church Session (pastor & elders). In the CREC we belonged to, as a wife, I was aghast when I discovered that the Heads of Household (the *men*) had voted to approve drastic changes to our church constitution that made nearly any future “vote” by HoHs *symbolic* only! For example, the Session now had the vote on adding new elders and deacons, not the HoHs! I was advised that these changes were suggested by other CRECs to bring about greater consistency. I could not find a situation in our new constitution that would give the men a meaningful vote on anything.

    We need to understand that Wilson and friends aren’t only about stripping agency from women. They give the male HoHs the illusion of representation of their family, tell women that they are represented by their men, but then pull even that power away and centralize it for the Session. This is a huge reason why I would never recommend the CREC to anyone!

  10. What a mess all of this is. Everyone seems to be concerned with their rights and voting here when we need to acknowledge the spiritual battle behind this. Revelation has already told us what to expect. And this among many other things going on in the church today it’s just evidence. Church leadership has failed in so many areas men or women. Seems to me most of the articles about abuse of power and sexual misconduct are men in positions of power. That speaks volumes. It’s just another way for men to not address their issues and hide behind Supremacy established by the organization.

  11. Wow – the American Taliban movement – all in the name of God. Perpetuated by old white men whose arrogance knows no bounds. What absolute garbage. Totally ignoring the fact that the early church had no such restrictions on women and in fact women were in positions of leadership. Junia, Euodia and Syntyche and Priscilla, all women in leadership roles in the first churches – and acknowledged by Paul. The constant use of the Bible to wield authority by men to lord it over women is so antithetical to what Jesus taught.

  12. “ Has voting improved this country, made it more free, stopped tyranny and war, or saved it from brutal rule? Of course not! Just the opposite has occurred.

    The very idea of any ‘choosing’ of a ruler, one to control not only your life, but the life of others, runs completely contrary to any aspect of freedom or right. The entire process is antagonistic to liberty and free choice, and is the embodiment of voluntary servitude. I do realize that such a pronouncement as this is blasphemy to most of society; that in and of itself, this truth is disturbing beyond imagination to the herd, because to be blind to the reality of voluntary, universal, and collective slavery, is to be blind to the essence of life itself.” Gary D Barnett

    Wilson ought to be questioning why anyone should see voting as a virtue, especially Christians.

  13. Thomas Williamson

    The Democrats and liberals will just love it, if we of the Christian Right voluntarily reduce our voting strength at the polls by at least one-half, or more, by telling our women to not vote.

      1. Kathleen S. LaRoche

        As for the Christian Nationalist position of controlling women, that would in my understanding relate to the curse of Genesis 3 where the husband is to rule (in the flesh) over the wife. In Christ, there is nothing about the wife being controlled by the husband and the Greek meaning of submit implies voluntarily cooperation; it has nothing to do with control/subjugation! In Christ, you do not subjugate your helpmate but live with her in understanding. Tyrants subjugate. Christ does not.

  14. I’m wondering if someone like Mike Cosper needs to do a prequel to The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, starring Douglas Wilson et al–it seems that Driscoll was perhaps “under the influence” of their kind of legalistic reconstruction of … everything….

  15. You state “Perhaps it’s no surprise that claims of marital rape are common in Wilson’s Moscow.”

    Can you please substantiate this claim? The Word COMMON is an extreme exaggeration, unless you have evidence.

  16. I think I understand part of the reason some might argue for the repeal of the 19th Amendment. It’s pragmatic. And then they take that pragmatism and extrapolate a biblical rationale.

    If one is on the political right, then historically it’s fairly clear that giving women the vote has moved the country to the left. Of course, this is also true of giving minorities the vote. And earlier, of giving those who didn’t own land the vote.

    I don’t happen to know what kind of an arrangement would give our people as a whole the most robust self-determination. The uneducated masses can be said to be easily manipulated. But then, nowadays, so can the educated elites. The democracy we would like to have, I think, where people know both themselves and the issues, is almost impossible to achieve. We are at the point, now, where virtually no one has the ability to think critically…though many still claim to.

    I think Doug Wilson is incredibly wrong headed in this case. But I don’t fear his ideas nearly as much as the ideas of those who cannot listen to him and glean truth from amongst the stubble. He’s a blowhard who spouts unadulterated wisdom from time to time (much as we could say for a few of his more articulate critics).

    I’m sorry, but those of you who have not learned to winnow…are just anti-intellectual when it comes rig

    1. Hans, here are the reasons those on the right argue why women should not vote or be in power:

      Stephen Wolfe, Author of the Case for Christian Nationalism, openly says that under CN’s rule, women can’t be in charge because they are too empathetic and inclusive, “blasphemy is punished” and “atheism is crushed”.

      Here’s the freedom they talk about.

      https://twitter.com/newvangelicals/status/1592970106858278912?t=za5cED3LRcGecJeU2hUkeA&s=19

  17. ‘We are at the point, now, where virtually no one has the ability to think critically…though many still claim to.’
    ‘I’m sorry, but those of you who have not learned to winnow…are just anti-intellectual when it comes rig’

    Heavens to murgatroyd!
    I’m sorry, I just don’t have the ability to think critically.

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