Some of you may wonder why our family seems “hardened” to controversy, so I should give you a little back story. When our kids were little, Doug wrote a weekly column for our local newspaper, and back then our community was the one blue dot on the otherwise red map of Idaho. In other words, there weren’t a whole lot of conservatives in town, and the letters to the editor were often filled with critical letters about him. One day I opened it to see this from one of the liberals in town: “Dear Editor, Doug Wilson is a complete idiot. Signed, So-and-So.” I felt like someone had slugged me in the stomach. When Doug got home, I showed the horrible thing to him, expecting him to be outraged. Instead, he laughed out loud and said, “You should write back and say, ‘Editor, So-and-So doesn’t know the half of it! Signed, Nancy Wilson.'” As a result of that conversation, which I consider as a turning point in my perspective on these things, I cut the letter out and put it on the fridge, where it stayed for some time.
As the years have gone by, the charges have ramped up. He’s been called a racist, among other equally hateful things. I remember having a hard time with this because I knew he wasn’t. Why would people tell outright lies? Doug helped me to see that lies are all our adversaries have. And many of these people were and are outright God-haters. They don’t pretend to be otherwise. Others are misguided. Some have a personal grudge they are hoping to ease by yelling out all kinds of bitter lies.
But if you allow yourself to get bitter back, or to nurture hurt feelings, you are the one who suffers. If they really are lying, and they are, then we must do what Scripture tells us to do, and that is to rejoice. Having opportunities to apply the Word is always good for us. A couple of posts back I quoted John Bunyan and Spurgeon and others. Who remembers the names of their adversaries? Yet we are still blessed by their writings and faith. So we consider it our Christian duty to rejoice when the hate-mongers fire up their websites, whoever they are. You can read my husband’s latest blog post on this whole topic here.
That is a terrific way to keep perspective. Let me give you an example. Years ago on the day one of our beautiful granddaughters was born, I had just come home from the hospital when Kinko’s delivered a box containing hundreds of pages of “charges” against my husband, all dutifully signed and even notarized by a couple of malcontents. I took a brief look at the gist of it, and then I put the lid back on. I had a beautiful new grandbaby! We had much to rejoice in already, but I realized that the enemy wanted to distract us away from our joy. We have, by faith, agreed with God’s perspective on these things. We choose to laugh at false charges, no matter who brings them. And we know that God uses these things for good; it is for our benefit. It is an opportunity to trust Him. And He is always faithful. He knows the truth about us all. He knows my husband is no racist, etc. We don’t have to convince Him! And we’ve never yet had an adversary of this kind who really cares what the truth is. They like their lies just fine, thank you very much.
So we have learned that when our adversaries say laughable things, we laugh. God has a sense of humor, of course, and we have learned to laugh with Him. He has, in the midst of these seasons of slander, given us some rather funny times. But if you get all wounded, you miss the funniness.
This latest round of slander fired against my husband has left me feeling bad. Not hurt. Nowhere close to hurt. But I feel so bad when I see a Christian man who should know better making a big public blunder. It’s embarrassing and I feel bad for him. That’s what Professor Anthony Bradley (a professor at King’s College and a research fellow at the Acton Institute) has done when he goes off to get some “research data” from this crowd. Pitiful. I told my husband that he should have interviewed some of the protesters at Bloomington. (This is where my husband was invited to speak to a Christian group and a bunch of protestors showed up. You can see some of that here if you want.) They could have given him some hot stuff too.
When an otherwise respectable man like Professor Bradley does something foolish like linking arms with this crowd, it brings to mind Ecclesiastes 10:1 : Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.
I have no idea why this nice man thought mining from the other team would make my husband look bad. Any fool could rummage around on the internet to find stuff like this. We expect more of actual professors. But I know God means it for our good, and I’ve seen Him use this tactic for our good over and over. In fact, if this keeps up, I’m going to have to dip into next month’s party budget.
Having him link up with some of these old-timers has brought back a bunch of fond memories. This is what I mean about seeing God’s sense of humor in the midst of slander. Like the time one of our very public “detractors” accidentally left a long message on our answering machine in which he was requesting food stamps and left his name (spelling it out for me so there could be no mistake) and number. I of course called him to let him know he had gotten the wrong number. That was a howler! Especially because we knew him to be fully capable of making a living all by himself. But he was busy firing up controversy and couldn’t be distracted by a job.
Bekah has a great story about ol’ Potok (that’s what we’ve been calling him for years at our house). He is the head of the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center, and one of the “authorities” Professor Bradley has gone to for information on my husband. And I thought it would be best if you heard this story straight from Bekah, a star witness.
So, Mom asked me to tell you all about my little brush with greatness I had a while back. ‘Twas truly awesome.
There was a history conference being held in Moscow, and the topic of said history conference was “Revolution.” Someone, somewhere, I forget all the details, started a rumor similar to the recent debacle, that the conference was actually on slavery (and the virtues thereof). Of course, it wasn’t on slavery, and even if it had been, it wouldn’t have been about the virtues thereof . . . but this didn’t slow down the rumor train one little bit, despite the fact that we announced and announced till we were blue in the face that it WASN’T ABOUT SLAVERY!!!!! Somehow they were all too worked up by this time to notice.
Many people were called into action – crusades were mounted against Douglas Wilson and anything he’s ever touched. Ridonculous stories were spread about him. This was the moment that Rachel bumped into the lesbian wearing the anti-Doug Wilson sandwich board. A full page ad in the newspaper announced that Doug Wilson needed to get out of town, and attached a bunch of signatures of people who would like him to leave. (Interesting side note: those signatures were incredibly interesting. There were the usual suspects – all the leftists and lesbian activists were there . . . the same ones who are currently posting nasty links over on Anthony Bradley’s blog – but so were some other Christians, who had gotten disgruntled and left our church over paedobaptism or whatever, and then decided to sign on with the God-haters asking Douglas Wilson to get the heck out.)
This is when the New Saint Andrews front window was smashed in, the sidewalk in front of the building was decorated with swastikas and other charming things, etc. Anyway, it was during this breezy moment, the Southern Poverty Law Center got involved. They began issuing alerts about the hate levels of Moscow folks. (Not the Moscow folks who were so quick with the swastikas, or the folks telling Dad to get out of town . . . no. Not them. Rather, it was a hate alert about the people planning a conference about Revolution and who were possibly even going to go to the awful length of bringing up the poetry of Percy Bysche Shelley. Incidentally, the speakers were against Revolution.)
A large scale protest was mounted – with a lot of people, time, and energy being used up to protest the Slavery Conference. Of course, the anti-slavery protest was going to be happening outside the building where we were all going to be inside hearing about the French Revolution, but that didn’t appear to matter to the protesters. At some point, the Southern Poverty Law Center determined that things were so bad in Moscow they needed to get in on the actual action of the protest instead of merely issuing hate alerts from afar – and Mark Potok decided to come in person to help out. He likes to be on hand when Hateful Events are going down . . . and no doubt a conference that will be discussing the philosophy of Nietzsche brings him running every time.
We heard that he was coming. Ben was in charge of lining up speakers for the New St. Andrews weekly forum called Disputatio. He thought this would be a great opportunity to actually meet the guy who was busily spreading the word about how evil we were . . . and he thought we might actually make progress if there could be a face to face meeting and an intelligent discussion. So he invited Potok to trot along over to Disputatio while he was in town and tell us what he thinks of us.
Shortly thereafter, I was home with my three small children and my enormous pregnant belly. I was doing my usual thing, sweeping up the dining room every six minutes and trying to get the Sharpie out of the couch. The phone rang. I answered, “Hello?” and what I heard was this . . .
“This is Mark Potok, P-O-T-O-K, have you heard of me?”
Unfortunately, I hadn’t. I had no idea who he was. Ben may have told me he invited him and I forgot, or maybe I never caught the guy’s name. But I had absolutely no clue who he was! I hemmed and hawed for a second, madly going through the files in my head to see if I had ever heard of P-O-T-O-K. It was awkward. He, I think, sensed that he had struck out there and eventually just asked for Ben. I gave him Ben’s office number, and he called to decline the invitation to speak. Turns out there’s a bit of a pattern there I think! However, I’ve always loved that as an introduction to a phone conversation. “Hello there, this is Bekah Merkle, M-E-R-K-L-E, have you heard of me?”
Anyway, I hear that P-O-T-O-K is back in the game again, with his professional views of Doug Wilson being called upon. So just bear in mind that he too refused to speak with us when invited! Dialogue is not their strong suit.
So all this is to say, that we have learned the secret of rejoicing in times like these. Why not? God is in heaven. He has ordained even this. He often writes stories with this plot line, and we have seen His faithfulness to us over and over and over again. That’s why we can rejoice and celebrate in Him.
26 thoughts on “Next Month’s Party Budget”
I attended that History conference in 2004, and brought my teenage daughter and my year old baby. It was pretty freaky and frankly a little scary to arrive in town and discover that the conference was being denounced as racist and see headlines about the protests and security measures. It was surreal to emerge from lectures about Robespierre and the French Revolution and cross picket lines about racism. What the heck? None of the lecture topics had the remotest connection to what these people were upset about. Moscow was one crazy town that weekend.
“But if you allow yourself to get bitter back, or to nurture hurt feelings, you are the one who suffers. If they really are lying, and they are, then we must do what Scripture tells us to do, and that is to rejoice.”
Incredible wisdom! Thank-you for writing and sharing!
Thank you, Nancy. I have been reading your family’s books and blogs for a couple of years now. This whole shebang is ludicrous to me and I appreciate your sharing how you are coping with it.
Every good party needs a cake. But what should a persecution party/reviling revel/bashing bash/defamation celebration/slanderpalooza cake look like? I propose a design contest: readers submit sketches, Femina Girls judge the entries, Valerie makes the winning design into a real cake. Whaddaya think?
You know I’m always up for cake!
I was listening to Nate talk to the AP news guy when the whole “Slavery Conference” was going on. Nate was telling him that the conference was actually on “Revolution and Modernity” and not slavery. The gentleman says that he didn’t know what revlolution and modernity mean. Nate tells him, “revolution, as in the violent overthrow of a system,” and “modernity, as in now.”
Nate then tells him the brochure has been up for months with topics listed and he could check it out for himself. But the verifiable truth didn’t matter by this point. News guy says that we could have just put that up to hide the actual topics…Gotta love how the news works! Makes you think twice about what you read from a “credible” new source.
OK! Let’s do this!
I’ll work up some Official Guidelines (things like “No nasty stuff” and “Send your entries to _____ by _____” and the like) and post them here later this evening. Sound like a plan? In the meantime, y’all can get started (and don’t forget that the “No nasty stuff” Official Guideline is on its way!)
And besides everything else, the example you’ve set of rejoicing during slander has been so helpful. I remember you once told me, “Be so friendly and cheerful that any slanderous charge sounds ridiculous to anyone who knows you.” What continues to amaze me, however, is how many people who know you would still rather believe what a random blogger wrote on the internet!
Totally agree with Brittany – such great examples. Thanks for that and for this post! And I do like to imagine you ladies as the little doormats under the mens’ feet that the femicrazies are claiming you are. It’s really funny.
This is great! Thanks for inviting us to laugh with you. I admit I’ve been kind of upset about all of this. It just reminds me how backwards this world is. So-called Christians starting on their crusades based on all kinds of falsehood, sowing discord among everyone. Then preaching love! Just bums me out. Thanks for making me laugh about it a bit more! I am always edified and challenged by the Wilsons. God bless you all for your faithfulness amidst all this nastiness. 🙂
Ohhhhh….cakes! Valerie, that sounds fun! 🙂
Your husband egged on the riotous crowd in Indiana with those ridiculous flyers he passed out – and you now he did. And the reason most folks think he’s racist is because they’re read “Black and Tan,” they’re aware of his connections with known racist, and they read the drivel he regularly out post on his blog.
And, on again, it’s not slander. You guys LOVE playing the victim!!!
Well, to be fair Bekah, he probably thought he was talking to one of them repressed womynfolk who only has enough learnin’ to read a recipe. 🙂
My husband and I thought devil’s food would be the appropiate cake!! 🙂
Not quite going to make it tonight. Tomorrow morning, though!
Can someone please give me a definition of ‘victim’? I’m not seeing much evidence of people who love being victims.
Wow, that Moscow story is unbelievable! You really have had to learn to deal with slander haven’t you. I have suggested in previous posts that some of you girls have spoken too strongly, but what do I know, sorry if it was judgemental of me, I’ve never been though these things. It’s probably the comments sections that have left me with a nasty taste. You have been so open nd clear hear, and a good example for if I ever experience a small part of being misrepresented like you guys. Like you say, you don’t have to convince God and he is the one who knows the truth xx
Speaking of victims/victimisation, did anyone notice the astonishing number of highly visible purple bruises on the protesters at Bloomington? At first I thought it may have been some sort of drug thing or something (when I first noticed a couple) but then I just couldn’t believe SO MANY of them had had the same misfortune. By the end of the Q&A, when they were talking about going down to the jail to protest their comrade being arrested, I couldn’t help thinking that they had come prepared to show the cameras how they had been victims of ‘police brutality.’
Nancy, I think you are so right that there are some people who prefer their lies (over the truth) – as you say – thank you very much.
May God continue to rain His grace down upon you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are an inspiration. Like Katie, I’ve been feeling rather depressed the past few days following all this. I only recently discovered the Wilson family, but have fallen in love with your outlook on life and Biblical teaching. It was disheartening to see such unfair treatment. I have a feeling that imitating your response will come in handy considering my husband feels called to run for office! Thank you!
Pencils down, class!
In case you were busily sketching away, you can save your creative juices for other endeavors. We’ve decided to scrap the contest idea.
Valerie, You can’t make me put my pencil down…because it’s in my brain. So there.
Megan, you should seriously see a doctor about that!
There’s a wide-ranging, beloved bookstore here called Brave New Books, purveyors of all manner of writing decidedly outside of received opinion. They’ve made the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “List” several times, and they carry it as a badge of honor, advertising it in their commercials, with the same spirit of fun and joy your family has. To have attracted enemies like SPLC makes a sterling recommendation, in my mind.
Thank you for this timely advice. I just learned that my SIL has been slandering me and her brother (my amazing Godly hubby) to anyone who will listen. She hates us because we have chosen to obey Christ and He has blessed our marriage and family. It’s hard to take and hard to let go of. Your perspective is refreshing and helpful. Her slander is ridiculous and I will choose to laugh from now on!
P.S. Someday I will make the 12 hour drive to your conference. It looks great every year!
It was nice of Scott to show up here and illustrate your point.
I’ve been in the midst of slander and false accusations (mainly because of a real lack of understanding and jumping to conclusions). I’ve had others say terrible things about the one I love, a man who is seeking Christ more and more daily. I had to realize that some people do just want to steal the joy that God has given us, as well as keep in mind that these people (my fellow brethren in Christ) are not doing it out of the malice of their heart. It does draw me closer to my Lord and His heart and His plan for my life, and to be able to let things go and not be bitter. If God is for us, what can man do to us?