You might not think you’ve heard of Douglas W. Phillips, but you’ve certainly heard the man himself. Phillips is the bass guitar in a rock band called “Sexist Homophobic Right Wing Evangelical Authoritarianism“; he might not be as insane drummers like Westboro, or front-men like Ted Cruz, but all ultimately play to the key and rhythm of his subliminally low-frequency thrumming.
Phillips is what we call a “Calvinist,” which should tell you a little something about him. Calvinism might best be summed up with as sermon given by Jonathan Edwards titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” In this sermon, Edward’s famously compared man to a spider suspended on a string on God’s finger, held over the fires of Hell and apt to be dropped at any moment.
Among the Five Points of Calvinism are the beliefs that A) Humans are totally depraved and unworthy from birth, and B) Only a few “elect” have had their sins washed free with the blood of Christ. Everyone else is going to Hell. Of course, those kinds of absolutist, exclusionist, sadistic, supremacist leanings are ALWAYS enough to get one in the Republican Party; but it also helps that Calvinism has always been a “business-friendly” cult, and its stance on usury are credited with creating Capitalism as we know it in Europe.
That’ll all be relevant in a minute.
Vision Forum is an evangelical church in (SHOCK!) Texas, and it’s about as far Right as you can get. Vision advocates creationism taught in schools and elsewhere (of course), homeschooling so kids aren’t exposed to “satanic indoctrination,” elimination of all forms of birth control (the Quiverfull movement), and (of course) raging homophobia. He even once criticized Sarah Palin for being too “pro-homosexual,” if you can wrap your mind around that.
Primarily, though, Phillips is known for his intense proselytization of “Biblical Patriarchy.” That’s exactly what it sounds like: The Bronze Age set of rules dictating that a man is the head of the home, and is responsible for the “conduct” of his family. Patriarchy says that the woman’s “sphere of dominion is in the home”…and that’s it. He’s bemoaned the idea of women as anything more than breeders and housekeepers for years.
As Karen Campbell summarized:
“Patriarchy teaches that men are the prophets, priests, and kings of their homes, daughters are helpmeets to their fathers, women are here primarily to fulfill the creation mandate and are expendable if threatened with ectopic pregnancies, women do not have their own callings from the Lord but rather are to fulfill a man’s calling.”
Now, let’s bear all that in mind while you read this letter…Phillips’ Statement of Resignation from Vision Forum ministries:
With thanksgiving to God for His mercy and love, I have stepped down from the office of president at Vision Forum Ministries and have discontinued my speaking responsibilities.
There has been serious sin in my life for which God has graciously brought me to repentance. I have confessed my sin to my wife and family, my local church, and the board of Vision Forum Ministries. I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not “know” each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.
I am most sensitive to the fact that my actions have dishonored the living God and been shameful to the name of Jesus Christ, my only hope and Savior.
Though I am broken over my failures, I am grateful to be able to spend more time with my family, nurturing my wife and children and preparing my older sons and daughters for life. So, for these reasons I want to let my friends know that I have stepped down as a board member and as president of Vision Forum Ministries.
Now, there are a lot of ways you could take it, and any of these reactions are completely appropriate:
- Wow, a hypocritical evangelist. Stop the presses.
- Wait…he committed a “serious sin” by having an “inappropriately romantic and affectionate” relationship? That DIDN’T involve sex? At all?
Now, assuming Phillips isn’t lying about not getting any, the thought pattern is kind of baffling here. Being “the man who runs the universe,” he’d hardly feel ashamed even if he had bestowed his magical penis on a lowly woman. So, he might not lie about it if he had. No, amazingly, the “mortal sin” that cost Phillips his job was simply “being inappropriately affectionate“…toward a lowly woman.
One assumes that “inappropriate affection” in Phillips’ world is that he washes his own damned socks. But, even if it wasn’t that big a deal to him, even if he had fine reasons for doing it, you have to marvel at the thought processes of the monsters he created. Just the fact that he’d HAVE to “repent” and step down for being “affectionate” toward a woman is a powerful indicator of just what kind of society he’s creating.
In Phillips’ world and twisted mind, feeling genuine affection and romance toward a woman is a mortal sin. Men don’t treat women with AFFECTION. People you have affection for have power over you, and that simply is not acceptable to Phillips’ church. A woman’s “sphere of influence is in the home.” She’s not ALLOWED to have influence over you AT WORK. That’s a mortal sin.
Phillips sums up everything that’s wrong with corporate evangelism, much as his father (founder of the Taxpayer, then “Constitution Party”) did–so wrapped up with greed, authoritarianism and false ideology that merely being human violates that exact ideology. Sure, their ideology punishes the impure mightily, but they’re so screwed up that they don’t even know what constitutes an “impurity.” Greed is fine, hate is cool, and self-supremacy is a high virtue.
But…LOVE? Maybe? For a lowly WOMAN?
Now, there’s a mortal sin we can all get behind.