Following new data comparing voter registration and turnout rates between women and men, a group of male leaders associated with Doug Wilson believes the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote, was a mistake.
According to data from the Center for American Women and Politics and Pew Research Center, women tend to have slightly higher rates of voter registration and turnout compared to men in the United States.
According to the CAWP survey, in 2020, 74.1% of women were registered voters, compared to 71.2% of men. According to Pew Research Center’s survey, a slightly bigger gap exists in voter turnout: 63% of women versus 59% of men.
Both surveys looked at various lenses through which this data could be interpreted. The CAWP survey considered how marital status correlates to voter turnout.
The survey found that among all categories of marital status, women consistently vote more often than men. And, when comparing women and men who never have been married, the biggest gap is seen with 60.5% of never-married women voting, and only 53.1% of never-married men voting.
Both surveys also considered educational attainment as correlated with voter turnout and found a similar response. In all categories of educational attainment, women have a higher voter turnout than men.
These statistics have been the focal points of current debates about election results and the 19th Amendment.
On Nov. 4, Joel Webbon of Right Response Ministries quote-tweeted a post by Brad Wilcox which included a screenshot of an MSNBC newscast discussing voter demographic information broken down by gender and college education. The data came from a 2018 Pew Research Center Survey and noted that the votes of women who have attained college education or higher are trending positively for Democrats. This means more college-educated women are voting for Democrats and fewer are voting for Republicans.
In his quote-tweet, Webbon noted that “the 19th Amendment was a bad idea” because women are “easily deceived” and are attending “institutions for deception.”
On Nov. 9, Webbon quote-tweeted another post by Wilcox saying the Republican party is now the party of married couples, as well as unmarried men. In contrast, he says the Democratic Party is the party of unmarried women.
He included a screenshot of data that comes from an article he co-authored with Jon McEwan about the path to Republican victory in the 2016 election. Webbon’s response is simply, “The sin of empathy triumphs again.”
On Nov. 11, he quote-tweeted this same post with a new caption, “Eve needs to be rescued from the Serpent.”
Joel Webbon is not alone in this line of thinking. It is becoming increasingly clear that there are sects of men who would like to repeal the 19 Amendment because, since women are coming to the polls more consistently than men, women have an increasing impact on election results.
In other words, women are making it harder for men to easily get what they want. Further, women who vote for Democrats are getting in the way of Republican victories.
An introduction to Doug Wilson and his writings
Right Response Ministries partners with Doug Wilson on lectures, YouTube videos and events.
Doug Wilson is a Christ Church pastor from Moscow, Idaho, who has had great influence over evangelicals throughout his career. He owns the Christian publishing house Canon Press, a company that publishes books about the family, marriage, gender and other topics popular with the evangelical far-right.
Along with his partnership with Right Response Ministries, Wilson also partners with quite a few Baptist ministries, such as Tom Ascol and Founders Ministries, Jeff Durbin of Apologia Church, and John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church and Bethlehem Baptist Seminary.
These connections with conservative and Reformed Baptists are intertwined with his teachings, as he frequently mentions Baptist figures like Ascol and discusses issues within the Southern Baptist Convention and broader Baptist circles on his personal blog.
Some of the things Wilson especially likes to discuss are women, sexuality, politics and gender roles.
The website AlterNet recently explained that Wilson may be best known “for teaching that wives must obey husbands in all matters, including sex. His most famous aphorism is that God designed the male as the one who ‘penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.’ He counsels married couples that sex is ‘not an egalitarian pleasuring party’ so women shouldn’t expect to enjoy it as much as men. Wilson advises husbands to tell their wives how to vote.”
In his blog post, “On Why Christian Women Are Prettier,” Wilson notes that because women were made second in the Genesis 2 account of creation, they are the “glory of creation” and a standard for Christian women is to be beautiful. Women who fall short of this glory can be described as taking “ugly pills” (a term actually coined by his wife).
In contrast, a defining standard of Christian men is authority.
In another blog post, he discusses church government. Wilson does not support voting per individual member, but rather voting per household. He argues this does not really exclude women for two reasons.
First, there are women who are heads of households, and they would be able to vote in this model.
Second, he thinks a household vote given by only one spouse would not exclude the opinions of the other spouse because they should agree on the vote. He states, “What needs to be emphasized in churches that practice this is that the man is representing his household. He is not acting like the one person in that household with something worthwhile to say.” He then clarifies that the man should consider the opinions and experiences of his wife and daughters when making the vote, even if they disagree with him.
He later notes that “only certain kinds of women” get worked up about this issue, forwarding an earlier point where he expresses annoyance toward egalitarian values.
But Wilson places a lot of trust with men in this system. After all, if most of the heads of households are men, they get most of the voting power. And we must trust them to be considerate of their wives and daughters while making their household vote; yet nothing holds them accountable to do so.
Why would this model be preferable to a fully democratic model of voting?
Wilsons explains: “One of the great and pressing needs of our day is to get men to take responsibility. This is one device (not an inspired one, but a good one) for helping us do just that. Those pushing against this particular arrangement need to understand that in North America getting men to check out of church is not really a hard thing to accomplish, and that once you have done it, the heartaches are of an entirely different kind. So be careful what you agitate for.”
In this model, men are enticed to come to church because they will be given power. So, while Wilson claims he does not want to exclude women, it is ultimately the assertion of male authority motivating these beliefs.
Although he only discusses church government in his blog post, it is clear his logic has influenced other church leaders in their opinions about women voting in the secular world.
The Sheologians, in an interview with Allie Stuckey, admit they have an unpopular opinion on voting. They go on to describe their support for voting per household on a national scale, noting they believe the property owner should be the person who gets the vote. They think what matters is not whether the husband and the wife differ on political opinions, but that they are unified as a couple.
One of the women also admits this system is not perfect, saying that as a single woman who is not a property owner, she would not get a vote.
“These beliefs surrounding women, sexuality, politics and gender roles also can be found in a multitude of Wilson’s writings.”
These beliefs surrounding women, sexuality, politics and gender roles also can be found in a multitude of Wilson’s writings.
The most interesting of which is perhaps a 2020 book titled Ride, Sally, Ride, which describes a futuristic, dystopian America in which Christian ministry is illegal in some states and citizens are marrying sex robots (who are viewed by the law as full humans).
The novel is inspired by Phinehas of the Bible, who kills an Israelite for having sex with a Midianite woman. In Wilson’s narrative, the protagonist “Asahel” (the name of a military leader in the Bible) is the moral compass, as he has been illegally reading pieces of theology from the 19th century, and in the very first chapter, he murders his neighbor’s sex-robot-wife in the recycling plant where he volunteers. This gets him in big trouble.
Aside from the shocking narrative of sex robot murder Wilson offers, he also describes themes we see in his blog: the Christian beauty of women, and submission.
For example, he describes the character “Stephanie,” the daughter of another character, in this way: “She was willowy without being skinny, and she managed to be well-proportioned without being in any way a hazard or public nuisance. She was a pretty girl, but there are different kinds of pretty girls in this world of ours.”
Other women are also described as submissive and quiet, only expressing their opinions when it is appropriate, or when they agree with another male character.
In contrast, Asahel is described in terms of his actions, thoughts and beliefs as he progresses throughout the narrative. In fact, the narrative (at least, in the first chapter) centers almost completely around male characters.
Back to the 19th Amendment
But what does a book about sex robot murder have to do with repealing the 19th Amendment?
Well, Wilson has quite a large platform of influence, and although Ride, Sally, Ride may not be his most popular work, his partnerships with other organizations and church leaders allow these values to spread as his work is increasingly viewed as reliable truth.
And for followers of Wilson and his partners, as it becomes morally solidified to assert that women were created to be pretty and submissive while men were created for authority and power, the votes of educated, unmarried women really do begin to seem like they get in the way. Not only of what male voters want but of God’s creative intention for the sexes. And dissenters of this political complementarianism now have spiritual authorities, like Webbon and Wilson, to answer to.
Thus, Bnonn Tennant, co-author of It’s Good to Be A Man published through Wilson’s Canon Press, has said women’s suffrage is a “rebellion” against God and that “voting is an act of rulership. Since rulership is not given to women, women should not vote.”
Mallory Challis is a senior at Wingate University and currently serves as BNG’s Clemons Fellow.
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