Monday, February 8, 2010

Slide Slide Slippity Slide


I do not usually put much stock in slippery slope arguments. The idea that allowing A will lead inevitably downward to B is a logical fallacy. Also, it is my observation that slippery slope arguments are generally based in fear, or intended to create fear.

Navigating around the ’net recently, I paddled into a backwater of American Protestantism with which I had only passing familiarity. There I found a strange, but classic, use of the slippery slope argument.

Douglas Wilson apparently has some Evangelical cred. He is pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho and a founder of New Saint Andrews College. He debated militant atheist Christopher Hitchens in the pages of Christianity Today magazine, in a book and in person for the movie cameras. So far, so good.

I was surprised, though, when I learned that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers Wilson something of a hate-monger. The reason? Wilson, who describes himself as a “paleo-Confederate,” has written defending, on biblical grounds, the institution of slavery as practiced in the American South.

While the Bible is, at least in some of its parts, pro-slavery, I found myself wondering why anyone would write in defense of Southern slavery on any grounds. Then I found this statement on the Wikipedia page about Wilson:

He has said that he intended to defend the once traditional biblical approval of slavery since, in his view, disregarding that tradition will lead to disregarding biblical sanction against homosexuality as well.

Wow. Just wow.

Do away with a biblical defense of slavery and it will lead to the approval of homosexuality. That actually sounds like progress to me.

Maybe we are on a slippery slope, but rather than sliding inevitably downhill we are actually scrambling slowly and with difficulty uphill toward full inclusion and civil rights for all people.

The title for this post was taken from the chorus of Coolio’s recording “Fantastic Voyage.” Though I am no fan of gangsta rap with its profanity and violent imagery, I have to admit that the “slide slide slippity slide” refrain is catchy. The Slippery Slope image was borrowed from this website.


  1. Actually, there is wisdom in his position, perverse as it may be. He recognizes that once we can dismiss statements like "slaves obey your masters" on the basis of the cultural context of the biblical times, then we can also destroy the anti-gay clobber passages for the same reason. He may be a true "one-eyed fundamentalist" who is willing to stand on a literal interpretation of the Bible without exception.

    “If your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out.” Mark 9:47

    He's wrong, but at least he's consistent.

  2. Obie,

    Thank you for reading and commenting on my little efforts. May I say that your blog is what my blog aspires to be when it grows up?

  3. Brant,

    You're too kind, but thanks.