The Debate: Wilson Demolishes Log Cabin Republican Head Cooper

I wish the headline were different.

I wish I could honestly write that R. Clark Cooper, head of the national pro-gay organization Log Cabin Republicans, held up well during last night’s University of Idaho debate against the bloviating Doug Wilson as they argued about the consistency of gay rights with the conservative, later defined in print as the conservative “Christian,” ethos and agenda.  It was the kick-off event of Wilson’s yearly exercise in masturbatory conferencing, this year focusing its male attendees on “Makers” — love makers, peace makers, trouble makers, story makers, and such.  The UI Ballroom was packed with eager young Reformed and very few LGBT allies that I could recognize, and anyone in attendance who wouldn’t agree that Cooper got owned is too blinded by their dislike of Wilson to grant him this rhetorical victory.  It was not an honest victory, mind you, nor a spiritually or culturally significant victory, but that matters little to Wilson, his Beholden Toadies, or the youngsters who revere him as the pater familias of their worldview.

Of course I went.

Having debated Wilson myself, and having fared better against him, and only by God’s grace, than Cooper did last night, I was curious to see how the politically astute, impeccably conservative, highly learned gay former combat soldier and current reservist would perform against the master verbal trickster.  Wilson is a self-proclaimed expert on history, law, politics, Scripture, psychology, logic, culture, epistemology, rhetoric, architecture, choir, and, for all I know, British ska and its late-70s evolution into OI! music.  I did not find him in our debate, nor in other conservations with him, terribly brilliant — but he’s cagey.  Last night, cagey won.

In debating the cultural and political argument against homosexual marriage, he managed to confound Cooper by weaving a tangled tapestry of state’s rights, government intrusion, slippery slopes and polygamy, the Constitution, statism, gun rights, property rights, and, as he put it, “free chocolate milk for everyone.” With remarkably little mention of homosexuality, he drew the resolutely conservative Cooper into a sad, clumsy dance that had an undoubtedly very bright man dancing to a tune played by the Piper of the Palouse while his feet gamely tried to avoid tripping over the underlying rhetorical net. Having gotten Cooper to agree with much of his political argument against big government and other GOP staples, Wilson lured the rhetorical not-adept and overly trusting Cooper into agreement with virtually everything he argued — and when the point of departure, the actuality of gay marriage, arrived, it was too late.  Having conceded virtually all ground to Wilson, Cooper was left trying to defend with one hand what he effectively had shooed away with another.  It was a masterful, if utterly dishonest and slippery, performance by a master manipulator.

I had warned Cooper of Wilson’s rhetorical trickery; I had hoped he’d be better prepared.  But if he wasn’t, I was, and at the heavily regulated Question and Answer time — and having been pointed out by an eager young Kirker to one of the stage bouncers, who immediately crept to within just a few feet of me — I tried to do what I had hoped Cooper would.

I asked Wilson two questions:  The first was how he could privilege over any marriage that Cooper or any of my LGBT friends might desire the June 2011 marriage of a sexual minority, a convicted pedophile — a man who by nature is permanently and unflexibly sexually attracted to children — to a young heterosexual woman in his flock.

Wilson flinched, and then, in his answer, lied.  The man in question was not guilty of a single act of child abuse, as he said, but had confessed to scores of instances of oral-genital contact with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. I was not given the chance to correct Wilson or rebuke him for his lie.

Then I asked him if he was ready to repent of his consistent, mocking, and erroneous use of the word “sodomite” in describing homosexuals.  He didn’t use the word last night; he ought never use it that way, though, given that the Biblical testimony of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah describes grotesque inhospitality in the form of “penis as weapon” — the battlefield-type humiliating, subduing, and conquering of the vulnerable and foreign “other” that, as I pointed out last night, any Bible teacher and Classical scholar should recognize.  The proposed gang rape of Lot’s visitors is not described in Scripture as a “homosexual” event, but in words that make clear the sin was a gross offense to hospitality — a demonstration of violent, smug, and insolent behavior that, in Ezequiel 16:49, notes “the sin of your sister Sodom:  She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy . . . “

The moderator cut me off and the bouncer was creeping closer before I got the opportunity to tell Wilson that that description had nothing to do with homosexuals and appeared to have everything to do with him — Wilson as “sodomite.”  But I was dismissed, bouncers a-twitching with eagerness.  As the next questioner floundered, I did remark loudly from the audience that Wilson, in asserting that the bisexual person would require two marriage partners — “do the math,” he said — was lamentably ignorant of the ability of people all along the sexual spectrum to love and be faithful to their single partners.  Then I walked to the back so that any Wilsonistas or LGBT defenders could confront me, and then left after about ten minutes, when it became clear that I was best left alone. 

I said most of what I wanted to say, and only God knows the effect.  Still, I’m sorry for Cooper, and I’m more convinced than ever that Douglas Wilson is a less-than-brilliant debater and thinker whose only victories are won by verbal subterfuge and didactic trickery.

It was hardly any of the  men’s best evenings, but those who have eyes to see and ears to hear had Wilson revealed as a prince of verbal hot air and very little else.  Sadly, that’s enough for those who seek not the Spirit, but rejoice in having discovered the scoundrel. 

One Response to “The Debate: Wilson Demolishes Log Cabin Republican Head Cooper”

  1. Daniel F says:

    Keely, perhaps you should rewatch the video. I don’t think you’ll find that the hosts or Wilson were nearly as rude as you make them out to be in this post. And no…I don’t think the bouncers were eager to kick you out.

    You can see the event again on video here: CRF Debate

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