Christianity,  Politics

Full video of Doug Wilson’s debate with Andrew Sullivan about gay marriage

I wrote two posts about this debate last week (see here and here), but until now the video hasn’t been available. You can see all of it above. If you don’t have time for all two hours, you can watch about four and a half minutes of highlights below. A big thanks and hat tip to for making these available.


  • Elizabeth Anscombe

    I can’t bear it. Sullivan’s affected accent, his manner, his attitude… unbearable. Also, I’m tired of hearing people refer to the Declaration of Independence as if it holds any legal weight whatsoever. It’s an eloquent piece of rhetoric written in the heat of the revolutionary moment. Nothing more. And as a matter of fact, I don’t think that we do have a “right” to the pursuit of happiness. I’m quite glad that’s NOT anywhere in the Constitution itself, or heaven knows how much more havoc the courts could wreak than they already have with the 14th Amendment and such. So there.

  • Suzanne McCarthy

    I can’t help but wonder why Denny allows an Elizabeth Anscombe impersonator ot post wiThounrevealing his/her real name. This is very odd even if tongue in cheek.

  • Suzanne McCarthy

    There is a famous Elizabeth Anscombe who debated C.S Lewis, but she died some time ago. Who is this Elizabeth Anscombe and why does she say she debated Lewis?

    Of course, normally I would just take this as humour, and perhaps it is, but I just wondered.

  • Glenn E. Chatfield

    I was disappointed that Doug Wilson couldn’t have a response to how same-sex fake marriage is currently hurting society. I would have pointed out those who have lost employment for refusing to sanction such perversion, I would point out those who have been sued for refusing to sanctions such perversion, I would point out how many have been forced to take indoctrination classes for refusing to sanction such perversion, I would point out how homosexual indoctrination is being force on our school children, and I would point out how many children are now being forced to live with “parents” of the same sex.

    • buddyglass

      I would have pointed out those who have lost employment for refusing to sanction such perversion

      To which the response would have been: “That’s not an example of someone suffering due to same-sex marriage; it’s an example of someone suffering for his bigoted views concerning same-sex couples.”

      Or an alternate response might have been: “That’s not evidence of someone suffering due to same-sex marriage per se; it’s an example of someone suffering due to overzealous anti-discrimination laws that fail to adequately protect religious objections to same-sex marriage.”

      • Glenn E. Chatfield

        It isn’t bigotry to not want to sanction sinful behavior. It would be bigotry if we didn’t want to tolerate it. I have no problem with tolerating it, but when I’m forced to sanction it then that causes me harm.

        The laws should prevent discrimination against ANY objections – not just religious objections. No one should be forced to give sanction to anyone’s sinful or perverse behavior.

        But the laws which allow same-sex fake marriage are the very laws that cause the harm. So you can’t have one without the other.

        • buddyglass

          So I take it you oppose laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of religion, since such laws prevent Christians from refusing to hire/rent/serve adherents of false, idolatrous faiths?

          I agree with you: you should never be forced to “sanction” sinful behavior. Where we likely disagree is on what constitutes “sanctioning”. Am I sanctioning the practicing homosexual’s lifestyle if I hire him to paint my house? If I sell him a hamburger? If I rent a room to him?

          • Glenn E. Chatfield

            When I am forced to participate in a fake wedding or lose my job or face lawsuit, that is forcing to give sanction. If I am forced to rent to a same-sex couple when I wouldn’t rent to unmarried couples, that is being forced to give sanction. When as an employer I have to give same-sex couples the same benefits as I give real marriages (but don’t give to live-ins), that is being forced to sanction.

            Any job which has nothing to do with their sexual behavior should not be interfered with; in other words, if they are qualified, who cares what their sexual proclivities are? After all, I work with adulterers and fornicators also. But adulterers and fornicators are demanding societal sanction and won’t sue you if you don’t want to participate in their sinful behavior.

            Then there is the whole other realm of morality when it comes to organizations such as the Boy Scouts. They should not have to allow fornicators, adulterers or homosexuals to be part of their organization. Nor should these people be allowed to be in any position where they will teach their proclivities to children as being right and proper.

            They always claim that they want us to keep out of their bedroom and yet they want to make sure you know what they do in their bedroom!

            • J O E B L A C K M O N

              Actually, anyone who reads your comments knows it is true. Why don’t you repent of your sin and believe the gospel?

              • buddyglass

                Just to be absolutely clear: you’re claiming that I regard anyone who stands for what God instructs as bigoted.

                That’s just not the case. To give one example, generally speaking I don’t regard those who oppose abortion as bigoted.

    • Paul Reed

      Can I broaden Glenn Chatfield’s question? Why is it every time there is a culture clash, the person representing the pro-sodomy (pro-abortion, pro-atheist) is always aggressive and uncompromising, and the guy on the other side is a timid milquetoast?

      • Robert I Masters

        I do not think that Douglas Wilson is milquetoast. If you listen to his debate on the same topic at Indiana University or the other Idaho debate you will get a different perspective.
        I think he was trying to convince minds with his consistent point on polygamy. Logically you cant have equal rights and not have equal rights for polgamy and polyamory.
        Andrew Sullivan had no answer for that point.

  • Robert I Masters

    I think the reason he didnt point out those objections is because Andrew Sullivan already agreed those where not good for society based on his conservative understanding especially of federalism.

  • Nathan Cesal

    Doug Wilson failed at this debate miserably, which I’m surprised. I expected a good dialogue. Wilson was armed with only two reasons why he thinks same-sex civil marriage is bad for society – #1 the Bible tells him so and #2 the arguments for same-sex marriage will be used to support polygamy.

    #1 is a great argument, but only if the people you are trying to convince are people that think the Bible is important and who have a similar interpretation (this argument is only good for preaching to the choir)

    #2 is a lousy argument. A questioner toward the end of the 2 hours brought up the point that Wilson’s arguments against same-sex marriage (namely argument #1) should be ignored because those EXACT SAME arguments were used historically to support a number of social inequities (relating to interracial marriage, women’s suffrage, and others) which we’ve come discredit. Wilson side-stepped the point by saying he is not arguing the exact same thing – that his conclusion is different – he said the historical figures were trying to preserve something different than what he is trying to preserve. In my opinion, this difference is only theoretical – in practice, the outcome is the same: drawing a line to exclude some right from a group of people. An opponent to Wilson could just as easily side step Wilson’s slippery slope to polygamy by using Wilson’s own logic that he used to answer that question during the Q&A.

    I know I’m risking sounding like the anti-marriage-equality folks of the past decade: changing marriage from a twosome to an n-some is *literally* changing the definition of marriage. This change has some consequences a) It will require a herculean effort to change all the laws to include more than a pair of people in a meaningful way – just know before you start, the whole thing will be combinatorial nightmare. b) you have to nail the definition down better – like what does it mean when Persons X & Y are married to Person Z, but Persons X & Y no longer want to be married to each other, but still want to / need to be with Z?, c) when things are going great within a marriage, there is little to nothing for government to do, but when things go sour, splitting up property and child custody for an n-some is going to get problematic – let’s say we have a group of 10 people in a marriage and for some reason 9 divorce 1. Is getting 10% of the property really enough for the divorced person to make it without government assistance? Will there be groups of people within these n-some marriages that will use their leverage in order to force a person into submission. The dynamics the n-some group allows do not strengthen society. The cost of governing the n-some will be a lot higher and therefore does not strengthen society. There are practical reasons to disallow n-some marriages. Convince me that these issues (along with others) don’t exist or aren’t detrimental, and I’ll support n-some marriage (from a civil standpoint).

    Sullivan provided a whole laundry list on how allowing same-sex civil marriage is good for society.
    Wilson provided no list on how allowing same-sex civil marriage is bad for society (neither actual nor theoretical detriments).

  • Ben Simpson (@JBenSimpson)

    I really did indeed appreciate the tone of the conversation. Unfortunately, it was an AWFUL debate in format & content.

    The format of the debate had no point/counterpoint or cross-examination. It merely became a conversation that was swallowed up by Sullivan because he both was the aggressor in making sure he talked and was the primary recipient of the questions from Hitchens and Wilson. Sullivan seemed to talk twice as much as Wilson.

    As for content, neither man really answered the question of the debate: is civil marriage for gay couples good for society? The best that Sullivan offered was that it’s good for gay couples and that divorce rates are lower in gay-marriage states, which undoubtedly is a false cause fallacy. The best Wilson could do is that gay marriage will lead to bad things, namely polygamy.

    I’m a big fan of Wilson, but in this debate, he was inarticulate, ineloquent, and too narrow in his argumentation. His opening was delivered flatly and terribly. Sullivan on the other hand was articulate, eloquent, and utilized emotionalism very well. Sullivan certainly “out-debated” Wilson, but for we who are biblical Christians, we do not make up our minds based upon how well somebody argued. Rather, we make up our minds based upon the Word of God, and in this case, the Word of God is very clear: 1) homosexuality is certainly sinful and therefore, cannot be condoned and normalized by biblical Christians; 2) marriage is instituted by God and intended for one man and one woman until death do they part.

    • Sergius Martin-George

      I agree with Mr. Simpson. At the risk of using what has become the most overused and hackneyed expression in the Young-and-not-so-young Reformed universe, the far more “winsome” debater was clearly Mr. Sullivan. It need not have been so.

  • TexJoe

    This was a disappointing debate. Leithart summed it up well, and in his own post, Wilson agreed that his arguments fall on deaf ears, and that the only solution is spiritual awakening. That leaves me with the question: “What on earth is Wilson doing debating this guy?” Like..what’s he trying to accomplish? Preach the gospel, brother! Sullivan needs to turn to Christ (No, for real. The kind that comes with repentance from sin, not defense of it.), not to be convinced philosophically that sodomy is harmful to society.
    On the other hand, Sullivan’s misty-eyed pity party was almost as comical as when he got his panties in a bunch over Hitchens’ questions. The bullied victim waxes bellicose himself!
    Anyway, I would want to tell Sullivan that personal experience is no hermeneutic, but then, no hermeneutic is necessary for a man with no regard for God’s Word. Again–let him hear the Gospel and trust the Lord for the results.

  • Robert I Masters


    Was he not preaching the Gospel in his closing statements……Even Peter Liethart said that did he not?

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