America Divided: John Anderson Talks with Douglas Wilson

6 April 2023

3.1 MINS

Douglas Wilson is the pastor of Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho, USA and founder of The Association of Classical Christian Schools in North America. His discussion with John ranged far and wide but focussed on the current division in American society and what might be the antidote. 

Another highlight from Conversations with John Anderson, a channel I commend to all who love to think through some of the big issues. John’s guests always seem to lift my spirit even while dissecting some tragic challenges within society.


Wilson is passionate about his Christian faith, and as an accomplished evangelist wrote a book with atheist Christopher Hitchens (2008), called Is Christianity Good for the World?

If there is no God, all there is is power. Perhaps the greatest casualty so far in American society has been the abandonment of God and His replacement by secular humanism with its cancel culture and the silencing of dissent. Wilson believes that a critical ingredient here is fatherlessness, a society without fathers.

The two men talked through the arrival of the Frankfurt School, escaping from Nazi Germany, into America, which morphed into critical theory and then attacked every foundation of Western civilisation. They talked through critical theory’s long march through the institutions, starting with academia, seminaries, publishing houses, media and K–12 schooling. Even though the leftists have now captured all these institutions they still think of themselves as revolutionaries and the underdogs, despite their control of all the foundations of Western society.

Wilson talked through the history of public schooling in America. Public schools were established by Protestants and controlled by local school boards. These boards represented largely evangelical Protestant communities. Hence the ethos of these schools was unequivocally Christian.

The move to private education in America started in the 1980s but has accelerated enormously in the last two years. In addition to this, there has been an explosion in home-schooling. In 2020 there were two million children in home-schooling; there are six million today.

It’s as if the conservative, largely Christian right in the USA has just woken up to realise what has happened to their public schools. They have had the illusion that their children and grandchildren were getting educated just like they used to be. After all, the schools are often in the same buildings, in the same communities, as they were fifty or sixty years earlier. However, now the public schools are run by the state with an illusion of control from local school boards, but the DNA has been totally replaced by secular humanism and critical theory.

The discussion shifted to discuss the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789. Anderson and Wilson were picking up the crucial distinction between these two revolutions highlighted by Os Guinness’ (2021) The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom. I won’t unpack this here, but tantalise you, and encourage you to read the book, it’s brilliant and relevant for the saving of America and the Western world.

Moscow is a small town in rural Idaho of 26,000 people, on the border with Washington state in the northwest of the United States. It was very much a close, cohesive community prior to covidia. Then the mandates came. Here, many schools chose to stay open, as did many of the churches and they never imposed mask mandates. Wilson’s church is a case in point. Well, when the mandates arrived (obviously voluntary in Moscow), they divided the city. They had little to do with a disease but everything to do with power and were used as a political badge of honour that divided the people, left from right. This brought out largely hostility from the left and grace from the right, but tragically the community was divided as a result.

For me the most telling passage of the discussion centred around the description of the political map after the 2016 elections, by county, red Republican and blue Democrat.

Source: Swing vote ‘trumped’ turnout in 2016 election

Quite clearly the divide is between the cities and the rural, between the coasts and the rural heartland, or the fly-over states as the Americans have it.

Wilson was highly critical of much of Trump’s rhetoric, but he applauded him for governing to the right when he got into office and keeping his commitments in a way that many Republicans had rarely done before him. However, Wilson was much more scathing of Biden who has simply cancelled opponents and, under his watch, he has ushered in totalitarianism.

Traditional, conservative largely Christian Americans are belligerent, angry and like sheep without a shepherd. Wilson prays that a leader might arise to give them back their voice.


Photo: screenshot via John Anderson/Youtube.

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  1. Stephen Brinton 6 April 2023 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks Jim for your article. Do you see a comparison with Australia? Is Australia is more urban than the US? Or are cities here influencing rural similar to the US? Stephen

  2. Leonie Robson 7 April 2023 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Thanks Jim.
    Keen to listen to the interview.
    John does a great job. We often despair the state of America, but sadly and inevitably this excrement they peddle flows downhill.
    Now we have communist thinking (I’m being kind here) leaders across Australia. The church has been so very neglectful by and large to call them to account.
    Like America we need leaders to actually be in opposition. Agreement and alignment with this darkness betrays us and our children’s future.
    As the song goes, ‘don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone; they pave paradise and put up a parking lot ‘

  3. Jim Twelves 7 April 2023 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Stephen, a challenging question indeed. In fact I had a similar discussion with one of my daughters today. The population of the US is much more dense in the interior (don’t take that the wrong way). So a direct comparison between US and Australia in terms of geography does not work from my perspective. But, do I think Australia is divided. So sadly, I think yes she is, and for similar reasons as the US; the passion and the strategy of the virtue signalling left has literally polarized us, made all the more telling by the temerity of the conservative right.
    I am happy to be proven wrong, love to hear an argument to prove me wrong, but I think John Anderson would agree with me (not that I have asked him). I think the work of John Anderson is seeking to bridge the divide by such conversations as this one. Lets get as much encouragement streaming to him as we can!

    • Kaylene Emery 10 April 2023 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      Standing up for men like John Anderson is imperative in these days and the more people… (especially women )who do so the better.
      Our children ( of all age’ s) need us – our country needs us as never before. Christians need each other in the same way as the they did, when Jesus Christ walked among them in the flesh.
      He has given us His spirt just as He said He would so as Jane of Ark said…….”Forward boldly”.

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