A psychology professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato is taking heat from conservative TV talk show host Tucker Carlson for tweeting that God is guilty of a #MeToo violation for the Virgin Mary’s pregnancy.
Eric Sprankle, who specializes in sexuality studies, angered Carlson and guest commentator Mark Steyn on Thursday on Carlson’s Fox News show with his tweet from earlier in the week: “The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays.”
In response to a critical tweet, Sprankle responded with a tweet saying that “the biblical god regularly punished disobedience. The power difference (deity vs mortal) and the potential for violence for saying ‘no’ negates her ‘yes.’ To put someone in this position is an unethical abuse of power at best and grossly predatory at worst.”
On Carlson’s show. Steyn expressed his displeasure with what Sprankle wrote.
“Fifty years ago, this kind of shallow banality would be something in the province of a drunk undergraduate at three in the morning,” he said.
Sprankle didn’t return e-mails or telephone calls Friday seeking comment. The university issued the following statement:
“As a public institution of higher education, Minnesota State University, Mankato respects the rights and privileges associated with the U.S. Constitution, including in this case the First Amendment right of freedom of speech and religion.”
A spokesman said the university wasn’t aware of parents or donors who may have contacted the school about Sprankle’s tweets. He added that the school had received a handful of complaints.
In addition to being a college professor, Sprankle also is a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist. He leads the university’s Sexual Health Research Team, which examines sex work stigma, the effects of sexually explicit material and older adult sexuality.
On his Twitter bio, he said he reads Edgar Allan Poe and advocates for sex workers’ rights. The bio also includes the words “Ave Satanas,” Latin for “Hail Satan.”
Sprankle has nearly 17,000 followers on Twitter. A few posted critical tweets this week: “This idiot clearly is an atheist! Has no clue of scripture. Just spewing hate & lies!” said one. Another read, “Eric Sprankle the professor who thinks God is a sex predator? We should not want to see anyone go to hell and we all only have a limited time in this world. So with any luck God will work on him and lead him to Jesus Christ.”
Sprankle’s tweet was discussed only briefly on Carlson’s show, but Steyn got his point across.
“The idea that God has got the Virgin Mary back to his pad, and she’s saying ‘I really must go,’ and he’s saying ‘Baby, it’s cold outside’ ... I miss the days when atheists were at least intelligent enough to take seriously what they were purporting to knock down,” he said.