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Posts tagged ‘Christian Reconstructionism’

Now this creeps out

I heard about this disturbing stuff at Butterflies and Wheels (in all cases, my emphasis):

Nearly 7,000 Virginia children whose families have opted to keep them out of public school for religious reasons are not required to get an education, the only children in the country who do not have to prove they are being home-schooled or otherwise educated, according to a study.

Virginia is the only state that allows families to avoid government intrusion once they are given permission to opt out of public school, according to a report from the University of Virginia’s School of Law. It’s a law that is defended for promoting religious freedom and criticized for leaving open the possibility that some children will not be educated.


I have no problem with homeschooling in itself, but I don’t see how a situation like this will ever end well.

Once parents in Virginia are granted a religious exemption, they’re no longer legally obligated to educate their children.

The statute does not allow exemptions for political or philosophical beliefs “or a merely personal moral code,” but the beliefs do not have to be part of a mainstream religion….

Yet again we have perverse privileging of religious belief over secular belief.

Now, I have no absolute proof, but it is virtually inevitable that girls will be the ones who will be denied a or deprived of an adequate education under this scheme of legalizing child abuse. How do I realize that? How many religions mandate the oppression/subordination of men? None (that matter). How many mandate the oppression/subordination of women? Most (that matter).

Denying education and choices to girls is child abuse. Here’s why (after the jump):



Book Review: Quiverfull – Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement

Before my previous computer died, I arranged an inter–library loan for a book I had been badly wanting to read. The book is Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by American journalist Kathryn Joyce. The book is available from Beacon Press. I promised a review and a summary of its contents, and here they are.

The book is divided into three sections. The first part of the book isn’t really about Quiverfull specifically, so much as conservative and fundamentalist Christianity. It covers women in various churches and denominations. This part in no way distracts from the rest of the book, as it provides a necessary background and context. The second and third sections cover Quiverfull and other natalist movements more specifically. Throughout the book, Joyce focuses on specific people/organizations within the QF/P movements, such as Vision Forum or the Botkin sisters. She also covers several people who escaped from Quiverfull. Some Lastly, a few parts of the book began as magazine articles, and can be found online.

Being a journalist, Joyce sticks only to objective language and point–of–view, and avoids judging the people she discusses, even though she strongly disagrees with the QF lifestyle. In some sense, this sticking only to reportage detracts from the book, as more analysis and discussion would have been better. Another issue is the lack of footnotes or endnotes. Although Joyce mentions sources inline, it is easier to find the exact spot of a quotation with a note rather than something like “said X, in their book____”. This prevents having to read straight through some other book until the fact or quotation is found.

The is well–written, and excellently researched. There is no need for the book to tell how bad the QF/P subculture is, as it does an excellent job showing it instead. The followers and adherents of this disturbing lifestyle chillingly speak in their own words. Being a long–time lurker and reader of anti–QF/P blogs, and having read some of the online excerpts, I already knew the general gist about Quiverfull, so the book was less informative than it will be for someone who knows nothing about QF/P.

Overall, this was a really necessary and eye–opening book. I recommend it.

As for Quiverfull, it is inextricably connected with the movements called Biblical Patriarchy or Biblical Family Values. These are all movements within Protestant Christianity. One does not need have all of the characteristics of QF/P, or meet them completely, to be a Quiverfuller, so the following characteristics should be interpreted as indicative of a spectrum stretching from ordinary conservative Christianity at one end, through fundamentalism, with QF/P at the other end.

The traits of Quiverfull/Biblical Patriarchy are (sources are the Joyce book and various websites and blogs by those who left QF/P):

  • Abstaining from all forms of birth control and contraception, including natural family planning and fertility awareness. Frequently, followers forgo maternal health or the services of an ob–gyn. The end result is that women are expected to bear children until they keel over and expire.
  • Restricted gender roles, or “Biblical manhood and womanhood”. Men are providers, breadwinners, and always in charge. Women are submissive doormats and helpmeets, doing housework and homemaking. If the position of a marriage is not going well or if troubles and difficulties happen to a family, then it is blamed on the woman. Her marriage advice is mostly summed up by the sentence, “Shut up and submit more.”
  • Isolationism. QF/P families often live in rural areas. They often reject any form of government assistance, even it if means living in appalling, over–crowded or substandard conditions. Parents restrict access to outside or “worldly” influences. This usually leads to home–churching and homeschooling, as well as claiming total owner over one’s children, under the guise of “parental rights”. In the context of QF/P, “parental rights” usually means some combination of: (1) the right to beat the shit out of your kid; (2) the right to deny education; (3) the right to deny healthcare; and (4) the right to raise your daughter to be a doormat.
  • Treating women little better than chattel. Daughters are kept isolated, and are denied any chance to be able to support themselves should they leave, and are denied any real “control” over their own lives. Daughters are kept at home doing chores and housework (the “Stay–at–Home Daughters Movement”) as a helpmeet for their fathers and a future helpmeet for their husbands. They undergo “courtship” (instead of dating) and a given away (the same way you give away a coat) to men in what are essentially arranged marriages. In addition, this controlling treatment of women leads to an obsession with female sexuality and a focus on “purity” (leading to things like purity balls) and modesty rules (like dresses only).

Disturbingly, some of these sentiments (like purity balls) have become more mainstream amongst ordinary evangelical Christianity.

In any event, “patriarchy” seems to be the wrong word for this movement; “patriarchy” is too weak and certainly is not strong enough.

And lastly, a mini link farm to more sites providing additional information on QF/P:

  • No Longer Qivering is a blog run by QF/P escapee Vyckie Garrison. It tells the story of her escape from QF/P, and likewise for several other people, and also serves as an information source on QF/P movements.
  • A Quiver Full of Information is run by Hopewell, and serves a link directory to most websites/blogs concerning QF/P. Hopewell is a self–described “campaigner against abusive religion”, but her page links to QF/P sites in a neutral manner. It includes a page of links to survivor/escapee websites.
  • Rethinking Vision Forum by Libby Anne is a website compiling responses to and exposés of one of the biggest promoters of QF/P, Vision Forum.

What about the children’s rights?

Via Pandagon comes news that Representative Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) has a new wedge issue: a constitutional amendment regarding parental rights. The issue has flared up over a proposal to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Having read the convention, I can tell you that it is full of common-sense things everyone should be able to accept: the right to a name and nationality, the right to an education, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, the right not be abused, the right not to be sexually exploited, and so on. In other words, a total non-issue that there should be no debate about. Hence, this proposed amendment is really mostly an attempt to get people so worked up over a social issue that they vote against their best interests. And if that happens, it won’t What’s the Matter with Kansas?, it’ll be What’s the Matter with America?

The United States should ratify the UNCRC and it should also ban homeschooling. Although I realize that some people may benefit from homeschooling, banning it is justified because it allows bad parents to completely isolate their children from the outside world. (Edit: This means that I think that the benefits attained by disallowing homeschooling are justified based on the things homeschooling allows to take place) Allowing homeschooling and not signing the USCRC will allow nasty and horrible things to continue and to be covered up. Examples of those are after the jump.

Take personal responsibility for your actions and know what you’re getting into. The material after the jump has a trigger warning.


A tale of two companies

First the good:

Feministing reports that the American Family Association is urging a boycott of Campbell’s Soup because it subsidiary, Swanson Broth, dared to do good and run an ad featuring a lesbian couple and their son in a gay magazine, The Advocate. Stand up for equality: buy more Campbell’s, give surplus to charity, and tell Campbell’s how they are doing good and that you will continue to support them.

Now the bad:

Religion Dispatches reports on how the winner of a “Manliness” contest sponsored by Old Spice is a man called Matthew Chancey. Matthew Chancey is a Christian Reconstructionist and a truly evil man. He is against women’s rights, and supports theocracy and women being submissive. He was supported by Vision Forum, which is against women’s suffrage. THIS IS TRULY EVIL AND MUST NOT BE TOLERATED. Tell Proctor & Gamble how bad they really are and never ever buy another one of their products.

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