Michael Farris speaks out against teachings of two fallen Homeschool Movement leaders, Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard, but why now?
Michael Farris, one of the pillars of the modern Homeschool Movement and founders of Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and founding president of Patrick Henry College, released an article addressing abuses within the Christian homeschool community in his article, “A Line in the Sand,” in which he specifically called out two fallen leaders within the Homeschool Movement: Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips. Farris publicly condemned some of the teachings of Gothard and Phillips, saying they “damage people in multiple ways.”
He’s absolutely right. A lot of damage and abuse has occurred because of the teachings of these men.
I’d like to go over his article in greater detail and also make observations based on other systems in which abuse was uncovered. Let’s start with this doozy right here:
Although some people want HSLDA to be the police force of the homeschooling movement—removing those who miss the mark in some manner—that is not our role.
Would someone please tell me when it is NOT the role of Christians to protect and defend the defenseless? Chapter and verse, please.
Even though I have been uncomfortable with the teaching coming from each of these men for several years, it is not my place to try to remove viewpoints from the homeschooling community just because the HSLDA board or I hold a different view.
I repeat: Would someone please tell me when it is NOT the role of Christians to protect and defend the defenseless? Chapter and verse, please.
This next sentence is important:
Our role is to defend the freedom of everyone to homeschool.
This sentence needs to be understood as an underlying theme of HSLDA. Please tuck away this statement because I will be coming back to it. This is key to the ministry work of Farris and HSLDA.
Frankly, we should have spoken up sooner. How much sooner is hard to say.
How much sooner is hard to say? That’s like saying, “I saw the ravaged bodies lying on the side of the road, but decided to walk on by and keep that information to myself. It didn’t seem like the right time to say or do anything, so I didn’t.”
The reason I used such strong imagery is because later, Farris clues us in that he really does understand the damaging effects of these errant teachings. He knows that the teachings have led to a crisis of faith in which some have rejected Christianity entirely:
I’ve come in contact with many young people who were raised in patriarchal or legalistic homes. Almost none of them are following these philosophies today. Some have rejected Christianity altogether.
It’s important to understand WHY Farris and HSLDA did not speak up sooner. Why did they leave ravaged bodies on the side of the road?
Why would someone knowingly withhold information that could protect children and wives from abuse? Let’s look at some other situations in which people had information and chose to keep it silent. We can see similar patterns in other popular stories related to abuse.
In the Jerry Sandusky Penn State sex abuse scandal, there were people who knew information about Sandusky and didn’t report. Why didn’t they report? What was the motivating factor in keeping quiet?
We’ve long suspected, but now have confirmed by sworn court testimony that Grant Layman, a pastor at a Sovereign Grace Ministries church, knew that Nathaniel Morales had sexually abused children before, but failed to report to authorities. Why did this pastor, a shepherd of God’s precious flock, fail to report?
In June of 2014, Paul Tripp resigned from his position on the Mars Hill Board of Accountability and gave very little reason as to stepping down. Yet this week, nine Mars Hill church elders (one of whom has since been fired for speaking out) published a document about their grievances with Mark Driscoll. In that document, Paul Tripp expressed very strong words about the abusive nature of Mark Driscoll and his ministry:
“This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.”
Why did Paul Tripp not share that bombshell of info back in June when he resigned?
Why did Acts 29 take so long at calling Mark Driscoll out and removing his name and Mars Hill Church from the Acts 29 members list?
At what point did each of these people decide enough is enough regarding known abuse?
What was it that kept them from being completely transparent earlier when they had knowledge that could have prevented more abuse from occurring?
I believe the reason why people remain silent is because they are serving their personal idol, rather than Christ. A Christ follower would respond appropriately to defend victims, even if there is a personal cost.
Christ followers know there is a personal cost to being a Christian. These men used self-preservation and defended their idols.
What was the idol in the Penn State sex scandal? I believe it was the Almighty Dollar. Sandusky represented football wins for Penn State. If it was publicized that Sandusky was a pedophile, how would that affect Penn State and their record? It was too much of a gamble. People put the thought of pedophilia aside and likely said, “it’s a personal issue,” or “someone else is surely dealing with it.”
What was the idol with CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries abuse cases? I believe it was his doctrine and authority structure that prominent church leaders adhered to. Mahaney had charisma, he had the right New Calivinism doctrine, people loved him at conferences ($$), he also really understood one of the primary issues in those circles, “biblical” male and female roles, complementarianism. What CJ Mahaney represented doctrinally was apparently more important to them than Mahaney’s victims.
I believe the same is the case with Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill. Why has it taken people so long to call him out? Because once again, he represented their doctrine in a powerful way. Somehow, church leaders could easily dismiss his cussing, his bullying, plagiarism because the more important message to them was that he had the right doctrine – again, New Calvinism. That was the idol.
Going back to Farris and HSLDA – why is it that Farris waited so long to disclose the truth he knew long ago about Phillips and Gothard? Because it would have cost him.
Although Farris knew there were problems with the teachings of Phillips and Gothard, the bulk of their other ideologies lined up with the trajectory of Farris and his ministry’s movement. For him to call them out earlier would mean a loss of supporters and revenue, as both men had a very large following. Farris would have been forced to stand alone. The followers of Gothard and Phillips would have been left in a quandary of picking who they would follow and support, and subsequently, there likely would have been economic consequences at HSLDA. The following quote shows Farris/HSLDA was willing to support and promote errant teachings and now has regrets:
While we did not directly promote their teachings using our own resources, we did allow Vision Forum to buy ad space to promote their products and ideas. We were wrong to do so. And we regret it.
I believe Farris waited until he realized that the court of public opinion had turned against Phillips and Gothard.
For Farris to not speak out at this time would have been a liability to his ministry.
He had to speak out now. Will he do more than speak? Will he use his prominent position in the Homeschool Movement to defend and protect victims? That remains to be seen.
There have been quite a few articles related to Farris’ article and the conflict within the Christian Homeschool Movement:
CHRE – Why Homeschooling Needs Oversight: Responding to HSLDA and WORLD
HSLDA and CRHE’s positions on homeschooling policy differ because they serve two different audiences: HSLDA’s mission is “to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children” (emphasis added), while CRHE’s goal is “advocating for homeschooled children.” In theory, though, policy recommendations should be able to benefit both homeschool parents and homeschooled children.
Shawn Mathis, examiner.com – Farris, HSLDA apologizes for silence about Phillips and critiques patriarchy
In a humble act of public repentance, Michael Farris, on behalf of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) , apologized for not “speaking up sooner” about the errors of Vision Forum and Doug Phillips.
The Christian Post – Homeschool Advocate Michael Farris Responds to Sex Scandals of Homeschool Leaders Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips
Farris had “been uncomfortable with the teaching coming from each of these men for several years” but was reluctant to speak out because he did not believe it was the role of HSLDA to police the teachings of those within the homeschooling community.
The Raw Story – Christian leader denounces Duggar family’s patriarchal movement as ‘truly dangerous’
“With these recent scandals in view, we think it is now time to speak out — not about these men’s individual sins, but about their teachings,” Farris wrote. “Their sins have damaged the lives of their victims, and should be addressed by those with the appropriate legal and spiritual authority in those situations, but their teachings continue to threaten the freedom and integrity of the homeschooling movement. That is why HSLDA needs to stand up and speak up.”
Right Wing Watch – Homeschooling Leader Distances Himself From ‘Dangerous’ Christian Patriarchy Movement Promoted By Duggars
Two leaders of the Christian patriarchy movement — Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard — have been hit with sexual harassment and abuse charges in the past year, which has drawn attention to the movement’s teachings — extreme even within the Religious Right — that women should be completely submissive to the men in their lives.
World Magazine – Homeschool leader disavows ‘patriarchy’
HSLDA and Farris have faced particular pressure to repudiate Phillips and Gothard in the past year from some former homeschooled students who have claimed they were abused—physically, emotionally, or “spiritually”—by their parents. Many are represented by a website called Homeschoolers Anonymous, as WORLD reported in its recent article about homeschoolers and abuse.
Shawn Mathis, examiner.com – Will NCFIC and homeschooling groups imitate HSLDA’s apology about Phillips?
These concerns should be equally applied to radical homeschool and family integrated church leaders.
In fact, it behooves these men and their organizations to make their positions clear: will they continue to silently stand with their past relationship with Doug or will they formally and publicly distance themselves from Phillips’ errors?
86 thoughts on “From Silence to Exposure: Why did Homeschool Leader Michael Farris Speak Out Now?”
As usual, Julie Anne, you have analyzed this issue with crystal clarity. It’s very sad – but true – that the almighty dollar is the bottom line here, as well. That saying, “making bank off Jesus” comes to mind. LOTS of men have been doing that; and let’s face it, being a ‘mouthpiece of Jesus’ has got to be attractive and exalting.
There’s another good article on “Love, Joy, Feminism” by Libby Anne (Patheos) – she raises some excellent points, as well. (you know I’m a techno dunderhead and can’t do the ‘link’ thing!)
“Yet this week, nine Mars Hill church elders (one of whom has since been fired for speaking out) published a document about their grievances with Mark Driscoll. In that document, Paul Tripp expressed very strong words about the abusive nature of Mark Driscoll and his ministry:
“This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.””
Who mentored Driscoll? Tripp’s good friend CJ Mahaney.
The first thing that comes to mind is the name Jay Sekulow, a great attorney for Christians. If I am not mistaken, Michael Farris is an attorney, right? One thing for certain, Michael Farris is no Jay Sekulow.
OK, so they defend the right to homeschool. Big deal. It’s a constitutional issue. They should get to know all of the laws entailed if anyone breaks the law of the land. Defending the right to homeschool is minor. What happens when one breaks the law? Defend the perp, rather than Defend The Sheep?
As we know, many a perp feigns repentance out of being caught. Take for example Doug Phillips. He calls his victim a liar. Some repentance, huh?
Where are all of the “IF/THEN” laws pertaining to homeschooling? Defending the right to homeschool doesn’t take a genius attorney. Defending the sheep takes an attorney such as Jay Sekulow who does fight for the sheep, as well as the constitution. He’s fought cases at the Supreme Court…and won.
I find that the HSLDA as a useless organization. Fighting for the right to homeschool is like fighting for the right to eat at Burger King, and forsaking McDonalds. It doesn’t take a legal defense. Yes, the HSLDA is useless.
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“This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.”
I don’t understand. Authority freak and promoter of infant spanking Paul Tripp (and his brother) have been speaking and giving seminars at Mars Hill for years. He seemed happy enough to accept these speaking gigs.
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“If there’s one thing Paul Tripp knows, it’s biblical counseling. If there’s another, it’s how to grow a manly mustache. Dr. Paul Tripp is a professor, church planter, author, parent, and counselor extraordinaire. In many ways, he is the godfather of our Redemption Groups ministry. He has visited Mars Hill Church a number of times to teach various seminars and classes. “I’m excited to preach and spend the weekend at Mars Hill Church,” says Dr. Tripp. “I have great respect for the vibrancy, clarity, and courage of the gospel ministry of Mars Hill, and I am honored to partner with Pastor Mark and the team whenever I can.””
Paul Tripp page.
Ed, Yes, Michael Farris is an attorney. From his bio page:
By the way, I referred to his idol as defending homeschool freedoms, but it really is much more than that. I used the quote in his statement, but that’s just a tip of the iceberg of a much bigger agenda he promotes. There’s a reason why he started a school, Patrick Henry, and located it so strategically close to Washington DC.
Amen and huzzah!
I would love to say that even though it’s late, at least they’ve spoken, but I can’t get past the cynical part of me that thinks that they’ve spoken to save their own arse. Although, they did withdraw out of Swanson’s Gen conference.
As far as HSLDA “fighting for homeschooler’s rights,” I’ve always had the impression that they represent mainly Christian homeschoolers. I don’t think I’ve ever known a secular homeschooler who has used their organization.
That is a heck of a bio. But here is a difference between Jay and Michael that I see in that bio.
Michael fights for the right to homeschool. This gives way to the thought of giving up the fight to keep God in public school, putting God in a box at home and church, which is isolating God from the public square. Freedom to isolate,and keep it to yourself, just as the atheists want.
Jay fights for the right to have God in public school, giving way to the thought that God belongs in the public square, as it once was. Freedom of expression of religious thought.
I think Farris is after the almighty dollar, too. Since homeschooling has become more accepted (yes, some people are still going after homeschoolers in the US, but not nearly like the 80’s and 90’s) he needs a new enemy to keep the $$ rolling in. So, we have the Parental Rights Amendment (PRA). (Okay, so as soon as you make an amendment, the government will try to regulate it (think about how guns, speech, and other things are regulated – all covered in amendments to the constitution). Fastest way to lose the right for you to raise your children the way you think is right is to have the PRA).
Now we have Common Core getting shoved down our throats. And what does the big “defender of homeschooling families” do? A balanced video on both sides of the issue. If your thing is to DEFEND homeschooling, you would think they would have pulled out all the stops to show every weakness, big brother, data collection data mining, etc, etc, etc, that is in Common Core. But no, they do a balanced puff piece.
My guess is he’s not fighting CC right now because it isn’t being implemented as strongly as the CC supporters would like, so it’s not a big enough enemy for him to get more members to join HSLDA. But, as soon as ACT, SAT, college entrance requirements, etc, start requiring CC of everyone (including homeschoolers), then he’ll speak up and say how he’s always been against CC and if you just send him a little more $$ he’ll fight for you, too.
I think Michael Farris is finding out (big time!) that the problem with being in the middle of a ___storm is that it’s very difficult to keep the ____ from sticking.
Very interesting comparison between the 2 attorneys, Ed. They both have a different agenda. Farris is all about parental rights, so much so, that children are slipping through the cracks and getting hurt because there is no oversight. That is the whole reason CRHE (the advocacy group to protect the rights of homeschooled children) is trying to get some oversight. They are trying to meet in the middle. They think homeschooling is fine, but there must be some oversight so that children aren’t left abused. That kind of oversight will never fly with HSLDA.
Mike Farris’ statement is way too late. On the other hand, he’s now said a lot more that the staunchest defenders of Mark Driscoll, C.J. Mahaney and some other leaders accused of spiritual abuse and legalism.
I can’t help but wonder if this is somehow connected to the congressional candidacy of Don Beyer, the man who defeated Farris for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 1993. In a June primary Beyer won the Democratic nomination for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA). Beyer has a history of running negative ads describing his opponents as extremists and either distorting their statements or taking them out of context. The tactic worked against Farris but backfired when Beyer ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1997. I wonder if Farris is trying to head off any negative press that might come up once the general election campaign is underway in earnest, although I know of no connection between Farris and Beyer’s current GOP opponent.
I just saw that Christian Post coverage of this story last night, and they published that story yesterday or maybe the day before. I found it strange this guy is just now speaking out about it. The Phillips/Gothard stories are several months old.
I don’t even keep up a lot with homeschooling topics, and I don’t know much about it, just what I read on blogs such as this one. But even I’m aware that the Phillips/Gothard stories are months old.
Here is another blog page about the problems in the homeschooling movement:
Why do Christian news outlets minimize abuse in Christian homeschooling?
The lady who wrote that page is critical of religion writer Jonathan Merritt’s views (he writes for Religion News Services).
A kind of “PS” to my previous post (somewhat related but a tad off topic):
I have at times agreed with a few of Merritt’s positions on one or two topics, but sometimes, I think he gets things very wrong.
Merritt seems to be getting homeschooling stuff wrong, and in the last month or so, he’s written some material highly apologetic of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill, shaming anyone who dares criticize Driscoll.
Merritt thinks anyone who criticizes Driscoll’s abuse of people is being a big, unforgiving, meanie, and should stop.
In the past month or two, Merritt has written blog posts with titles such as,
“Why I accept Mark Driscoll’s apology…and you should too …”
“Why Christians shouldn’t celebrate Mark Driscoll’s demise …”
I cannot figure out why some Christians (I assume JM is Christian?) will jump through hoops to coddle and defend someone (such as Driscoll) who is so obviously wrong and out of line.
I don’t think MD’s (Mark Driscoll’s) critics are on a witch hunt, as per JD Hall and Pulpit Pen guys with Ergun Caner.
I think most Christians have merely wanted some accountability in regards to Driscoll for years and for him to permanently step down, not his head on a platter, not ruin his life until he’s penniless and nobody anywhere will hire him ever.
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I can’t speak personally about Farris, but no matter his personal motive, he is speaking out. If we crucify the leaders who finally come around and publically start acknowledging these abuses, then others who are coming around may instead dig in their heels because they do not want to admit their mistakes and be attacked. Cognitive dissonance is a common defense we all use when faced wiith unpleasant truths. How many parents refuse to believe their “little Johnny or innocent Susie” have smoked pot or engaged in sex? They believe the condom or roach clip in the trash can belonged to their neighbor’s kid.
We all tend to live in our own intellectual ghettos. I think there are many people who are truely blind to the fact that some parents do heinous things to their kids. Most people want to live in their safe world and ignore the evil swirling around them until it hits home. Even then a victim may be coerced into keeping quiet so others don’t have to deal with the pain. I am thankful to women like JA (and it is generally women) who speak out against abusive leaders and institutions. But when someone finally “gets it” and starts to slowly come around that is a good thing.
Money seems to be the “go to” accusation when someone changes their POV. We need to remember some leaders are pressured by their members to conform to the group’s agenda. That doesn’t excuse Farris, but may explain how hard it is to pull away from a group mentality. We have all been there. Also, we need to discern true narcissists and opportunists from well intentioned but uninformed or idealistic people who bury their head in the sand. There is a difference, though both can cause damage.
Again, I don’t know Farris, but I when a person sincerely starts to see that which he was blind to, that is the time to encourage them to continue digging into the truth. Some of these people can truely become your best advocates. I am not trying to be divisive. I would just hate to lose a potential victim advocate by shaming their attempt (albeit slow) to understand the impact from enabling abuse.
I am thankful that Farris spoke out, primarily because of the sheeple who follow him and his ilk, hook, line, and sinker. At least now maybe they will pay attention. But I have serious problems with Farris and hope to write more on that in the future.
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If Mr. Farris is really against patriarchy, then WHY OH WHY does HSLDA still go to homeschool conferences where the primary speakers are purveyors of patriarchy? Check out the CHEC conference (http://www.chec.org/chec-events/state-conference/) primary speakers: Kevin Swanson (of course, he’s home grown), Voddie Baucham, and Rick Boyer. I won’t be attending until these guys are no longer the primary speakers. HSLDA advertises on the CHEC page! CHEC is a huge promoter of patriarchy.
HSLDA needs to say, “We won’t be going to conferences where the primary speakers are patriarchists. We are here to support homeschooling not patriarchy.”
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Exactly! But why won’t they do that-because these homeschool groups are offered special entrance fee deals if you are a member of HSLDA. Follow the $. HSLDA helped to create this monster. The convention leaders kept out speakers that did not endorse their ideology. Hello?!?
Good point, wouldrathernotsay! I think, however, that Mr. Farris ISN’T against patriarchy, which is why JA is probably going to have more to say on this topic. 🙂
I actually wasn’t going to discuss that part, Carmen, but he says he’s a complementarian. That’s not much different. And not only that, he’s been hearing Patriarchy stuff by his friends for 3 decades and he’s just now speaking up? He’s complicit.
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I agree. I think you’ll find (if you read that latest article by Libby Anne) that she sees the same things you do. Troubling.
OK, so I am seeing comments such as, “Well, at least he is speaking out now…”
OK, so what’s that supposed to mean? A Christian, or, at least a man who calls himself a Christian finally gets a conscience? No…that’s not it either.
Where is the sense of right and wrong from the git-go?
People that know right from wrong don’t wait to change their minds. It’s in their conscience from the beginning, and they do something about it before it gets to the point of damage control. It’s called Preventative Maintenance.
They like laws, right? Well how about this laws:
Thou Shalt Not Abuse; thou shalt not abuse thy neighbor, thy wife, thy children, or thy neighbors donkey. Thou shalt remember when thou was abused in the land of your enemies, and how you didn’t like it very much.
Or something along those lines. No one should turn a blind eye, regardless of the allegations. If he had a sense of right and wrong, he should have spoken up from the beginning, with much anger. As it is now, it’s almost as if it’s an “Oh, by the way…”, lacking the inner anger, which would show genuine concern.
If Farris is an expert in the field of homeschooling, then he should have been aware that abuse is possible, and he should have been prepared on how to prevent abuses from ever occurring in the first place, and not be so ignorantly surprised about it later.
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Just from the headline:
Rat leaving a sinking ship?
Oceania has now always been at peace with Eurasia?
The point “the way we’ve always done things” was no longer to their personal advantage?
Purity of Ideology, Comrade.
Purity of Ideology.
After all I’ve heard about this crowd, can you tell I wouldn’t believe any of them if they told me two plus two equals four?
Even if we can start getting these people to report abuse, first they need to educated about what IS abuse. Much of what is ingrained into their culture would be considered abuse by medical and law enforcement professionals: switching or hitting kids, blanket training, wives must submit and cannot speak out or make decisions,etc. If it starts today, it will take years to change their beliefs.
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Reblogged this on The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors and commented:
“I believe the reason why people remain silent is because they are serving their personal idol, rather than Christ. A Christ follower would respond appropriately to defend victims, even if there is a personal cost.”
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To a degree, he’s right that ultimately HSLDA can’t stop their base adhering to patriarchy if they want to. But on the other hand, it’s not as if HSLDA was taking a neutral position on the matter by letting VF advertise in their material, having Doug Phillips on staff, speaking at patriarchal conferences, etc. If they were intending to be neutral, they failed miserably.
I went to a courtship talk by Farris once at the MASSHope New England homeschool conference, and he wasn’t all that different from any other courtship speaker. Slightly more liberal, maybe, but in essence not all that different. So to see him disavowing these ideas now, is more than a little surreal. He is kinda making it sound like he never really believed any of it, but it’s pretty obvious that he did in some form.
Libby Anne is covering how many patriarchal homeschoolers are getting upset with him over this. If he really wants to oppose patriarchy, I’m all for it, but he might be facing a very large and very nasty mutiny form his base. The HARO survey is also being widely panned by homeschool leadership as being “offensive” and having an “obvious agenda,” and they don’t seem inclined to forward it to their members.
What I find more interesting than Farris, is that Beall Phillips revealed to him in a FB comment that she’s voted in elections since she was 18 – which includes the years Doug was preaching that women’s suffrage was a bad thing.
Hester, It is interesting to read the comments on Beall’s FB post – – it’s as if Farris’ statement is dividing the Homeschool Movement camp.
I can understand people wanting to support Beall, she was not responsible for her husband’s teachings, but the fact that they are defending Phillips’ teachings as if it was Biblical is truly astounding to me.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
Beall is not responsible for Doug’s actions. She is responsible for living that lifestyle, teaching it to other woman, not speaking out against Doug’s beliefs and teachings, wanting to cover up Doug’s sin(s) that harmed others, and having a wonderful lifestyle when others working for the family business struggled.
Beall is NOT an innocent victim. Read the account of how she treated Jennifer Epstein (jens gems blog) .Watch the News interview she did with the evil Midget (doing the stand by your midget thing) . Read the threatening letter she sent the young lady now suing the midget and Vision Forum. She claimed that the Vision forum board of idiots encouraged her to write the victim ( they issued a statement of denial as it was reported to the authorities as witness intimidation, a Federal Crime). She basically went on to tell of how this could effect this young lady’s marriage prospects. Don’t be fooled by Beall she is the midget’s mini-me and every bit the pompous ass that he is.
I could be wrong, and I haven’t googled it, but I thought this statement from Farris *was* months ago? Like mid-April???
Ok, look at this…April 16?
Right, Andrea. I think this one is significant because he’s combining both Phillips and Gothard, clearly labeling Patriarchy and getting specific. By the looks of some of the comments, however, it appears people missed the first article you linked about Phillips.
oceania has always been at peace with eurasia, comrade.
P.S. Which blog is Libby Anne’s?
Got it, JA.
I rarely comment btw, but I do want to say I greatly appreciate this blog. It has helped me *recover* from a very, very difficult church situation. I appreciate all you do.
Libby Anne has a blog on Patheos.
Scott I agree. What Beall did to her sicko husbands victim was stupid and heartless.
Thank you, Andrea. It’s comments like yours that keep me going. There are so many of “us.” Ugh!
HUG – Libby Anne’s Blog is entitled, “Love, Joy, Feminism” – on Patheos
Hi there ~ I hardly ever comment but wanted to chime in a little. It’s kind of surreal to see this chasm opening up in this movement. I can remember way back in the “old days” these ideologies taught at HS conferences and touted as “God’s way” to educate. It’s disappointing that it’s taken this long for Farris to speak up. The stories and documentation are hard to miss if you have access to the internet. At least it seems he’s beginning to listen. But if he’s genuinely ready to implement some radical changes, only time will tell.
Did you see that Mike Donnelly (HSLDA attorney) has withdrawn from the Gen2 Leadership Conference?
A step in the right direction?
Reading through the comments on the HSLDA FB page I was kind of shocked to see Farris getting such a whipping from the patriarchy proponents. It’s as if all this came as such a surprise to them all (and maybe it was for some).
But now they have heard about the other side of these teachings and there’s plenty of opportunity for them to read and become informed. They really shouldn’t bury their heads in the sand.
BTW, I read on other blogs the suspicion that Beall’s response on HSLDA’s FB page was really written by Doug….
Monique, I was quite pleasantly surprised to see that announced (I saw it on the HA site first). Assuming that Farris’ “line in the sand” means something, he really has to drop his support for Kevin Swanson. If anyone should be dropped by the HSLDA, Swanson’s gotta be near the head of the line. How can they support a fear-mongering, junk-science-spouting, whackjob moonbat like him and still expect to be taken seriously?
Farris still has a long way to go to earn my respect, but I do see this as a positive step.
I thought I would never comment here again, but this topic has lured me in. What organisations were standing up for homeschoolers before HSLDA? I don’t recall the ACLU, or any other organisation “human rights” group doing so. Were there other groups or firms doing this type of litigation? Does the ACLJ handle these cases? I don’t care for Farris’ Baptist views, but at least he has fought for homeschoolers.
I wanted to edit a grammatical mistake in my post. How does one edit one’s post?
I think the problem that many people see is that the association fought for the PARENTS, not the children.
Monique – yes, there is a big divide going on. It’s been quite interesting. I’ve also heard that people think Doug wrote Beall’s note. She/he said it was only Part 1. I’m still waiting for Part 2. I wish she’d/he’d hurry up already!
Serving – in Swanson’s recent podcast, he really put himself on the other side of HSLDA. This has been fascinating to watch.
Hey Keith, thanks for the comment. I’d be happy to fix your comment for you. You can post the correction in a comment, i.e.:
replace “________” with this “________”.
Or just redo a new one and tell me that you want me to trash the old one. Or send me an e-mail. email@example.com WordPress doesn’t allow commenters to edit comments. Sorry about that.
It really doesn’t take an organization to represent someone in a legal situation. It takes an attorney who understands civil law. Before HSLDA, there was Raymond Moore and my understanding is that he had found attorneys from around the States who understood the plight of homeschoolers and their state laws and would represent homeschoolers – they just weren’t formed into a group like HSLDA.
The deal with HSLDA, is they do far more than homeschooling and many homeschoolers do not want HSLDA to represent them. I found this out loud and clear when I joined a generic homeschool e-mail group when we were moving to Oregon. There were all kinds of homeschoolers: Catholic, Christian, secular and I got an eye full. It was the first time I realized that HSLDA did not really represent all homeschoolers. In fact, many in that group were strongly opposed to some of their efforts. I wish I could remember some of the issues they had.
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“Michael fights for the right to homeschool. This gives way to the thought of giving up the fight to keep God in public school, putting God in a box at home and church, which is isolating God from the public square. Freedom to isolate,and keep it to yourself, just as the atheists want.
Jay fights for the right to have God in public school, giving way to the thought that God belongs in the public square, as it once was. Freedom of expression of religious thought. ”
Ed, thank you for clarifying that. It makes perfect sense to one who is slowly and painfully deprogramming from the christian homeschool isolationist movement.
I think you’ll find, refugee, that Ed would like to see the CHRISTIAN god in public school, not anyone else’s. That, for the record, is called christian privilege.
Julie Anne: The average lawyer has neither the ability nor the resources to engage in litigation against the government. Taking on government is much like taking on a large business in terms of resources.
In addition, advocacy groups have their own value in terms of educating the general public as well as judges about issues. Just having a squeaky wheel-type organization is an advantage to any cause.
I suppose the real legal heroes are the lawyers who argued Meyer v. Nebraska, Pierce and Yoder. William Ball represented the Amish in Yoder, from 1972. Meyer and Pierce were argued in the 1920’s . I have never heard of Mr. Moore. Where does he practice?
If you want another organization that “officially” supports homeschoolers, check out ncll.org – click on “liberty centers.”
Oh, and a google search of “against HSLDA” will help you find many articles of people who HSDLA worked against. New Hampshire had an issue, and they organized a state group to fight it, and HSLDA went behind the state group to the legislator and tried to worm in language that the state group didn’t want. Also, Nebraska’s recent changes were ones people in the state didn’t want, either.
@would: The more organizations dedicated to educational freedom, the better. Is ncii The National Center for Life and Liberty?
Just as Julie Anne has said, Raymond Moore was around long before Farris.
Here are Raymond Moore’s own words regarding his role in the history of homeschooling and how Farris actually didn’t come on the scene until the 80’s. He gives another perspective to the whole movement.
He doesn’t mince words. This was on just the first page…..
“We hope Mike, his board, staff and all Protestant exclusivists (PE’s) who split other faiths, including Roman Catholic, Jew, LDS, Muslim, etc., even a Lutheran the other day, from state or federal home education bodies see their Bible’s point that the greater danger isn’t non-Protestants, but mixing with greedy, slandering brothers:”
I haven’t read it in a while, but just may need to again.
Keith, yes, NCLL is the National Center for Life & Liberty. I’ve never actually needed a lawyer, myself, with regards to homeschooling. I send in a Notice of Intent to the school district, and test scores every other year starting in 3rd grade. I track attendance, make sure we teach the “required” topics, or practice them, and have quick access to immunization records. I have yet to hear from anyone unless I initiated contact – like needing the address to send the NOI to. Oh, and every year before we start school, I re-read the state law to make sure I don’t forget or miss anything. And I let all our neighbors know we homeschool, so they aren’t surprised to see us home or out and about when public school is in session. But, with schools here on different tracks (traditional, year round, plus you can enroll across districts, etc) it’s never been a problem. Now, if my kids could just remember what grade they’re suppose to be in 😉
@Monique: I am trying to read it now.
hi Julie Anne,
HSLDA, or at least Farris, is a member of the CNP. CNP is a radical right wing Evangelical Dominionism political activist front. It is kind of like CFR in organization. It is a secretive and closed group (no news media or reporters allowed at their meetings) that forms the “right wing” side of the fake Right-Left paradigm in our society via the Hegalian dialectic method.
CNP (Council for National Policy) works to put conservative and religious Dominionists in legislative roles and influence society with hard right religious and political views. Howard Phillips was a member of this group, I believe he was
president at one point, and also chairman and on the executive committee. Howard Phillips was also a founding member of CNP along with LaHaye. CNP won a contest with the IRS and does not pay taxes (if my research is correct). It was founded by Tim LaHaye who is connected with “Rev. S. Moon” and his money.
There are a lot of dots to connect, you must do your own research. Phillips was involved in the Religious Roundtable and helped establish the Moral Majority. There are many connections to groups, movements, money and organizations. Names on the CNP list from past years included Gary Bauer and James Dobson, Coors, Farrah, Sun Myung Moon, Gary North, Richard DeVos and many more.
Besides funding Patrick Henry College, I have believed for several years now that the HSLDA fees are helping fund these CNP activities and groups. I believe HSLDA money goes to a CNP yearly membership fee. This is a deep rabbit hole. I believe HSLDA exists to help fund radical right wing social, religious and political Dominionism.
Loretta – Bingo! I have found the same info in my research and have discussed it. The Homeschool Movement’s roots go back to Rushdoony/Reconstructionism/Dominionism.
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Yes Rushdoony was also CNP Board of Governors.
Sekulow was/is a member, so was Bill Bright…
“The Homeschool Movement” ? Is this distinct from those who advocate for the freedom to educate at home? Mr. Moore, referred to above, was SDA.
I don’t care for the secrecy of CNP.
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And Farris’ involvement and participation with Howard Phillips’ CNP may or may not possibly influence how he handles the Doug Phillips situation.
When I refer to Homeschool Movement, it refers to a movement with ideologies: full quiver, family-integrated churches, modesty/purity culture, courtship. If you notice none of these ideologies have anything to do with education, but that’s what you would get if you go to a Christian Homeschool conference.
Mr. Moore did not espouse the above ideologies. When I heard him speaking, I heard his primary objective was educating children at home – academics.
Homeschool freedoms is another topic altogether. I believe both Mr. Moore and the folks pushing the Homeschool Movement endorsed laws that give parents right to homeschool their children at home.
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“I thought I would never comment here again, but this topic has lured me in. What organisations were standing up for homeschoolers before HSLDA? I don’t recall the ACLU, or any other organisation “human rights” group doing so. Were there other groups or firms doing this type of litigation? Does the ACLJ handle these cases? I don’t care for Farris’ Baptist views, but at least he has fought for homeschoolers.”
My response: I’m still wondering WHY there needed to be a defense for homeschooling to begin with. WHO was fighting against it? Call it ignorance on my part, but I do believe that homeschooling was legal long before any official defense team was established. However, this particular defense has religious overtones attached to it. So, when was teaching God illegal in the home? To my knowledge, it’s never been illegal. So what’s the real purpose of this organization?
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“It is kind of like CFR in organization”
What is CFR, please?
“There are a lot of dots to connect, you must do your own research. Phillips was involved in the Religious Roundtable and helped establish the Moral Majority. There are many connections to groups, movements, money and organizations. Names on the CNP list from past years included Gary Bauer and James Dobson, Coors, Farrah, Sun Myung Moon, Gary North, Richard DeVos and many more. ”
Sun Myung Moon? Honestly? Not sure who Coors and Farrah are, but recognize a few other names in the list. Politics indeed makes for strange bedfellows.
“My response: I’m still wondering WHY there needed to be a defense for homeschooling to begin with. WHO was fighting against it? Call it ignorance on my part, but I do believe that homeschooling was legal long before any official defense team was established. However, this particular defense has religious overtones attached to it. So, when was teaching God illegal in the home? To my knowledge, it’s never been illegal. So what’s the real purpose of this organization? ”
We started homeschooling in the early 90s. Our mentors were people who knew the Moores. They told stories about homeschooling in the 80s, teaching their children to hide under the bed or go out the back window if there was a knock on the door — truant officers were a real concern of theirs. There was a great celebration when our state passed a law that made homeschooling a legal option, with compromises on both sides (i.e. homeschooling would be legal — something the educational “experts” were very leary of — if you registered your children and submitted standardized test results every year — something that didn’t thrill a lot of homeschoolers of our acquaintance).
p.s. about my last comment — at least in those early years, the secular homeschool state organization worked cooperatively with the religious homeschool state organization to get laws passed allowing homeschooling.
Ed: it was legal before it was made illegal pursuant to various compulsory attendance schemes. When the constitutional primacy of the parent/child (as opposed to the state/child relationship) began to be reasserted, people were jailed because they chose to educate at home. This gave rise to the need for legal advocacy.
Right, and now I believe the laws have swung a bit too far for “parental freedoms.” By this, I mean in VA where we once lived, all I had to do was notify the school district that we were homeschooling under “religious exemption” status and from that point on, the government had no rights to my children’s education, the testing, anything at all.
When I was a homeschooling mom in VA, I loved this. I didn’t have to mess with bureaucracy, legalese, what I felt was governmental intrusion. I have since changed my views after hearing of the abuse stories of educational neglect and abuse and speaking with victims directly.
I do not believe that most of the people shouting loudest about parental freedoms have walked in the shoes of those who have been abused and neglected. They are solely looking at their personal homeschool situation. That’s exactly how I was.
There must be some sort of middle ground. I don’t know what this would look like, but imagine talking to an adult who does not have the tools to get a job because of not being educated. Our society as a whole faces consequences when children are abused and neglected.
refugee, CFR= Council on Foreign Relations. Sun Myung Moon, please research and follow the money, for example, Coalition for Religious Freedom, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, Women’s Federation for World Peace, Heritage Foundation, Christian Heritage Foundation, American Freedom Coalition, American Coalition for Traditional Values, Liberty U & Council of 56 of the Religious Roundtable. (There’s many other groups ie political & US intelligence) Look his name up with Tim & Beverly LaHaye and Jerry Falwell (Liberty University). Coors=Coors brewing company, and Joseph Farrah is a writer at an Evangelical, conservative, political online magazine called World Net Daily. Of course this web includes many more groups. Politics and religion are indeed bedfellows.
You had said: “I think you’ll find, refugee, that Ed would like to see the CHRISTIAN god in public school, not anyone else’s. That, for the record, is called christian privilege.”
My response: The Declaration of Independence was not based on any other god. That document is our founding document, and the whole reason for America. Freedom of expression to worship the God of the Christians by ones own conscience. That document mentions our creator, and that our rights come from that creator, and that no man can take away those rights. If man gives rights, then man can take them away. And that document, the Declaration of Independence so states that our government is to fight to keep those rights in place, so that no man can establish our rights.
I have a basic knowledge of our founding, as it was indeed taught in school when I went to school. In another thread, I posted a video of Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Towards the end of that video, Red Skelton states, “Since I was a small boy, two states have been added, and two words, ‘Under God’. Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said that was a prayer, and that would be eliminated from school’s, too?”
Imagine that, a respected Hollywood comedian stated that, in all sincerity. His beliefs are no different than mine, Carmen.
Our God gives freedom, which is what America is all about, but some have perverted that freedom, calling it Christianity, wanting to put people under bondage. Even unbelievers in America have perverted the word Freedom, thinking that it means to do anything that you want, just so it doesn’t hurt anyone.
Life, Liberty (Freedom), and the pursuit of happiness. Those are God given rights based on the Declaration of Independence. Those are not man given rights. The Declaration of Independence is an extremely important document, and our Constitution is based on that document, so states the Department of Immigration.
People from around the world wants to come here, so much so, that they are willing to sacrifice their lives getting here. And it has been that way since it’s inception.
My grandfather was a southern Baptist preacher. My grandfather did not want his white grandchildren going to school with blacks, so my father, my grandfathers son, decided my mother would teach us at home. We did not go through all of the grades, we would skip grades to save my father money. I am dyslexic I had no business skipping grades. After eighth grade my father decided we did not need more school, and he never bought us books again. We did not graduate high school.
Julie Anne: As you know, I live in Virginia. We exercise the Religious Exemption. How would you propose it be changed?
Keith, no, I didn’t know you live in VA (or I forgot, sorry!). I have no idea how it should be changed. If it involves any government oversight, there will be an uproar. I’m fairly certain of that.
Ed: I am glad you brought out the distinction between “rights” ( actually privileges, such as driving an automobile) granted by the government, and God-given human rights. My belief is that such rights also exist in other polities, though in some countries these rights are not amenable to vindication.
Keith and Refugee,
Thanks for that info.
But why the religious overtone homeschool defense team?
That’s the one that I have a problem with.
In my sphere, a child should be in the milk phase of biblical education, not the meat phase, like Sunday School. It’s not called Monday thru Sunday School. We learn about God on Sunday’s, just like the Jews do on Saturday. Remember, six days you work? And what do you do on the 7th? In the summer time, there is vacation Bible school, there is Summer Camp, too.
In regards to home, we are taught the basics, i.e., don’t steal, don’t lie, etc., and we do indeed get in trouble when caught.
There is no amount of isolation that can produce a godly person. As a matter of fact, isolation let’s the mind wander to where it ought not. My brother in law said it best, that in order to be able to fight against evil, we must be confronted with evil, and we will indeed be tempted of evil by Satan. That is why we have the “full armor” of God.
OK, so we don’t believe in evolution. It never hurts to learn what others believe. I was never swayed in public school about that.
The only way that God can be in public is if we bring Him public. Our light must shine in the darkness and that brings curiosity to people. What good does it do to keep God at home, when we are told that our good works are to be seen of men?
How can we love our enemies if we are taught to stay away from our enemies? Love is an action word. We are to give our enemies a drink of water if they are thirsty.
God gave us this world to do something in the world.
This is why I ask what the purpose of a homeschool defense that has religious overtones. Those religious overtones are for a purpose that is not good.
I see nothing wrong in regards to homeschooling in and of itself, but I sure find everything wrong with homeschooling when it involves religious overtones that at its core is isolating “from the world” that we are supposed to be “in the world”, although we are not “of the world”.
So what is the defense? That cults have the right to be cults at home 7 days a week? I’m just not getting it.
Ed: I am not sure I completely understand your post, but i will take a stab at it. Constitutionally, cults ( belief systems) do have a right to be cults 7 days a week, Perhaps the most well-known example of this would be the Amish.
As regards the religious overtones among the lawyers and organisations who have litigated homeschool cases, I have to say that I think many, if not most of the early homeschoolers were motivated by religious belief. I don’t think that the ACLU or other similar groups have been active in defending this aspect of the constitution, but maybe I am wrong.
Concerning isolation, I don’t advocate for it. Yet for some belief systems this is a sincerely-held tenet, just as pacifism is. The Amish hold to both, while some other belief systems such as Quakers and Buddhists are pacifists.
Cults have the right to be cults 24/7 but with limitations. They must obey the law. Polygamists like Warren Jeff’s may argue that grown men marrying young teenaged girls, living on welfare, and throwing poorly educated teenaged boys out of the community are justified on religious grounds but the former is illegal and the second and third are socially dysfunctional.
The Amish have won the right to educate their children their own way because there is a self-sufficient lifestyle awaiting them. Others with the equivalent of an eighth grade education lacking experience of technology would find it difficult to find employment.
The patriarchal homeschooling movement is continually decrying the loss of parental rights but I find it a positive development that children have gained rights. Remember that the first prosecution for child abuse in 1874 was under an animal cruelty law because children lacked the right not to be abused. I also believe that a child’s right to good health care trumps parental beliefs in faith healing and a child’s right to an education that will prepare him or her for a self sufficient future trumps parental desires to keep him/her isolated for religious reasons or to help with child care. If the parent cannot or will not provide a good education at home, then the child should be sent elsewhere.
You bring up some really great points, and I am sure that they are accurate.
However, cults generally preach that the government is the bad guy, godless, and therefore, there is an open door for anarchy to take place. And where there is anarchy, there is tendency to keep abuse “in-house”, handled in the church, with a phoney church court, and let’s be reminded that Doug Phillips is an attorney, and he did indeed set up a phoney church court system, etc. in his own church.
Since “We The People” is the government, government is not the bad guy.
When you have people isolated from the rest of society, that is not good.
There is a saying, “Just because it is legal, that doesn’t mean that it is good”.
Homeschooling for religious reasons is legal, but I do not believe that it is good.
I believe that God intended for us to be out in the world shining our light, not to be isolated in our own little twisted world away from the darkness.
@Marsha: The Amish won based on their Free Exercise claim under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
As regards whether a parent is providing a good education at home, who should decide this question? Should all schools be subject to such assessment?
@Ed: You are of course entitled to your view that homeschooling for religious reasons is not good. But the test of constitutionality is not whether the exercise of a right by a minority meets with the approval of the majority.
“As regards whether a parent is providing a good education at home, who should decide this question?”
Certainly not just the parents. Marsha is correct, children have rights. Parents may have rights where their children are concerned, but they also have duties. If they will not discharge those duties, the state must step in.
Yes Michael spoke out……..but I literally sat there, watching the clock tick, tock, tick tock…….WAITING for some of the “heavy hitters” of the movement to speak out………A few did, MANY months later and wouldn’t even address Doug by name! I was FLOORED that people like Joe Morecraft, Bill Potter, Voddie and others did NOT speak out publicly. Scott Brown did but didn’t address Doug by name!
Yes I am glad he spoke out………but he should have done this a loooooonnnnnnnnnngggg time ago. It has almost been a year………and to me, it’s almost too little too late. I was interested in what he (and the others, like Voddie and others) had to say when this first was revealed, BUT I am SO sick of hearing about the “drama” surrounding this that we are so ready to move on.