In case you're wondering why I've yet to write anything in response to the sordid affairs of Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard, and their seeming falls from grace (irresistible as it is for Phillips and powerfully compelling as it is for Gothard), it's that I didn't think there was much I could say that I haven't already said.
These two men are nothing but symptoms. New symptoms will take their place in due time.
The culture that spawned them is diseased.
That culture, which houses and thrives on religious homeschoolers, is still intact. As long as conservative religious xenophobes and addicts make "educational" choices for their children, the culture will provide a perpetual platform for the next wave of Gothards and Phillips, the next ATI and Vision Forum, the next formula for "being more godly". And make no mistake, the majority of parents in the Christian homeschooling movement are conservative religious xenophobes and addicts, who live in fear of "the world", mean ole libruls, that devil Obama, and most of all, of losing their "freedoms". When you hear that last one, well, you pretty much know what you're dealing with - people who purposefully confuse religion with education, and in reality their homeschooling choice is all about them (not their children) and their desire to breed and equip SuperChristians who share all of their personal thoughts, opinions, prejudices, and political leanings. It's their duty, don't ya know?
They're easy marks for those who peddle fear. Too easy. I'd dare say the next wave of godliness sharks are already sharpening the edges of the godliness formulas they'll peddle, and while their formulas won't look exactly like Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Courtship, the Purity Culture, et cetera, chances are they won't be all that different, either. They can't be, because the culture needs controlling and those things served to do so in various capacities. If they can't control the culture, the culture will dissolve, and they have too much invested in their cultural and political fears to just give it away so easily. They should let it dissolve. They'll likely just accept the same symptoms with new names instead.
Their culture is diseased.
They needn't worry too much, though. As long as HSLDA is still around, there'll be someone there to stoke their fears aplenty. Farris will find his footing with his audience, despite his tap-dancing to get away from patriarchy. Even in that, he found a way to present a common enemy to his base, or a pair of them, in those mean ole gays and atheists. A bit of a diversion on his part. Yet, his audience will still fund his endeavors faithfully. We're talking about a guy who says he doesn't practice Quiverfull or aspire to Dominionism, yet has umpteen homeschooled kids, and who now denounces Patriarchy, yet happily champions Courtship and the Purity Culture - which makes him the embodiment of a Patriarch. It strikes me as either intentional dishonesty due to a bidness-based panic or someone so deep in the bullshit (and for so long) they can no longer distinguish the odor. Neither of those is good. Somehow the math all still works for his supporters, though. I guess the never-ending stream of freedoms threatened and persecutions just beyond the horizon have a tried and true way of putting everyone on the same team.
Especially when your culture is diseased.
I don't celebrate the fall of Phillips and Gothard on a personal level, although overjoyed that these are two men presently without a platform for the poison they promoted. I hope they both find mental, physical, and spiritual (whatever that may mean to them) health, make as much restitution for their wrongs as possible, and lead productive lives anywhere but in a position of leadership or influence. I celebrate the fall of Phillips and Gothard for those who find some measure of closure or healing from the their fall, and for them only. They deserve whatever measures of closure and healing that come their way - and then some.
Those two men are just symptoms.
The culture is the disease.