Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Disease

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.


  1. Crickets. This is the first time I've ever seen one of your posts without comments, Lewis. Hmmm.

  2. Replies
    1. Seriously LOL..She really is not the axis of evil.

  3. Well what a surprise! Was wondering how you felt about the scandals going on. I don't think Gothard is suffering much. The Duggars are still involved with ATI and last I checked there are still hundreds of teens who attend his, Journey to the Heart, programs every month. I don't think these issues are getting enough media attention because there are still some "mainstream" Christians who haven't heard of Doug Phillips or Bill Gothard. Heck, I didn't know Gothard existed until about 6 years ago. Dude has been around a LONG time spreading his religious weirdness!

  4. Great post Lewis! You are knocking down a few sacred cows that go beyond the homeschool movement, this will cause many to squirm. Some people are more than ready to out the wrongs of Phillips and Gothard but they are not ready to have a discussion about the slide mainstream conservative Christianity has taken from evangelism to evangelicult, and how that slide has created the fear that leads to the cult that is Christian homeschooling. No one really wants to discuss this because many of the "former" members of the cult of Christian homeschooling are still proud card carrying members of the "librul hatin,' Obama is satan, gun totin,' gays are taking over fear mongering cult/religion that has grabbed way too much of a foothold in mainstream conservative Christianity. Start talking about that and they loose their minds and show you the door quick and in a hurry!

  5. Nope, I wasn't wondering.

  6. Hey you are still posting! I am on mobile and I find navigating this site difficult, and I was unsure if you were even still writing till I came across a 2014 date

  7. Would love to see you post on the fascination people have with the Duggar's courtship this year.

  8. Hey Lewis, I found your series of articles "The Jokes on Me" linked from another blog while researching the courtship movement. We've been homeschooling our children for 18 years and I'd never heard of this Patriarchy movement until earlier this year. Though we are Catholic, not Fundamentalist, so maybe that's why. I am truly revolted by the controlling and the attitude toward women.

    Superficially we might be described by many of the same words -- conservative, Christian, homeschoolers -- they are tainting those terms. Our daughters go to college if they want to, and adult children are adults -- we offer advice if it's sought and don't attempt to run their lives. I myself have an engineering degree. I insist on critical thinking in my children -- and ironically, I have seen many examples of a total lack thereof in public and private-schooled young adults.

    But some folks in our group are picking up ideas on courtship from the Fundamentalists, it seems. Hence my research.

    Thank you for writing on what has to be an incredibly painful topic for you. You are blessing others by revealing the darkness of the Patriarchy movement and the dangers of this type of "courtship."

    Praying for you and your ex.

  9. might be the interest of some