No True Patriarch

Okay, I give up.

In the wake of the Doug Phillips scandal, Colorado homeschool leader Kevin Swanson, who runs Generations with Vision, has declared that that he is not what he calls a “patriarchal-ist.” Why? Because Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were called patriarchs, so it would be wrong of him to assume this level of importance! Because his adult daughter went on a mission trip to Uganda!

Oh, but, he explains, he does think women need to submit to their husbands as outlined in Eph. 5:22-33, and he thinks adult children should honor their parents, which in these circles is code for obey. But that doesn’t make him a “patriarchal-ist!” On no no no!

People, words mean something!

Also, did I miss something, or didn’t Swanson make this statement just a couple of months ago?

I mean, think about what the president of the Girl Scouts would say about this, Dave, if we said, “Hey, these 15 year old girls, 16 year old girls, they may be ready to get married. They don’t have to live these, you know, independent lifestyles.”

Women and these, you know, independent lifestyles.

Seriously, have a look at the other things Swanson has said and tell me he’s not a “patriarchal-ist.” There’s this, for instance, when Swanson commented on a woman whose boss fired her because he was sexually attracted to her:

This is not unusual, unfortunately, and it certainly is going to happen when you have a decrease in family economies. It’s one reason why we push the family economic vision, because the family economy is pretty much the way God set things up. The man and the woman come together not just for sexual union but also to be helpmeets and dominion-takers together as a team, as a lean, mean team in the dominion effort. That’s the way it was designed in the garden when the woman came to the man as the helpmeet for the man in the dominion task.

Or there’s what Swanson said of feminists and college women last year:

Now remember, the goal is that these women have to be independent. The goal is lots and lots of birth control. The goal is lots and lots and lots of fornication. The goal is abortion. The day-after pill will help. And it will help a lot. Remember, the goal is to get that girl a job because she needs no stinkin’ husband, she’s got the fascist corporation and government-mandated insurance programs and socialist welfare that will take care of her womb to tomb. Who needs a cotton-pickin’ husband? Who needs a family? That’s pretty much the worldview that’s dominating, my friends. That’s what the college is all about.

I really don’t feel like I need to get into the nitty gritty here, because it’s like trying to explain to someone that a duck is a bird, or that McDonalds is a restaurant. Frankly, I’m amazed that Swanson is rejecting the label “patriarchal-ist” rather than priding himself on it. I suppose this just goes to show how far the Doug Phillips scandal has gone to taint the word “patriarchy.”

I am becoming increasingly horrified by the focus on a word rather than on ideas. And even if Swanson rejects the the term “patriarchal-ist,” he can’t wiggle out of the patriarchal toxicity of what he actually believes. And I really could care less about what word he uses. What I care about are the beliefs he is promoting.

I am really sick of the direction this whole thing is going. Enough already with this dropping the word “patriarchy” but retaining the ideas and then acting like it’s some huge change! It’s not!

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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