As an ex-evangelical and blogger, I am sometimes accused of having exchanged one form of fundamentalism for another. There are other arguments I run into that are similarly problematic. There have been some incidents in the past week where commenters have accused myself or other commenters of retaining fundamentalist thinking or of silencing disagreement, and these accusations are always frustrating. Read more

Farris is horrified by the strip search he describes not because of the harm to Casey, but rather because he sees it as a violation of parental rights—a violation of Gwen’s rights. If Gwen did the exact same thing to Casey—and we know that she does—Farris would be at Gwen’s side defending her up and down. The issue is not whether a child should be allowed to be terrorized. The issue is who should be allowed to terrorize a child. Read more

As you may remember, we are reviewing Michael Farris’s 1996 novel, Anonymous Tip. If you have missed the series so far, you still have time to catch up—we are only a few weeks in. Let me review for a moment, to make sure what has happened so far is still fresh in everyone’s minds! Read more

As I’ve written before, my own son has dolls, including one in particular that he always cheers to see. He also has dinosaurs and matchbox cars, and a princess crown. I let my children follow their own interests, including my son. I would hate to think of trying to push his tender soul into some sort of hard exterior of “manly” or “strong” (what does that even mean, anyway?). Read more

I’d like to know HSLDA’s position on in-school medical examinations and screenings, but have not found that information as of yet. If I find it, I may add it as another entry to this series. But regardless of your position on mandating eye exams before kindergarten, HSLDA’s stance on this bill makes it obvious once again that homeschooling is not the organization’s primary objective—parental rights are. Read more

And honestly, I think this is a true for a lot of atheist parenting—for us, raising children who are ethical and compassionate matters more than what religious beliefs (or lack thereof) those children ultimately embrace. And that’s something Angellius doesn’t even consider when asking whether atheist parenting “works.” Read more

Last summer Farris issued a white paper that allowed him to throw Gothard and Phillips under the bus and portray himself as reasonable—the good guy in all of this. But not only did Farris make it clear that he does not understand what the word patriarchy means, he also started making exceptions right away, first and foremost for his friend Voddie Baucham, another leader in this movement. Farris pointed out that Voddie had recently enrolled his adult daughter, Jasmine, in a Christian online college program, which apparently (for Farris) makes him not patriarchal. Read more

I wrote a week ago about conversations within gaming, fandom, and nerd culture over dating and social reclusiveness. Specifically, I looked at a post by a self-described “nerdy guy” about his adolescent and young adult anger toward women for not dating him and a response post by a self-described “nerdy girl” pointing out that guys aren’t the only ones to be shy, socially awkward, and thwarted in love. Today I want to build on that conversation with another point. I’ve seen men online (and, sadly, in real life) talk as if women had it easy in romance, and could get a guy by snapping their fingers. They talk about being mocked or made fun of by teenage girls, as though that sort of mocking goes one way only—and as if the girls hold all the cards. For too many of these nerdy adolescent and young adult men, I see an unwillingness to consider the suffering of anyone but themselves. (I should note that there are plenty of nerdy guys who do treat women with respect, including my own husband, Sean. I should have Sean tell his story here sometime. I was talking to him about this recently and he told me that when he left high school, he made the decision to clean up his act and change how he came across—to master the social skills he felt he lacked. Importantly, his failure to get a date in high school never translated into any sort of resentment or entitlement toward women.) I noticed something interesting in the comments on my post last week. While I was homeschooled and didn’t have much contact with teenage guys my own age, some of the commenters wrote of their experiences being harassed and heckled by the teenage guys they grew up around. Here’s a comment from reader Nea (here): A common insult when I was an early teen was for a boy to yell “Hey, Dreamboat!” near you, and if you looked over, laugh nastily and say “Not YOU, Shipwreck!” Even (especially) if you were the only female around. And then this from onamission5 (here): I got, “wanna dance?” or “wanna date?” and if I answered in the affirmative, it was, “well maybe someone will ask you.” Cue them walking off to their friend group laughing. Some nerdy guys seem to think being a woman means getting dates and sex whenever we want. First of all, this is not true (seriously, how many women spent years pining over a guy who never gives them a second look?). But second, this completely ignores the mocking and bulling women face for their gender. onamission5 added this (here): I honestly don’t know how to choose between boys barking, mooing, (and if I didn’t respond, escalating to pawing) at me in the halls, then laughing when I got upset, or guys behaving aggressively if I didn’t respond to their unwanted advances in the way they predetermined I ought. Either way I get my boundaries violated, either way I get to be disrespected as a person due to someone else’s perceptions of my gender, either way the world is not a safe place. It’s just unsafe for different reasons. And then guys wonder why we don’t always want to talk to them. It’s because someone who seems nice at first can become decidedly Not Nice in a flash, and it’s impossible to always tell who is capable of what. To a nerdy guy, finding romance (or sex) may look labyrinthian or even impossible, but to a nerdy girl (or to any girl at all), existing while female can be like navigating through a mine field. One last thing I want to add. There was a new commenter on my post of a week ago asking for advice on getting dates and so forth, but it quickly became apparent that his approach was part of his problem. He kept talking about what “women” want and what “women” are looking for, and treating romance as some sort of code he needed to crack and solve. As a woman, I find this incredibly off-putting. I don’t want to be approached as a puzzle to solve, I want to be approached as a person. We women are not a foreign species, and I for one would rather not be treated as one. I suppose my main message here is that nerdy guys who feel thwarted in love and romance (and sex) need to stop for a moment and reconsider what it is like to go through life as a woman. We don’t hold all of the cards any more than they do, and all too often we hold fewer. We shouldn’t have to deal with male entitlement and resentment on top of everything else. Read more

So in the end, I’m not sure. I’m not sure pastors are as good at dealing with the consequences of their teachings as the FaithStreet author says they are, but I’m also not sure the internet always opens people’s minds rather than closing them. Perhaps, like so much else, the internet is simply a neutral factor—a tool that can be used for good or for ill. Read more

I’ve often seen Islam treated as an odd case when it comes to willingness to engage in acts of terror or vigilante “justice”. I think it’s easy to view the West as having somehow moved beyond this, and our society as being wholly and completely different. It’s true that non-Muslims in the West don’t tend to carry out honor killings or call for the death penalty for apostates. There are definitely differences. But is it true that non-Muslims in Western countries are immune carrying out acts of terror and vigilante violence designed to intimidate or cow? No. Read more

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