The Home School Legal Defense Association’s Strange Legislative Agenda vis a vis Children with Disabilities

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is opposing Tennessee House Bill 1411 and Senate Bill 477. Why? They actually don't explain---they simply offer an explanation of what the bill does. As introduced, enhances the punishment for child abuse and child neglect or endangerment if the child is vulnerable because the child is handicapped; also replaces "knowingly exposes" a child to abuse or neglect resulting in physical injury to "exposes." Curious, I clicked through to the bill's … [Read more...]


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The Danger of the “Wayward Woman” of Proverbs

I grew up in an evangelical home. For a while my mother read Proverbs to us each morning on repeat, reading the chapter that aligned with the day of the month and starting over again each new month. I remember the "wayward woman" verses.There are a lot of "wayward woman" verses. Proverbs chapter 57 Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from the words of my mouth. 8 Keep your way far from her And do not go near the door of her house, 9 Or you will give your vigor to others … [Read more...]


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This Is How It Happens

The "pro-family" lobby frequently uses the language of the "traditional family" to combat efforts to define the family more broadly, including both gay and lesbian couples and other family forms. When I point out that the "traditional family" was one in which things like domestic violence were tolerated and accepted, individuals who engage in this rhetoric are frequently askance---that's not what they mean, they insist. They mean the family form---man, woman, children---not … [Read more...]


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Why the Brock Turner Letters Feel So Familiar

I wasn't going to write about convicted Stanford rapist Brock Turner. I really wasn't. Everyone else was writing about it it, I figured. Did I really need to write something too? There were enough voices out there, and the case was unfamiliar to me. But then I read about the letters. What letters, you ask? The letters Turner's friends and family members wrote to the judge urging him to be lenient in his sentencing, of course. These letters. One childhood friend wrote that Turner was “a mil … [Read more...]


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Supergirl’s Jeremy Jordan: My Gay Cousin Has Been Sent to a Christian Home for Troubled Teens

I have a good friend who was sent to a Christian home for troubled teens in Florida in the late 1990s. The stories she tells me are horrifying. The children were forced to work in the fields all day every day in the summer, and for long hours during the school year as well. While the home was co-ed, the girls were responsible for preparing and cleaning up all of the meals, on a rotation linked to their dormitories. The home used the ACE program, a curriculum used by Christian private schools and … [Read more...]


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Bill Gothard and the Dynamics of Abuse

Yesterday I found out that a Catholic priest who was accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl decades ago has been made director of a teen pregnancy center. This made me think about all of the ways abusers within the church gain renewed access to positions of power (I'm sure it happens outside of the church as well, but this is the area I'm most familiar with). Curious, I looked up Bill Gothard to double check precisely what he's doing today. I arrived at www.billgothard.com. The website is … [Read more...]


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What We Need to Hear: How to Talk to Abuse Victims

Can we talk about how people respond to adult abuse victims?*Let me start by noting that I sometimes have trouble naming what happened to me as abuse. We typically associate abuse with adults beating children in an angry or out of control or sadistic way. That didn't happen to me. Instead, I had what many would see as an ideal childhood, growing up in the country with parents who read to me, played board games with me, and made even maintenance projects around the house fun, interesting, bo … [Read more...]


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