Michael Farris’s Selective Interest in Protecting Children

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In the most recent installment of my Anonymous Tip review series, social workers Donna and Rita forcibly strip-searched four-year-old Casey. In the comments, a reader pointed this out: The strip-search bit sounds (to me, anyway) awfully similar to a spanking. Child is pinned down against her will, clothing is removed against her will, child writhes and screams to no avail... Casey is probably surprised that after this, the social workers just let her go instead of whacking her with a wooden … [Read more...]

Voddie Baucham, Daughters, and “Virgin Brides”

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Last summer, Michael Farris denounced patriarchy. Or, so he claimed.Among those who homeschool for religious reasons, there is a subculture sometimes called the "patriarchy movement." Michael Farris, founder of the powerful Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and probably the most well-known leader in the Christian homeschooling world, has for decades espoused the beliefs of this movement. But in the last year and a half, two of its leaders, Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips, lost th … [Read more...]

The Gothard-Sized Skeleton in HSLDA’s Closet

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There is a Gothard-sized skeleton in HSLDA's closet. But before we get to that, let's start with an excerpt from Michael Farris's white paper, A Line in the Sand: Although some people want HSLDA to be the police force of the homeschooling movement—removing those who miss the mark in some manner—that is not our role. Even though I have been uncomfortable with the teaching coming from each of these men for several years, it is not my place to try to remove viewpoints from the homeschooling com … [Read more...]

Why It Matters That Farris Strawmanned Patriarchy

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Last week Michael Farris published his white paper, A Line in the Sand. As I mentioned at the time, I appreciate his efforts to distance himself, and HSLDA, from the more extreme voices of the Christian homeschooling world. However, as I wrote immediately afterwards, Farris mischaracterized Doug Phillips' views and those of Phillips' organization, Vision Forum, throughout his piece. He wrote that "patriarchy teaches that women in general should be subject to men in general" and that "women are … [Read more...]

The Binary Is Collapsing

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I've blogged for years against patriarchal Christian homeschooling. I've blogged against courtship and modesty teachings, against the belie that adult daughters remain under their fathers' authority, and against the idea that women's only place is in the home. This is the world I grew up in, but it is not the world I live in today. And as I've blogged, my opponents have loomed large, each different in their own way but all united, all standing strongly on the side of patriarchy and strongly … [Read more...]

Patriarchy: What’s in a Word?

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Today Michael Farris published a white paper titled "A Line in the Sand." In it, he called out patriarchy and legalism directly, and condemned both. I am grateful for any additional freedom his words may bring children in Christian homeschooling families influenced by his words, but I am very concerned that we are once again getting caught up in what amounts to a word game.I'm going to leave aside that the biggest reason Farris gives for "treating children well and treating women well" is … [Read more...]

Farris: Patriarchy Makes Kids Gays and Atheists

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If you read my blog, you're probably aware of the Christian homeschooling subculture's patriarchy problem. A variety of prominent Christian homeschool leaders have been promoting patriarchal family structures at homeschool conventions and in homeschool publications for well over a decade, and two of those leaders---Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips---have recently fallen, engulfed in scandal. Michael Farris, another prominent Christian homeschool leader, has since come out criticizing these leaders … [Read more...]


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