Hail to thee, our alma mater

A couple of recent posts elsewhere have me thinking back to my childhood as a student at a private, fundamentalist Christian school in New Jersey.

Stuff Fundies Like just finished “Back to School Week,” ranging from kindergarten to college. I particularly liked this bit, from the post on high school:

By the time a young fundamentalist has reached high school the focus of their spiritual instruction has narrowed down to two basic points. 1) Not having sex with anybody and 2) Finding God’s perfect will for their life. The first one is accompanied by tales of terrible tragedy that will befall them if they DO the second is accompanied by tales of terrible tragedy if they DON’T.

Yep. But to be fair, this wasn’t just something I was taught in high school — my church youth group was teaching the exact same thing.

My alma mater was founded in 1949, and thus predates both of the two major contributors to the growth of private Protestant schooling. The first of those came in 1954 with Brown vs. the Board of Education. The Supreme Court ruling ending school segregation sparked an explosion of new private Christian schools throughout America — especially, but not exclusively, in the South.

Since I often poke fun at Timothy Christian School for teaching me creationism and for literally using Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth as a textbook, let me here offer my old school a bit of praise. It was ahead of its time in promoting and embodying racial integration. “Strength in diversity” is not a phrase that’s often associated with Christian fundamentalists, but here’s  TCS’ Web page boasting of the diversity of its student body. Go you Timothy Tigers.

The second big wave of growth for Christian schooling came later and, as Warren Throckmorton reminds us, was driven by that tireless advocate of separate Christian education, Rousas John Rushdoony.

Yes, that’s the same R.J. Rushdoony who created “theonomic reconstruction” and also did more than anyone else to promote the spread of the dominion theology that so many conservatives are today claiming never existed and/or never had any real influence. Some of these same revisionists and denialists now mocking what they describe as “paranoia” or “liberal conspiracy theories” about dominionism are themselves graduates of schools inspired by Rushdoony’s push for Christian schooling. And some of them are now the parents of children attending those schools.

Rushdoony realized that the theocracy (or “Christocracy”) he desired was not a realistic hope in the short term of a generation or two. He accepted that democracy and pluralism would take many decades to be “reconstructed” and replaced with Christian dominion. And so he planned for the long term, urging Christians to create separate schools where children could be raised without the liberal propaganda of constitutional democracy and equal rights for error and truth.

Throckmorton provides a summary of this view, excerpted from a book by Rushdoony’s protege (and sometime son-in-law) Gary North:

As a tactic for a short-run defense of the independent Christian school movement, the appeal to religious liberty is legitimate. Everyone who is attempting to impose a world-and-life view on a majority (or on a ruling minority) always uses some version of the liberty doctrine to buy himself and his movement some time, some organizational freedom, and some power. …

So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God. Murder, abortion, and pornography will be illegal. God’s law will be enforced. It will take time. A minority religion cannot do this. Theocracy must flow  from the hearts of a majority of citizens …

But the revisionists rush to remind us that the existence of hundreds of Christian schools inspired by this thinking is no reason to worry that this nonexistent fringe ideology is in any way influential. Just because these inconsequential outsiders are now trying to sentence gays to death in Uganda doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to worry about them wanting to sentence gays to death here. Just because they say their aim is to deny “the religious liberty of the enemies of God” and just because they happen to view most people as “the enemies of God,” doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of them trying to erode religious liberty. All things considered, there’s very little cannibalism in the British Navy. …

  • Lori

     So you seriously wish to argue…  

     

    Bea hasn’t seriously argued anything in the whole time we’ve been “blessed” with her presence. She repeats whichever Right wing talking point she thinks will get people to provide her with the attention that she craves. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ooh, Attentionvangelist. Considering how many garden-variety evangelists I used to see on this one television channel, there’s certainly no shortage of love of attention out there. :)

  • Lori

     Yeah. Except a whore provides a service that people *want*.   

     

    This is a very fair point. 

  • Anonymous

    Some of the loudest voices decrying the evils of prostitution have no problem actually soliciting prostitution (and creating the social and economic conditions that make prostitution problematic), kind of like how some of the loudest voices decrying attention-seeking trolls have no problem rewarding trolls (by giving them as much attention as they can) and creating an environment where one troll can dominate pages and pages of discussion.

  • P J Evans

    Well, we’ve been trying to ignore that !@#$%^&* for several months.
    It’s flounced several times, but comes back. (I’d like to suggest that’s because its paycheck depends on being here.)
    If you have any useful suggestions, please provide them.

  • Anonymous

    Can we all just STOP using derogatory terms such as ‘whore’ and ‘prostitution’ for sex workers and sex work?

  • Anonymous

    I got nothing, to be honest. I’m one of the whiners who keeps getting tempted to jump back into the fray. All I can really think of is maybe not answering the troll at all — not even once, not even to say, ‘and then after this I’m not talking to you any more’, not even just to swear at her and call her nasty names. Just act as if the post isn’t there.

    But I can understand the response argument too — that responding to the troll’s arguments is a great way to demonstrate the fallacy of those arguments to anyone who might be lurking here.

    It’s a tough situation all around and I really don’t know if my suggestion (don’t respond or acknowledge) would even work. The only other forum I participate in is much more heavily-moderated so people like that are generally banned straight away when they start making personal attacks and nasty remarks about other people. The lower moderation here has many benefits but it does have this one drawback.

  • Anonymous

    I apologize — it won’t happen again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I sort of think we’re being unfair, guys.

    I *like* snakes.

    Me too. Especially ball pythons. They have such cute faces!

  • Anonymous

    Just act as if the post isn’t there.

    Do this, you guys. Seriously. I haven’t even so much as read a post by her in the past several weeks and I suggest you don’t either. If Disqus wasn’t terrible and had a killfile, I wouldn’t know she was there.

    …responding to the troll’s arguments is a great way to demonstrate
    the fallacy of those arguments to anyone who might be lurking here.

    This is one of those things that sounds great in theory, but I don’t think there’s a single case where someone read a post by the troll, thought, “hmmmm, maybe that’s how the world works,” and then read one of the numerous responses and changed their mind. I would bet a pretty significant sum that it has never happened, not once, in all of the threads she’s been arguing in, and that it never will. Anyone liable to believe her overly simplistic, child-like view of the world isn’t going to be convinced by one of us pushing our glasses up the bridge of our nose and going “Well, actually, it’s more complicated than that. You see…” Their brain is going to go “tl;dr” and they’re going to skip on to the next talking point.

  • Anonymous

    Further, it’s not like we, as a general forum, aren’t addressing the points she’s making anyways. I am far more liberal now than I was 5 or 6 years ago when I started reading this blog, and this blog had a not-insignificant role in that. But it wasn’t because of the long arguments anyone had with Scott. You guys are fighting the good fight every day and you don’t need a troll to play off of.

  • Anonymous

    Further, it’s not like we, as a general forum, aren’t addressing the points she’s making anyways. I am far more liberal now than I was 5 or 6 years ago when I started reading this blog, and this blog had a not-insignificant role in that. But it wasn’t because of the long arguments anyone had with Scott. You guys are fighting the good fight every day and you don’t need a troll to play off of.

  • Lori

     If Disqus wasn’t terrible and had a killfile, I wouldn’t know she was there.  

    I still don’t understand why there isn’t one. 

  • P J Evans

    If Disqus wasn’t terrible and had a killfile, I wouldn’t know she was there.

    I still don’t understand why there isn’t one.

    I think killfiles work for mailing lists, where the stuff comes in as individual e-mails. I’ve never seen one that works for a group or a blog.

  • Anonymous

    Dude, you’re arguing with someone who uses etymology to claim that a word means something other than what it actually means and then defends this by stating that the meaning of words evolve over time.  As I said before, I have a Master’s in Linguistics, and that makes me die a little inside.

  • Anonymous

    I thought that the old slacktivist site on Typepad had one, although I’m honestly not sure.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I used to like that argument but it doesn’t really do it for me any more. Most of the troll arguments are weak, deliberately rude and cruel versions of conservative talking points intentionally written the least persuasive way possible. It’s not a realistic approximation of an actual debate and as you say, anyone who could read those posts and nod in agreement is probably not going to be swayed by any amount of evidence. There are sometimes when you can learn something from a thorough debunking (I’ve picked up a couple of arcane legal precedents from “birther” cases) but debunking these troll posts can be done with pretty basic information that everyone could learn just by watching television or reading a newspaper.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    JohnKnl: Nah, that was a greasemonkey script for Chrome or Firefox.

    Me, I always just mentally killfile someone I choose not to deal with.

  • Anonymous

    It’s flounced several times, but comes back. (I’d like to suggest that’s because its paycheck depends on being here.)

    Wait, you can get paid for arguing about shit on Slacktivist? When can I start?

  • Tonio

    because we “kicked him out of schools, government and courtrooms.”

    That’s what is so infuriating. Their mindset has no room for a society of many different religions. They wrongly insist on treating religion as a societal or community matter and not a matter of individual conscience. Just as it’s no one else’s business who you choose to marry or where you choose to live or what job you choose to marry, it’s no one else’s business what religious beliefs you hold. 

  • Anonymous

    A bunch of states still have capital punishment, right?

    Smartass.  That’s without even considering that his plan proscribes death for things that are *definently* objectionable.  So it would be pretty much *less* justified under a fundamentalist regime.
     

    Thing is, Lori, when it comes to IQ tests, you’d be hard pressed in the south to find a death row murderer who didn’t come in as at least borderline retarded.
    How smart should you have to be to get get the needle?

    Goddamn!  Just when I think you’ve hit rock bottom, you find a new low.
    For the record it’s ‘not competent to stand trial’, I believe…
     

    America is going to be taken over by fundamentalist “Christianists”?  No, you tell me why it’s okay that the debt is at $14 trillion. The rest is a complete joke.

    I’m quite confident that America won’t become a Christian theocracy within a decade.  After that, however, if things continue to degrade as they have, it’s quite possible (a Muslim theocracy, in contrast, is not feasible in the forseeable future).  No, Bachmann has never (to my knowledge) said that she’s an avowed dominionist who will establish a theocracy if elected.  Nor have any of the other candidates – it would still be political suicide… I hope.  However, Bachmann, for one, has repeatedly stated opinions that are consistent with a fundamentalist viewpoint, and a very virulent one.  These aren’t just bad by association, they’re just bad ideas in themselves, and furthermore, she’s explicitely stated she believes America should be a Christian nation.  She’s a fundamentalist.  Deal with it.Basically the same story for the other candidates.And no, the debt is not okay.  It’s a symptom of America’s slow decline, as the result of selling the country parcel by parcel to the wealthiest among us.  Corporations and tycoons have relentlessly pocketed their profits, shipping them off to Dubai or using them to acquire a new solid-gold 100 meter long yacht; while simultaneously palming off their expenses on the rest of us: holding the economy hostage to make us recoup their mistakes, poisoning the air and water and expecting us to clean up after them.  Meanwhile, their cronies in the government loot the treasury with absurdly overpriced contracts and ludicrous tax breaks.  The average American can no longer *afford* the necessities and luxuries they want – their wages are going down, relatively, their job security is becoming nonexistent (why pay an American a trifle when you can pay a Bangladeshi shoe crud?), the infrastructure is withering in neglect – all the money having gone to the corporations.  And now that no one can afford their trinkets, the robber barons scream that they must lay off more workers, lest they be unable to make a profit – therefore, they say, they must be given more money.  Then they can hire more.  Of course, there’s still no demand, so they never do – all that money goes straight into their investment accounts, where the magical money accelerator causes it to multiply yet more… of course, nothing is actually being *done* with all the money, but their math says there must be more, so lo and behold, the value of everyone else’s money seems to decrease… and thus, the economy is shit.  As for the deficit itself… what the FUCK do you expect to happen after spending the entire surplus invading a couple countries (while lowering taxes – on the top earners only, of course – for the ONLY TIME IN HISTORY), and then just *keep* giving your money away to your best buddies.  Then, when the magic money accelerator inevitably crashes, proceeding to reinburse those responsible for the disaster?That said, you can’t get out of debt through penny pinching.  The entire economy is now in recession.  People don’t have jobs – therefore they don’t have money.  Therefore they can’t spend money.  Therefore, no progress can be made.  The Magic Money Accelerator is up and running again, naturally, but actual, American *earnings* are down sharply.  (Sure.  Some corporations are sending out table scraps to India, and getting heaping piles in return, but they don’t pax taxes, so…).  This isn’t the first time America has run a deficit, and it won’t be the last (factor in inflation, and it’s been much bigger before).  Sure, you *could* just shut down the government, if you wanted things to stay just the way they are (are you familiar with the term ‘failed state’?), but the only way to *fix* the problem is to get the economy back on track.  The way to do that is to get America producing things again.  To have the entire populace making goods (ergo money), not just the top 1% siphoning from the rest.  This has been done before, and the way to do is to *invest* in new jobs, services, and productivity – this is only more true considering the neglect the country has been through in the past few decades. This will involve *gasp* not instantly negating the deficit, although repealing the ludicrous Bush tax cuts will do half of that.  By itself.  If you raise taxes to actually sane levels – say, half the rate it was in the 1950s – you could increase government spending and *still* lower the deficit.
     

    Now in a really sane jurisdiction, he would have been dispatched on the scene with a bullet, and the murder-count would have been much lower.

    Norway allows carrying weapons for self defense.  Guns may or may not help to reduce crime, but it’s not actually a certain thing that an armed populace will stop mass murders of this sort.  You mentioned Nidal Hasan earlier.  Do you really think there weren’t many armed people in Fort Hood?
     

    Anyway, don’t worry.  The Norwegians have no death penalty, or even life imprisonment.

    Yeah they do.  Norway’s ‘maximum sentence’ is 40 years… but this is the maximum minimum sentence – essentially, the most they can be imprisoned without parole.  Norway only releases criminals – period – when they are judged to be reformed.  If he’s truly an ‘irredeemable psycopath’, he will never get out.  (By the way, this also applies to lesser crimes, IIRC.  One of the reasons Norway’s recidivism rate is a small fraction of America’s.) 

    Lee Harvey Norway,

    Aside from the inexplicable hatred here… why Lee Harvey Oswald?  Their crimes weren’t even similar.  At least call him Charles Carl Norway or Dylan Norway or something.Oh wait.  You’re stupid.
     

    Words surely don’t mean whatever I want them to mean, but they don’t mean whatever the U.N. says they mean either.

    Considering the ‘UN’ wrote the treaty defining this particular word… yeah, it kinda does.

    As for the last part of that quote from yourself .. and here is a perfect example of how you DO NOT READ what people type: I didn’t mention WWII … I have no idea what it has to with WWII.

    She assumed the two wars you were referring to were the World Wars.See also: stupid.

    Can we all just STOP using derogatory terms such as ‘whore’ and ‘prostitution’ for sex workers and sex work?

    Whore I can see… but isn’t prostitution just a descriptive term for a particular type of sex work?
     

    This is one of those things that sounds great in theory, but I don’t think there’s a single case where someone read a post by the troll, thought, “hmmmm, maybe that’s how the world works,” and then read one of the numerous responses and changed their mind. I would bet a pretty significant sum that it has never happened, not once, in all of the threads she’s been arguing in, and that it never will. Anyone liable to believe her overly simplistic, child-like view of the world isn’t going to be convinced by one of us pushing our glasses up the bridge of our nose and going “Well, actually, it’s more complicated than that. You see…” Their brain is going to go “tl;dr” and they’re going to skip on to the next talking point.

    I probably wasn’t at risk of being convinced, but it’s nice to see her stranger ‘facts’ quashed.Still.  I’m hoping she gets banned soon.  Or just… goes away.


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