by Lana Hope cross posted from her blog Wide Open Ground originally posted May 2013
Heather of Becoming Worldly put together a post today that gave me physical tears and a knot in my stomach. The post centers on the 2009 a men’s leadership summit, and a speech given by Doug Philips. Doug Philips of Vision Forum was also previously an attorney at HSLDA. Its worth mentioning, as Heather notes, that most of the famous [Christian] homeschool leaders have connections with each other, and together they built up the Christian homeschool movement.
It’s worth reading her post because, quite frankly, it’s the all-in-one-straight-from-the-mouth source that yes, these homeschool leaders had an agenda in mind. From the strict gender roles, creationism, deregulation of homeschooling, hatred for public education, and the CPS, it was all mashed together for leaders like Doug Philips. These were not separate ideas; they were apart of the whole – the whole that thought that some day, the generations to come would reclaim America.
Just a few years back, I, too, believed we should abolish the Child Protective Services and government education. I believed the solution was for more fundamental families to take in all the children (who would be without an education when the public education system was abolished) and raise them. Where did I get these ideas? Why was the adult me so afraid of education and the CPS? Why?
Doug Philips lays it out.
“If the Bible is our standard, dear friends, then we reject, at least principially . . . we understand that the core problem with Child Protective Services is its existence…The Bible establishes the government to bear the sword against evildoers, and it gives us principles for prosecuting criminal behavior. Criminal behavior should be prosecuted. Child Protective Services is based on quasi-criminal understanding, namely, “You’re not guilty of anything criminal, but we are going to claim the right to have jurisdiction over you to regulate you and possibly take away your children.” The state has no biblical authority to do that. It is unbiblical. It is unjust. It is wrong. And at the end of the day, the problem isn’t simply Child Protective Services to get better; it is eliminating it altogether. And you know what? The children of America would be safer.”
I got tears reading Heather’s post because my entire childhood was constructed by people much bigger than my parents. My parents taught me – and perhaps rightly so – that people get sucked into religious “cults” (defining the word “cult” as an evangelical would use it, meaning a unorthodox religious group) before they realize what the leaders really teach. They are attracted to the community, the atmosphere, and the spirit long before they question whether the leaders are sound or the doctrine “Biblical.” The sad reality is we were that family and never knew it. We started homeschooling for educational reasons. And then the community attracted us, and now 20 years later, I am trying to pick up the broken pieces.
I tremble, wondering what the government’s role in our lives should be, because all I know is paranoia.
I shudder, between the impersonal God of Tillich and the conservative God of conservative evangelicals, asking where faith can or should stand.
And I read and think and my head explodes wondering which intellectual ideas – about health or science or religion or anything else – is true or not.
Because I was not just homeschooled by my parents. I was also homeschooled by leaders much bigger than me that saw to it that women were educated differently and that we were all sheltered from “worldy” ideas and given fundamental textbooks. My parents handed me the books and just had no clue.
Before people take up for HSLDA for protecting their rights, I must ask, are they prepared to defend a lifestyle that wants to breed homeschool kids, weed out the rest, until we are able to overtake the world? I, also, do not want to see homeschooling become illegal, but before you go to HSLDA to defend your homeschool “rights,” please, rethink your source. Chris Klicka, the late director of HSLDA, was there and spoke at this leadership summit along with their partner Dr. Brian Ray. If HSLDA is trying to distance themselves from what Doug Philips believes, I have yet to see the evidence.
Read everything by Lana Hope!
Lana Hope was homeschooled 1st-12th grade in a small town and rural culture. Involved in ATI, her life growing up was gendered, sheltered, and with a lot of shame and rules in disguise of Biblical principles and character qualities. After college Lana moved to SE Asia and began working with the abused, and upon discovering that the large world is not at all like she had been taught, she finally questioned it all, from Calvinism to the homeschool movement to the foundation of her Christian faith. Today Lana is a Christian Universalist, holds a B.A. in English, and is currently working on a M.A. in philosophy. She blogs about the struggles she has faced leaving fundamentalism and homeschooling behind and how travel and missions has wrecked her life for good and bad at her blog www.wideopenground.com