Miranda Blue's blog

Homeschooling Leader Distances Himself From 'Dangerous' Christian Patriarchy Movement Promoted By Duggars

Michael Farris, one of the leaders of the conservative homeschooling movement and the founder of Patrick Henry College, issued a harsh condemnation of the “Christian patriarchy” movement today, calling the ideology famously promoted by the Duggar clan “dangerous” and saying that it hurts the homeschooling movement’s image.

Two leaders of the Christian patriarchy movement — Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard — have been hit with sexual harassment and abuse charges in the past year, which has drawn attention to the movement’s teachings — extreme even within the Religious Right — that women should be completely submissive to the men in their lives.

These scandals hit shortly after the New Republic exposed Patrick Henry College’s failure to address sexual assault on its campus, home to many former homeschoolers.

In a newsletter article released today, Farris slams Phillips and Gothard’s Christian patriarchy (or “Quiverfull”) ideology, and also faults them for harming the image of the conservative homeschooling movement, writing, “if officials believe that the homeschooling movement promotes teachers and ideas that inherently treat women as second-class citizens or result in physical or sexual abuse of children, then we can expect that homeschooling freedom will be negatively impacted.”

Two prominent speakers on the homeschooling circuit have experienced dramatic falls from favor due to admitted sin. Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips have both been accused of serious sins involving young women. The accusations are sexual in nature. Both men have admitted to some form of sin with regard to these accusations, although each has disputed some of the details. Gothard disputes that his sins were sexual in nature. Phillips admits to an improper physical “relationship” with one young woman.

But with these recent scandals in view, we think it is now time to speak out—not about these men’s individual sins, but about their teachings. Their sins have damaged the lives of their victims, and should be addressed by those with the appropriate legal and spiritual authority in those situations, but their teachings continue to threaten the freedom and integrity of the homeschooling movement. That is why HSLDA needs to stand up and speak up.

Frankly, we should have spoken up sooner. How much sooner is hard to say. There is a subtle difference between teaching that we simply disagree with and teaching that is truly dangerous. While we did not directly promote their teachings using our own resources, we did allow Vision Forum to buy ad space to promote their products and ideas. We were wrong to do so. And we regret it.

What has changed our minds are the stories we are now hearing of families, children, women, and even fathers who have been harmed by these philosophies. While these stories represent a small minority of homeschoolers, we can see a discernible pattern of harm, and it must be addressed.

If public policy makers believe that the homeschooling movement promotes teachers and teaching that have a strong likelihood of damaging people—particularly children and women—then our freedom will suffer. Treating children well and treating women well is intrinsically the right thing to do. But it is also the necessary thing to do if we wish to preserve our liberty.

And far too many families, children, and parents have already been harmed. This must change.

Much of the spread of these philosophies has been done through homeschool conferences and conventions. Teachers who claim that they speak for God on matters of personal opinion should be suspect. Conference planners need to be very careful about whom they promote as speakers. And I believe it’s wise to carefully evaluate the messages we hear from any speaker.

Rick Wiles Warns Ebola Pandemic Will Lead To Ban On Churches

End Times radio host Rick Wiles seems to have mixed feelings about the Ebola virus. On one hand, Wiles speculated a few weeks ago that if Ebola were to become a global pandemic, it “ could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion .” On the other hand, Wiles is pretty sure that American Christians are on the verge of being rounded up and imprisoned and that an Ebola outbreak might give President Obama a convenient excuse to pack Americans into FEMA camps .

On his “Trunews” broadcast yesterday, Wiles came down again on the anti-Ebola side, worrying that it would lead to the government enforcing a ban on Americans going to church. “We may find ourselves one day being told by soldiers, ‘You can’t go to church,’” he warned.

Doctor Shuts Down Newsmax's Scaremongering About Child Migrants And Disease

One of the most persistent talking points that the anti-immigrant movement has been throwing out about the influx of Central American children fleeing to the United States has been the fear that the children will carry exotic diseases such as Ebola and introduce them to the United States. These fears are not only completely unfounded, but play on some of the most insidious anti-immigrant stereotypes.

So, it was a pleasant surprise today when someone at the right-wing outlet Newsmax neglected to do their homework and invited an actual infectious disease expert to discuss the supposed problem with host J.D. Hayworth, a former Republican congressman.

Hayworth eagerly prompted Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at the Texas Children’s Hospital, to confirm the anti-immigrant movement’s fears about Central American children bringing “widespread infectious diseases into the United States.”

“I actually think the threat of diseases coming into the United States from Central America is fairly remote,” Hotez told a shocked Hayworth.

Hotez then went on to explain how the real problem causing the spread of disease in the U.S. is widespread poverty, at which point Hayworth cut off the interview.

Correction: This post originally misspelled Dr. Hotez's name. 

Where Was The Anti-Government Right In Ferguson?

The protests in Ferguson, Missouri, this month presented a dilemma for the anti-government Right. The activists and elected officials who spent the spring fawning over lawless Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s stand against what they saw as an overbearing federal government changed their tune or just went silent when a police force armed with military weapons cracked down on mostly peaceful protesters in Ferguson.

On Tuesday, Gawker’s Adam Weinstein examined the “inherent contradiction” in the membership of St. Louis police officer Dan Page — who was suspended after he shoved a CNN reporter and the video of a violent rant he made came to light — in Oath Keepers, a group whose entire founding purpose is a fear of violent government overreach against unarmed citizens.

…For all their delusions, the Oath Keepers seem tailor-made to counter the surreal overarmed police state that may have played a role in Michael Brown's death by cop in Ferguson, and that has ebbed and flowed through the streets there ever since. The oath that Oath Keepers keep is to disobey a set of orders they believe may be given by government authorities . Hence they swear, in part:

  • We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
  • We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
  • We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

As Weinstein notes, the Missouri chapter of the Oath Keepers has sent a “letter of warning” to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in opposition to police tactics against the protesters. But the Oath Keepers’ opposition seems to be based less on principle than on strategy — in a separate blog post, the national group objects to the police failure to stop looting while it took aim at peaceful protesters. The blog post also notes that Oath Keepers on the scene in Ferguson were “talking consensus for the benefit of the police and the people equally.” This role of self-appointed mediator is in sharp contrast to the group’s show of force at the Bundy ranch.

Ferguson has exposed some common ground between the anti-government Right and mainstream civil liberties groups — for instance, both the extreme right-wing Gun Owners of America and the American Civil Liberties Union have signed on to a plan to end the program that sends discount military equipment to local police departments.

Gun Owners of America’s executive director Larry Pratt, however, has been uncharacteristically quiet about Ferguson, linking on Twitter to the Missouri Oath Keepers’ letter to Nixon, but also to an article claiming that Michael Brown wasn’t unarmed because he was “young and strong.” GOA sent out an email arguing that violence in Ferguson was just another reason why people should be allowed to own AR-15s.

Sheriff Richard Mack, the founder of a group that believes that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the land, has also been strangely silent on Ferguson, despite having spent time rallying against the federal government at the Bundy ranch with armed militia groups that he compared to Rosa Parks.

And then there’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Bundy ally who, as the situation in Ferguson escalated, crowed about the combat supplies that he had amassed for his own department.

Yes, the relative silence of the anti-government Right on Ferguson is inconsistent, but so is their view of the Ferguson protests: In the view of many right-wing activists, the protesters in Ferguson weren’t standing up to the government, they were themselves tools of the government.

There is a school of thought among right-wing commentators that the protests in Ferguson were orchestrated — or at the very least encouraged — by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration in order to stir up racial resentments and increase Democratic chances in the 2014 midterm elections.

This paranoid scenario is in line with Pratt’s fear, expressed last year, that President Obama is on the verge of starting a race war against white people.

The Ferguson protests exposed a key fault line in the anti-government "Patriot" movement: they are against government overreach, but their definition of what counts as government never seems to be quite clear. 

Linda Harvey Attacks Target For 'Pushing Deviance And Perversion Into Everyone's Lives'

On her “Mission America” radio program yesterday, Linda Harvey weighed in on the National Organization for Marriage’s boycott of Target in response to the company’s filing of a court brief in support of marriage equality.

Harvey echoed NOM in taking particular issue with Target’s characterization of same-sex marriage bans as “bans” and “discrimination.”

“Have you noticed how this is how headlines often read these days?” Harvey said. “They talk about laws on natural marriage as being ‘bans’ on same-sex so-called marriage. And that’s incorrect because people who are male can still marry people who are female. The only obstacle for a few people is the presence of unnatural desires. Those desires can change with a different mind and heart.”

Later in the broadcast, Harvey read from a response she received from Target, in which the company expressed support for the “LGBT community.”

“So where’s the inclusivity for traditional values families? Target also thinks there’s an LGBT community, but what about a Christian morals community? Do they get the fact that most people have had it up to here with pushing deviance and perversion into everyone’s lives in America? That most Americans don’t accept the idea of two men or two women being married when they are obviously not?”

Rick Santorum Falsely Claims Students 'Can't Pray In School'

Today, Vocativ posted an interview with Rick Santorum, who is promoting his new movie “One Generation Away,” which is about the supposed “erosion of religious liberty” in the United States.

Unsurprisingly, Santorum cites a number of myths about religious liberty in schools, including claiming that “you can’t pray in school” and that public schools "can't talk about the impact" of the Bible on "Western civilization." In reality, students have a constitutionally protected right to pray in school, as long as that prayer is not school-sponsored. In addition, schools are allowed to teach about the Bible and its impact on history.

The movie argues that the observant are being forced to practice in private, for few hours in church on Sundays. But on a personal level, can’t you observe your religion wherever you want?

Not necessarily. You can’t pray in school, but it’s good to have prayer. Are people offended by prayer? Sure. But the constitution gives us the right to offend. There are a lot of things today in America that offend me.

Right, but isn’t school different? There are lots of rules in school that don’t apply to the rest of society.

This is a fallacy. By making such a judgment, you’re communicating what’s good and bad. Not having the Bible taught in school is a mistake. The Bible is the basis upon which Western civilization was built. It is the most influential book of all. And yet it’s not taught. In school, they can’t talk about the impact of this book. This is, in fact, putting forth a view of history that is ahistorical. It’s hard to not look at the history of Western civilization and not see faith.

So what about the Quran? Should that be taught in school, too?

I would absolutely encourage more teaching about Islam. Maybe 50 years ago, when Islam had third-world status and not international status—maybe that was different. But given what’s going on, it’s important to teach it.

Ben Stein: Michael Brown 'Wasn't Unarmed. He Was Armed With His Incredibly Strong, Scary Self'

In an interview with Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg yesterday, conservative pundit Ben Stein insisted that Michael Brown, the black teenager who was shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, “wasn’t unarmed” because he was “armed with his incredibly strong, scary self.”

“The idea of calling this poor man ‘unarmed’ when he was six-foot-four, 300 pounds, full of muscles, apparently — from what I read in the New York Times — on marijuana, to call him unarmed is like calling Sonny Liston unarmed or Cassius Clay unarmed,” Stein said.

He went on to accuse Attorney General Eric Holder of leading a “lynching” of the police officer who killed Brown, alleging that the deaths of Brown and of Trayvon Martin were cases of a “very large so-called victim attacking a policeman.”

Alabama GOP Chairman: Obama Is A Sociopath, Probably

We last checked in with Alabama Republican Chairman Bill Armistead during the 2012 presidential campaign, when he was promoting the bizarre alternate birther theory that President Obama’s real father was labor organizer Frank Marshall Davis. Armistead had picked up the idea from a smear film made by right-wing filmmaker Joel Gilbert, and was very impressed, saying he had “verified that it is factual, all of it.”

Now, Armistead has gotten on board with another fringe right-wing theory about President Obama, this time echoing Wayne Allyn Root’s suggestion that the president might actually be a diagnosable sociopath because of the fact that he was on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard last week.

In an email on Monday, Armistead approvingly cited Root’s most recent column to ask, "Is Obama a sociopath?

Elsewhere in Root’s article, Armistead will have learned the activist’s signature theory that President Obama picked up a secret plan to destroy America while attending Columbia University, while simultaneously never attending Columbia classes.

Armistead is not the first GOP leader to take a shine to Root’s unhinged anti-Obama activism: Root campaigned for Mississippi Tea Party Senate candidate Chris McDaniel this summer, where he speculated that Obama “cut his Afro” in order to become an anti-American “Manchurian candidate.”

Scott Lively: Vicky Beeching Represents 'The Drawing Back Of The Tide' Before Gay Rights 'Tsunami'

In the days since British Christian singer Vicky Beeching came out as a lesbian, anti-gay pastor Scott Lively has been on full alert, confronting Beeching on TV and issuing a pamphlet warning churches that “a dangerous modern heresy called 'gay theology' is infiltrating the Christian church at an alarming pace.”

Lively continued his anti-Beeching crusade in an interview with WorldNetDaily this weekend, in which he warned that the singer represents “the drawing back of the tide before a tsunami” consisting of “attacks on Christians in America like we’ve never seen before.”

An evangelical Christian worship singer who has been urging churches to change their doctrine on homosexual behavior since announcing she is a lesbian is at the forefront of a coming tidal wave of “infiltration” of the church by promoters of the “gay” agenda, contends evangelical attorney, evangelist and activist Scott Lively.

Lively, president of Abiding Truth Ministries, said that with insiders on the offensive such as Vicky Beeching, a British-born artist who has become popular among evangelicals in the U.S., he expects “attacks on Christians in America like we’ve never seen before.”

He explained that after the Stonewall riots in 1969, homosexual activists banded together to oppose every American institution that did not fully accept and promote homosexual behavior.

The first victory was over the American Psychiatric Association, and within 40 years, every other group had been conquered, he said. The Boy Scouts were the latest to fall, just a year ago.

Now, the only organization left is the church, he said.

“All of their battle-hardened activists and enormous resources are all directed at the church,” he said.

The problem is that church leaders haven’t been preparing for such a fight, Lively said, and don’t really know what the movement is about.

Beeching revealed she is a lesbian in an interview last week with the Independent newspaper of London.

“What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love. I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people,” she said.

Lively, however, said Beeching represents “the drawing back of the tide before a tsunami” and an indicator of “how bad this is going to get.”

Trent Franks: Obama Not 'Motivated Enough' By 'Pure Humanity'

Five years after declaring President Obama an “ enemy of humanity,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) is now claiming that Obama failed to stop the rise of ISIS because he “doesn’t seem motivated enough on the basis of pure humanity to do what’s necessary to defend the innocent from the malevolent.”

Franks made the remarks in an interview Friday with Concerned Women for America, in which he claimed that Obama failed to heed his warnings about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

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