are patriocentric views of a woman's role putting homeschooling freedoms at risk?

A while back I wrote about the necessity of homeschoolers to “police our own” when it comes to some of the patriocentric teachings that are making their way through homeschooling groups around the country. The main point I made was that if we do not, someone will do it for us and we won’t like what we get. In that post, I mentioned a research paper that has addressed the disparity between home education for girls and boys that is being promoted in some circles and offered to send copy of that study to anyone who requested it, which I did. Last week I received an updated copy of that paper and I am including an alarming section of this paper today. Please note the footnotes at the bottom of the page and who is mentioned as contributing to what this professor believes is an unconstitutional practice in some homeschooling families. Perhaps this will better explain why I have given so much space to this topic on this blog. I honestly believe that these patriocentric teachings have not only wrecked havoc on families and individuals but it is in the process of threatening the freedoms homeschoolers currently enjoy.

CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRAINTS ON SEXIST EDUCATION
(excerpt from a research paper by Kimberfly Yuracko at the Northwestern University School of Law.)

Given that states have a constitutional obligation to ensure that homeschoolers receive a basic minimum level of education, the next question becomes whether the federal Equal Protection
Clause entitles at least some children to something more than this basic minimum. A review of popular Christian homeschooling curricula, books and websites reveals an ideology of female
subservience and rigid gender role differentiation. Prominent homeschool curricula, for example, emphasize that girls should be subordinant to their fathers and later their husbands.

Vision Forum Ministries, a group founded by a leading homeschool advocate and influential among Christian homeschoolers, posts articles on its website asserting that women belong exclusively in the private domestic sphere. Several articles assert that women should not work outside the home, with one contending that “God does not allow women to vote.” Not surprisingly, this ideology of constraint also has something to say about girls’ education. In So Much More, for example, a book written by two homeschooled sisters and currently popular in the Christian homeschool community, the authors argued that college is dangerous for young women because it diverts them from their God ordained role as helpmeets for their fathers and husbands. Under existing laws, it is impossible to know how often and to what extent such beliefs lead to significantly inferior substantive educations for homeschooled girls.166 Yet this Part contends that the Equal Protection Clause imposes limits on the degree of sexist homeschooling that states may permit, entitling some girls—those in households where boys receive far more extensive instruction—to a level of education above the basic minimum.

The Equal Protection Clause prohibits states from discriminating against protected group
members in the delivery of goods, services, benefits, and privileges. The clause is importantly
distinct from the substantive Due Process and Privileges or Immunities Clauses discussed in Part
I. While the latter two clauses guarantee fundamental rights to all individuals, the Equal
Protection Clause guarantees equal treatment across protected groups with respect to both
fundamental rights and trivial interests. As a result, the Equal Protection Clause effectively
guarantees individuals a constitutional right to goods and services to which they would not
otherwise have a right.

162 The President of Vision Forum Ministries, Doug Phillips, formerly worked for the Home
School Legal Defense Association and served as Director of the National Center for Home
Education. He also speaks regularly at homeschool conferences around the country.

See Vision Forum Ministries, About the President,
http://www.visionforumministries.org/home/about/about_the_presiden.
163 See Melissa Keen, Called to the Home—Called to Rule, Vision Forum Ministries, June
16, 2004.

http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/family/called_to_the_home_called_to_r.aspx

(last visited Sept. 13, 2007) (“God did not intend for His women to pursue careers outside the home”);
Vision Forum Ministries Editorial Note, The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy,
http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/family/biblical_patriarchy.aspx (last visited Sept. 13,
2007) (“While unmarried women may have more flexibility in applying the principle that women
were created for a domestic calling, it is not the ordinary and fitting role of women to work
alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion.”).
164 See Brian M. Abshire, Biblical Patriarchy and the Doctrine of Federal Representation,
Vision Forum Ministries, July 15, 2005,
http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/family/bibilical_patriarchy_and_the_do.aspx

(last
visited Sept. 13, 2007).
165 See Anna Sofia Botkin & Elizabeth Botkin, SO MUCH MORE: THE REMARKABLE
INFLUENCE OF VISIONARY DAUGHTERS ON THE KINGDOM OF GOD 136-137 (2005) (“For young women, college campuses have become dangerous places of ongoing anxiety, wasted years, mental defilement and moral derangement. . . . Today’s college experience can lead young women away from real knowledge and blessing and into estrangement from both their heavenly Father and earthly fathers.”); see also the Botkins’s website, www.visionarydaughters.com;

see also Stacy McDonald, RAISING MAIDENS OF VIRTUE: A STUDY OF FEMININE LOVELINESS FOR MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS (2005). McDonald explained that a girl’s education “should be focused on assisting her future husband as his valuable helpmate, not on becoming her ‘own person.’” Id. at 55. She counseled girls to “[r]emember that a strong desire to be a doctor or a seemingly God-given talent in math is not an indication of God’s will for you to have a career in medicine or engineering. Sometimes God gives us talents and strengths for the specific purpose of helping our future husbands in their calling.”

Id. at 56. Kevin Swanson, Executive Director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado, has argued in his daily radio broadcast that women who focus on education and career will end up having multiple abortions and will be lonely and purposeless in their lives. See Kevin Swanson, Raising Visionary Daughters—An Interview with the Botkin Sisters (June 19, 2007), available at www.kevinswanson.com. Ideas about the inappropriateness of higher education for girls have clearly taken hold among some segment of the Christian homeschooling community.

(I am sorry, but for some reason, some of these links are not showing up as hyper-links. If you want to receive a copy of this document, contact me at shesthatmom@gmail.com)

 

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Comments

  1. JayneK says

    Karen, please allow me to post this apology on your blog because I would like to apologize to everyone in the discussion as well as you.
    I am sorry for being belligerent and tactless.I ask you all to forgive me.

  2. says

    “I am sorry for being belligerent and tactless.I ask you all to forgive me.”

    Forgiven… and I ask the same of you, Jayne, if my manner of speaking was offensive. Shall we agree to disagree, and call it pax?

  3. JayneK says

    Cyntia wrote:
    Forgiven… and I ask the same of you, Jayne, if my manner of speaking was offensive. Shall we agree to disagree, and call it pax?

    Thank you. I realize that I provoked much of the response to me here by being overly-confrontational. I do not hold it against anyone. I would be pleased to be at peace with you all.

    I’m not sure if I am allowed to say “pax” though, since that is a Latin word. 🙂

  4. says

    Jayne,

    Your apology is accepted and you are welcome to post here if you do so in the same sweet spirit in which you have written this morning.

  5. says

    I posted a public apology to Jayne, yesterday, and others over on the MEH board (thread on sexism and homeschooling) and I will post that apology here because I owe that to Jayne and anyone else I have offended. I am deeply sorry.

    Mea Culpa?

    or would that be συγνώμη? 😉

    “”The responses by Corrie and others were gloating in their tone to Gene. And suddenly, when Jayne was able to demonstrate that Corrie did not have the expertise she claimed she did, the whole thing was a waste of time. I would bet that if you tallied posts, Corrie and her friends ‘wasted’ more time on that discussion that Jayne did.”

    Hi Kanga Mom,

    You are correct, I was very wrong. I am asking you and everyone else involved to forgive me. I am very ashamed of myself.

    I do want to explain to you that when I made that comment about teaching my children since 1993, it was supposed to be funny. It came in handy because I could identify scientific terms because I knew their roots. I am a complete dunce when it comes to science and learning Greek and Latin roots and teaching them to others has helped me greatly to understand a word even though I have never seen it before. I was trying to be funny instead of responding to Gene by calling him names as he called others. It did not come off the way I meant it. I wasn’t gloating at all. I was really trying to play off the irony of the patriarchal stance that women don’t need to go to college since they already have a PHd level of education just by staying home and reading books on their own.

    I was certainly NOT claiming to have expertise. Hardly and that is not at all how I view myself and that is not at all what I was saying in my response to Gene.

    I was upset with Gene’s name calling and condescending and rude remarks to Karen and others and I usually try not to respond when I am riled up. I am more than willing to have a discussion with people but I did not understand the type of behavior being exhibited by Gene and Joseph. It was uncalled for. Calling people “cackling hens” and “miserable” and “bitter” and insinuating we are wasting time and taking time away from our household duties just because they disagree doesn’t make for good discussion in my book. When I confront these teachings, I do not attribute motives. I deal with the actual written word of the person who I am confronting. I did not find Gene to be “a nice man” at all and that really rubbed me the wrong way because it seemed unfair. I am truly sorry for allowing my flesh to get the better of me.

    You are right, I did waste time. If you notice, I am not posting on this topic anymore. I understood that Karen was asking everyone, especially me to stop talking about the Latin/Greek thing. I have been humbled by this whole exchange and I sincerely want to ask you and Jayne and anyone else I have offended to forgive me.

    One more thing, I know the difference between Latin and Greek. I am far from being an expert but when I wrote what I wrote, I was thinking Greek and I was looking at my Greek materials but I wrote Latin. It was a stupid mistake. I have at least a 1,000 flash cards in my home from our Greek and Latin root studies. I have gone through two levels of the Latin Road to English Grammar. My children are much better at Latin than I am. They have far surpassed me in that area. I am more of a facilitator. I have never claimed to be an expert and I am always in learning mode. I shouldn’t try and write those sorts of posts when I have a lot of distractions going on around me.

    What I do have is life experience. I do have a son in college that was homeschooled through high school (except for K, 1st, 2nd) and he has done fantastic in his structural/civil engineering course work. I have 9 other children at home and every day I learn something new.

    I know Jayne is heads and tails above me in knowledge in this area. It really isn’t the hill I want to die on. I had never even heard of the term until this year. I do think that whatever you want to call it: father-centric, male-centric, patricentric, etc., all describe it much better than hyper-patriarchy or just plain ol’ patriarchy.

    I have learned a lot from the discussion concerning making laws that would regulate homeschooling. I have a lot more to learn.”

  6. says

    Here’s a link Corrie showed the Yahoo Patriarchy board, and it is in keeping with concerns of this thread:

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/14822541/detail.html

    In another posting on Dec. 1, Murray wrote about the “insane things” he went through in Christian homeschool.

    “I remember the beatings and the fighting and yelling and insane rules and the Bill Gothard bull**** and then trancing out … I remember how it was like every day was Mission Impossible trying to keep the rules or not get caught. . . .” nghtmrchld26 posted on the expentacostal.org Web site.

    “We both went through some insane stuff growing up in The Nightmare that outsiders just do not understand,” he said.

  7. says

    No, I’m not calling for more regulations. No, I’m not blaming Bill Gothard for the murder of other people. That responsibility lies with Michael Murray alone.

    But Murray obviously was very angered by the legalism of Gothardism, as many who exit ATI have testified to (I’ve read a lot of their stories on the Crossings, where you have to sign on with your real name, and on the Gothard list), and the media has already taken note of this and is publishing it, and it IS something to be concerned about.

    In addition to this we must be praying for the families who now are facing Christmas with loved ones murdered because their murderer hated Christianity.

  8. says

    Here is a quote from Murray, which is now on Wikipedia. Someone posted it to the Gothard discussion list (a Yahoo group). Patriocentrist Doug Phillips and the Vision Forum are VERY friendly with Gothard, and they teach many things in common about practical Christian living, except for Phillips encourages early marriage, and Gothard encourages singleness for a time of dedicated service. Phillips has spoken on Gothard’s ATI platform. We need to keep in mind this is Murray’s own testimony about why he felt so angry and confused, NOT what other people said about him:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bill_Gothard&oldid=177364577

    Matthew J. Murray, the spree shooter in the Arvada missionary shooting and New Life Church shooting, was homeschooled and raised by his parents according to Gothard’s teachings. Murray blamed this strict, isolated upbringing and Gothard personally for his mental and social problems in Internet postings in forums where other Gothard critics and “survivors” would gather. [21] [22] [23]

    “ I am 22 years old and I was raised in Bill Gothard’s homeschool program all the way through high school. I went to both the Basic and Advanced Seminars. My Mother was fully into both Bill Gothard’s programs AND the Charismatic movement.
    What I found were all these other rules Irealized I could never live up to, yet, the man seemed to have a biblical basis for everything. In Februrary 2001 at age 17 I plunged into a dark suicidal depression all because I thought I had lost my “salvation” and somehow couldn’t live up to the rules. Every single hour of every single day, up until October 2001 I thought about ways of suicide and hating myself for not being worthy enough and failing God. I felt like there was no reason to live because I had lost my salvation and could never live up to the rules.[24]

    It isn’t just conservative homeschoolers who are looking at these matters. And although the overwhelming vast majority of people who come out of ATI would never do such things as Murray did, the fact is MANY OF THEM HAVE VERY SIMILAR FEELINGS ABOUT THEIR LEGALISTIC AUTHORITARIAN HOMESCHOOL BACKGROUND!!!

  9. says

    Thatmom, I posted about Murray because there are more issues that those who want more regulation are looking at besides how girls and women are treated. It’s the whole excessive authoritarian legalism that is the backdrop for a lot of problems — Murray’s, and many women and girls as well.

    But Jesus Christ sets us free from yokes of bondage and heavy burdens. I am grieved to know that Murray felt this way, and in his anger took it out on others.

  10. says

    “While unmarried women may have more flexibility in applying the principle that women
    were created for a domestic calling, it is not the ordinary and fitting role of women to work
    alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion.””

    What exactly does this mean? Are we not their equals if they are not in a position of authority over us? Is this saying, in effect, that all women are subordinated to all men?

    I had always thought that a woman is in a subordinate position to her OWN husband, her elders (along with her husband equally under submission of their elders), law makers (again along with all men, equally), etc.

    So, if all women are not subordinate to all men then why can they not work as functional equals “in public spheres of dominion”?

    And what is a public sphere of dominion? Aren’t both the man and the woman given dominion over the earth in Genesis 1 without distinction?

  11. says

    “see also Stacy McDonald, RAISING MAIDENS OF VIRTUE: A STUDY OF FEMININE LOVELINESS FOR MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS (2005). McDonald explained that a girl’s education “should be focused on assisting her future husband as his valuable helpmate, not on becoming her ‘own person.’” Id. at 55. She counseled girls to “[r]emember that a strong desire to be a doctor or a seemingly God-given talent in math is not an indication of God’s will for you to have a career in medicine or engineering. Sometimes God gives us talents and strengths for the specific purpose of helping our future husbands in their calling.””

    What would women do if they couldn’t have access to female doctors? And what is a “seemingly God-given talent”? And where does it say that a woman’s God-given talents are given to her only to serve her own husband and no one else? Is that in the Bible somewhere?

    The female doctor issue is especially pertinent because the hyper-patriarchal crowd also teaches that it is immodest and unbiblical to go to a male doctor for any female related issues or in any situation where a male doctor would have to look at a woman’s nakedness.

    A woman can’t be a doctor but she can’t go to a male doctor. Hmmm? What to do! What to do? I guess women are not entitled to medical care, then, the way that men are? And don’t tell me that all women can have their health care needs met by a midwife. That is far from the truth.

  12. says

    It has been recently stated that the sites that confront the hyper-patriarchal teachings are not reliable because they are biased and misrepresent what is taught.

    I am reading through some of this article and how can that assertion be true when the quotes are coming from the actual teachings of those in the hyper-patriarchal movement?

    In fact, most people don’t make assertions unless they have a quote to back them up.

    So, how can you misrepresent an actual teaching and practice when you are quoting directly from the source?

    For instance, VF/Abshire assert that the bible teaches that women can’t vote. Anyone show me where the bible says this?

    Where does it say that a woman is given talents from God in order to serve her husband? But, when a man is given talents from God it is in order to take dominion?

    I would like someone to show a couple of instances where people are misrepresenting what the hyper-patriarchal movement is teaching. One or two examples would be nice, especially since it was said that everything that is said is extremely unreliable and it is a misrepresentation of the hyper-patriarchal teachings.

  13. Shauna says

    “So, how can you misrepresent an actual teaching and practice when you are quoting directly from the source?”

    Quotes are misinterpreted all the time (I’m speaking generally here), either deliberately or because the receiver of the message doesn’t understand or get what the speaker is saying. And if the receiver is already biased against the speaker, it’s less likely he or she is going to give the speaker the benefit of the doubt when something is not fully understood rather than assigning a negative intent.

    One example that stands out in my mind as an obvious misrepresentation in the ongoing conversation on the other blog were the comments implying that Stacy teaches that chocolate is sinful (in and of itself) and that if you eat chocolate you’ll go to hell. Granted, they were mostly sarcastic, but I don’t see much appreciation or tolerance for sarcasm and hyperbole when someone from the “other side” uses it.

    Another example that comes to mind is on this blog when some accused Jennie of dismissing daycare workers as brainless, which, as I pointed out in that thread, was not at all what she was saying.

    (Of course I’ve also noticed numerous instances of misrepresentation of this conversation by opponents, but that’s not what your question was about.)

  14. Clellie says

    Shauna wrote: “Quotes are misinterpreted all the time (I’m speaking generally here), either deliberately or because the receiver of the message doesn’t understand or get what the speaker is saying.”

    I can agree that sometimes things can be misunderstood and/or misrepresented because the receiver of the message “doesn’t understand.” I can also agree that we can have knee-jerk reactions to a particular comment that can take that comment out of context (perhaps the “brainless” comment) and take us off track of the main point that a speaker/writer is trying to make.

    However, it has been my experience that the explanation “you just don’t understand” is used very often by the proponents of Patriarchy. At what point does that explanation become hollow or even unacceptable?

  15. says

    Shauna,

    Thank you for those examples. I agree that those are examples of where statements have been misrepresented.

    Did someone really say that she said that eating chocolate is sinful and that you will go to hell for eating it?

    I am one that understood what Jennie meant by the brainless daycare workers comment and I believe I even corrected those who misunderstood that statement. It was easy enough to misunderstand, especially if you weren’t following the video clip closely.

    Other than that? What major teachings are being misrepresented? What patriarchal teachings are being misconstrued?

    I do think that a lot of confusion comes into play because people don’t know what is being taught because of contradictory statements by the authors in various materials. What do they really believe on the subject of women working outside of the home, women going to college, women voting, white-washed feminists, etc? And no matter how many times you ask the question as nicely as possible there is no answer forthcoming.

  16. says

    Shauna,

    This is one reason I always try to give an exact quote, which I did on the True Womanhood blog regarding the chocolate comment. i will have to go back and read there, but I do not remember anyone mis characterizing that comment by saying Stacy said eating chocolate would be a sin. But i will go back and look. If that was stated it ought to be corrected.

    Chellie and Corrie both pointed out that these things tend to be confusing sometimes, especially when an author makes one statement one place and then a contradictory statement somewhere else. That is exactly the reason I would so very much like Stacy to respond here to those questions that are troubling so many.

  17. says

    I would just like to add this observation.

    I do much reading. When I read Carolyn Custis James, for example, and then go to her blog and read and then when I listened to the interview with her on Moody radio, there was a consistency, a common thread of teaching. There were no inconsistencies. The same is true when I read Sallie Clarkson’s writings or many other writers.

    However, the same has not been true for Stacy’s writings, thus there is much confusion.

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