Top 10 posts of 2014

Here are my top ten posts from 2014. One thing I realized while compiling this list is that I really need to blog more, so here’s to a more productive 2015. 10. #DefendTheDuggars (Sort of) I’ve said it before on social media and I’ll say it again here. The mocking of Duggar children is not something I can get behind. Criticize the Duggar parents for what they’re doing to their children, criticize Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh for their anti-LGBT activism, that’s fair game. Mocking the kids isn’t. Kids like the Duggars, who aren’t being given a real education (you don’t get a real education from ATI Wisdom Booklets), who aren’t allowed college, and who aren’t even allowed a single private conversation with someone of the opposite sex until they’re married, are the ones I’m trying to help.  9. “You went to a Christian college, what did you expect?” The campus climate problems may be different at Christian colleges than secular ones, but don’t kid yourself, the environment can be pretty bad at state schools too. I don’t want my criticism of how Covenant handled my alumni update situation and the erasing of LGBT alumni to suggest that it’s a problem limited to Christian schools. 8. Kevin Swanson Bingo Inspired by the Kevin Swanson Watch bingo, Twitterer @Apostate_X created this handy dandy Kevin Swanson Bingo for you and all your friends to play along at home while you listen to K-Swizzle’s Generations Radio. Or, as we prefer to call it, the #KSwanComedyHalfHour. The #KSwanComedyHalfHour is where you can learn about how Frozen turns children gay, how Girl Scouts turn children gay, how homosexuals are like cannibals, how lesbians eat feces (I think he saw Two Girls, One Cup, please, please, please nobody tell him about goatse), and well, you might be noticing a theme here. You’ll also learn about the Neronic[…]

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#DefendTheDuggars (Sort of)

I’ve said it before on social media and I’ll say it again here. The mocking of Duggar children is not something I can get behind. Criticize the Duggar parents for what they’re doing to their children, criticize Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh for their anti-LGBT activism, that’s fair game. Mocking the kids isn’t. Kids like the Duggars, who aren’t being given a real education (you don’t get a real education from ATI Wisdom Booklets), who aren’t allowed college, and who aren’t even allowed a single private conversation with someone of the opposite sex until they’re married, are the ones I’m trying to help.  TLC may put a pretty face on it, but make no mistake, the Duggars are part of a high-control, authoritarian cult. ATI creates an alternate reality, complete with their own version of history and science, and a theology that seems, on the surface, to be orthodox Christianity but is anything but. ATI even redefines language, Scientology-style. This is but one small example of the way that ATI indoctrinates its members, but check out their definitions of the character qualities that Bill Gothard decided were important. I’ve included a few of those character qualities below. Notice how most of those definitions are nothing like the dictionary definitions of those words? When I was a kid some ATI friends gave us the “Character Clues“ game, which was supposed to teach you those traits by having you match traits to definitions. Apart from being the world’s most boring game, we gave up on it quickly because the whole thing was redefining words. We could give up on the game because learning Gothard-approved definitions of words was dull, but for people who are part of the ATI cult, learning an entirely new vocabulary is a step in the cult indoctrination process.[…]

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Please help support the Coalition for Responsible Home Education

The organization I’m a part of, the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, launched our fund drive today. Until CRHE launched last year, there was no organization dedicated to advocating for the interests of homeschooled children. With a board made up of homeschool alumni we are in a unique position to understand the needs and challenges that homeschool children face.  Every homeschool child deserves a quality education in a safe, nurturing home environment. Unfortunately, some children fall through the cracks and the current legal environment lacks adequate mechanisms to protect those children.  Please consider partnering with us and donating to CRHE. With your help we’ll be able to conduct research and continue advocating for homeschool children. Many thanks in advance.

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Malala and Me

I sat here crying as I watched Malala Yousafzai talk about wanting to get an education and follow her dreams. She talks about how she decided to speak up against the Taliban because she didn’t want to be locked away in her house with no education, forced to marry at 13 or 14, and I can’t help but cry because it hits too close to home. I know what it feels like to fight for an education in a culture that thinks girls shouldn’t get one. That believes girls should be married off young with no skills and little education beyond primary school. I know what it feels like to want more and to feel the weight of everyone around you writing off your dreams as a silly fantasy. No, I didn’t have the Taliban forcing me home, and like Malala, my parents made sure that I had an education and encouraged me to follow my dreams. Who sent me to college, and who didn’t think that I had to marry off young and become the property of my husband. I was lucky though. There are so many girls stuck in the conservative Christian homeschool culture who aren’t so lucky. The stay-at-home daughter movement popularized by Doug Phillips and Vision Forum teaches that the proper place for a daughter is at home under her father’s authority until she’s given to the husband that her father has selected for her. Stay-at-home daughters are often given limited education, and dreaming of a life away from her father or husband, an education and a career, is unthinkable.  I remember going to hear popular homeschool speaker Little Bear Wheeler speak when I was in middle school, hearing from him that girls should be left as malleable clay to be shaped by their husband to best[…]

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In which we live tweet a Kevin Swanson radio show rant about homeschooling and World Magazine

Have fun reading this. Or not. In any case, it’s a whole lot of ridiculous strawmen and a whole lot of attacks on homeschool alumni. Also, WORLD Magazine may be harboring socialists. He hopes not, but it’s possible. The storified version of the tweets is after the jump. [View the story “Kevin Swanson on WORLD Magazine’s homeschool story” on Storify] Embedded Storify stories don’t show up right if you’re viewing this in Tumblr, so here’s the link to the story.

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Michelle Duggar’s anti-trans* robocalls and #DuggarHypocrisy

I haven’t really written about the Duggar family before because I feel for their kids still at home. They had no say about being thrust into the national spotlight, and invariably criticism of Jim Bob and Michelle turns into snark about the kids, and I don’t want that. Before I go any farther, let me say that any attacks on the Duggar children in the comments will be deleted. They didn’t ask for this, and with the exception of Josh, who has chosen to become a professional activist with hate group FRC Action, they need to be off limits. That aside, the reason I’ve broken my self-imposed “No Duggars” rule is because of Michelle Duggar’s robocalls against Fayetteville, AR’s proposed LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. I’ve embedded the audio Jeremy Hooper provided on GoodAsYou after the cut. Be warned, it’s a rather disturbing anti-trans diatribe about how transwomen are men who are trying to be predatory towards women and children. In response to this virulent attack on trans* people and their identities, a group of former homeschool kids has created the hashtag #DuggarHypocrisy.  Here’s why. While Michelle Duggar pretends to be concerned about sexual predators targeting women and children, Michelle and Jim Bob have remained silent as both Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips’ sexually predatory behavior was exposed. Shaney Lee has detailed the Duggar’s ties to Bill Gothard and their promotion of Gothard’s material, it’s an important read. Micah Murray’s post on the Duggars and Gothard is also more than sufficient to demonstrate the close ties the Duggars have with Gothard. As for the Duggars and Doug Phillips, in 2010, Michelle received the “Mother of the Year“ award from Doug Phillps. As documented by the Christian Post, before Vision Forum went under they sold DVD’s such as “Tea with Michelle Duggar,” a Vision Forum-produced video[…]

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We’re Here, We’re Queer (and patriarchy had nothing to do with it)

I’m not sure if two examples counts as a trend, but over the last few weeks both HSLDA founder and Patrick Henry College chancellor Michael Farris and well-known homeschool mommy blogger Karen “that mom” Campbell have both suggested that the blame, as it were, for LGBT homeschoolers lies at the feet of patriarchy. Under this narrative, patriarchy has so harmed and broken us that we have not only rejected patriarchy itself, but have fallen off into a morass of sin and depravity. Farris’ version of the story, as given in his May 2014 keynote address at the Florida Parent-Educators Association (FPEA) Leaders Forum, is that homeschool alumni critics of homeschooling are almost all victims of patriarchy, and in rejecting that we’ve also rejected God and some of us have become “open homosexuals.” It’s all very Romans 1 of him. Transcript: “But the majority, I think, are walking with God. A significant minority, however, have rejected God entirely. A significant number are way, way out there. And the– and the critics that we’re seeing arise from– in the homeschooling movement from young people who are in their twenties and– twenty– mid-twenties, mostly, is kind of the oldest group– that are loudly criticizing homeschooling on the internet and so on and in other venues– were almost all raised in these kinds of homes. And there is no pretense of Christianity in most of their lives. There are openly homosexuals involved, there are atheists involved, there are people that utterly reject everything that we believe in and make no pretense about it, that are– but they came. And so the idea that people are going to create generational, patriarchal family legacies, and we’re counting for them very well, you’re not seeing that. You erect a false view of God for your children, don’t[…]

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Yesterday was my last class ever as a student. I thought it was fitting to post this photo from one of my first days of school. Back then I wanted to be an astronaut, I dreamed of being the first person on Mars. Funny how the dream seemed so much more attainable in the ’80s than it does now, and not just because 5 year old me liked visiting NASA better than Disney. It wasn’t that long after this picture was taken that the lightbulb went off in my head and I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I especially loved reading books about things like black holes, the idea that there were things out there that were so dense that nothing could escape blew my mind. My nerdery started early. I look at this picture with me sitting there, pencil poised, wearing my birthstone ring that had been a bribe to get me to stop sucking my thumb and I think about how little me had no idea where the years to follow would take me. And yeah, I never got to go to Mars, but I did get to visit places that as a child of the Cold War I never dreamed I would ever get to see. I may not have gotten to make history in as the first person on Mars like my 5 year old self dreamed of, but I got to play a tiny role in a landmark Supreme Court case and high school me would be proud of that. I don’t know how the next chapter in my life is going to unfold but here’s to the future.

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Franklin Graham wants you to think he cares about child exploitation

Franklin Graham wants you to think he cares about child exploitation He doesn’t. Franklin Graham is busy pretending he cares about child exploitation and that’s why he doesn’t want to let gay people adopt. He thinks gay people recruit children. Aside from pointing out the utter absurdity of this idea, I have one thing to say to Franklin Graham. Speak out against the abuse in the church. If you really care about children being harmed, then use your voice and your famous name to do something about the abuse and exploitation of children in evangelical and fundamentalist churches and institutions. Speak out against the way churches protect child molesters while shaming their victims. Speak up for the children. Condemn the Bill Gothards, the Doug Phillipses, the Sovereign Grace Ministries, the Christian colleges that refuse to do anything about sexual harassment and assault and punish the victims. Speak against the system that enables the abuse and looks the other way when it happens. Speak out. Speak against the child abuse. Against the Pearls, the Ezzos, the parenting “experts” who tell parents that the way to create godly children is to beat them into submission. Speak out against the forces in the homeschool world who are fighting tooth and nail against any efforts to protect children from abuse and neglect. Franklin Graham, you need to get your house in order. Instead of cozying up to the human rights-abusing quasi-dictator that is Vladimir Putin, just because he hates gay people as much as you do, take some of that effort and do something about the very serious and very real abuse problem in the church. And as for me? I’m too busy trying to do what you won’t do, working hard to keep any more children from being beaten or starved to death[…]

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