For our next installment in the Vision Forum saga, Peter Bradrick breaks his silence

For those of you who aren’t entirely up to speed, Peter Bradrick is a Vision Forum intern turned executive assistant to Doug Phillips who was so close to Doug that Doug posted the picture below on his blog. You know, the picture that I said looked like a wedding photo. He doesn’t work for Vision Forum any longer, but even after he left as an employee he was involved in their “Hazardous Journeys” trips, and was pretty much BFFs with Doug. He’s married to the daughter of Scott Brown (not the politician, the one who’s head of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches, an organization that Doug was on the board of until his scandal broke).

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Knew it, Doug Phillips was lawyering his original Vision Forum resignation statement

Posted today: Clarification on Resignation by Douglas Phillips, Esq., November 14, 2013 I would like to express my gratitude for the great kindness so many have shown to my family in the wake of my stepping down as president of Vision Forum Ministries. My family has been greatly encouraged by many loving notes we have received. With that in mind, I want to be so very clear about the rightness of this transition, and I want to clear up some matters which have been brought to my attention. My sin has resulted in great pain within the Body of Christ, some confusion, and has given the enemies of God reason to rejoice. This is heartbreaking to me. Some have suggested that my sin was not sufficiently serious to step down. Let me be clear: it absolutely does merit my resignation. My resignation is sincere and necessary given the weightiness of my sin. Some reading the words of my resignation have questioned if there was an inappropriate physical component with an unmarried woman. There was, and it was intermittent over a period of years. The local church, not the Internet, is the proper forum for overseeing the details of a man’s repentance, but I just want to be clear for the sake of peace within the Body of Christ, that the tragic events we are experiencing, including the closing of Vision Forum Ministries are my fault, and that I am sincere that I should not be in leadership, but must spend this season of my life quietly walking a path of proven repentance. Please pray for the Phillips family, the Board, and the men who have made up the staff of Vision Forum Ministries. Doug Phillips Also, Spiritual Sounding Board has more information on what we know about what happened. Apparently[…]

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In which Kathryn contemplates the possibility of becoming a professional member of the religious right

Why did I have to be such an ethical person? I’d make a pretty darn good professional member of the religious right. I’ve got such a perfect story to sell a ton of books and make it for years on the fundy speaking circuit too.  I mean, grew up in conservative homeschool family, did the Operation Rescue thing in my teens (even performed and spoke at several national events), even did the conservative Christian college thing. Then I “backslid” into sin and depravity by coming out about my “same-sex attractions,” became a rainbow flag waving/parade marching gay rights activist, took up liberal political causes, identify as a feminist, all I need to do is pretend that I was an atheist for a while and I’ve got the perfect matched set of depravity and apostasy that any good religious right audience would eat up.  I just need to invent the perfect Damascus Road moment that shows me being convicted of my sinfulness (is “seeing a Bible verse on twitter while in a gay bar” a sufficiently cliche story?), go find a Christian counselor for a few months of praying away the gay so I can add tearful talk about my “struggles” to the story, and then go find a closeted fundy guy to marry me (the closeted fundy part is important, that way we can put on the impression of a model family without actually having to sleep with him) so we can adopt the box set of foreign orphans that we will homeschool, and I’ll be rich! That is the formula, right? Exaggerate your past so that you can sell the redemption story and be welcomed into the fold with open arms and wallets. The darker a picture you can paint of your depravity, the more people will eat up[…]

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Ding dong, Vision Forum Ministries is dead (But Vision Forum, Inc. is still raking in the cash)

Vision Forum Ministries announced today that they are closing up shop entirely. Whatever Doug Phillips did, it had to have been something so bad that the board decided the best course was to shut down the whole thing, turn off the lights and go home. Closing a ministry entirely when it’s not named after the person who sinned is unprecedented in Christian circles, I can’t remember a time that something quite like this happened. Here’s the statement. The Closing of Vision Forum Ministries In light of the serious sins which have resulted in Doug Phillips’s resignation from Vision Forum Ministries, the Board of Directors has determined that it is in the best interests of all involved to discontinue operations. We have stopped receiving donations, and are working through the logistical matters associated with the closing of the ministry. While we believe as strongly as ever in the message of the ministry to the Christian family, we are grieved to find it necessary to make this decision. We believe this to be the best option for the healing of all involved and the only course of action under the circumstances. In some ways, this is the end of an era. Doug Phillips and Vision Forum did much damage to countless people who bought into the oppressive and spiritually abusive system he and his followers taught. He sold an image of a perfect family that not even he could match up to. I say that “in some ways” it’s the end of an era, but the for-profit Vision Forum, Inc. is still operating, still selling that rotten and oppressive bill of goods to families. Doug Phillips is still making money off of this abusive system.  Until Vision Forum, Inc. closes up shop too and no more families and children are hurt by[…]

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In case anyone was wondering why people acted surprised that Doug Phillips’ affair was with a woman, it’s because he posts photos on his blog like the one above. I was poking around on his blog yesterday because, to be quite honest, I’d never much paid attention to Vision Forum other than to be creeped out by their catalog. When I came across the photo above, I had to do a double take because it looks so much like the sort of candid (but not really) wedding photos that everybody has, where the one spouse is gazing thoughtfully while the other spouse looks on, beaming. So nope, that’s not a tastefully understated portrait from a same-sex wedding, it’s just Doug Phillips with his “bosom friend” Peter Bradrick (and yes, he used that term to refer to Bradrick in another post, dude reads too many Victorian novels or something).  And I thought everybody was just going for the easy joke when I saw all of the “WITH A WOMAN?!” tweets. Oh well, I guess it’s kind of sweet in a way that Mr. Patriarchal Masculinity himself, Doug Phillips, has that kind of close, platonic male friends. It’s not the kind of thing you’re used to seeing though. 

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Doug Phillips confesses affair, resigns from Vision Forum, questions still remain

Yesterday Doug Phillips, one of the major names in the conservative homeschooling world and the quiverfull movement, announced his resignation from Vision Forum Ministries and the cancellation of all speaking engagements. With this, he joins a long list of Evangelical leaders who have engaged in inappropriate extramarital relationships and had to leave their ministries in disgrace. I can’t say that I’m surprised, there’s a reason I start wondering when the scandal is going to hit when we’re talking about people who spend as much time lecturing on women’s and girls’ modesty as Phillips did. This seems to be yet another example of a leader preaching against something as a way to build a fence around his own temptation. I feel for his wife and children, and I feel for the woman because while it takes two to tango, in this world the other woman often gets the brunt of the judgment and blame.  What is not clear is whether Phillips’ resignation is solely from Vision Forum Ministries, the non-profit arm of Vision Forum, or if it is from the for-profit Vision Forum, Inc. as well. Phillips’ statement of resignation was only posted on the Vision Forum Ministries site. Business is as usual at the for-profit VisionForum.com site, with no indication of Phillips’ resignation. The latest post on Phillips’ blog is an advertisement for a Vision Forum sale, dated today. Not only that, there is no mention either in the statement or on Phillips’ church website about him stepping down from leadership at the church.  As contrite as Phillips’ statement appears to be on the surface, the fact that it’s still business as usual on the for-profit side of his organization makes me wonder whether this is really just damage control to try to get ahead of a bigger scandal. Did[…]

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Pawns in the culture war

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes – Morpheus, The Matrix In the few days since I wrote my post about what I strongly suspect is HSLDA’s litigation strategy to make homeschooling a fundamental right with no restrictions, not even for abusers, people have been doing some digging and have found information that quite frankly, is incredibly disturbing. In a nutshell, in 2009 an all male group of homeschool leaders met for a summit at one of Bill Gothard’s ATI training centers to discuss the future of homeschooling. Included among the big names present were Doug Phillips of Vision Forum (and former HSLDA attorney), Brian Ray of NHERI, and Christopher Klicka of HSLDA. Among the topics discussed was a call to abolish child protective services and plans were outlined about how they would go about instituting a Christian theocracy with homeschoolers paving the way. Heather at Becoming Worldly and R.L. Stollar at Homeschooler’s Anonymous both have extremely long and extremely informative posts laying out what exactly happened at the summit, I think it’s important to go read both posts. While I’ve long suspected that there was an agenda based on the bits and pieces of memories I have from things I read and heard from various homeschooling leaders over the years, seeing the road map laid out was chilling. I’ve snarked about the irony of HSLDA setting me on the path to where I am today by getting me interested in law, I’ve imagined how different my life would have been if I’d been accepted to[…]

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