A line in the sand
Why is it important to understand groups like this? Because the people who see the world in the same way as Vision Forum are the people drawing that line in the sand farther and farther to the right and aim to drag the rest of the country there with them.
The cover photo shows a blond boy of about 12 standing in front of an old door. In his right hand is a sword that he has drawn a line in front of him with as he stands guard in front of the mission entrance. His left hand holds up a parchment with the large script "The Biblical Family Now and Forever." With his riding boots and pants, a red sash above his scabbard and Confederate gray jacket, he appears to be ready to defend the church from all that threaten it.
Of course, an armed guard at the door also keeps people out. And I'm not sure that's what God intends for us to do.
But I could be wrong about this group. Let's go past the cover and see.
Doug Phillips, the president and founder of Vision Forum Inc., has a two-page column explaining his view of "The Biblical Family Now and Forever!"
He starts off the catalog with scripture:
"Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed...He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established , he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies... The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away." (Psalm 112:1-2,7-8,10)
Not exactly "Love thy neighbor," nor particularly welcoming with the teeth gnashing and all, but what's with all of the ellipses?
What did he leave out? I'll bold the passages he skipped over.
1 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
Wow! That's some interesting stuff covered by those ellipses.
Phillips emphasizes the lines about fear the Lord, evil tidings, the wicked, teeth gnashing, but doesn't include the lines about being gracious, compassionate, righteous, giving to the poor on purpose.
Let's go over that again (because I want to make a point about something Phillips does repeatedly throughout the catalog). The upright have enemies that will grieve and melt away. Nothing about the upright showing compassion.
It is almost as if Phillips is promoting a world view that we are surrounded by enemies and should be afraid.
Maybe I'm making too much of his cherry picking of scripture. After all, it's just the first part of a two-page column of a 87-page mail-order catalog. What comes next?
"It was patterned before time began by an eternal Father who loved His eternal Son. It was birthed on the Sixth Day as the very pinnacle of Creation. It was chosen as the vehicle for globe-transforming dominion, covenant faithfulness, and the incarnation of the Savior of the world. It is modeled in the life of the Church through the spiritual brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers who are the very body of Christ. It is pictured and perfected in all its beauty at the culmination of time through a divine wedding feast. In its purest expressions, it is a society of love declared in the last verses of the Old Testament to be inextricably linked to revival and national peace. From Genesis to Revelation, it is proven to be the flesh and blood organization through which men first learn love, law and the meaning of life. It shapes the destiny of children, the character of leaders and the future of civilizations. Its definition is immutable, transcendent and non-negotiable.
I'll interrupt Phillips briefly to point out, since he places such an emphasis on family, that he has a lovely photo of the "Vision Forum Family in San Antonio, Texas." All the men and boys in khaki pants and blue jackets. Ms. Carnacki pointed out the women, all save one, have jumpers. One woman has a skirt going about mid-calf -- maybe she didn't get the memo. The 44 of them in the photo also are very, very white. There's a reason I'm pointing this out which I'll explain later.
"Every generation has its defining challenge. Ours is the systematic annihilation of the biblical family. It is during this deceptively peaceful yet culture-transforming epoch of history that God has placed us. This is our watch.
(Look! Ellipses. If you're worried I'm leaving out the good stuff, full link here.)
"The products in the 2005 edition of the Vision Forum Family Catalog have been carefully selected to share our passion for the Christ-centered biblical family. Each reflects the commitment of others who have drawn a line in the sand and who will fight to the death in defense of Christ's truth."
Then he goes into a list of products available inside. Be afraid. Defend the family under attack. Buy our products.
"This is our watch. Let's serve the Lord with such vigor that Christian children yet to be born will someday look back and say: this was our finest hour!
Wow! Lock and load after a speech like that. My family is under attack and I've got to defend it from everything modern!
Seriously, nearly all the book covers have paintings depicting scenes of people in the 18th and 19th centuries. The compact disc on page 7 of "Biblical Womanhood Victorious, the Role of Women in the Local Church" has cover art of Pilgrim women walking on a snow-covered path apparently to church escorted by their watchful, musket bearing men folk. A toy covered wagon on Page 77 shows two buckskin clad boys escorting two young girls inside the wagons and peeking out from behind the canvas. (My oldest daughter's reaction: "That doesn't look like very much fun.")
"Family Man, Family Leader," on page 6 shows a man and woman, both in Victorian garb, looking at a map spread across a table. "The Right Stuff: How to Evaluate a Suitor," available on two compact discs, shows a bucolic wedding scene from mid 18th century.
In addition to books on parenting, home schooling and history, there's also a section on books about the federal judiciary and federal government.
The review for "How to Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary" by Edwin Viera includes this: "Incredibly, some of these men - professing Christians - demand that judges must be obeyed, even when they offer rulings which provide for the vivisection of little babies, or seek to redefine that which only God can define - the institution of marriage. In his new book, Dr. Edwin Viera explains how issues like abortion and homosexual marriages can be resolved immediately, without special constitutional amendments, if we simply avail ourselves of the measures given to us by our Founding Fathers to hold lawless judges accountable for their behavior."
I guess not enough people have bought Viera's book to find out how to dethrone those judges.
In his "Christian Controversies in American History" series, there's this:
*"Pilgrims vs. Indians: Racial Genocide or Biblical Dominion in Colonial New England?"
*"Christians vs. Deists: The Truth about the Faith of America's Founding Fathers."
*"Yankees vs. Rebels: Understanding the True Causes of the American Civil War"
Now back to the issue of race. I mentioned that the 44 people in the photograph of the Vision Forum Family were all white. Of the more than 500 images of people in the 87-page catalog, counting photos of CD covers, and book covers, and models of clothes and toys and lecturers, one shows an Asian-American boy. And there's one photograph of an African-American boy. Guess where his photograph is? If you guessed the very back page, you're correct.
This is Part 1, which originally appeared on DailyKos. Part 2 should be completed soon.
A line in the sand | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)
A line in the sand | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)