Reconstructionism, Southern Baptists & Education
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Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 09:06:45 AM EST

Those who doubt there are links between Southern Baptists and theocratic Christian Reconstructionists should look inside the front cover of the December 2004 issue of the Chalcedon Report. There the chief publishing house for Reconstructionist thought, Chalcedon, announces that it has published Bruce Shortt's book, The Harsh Truth About Public Schools. Bruce Shortt, along with T.C. Pinckney, leads the movement against public schools within the Southern Baptist Convention.
Pinckney, who led SBC Fundamentalists to leave the moderately controlled Baptist state convention in Virginia, wrote a forward to Shortt's book. Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson, who organized the Fundamentalist takeover of the SBC, endorsed Shortt's book.

We've read this script before. First they attack the schools, then they organize a movement to take them over, and then they take them over. They did that in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Now they are taking on the public schools. When they are done, we will have a system of religious schools and home schools, paid-for at public expense, that will dutifully indoctrinate children in their theocratic ways.

The first stage of their campaign is passing resolutions at Convention meetings encouraging the parents of school children to investigate the homosexual agenda at the public school.  Any school that teaches tolerance of homosexuals will soon be under attack.

For all those school teachers who are fed-up with the bureaucracy in public schools, you are going to love working for these autocrats.

For all those moderate realists and pragmatists who think this scenario is a little far-fetched, all but a few Baptists thought the same thing about the SBC twenty-five years ago.

I was teaching in Louisville in the early to mid 1980's. I went to the Southern Seminary to buy some history books and a Bible dictionary. When I arrived on campus, I checked in with the secretary at the President's office and let her know why I was on campus.

I checked out with her when I left and she started a conversation with me that ended with her in tears. She talked about "them", the people who were trying to take over the church. I was aware that there was a group of "extreme" people, but I had not had to deal with them, except once and I had avoided them like the plague afterwards. She was crying because they were breaking up families, which was something that was going on in her family.

I had a problem understanding how "Christians" could do that, but I had had experience with churches that broke apart over lots of silly reasons, most of which because someone had the need to have power in that small church. All this was upsetting to me, but, I was not involved, so I went on about my business. I was not aware of the import of all this until the McVeigh blew up the Murrah Building and I "met" Chip Berlet in a Compuserve chat room.

I was a Customs Inspector on the Mexican border in AZ and I was aware of white supremacist groups, but I was NOT aware of the involvement of the religious groups. Chip taught me the words "Dominionism" and "Reconstrutionists". That's when I fully understood what had happened in the Southern Baptist Church.

I have tried all these years to find people who would believe me when I told them what I know. Now I feel like I have come home at this website. Thank you for being here for me.

by copperqueen on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 11:38:02 AM EST

You said,

I have tried all these years to find people who would believe me when I told them what I know.

I could sing harmony with you. I began to study the Religious Right in self defense after my own harsh treatment at their hands, and the more I learned about them, the more horrified I became at what I could clearly see happening to this country.

Thing was, I couldn't get anyone to listen to me or believe what I said. I'd get replies like, "They're just a fringe group." "You're an alarmist."

Trying to introduce this subject in the overall Pagan community met with the same indifference and sometimes outright hostility. They were more interested in either recovering from their own abuse at Christian hands, or trying to be all nicey-nice to them.

But I kept at it. My Livejournal community was a backwater place for nearly a year and a half, then suddenly, people started subbing on. "I'm glad I found this place!" "I feel the same way!" were the most common remarks.

People simply do not want to believe that Christians can be that deliberately deceitful. They can see the sheep's clothing, but not the wolves lying in wait beneath the pelt. These people hide behind religion and take every advantage that they can. The mere fact that they call themselves Christians grants them a certain immunity or delay from close examination. By the time people do put the pieces together and figure out that these people are deceivers, their school board, church, political party, or city council has been  taken over.

I am really glad to see places like this one appearing. It is a venue for examination, comparison, and action to stop the swarm.

by Lorie Johnson on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 12:44:44 PM EST

With me...when I would tell people of my experiences in a dominionist group (specifically growing up in an Assemblies of God megachurch heavily associated with the dominionist movement in Kentucky--there are even times I wonder if they didn't give the SBC pointers :P) often people either couldn't believe it, flat out accused me of being paranoid, or accused me of exaggeration.

I wish I was exaggerating, I still have nightmares over some of the things I was taught that were seen as perfectly normal  in that group, and there are days I wonder if it's paranoia or not.

All I know is that it is difficult for me to even watch the daily news some days because it triggers panic attacks--because it reminds me of the stuff I escaped from clawing and screaming, and I refuse to be dragged back into that.

And some of my nightmares consist, quite frankly, of their dream of a dominionist government coming to pass.

For those of you who haven't been in dominionist groups--take what you've seen, and make it about three times worse.  That's what they're teaching the people in those churches...

And yes, they are increasingly targeting kids and people with kids, because they know if they can indoctrinate people as children it will be far more difficult for them to ever escape. :(

by dogemperor on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 01:58:36 PM EST

Henry Kissinger gave a very concise summary of how people respond to revolutionary powers that do not accept the legitimacy of the existing order.  He said:

Lulled by a period of stability which had seemed permanent, they find it nearly impossible to take at face value the assertion  of the revolutionary power that it means to smash the existing framework.  The defenders of the status quo therefore tend to begin by treating the revolutionary power as if its protestations were merely tactical; as if it really accepted the existing legitimacy but overstated its case for bargaining purposes; as if it were motivated by specific grievances to be assuaged by limited concessions.  Those who warn against the danger in time are considered alarmists; those who counsel adaptation to circumstances are considered balanced and sane. . . . But it is the essence of revolutionary power that it possesses the courage of its convictions, that it is willing, indeed eager, to push its principles to their ultimate conclusion.

by Mainstream Baptist on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 03:19:31 PM EST
I can make good use of that - thanks.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 05:01:47 PM EST

This site - and Lorie's - were long overdue. There's so much to be done, this is just the barest of a start. But, sometimes starting something is the hardest part.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 05:00:14 PM EST

Some points in your article sound like policies the Bush administration has been promoting, including school vouchers, funding for non-secular religious organizations, and prayer in public schools. The GOP is sending signals in support of the Religious Right but dosen't produce results that reflect Christian values.  

by Chris Fick on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 01:13:59 PM EST
The Rethinking Schools site has an entire section on vouchers and how the major promoters of voucher programs are dominionist groups.

This link has specific info on bankrollers of voucher initiatives nationwide--most of whom are bankrollers of other dominionist initiatives.  (Three of the bankrollers listed--the Richard Scaife and DeVos Foundations and Domino's founder Thomas Monaghan--almost exclusively fund dominionist groups; DeVos himself is a member of the Coalition for National Policy, and earned his fortune through Amway aka Quixtar--a "multi-level-marketing" scheme whose business support structure has been labeled a coercive group by multiple exit counselling groups, and Amway aka Quixtar is heavily promoted in dominionist churches as a "Christian Business Opportunity", including by Assemblies of God church members.  Amway itself is suspected of being the source of one of the more persistent urban legends in "deliverance ministry" communities--that Proctor and Gamble (a major competitor with Amway) is connected with and/or run by diabolists.)

This article has details on how the push to privatise public education puts non-dominionist-favoured groups--specifically gay/les/bi/trans individuals and women--at danger of losing their rights (by teaching religious hatred to the young).

This report, along with this report, teach how most dominionist curricula are not so much educational programs as outright indoctrination manuals into dominionist thought if not frank Christian Reconstructionism.  (These two articles were also the basis for my informal analysis of the A Beka curriculum (one of three curricula packages commonly used in dominionist schools and "homeschool" correspondence schools).

by dogemperor on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 02:21:28 PM EST


You've got more links and connections than I knew existed.

I'm sure glad you are on this website to share them.

by Mainstream Baptist on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 03:15:23 PM EST

Helping vouchers along and making nice with the very people who would sell us out for their comfort and dominion over us. Wish Obama was accommodating as he is to the hardline GOP and their Dominionist backers. Should the economy be fully brought down as they plan it would be an ideal time of shock doctrine here and then reconstruct the country under their guidelines. Not a happy thought.

by Nightgaunt on Sun May 29, 2011 at 10:37:31 PM EST

>>>Now they are taking on the public schools. When they are done, we will have a system of religious schools and home schools, paid-for at public expense, that will dutifully indoctrinate children in their theocratic ways.<<<

Not all homeschooling parents have religion as the reason they homeschool their children:

Religious reasons were give as the primary motivation by 38.4% of parents.  That leaves 61.6% primarily motivated for other reasons.

Additionally, there is a pain-in-the-neck (to some) segment of homeschooling parents who invariably point out that public-schooling-at-home is not homeschooling.  Many of us signed the We Stand for Homeschooling resolution, a document that caused schism within homeschooling's ranks.  

In general, the two sides are broken down along the lines of people who think that independence from the government bureaucracy is indivisible from the concept of homeschooling, and people who think that the concept of parental choice of any educational source is paramount.

I happen to be one of the secular-oriented pains-in-the-neck.

by ValerieM on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 05:59:12 PM EST

I didn't realize that the percentage of non-religious home schoolers was so large.

by Mainstream Baptist on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 06:18:56 PM EST
Part of that is because dominionist homeschool associations have explicitly not only been deceptive in their promotion of homeschooling but have blatantly tried to lock out inclusive homeschool groups.

One of the more common ways this is done is for homeschooling laws to be written in such a way as to require bachelorates for education of high school level--except if you are working through a correspondence course or register your homeschool as a "satellite school" of a church school.  

Another way is for dominionist "homeschool" groups like Home School Legal Defense Association to push through laws requiring homeschoolers to register through a central "homeschool association"--and then making sure that the HSLDA-affiliated, pro-dominionist homeschool groups are the only certified homeschool associations in the state.  (This was the case in South Carolina until a very few years ago--non-dominionist homeschoolers, including "unschooling" groups and parents educating special-needs kids (such as autistic children needing intensive therapy), literally had to sue the state to be certified because the only way you could legally homeschool in the state was to go through HSLDA.)

Homeschooling is Legal has an excellent analysis on how HSLDA not only has an explicitly dominionist agenda, but how HSLDA has blatantly tried to shut out inclusive homeschool groups (including promoting groups that require a dominionist statement of faith to join) and working to blatantly lock out non-dominionist homeschool groups in multiple states.  (Of note, this same site also has links to inclusive homeschool associations that do not require one to subscribe to the dominionist party line.  What is particularly telling is the group's listing of HSLDA-promoted groups in comparison to other homeschool associations in the US; in some states, there are no statewide groups besides dominionist organisations supporting homeschooling.)

In fact, people who want to get information on non-dominionist homeschooling (such as "unschooling" and "open schooling" as well as specialised homeschool programs for children with various learning problems) often have a difficult time of doing so because most of the widely publicised homeschool groups have been largely hijacked by dominionists or the dominionist "homeschool" groups (which should probably be termed "correspondence school" groups) are promoted in preference to non-dominionist homeschooling.

by dogemperor on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 06:38:51 PM EST

From what I have observed over the past 12 years, the Home School Legal Defense Association wants to build an empire. Oh, and there is a whole lot of money in this.

by MaryOGrady on Sat Dec 10, 2005 at 10:57:17 AM EST

A few more good links on dominionist hijacking of homeschooling and homeschool laws:

Salon Magazine article on dominionist hijacking of homeschooling (in particular interest to the post on how dominionists are also targeting public education)
Article detailing dominionist hijacking of homeschool associations
Info on HSLDA promotion of Christian Reconstructionism and hijacking of homeschool associations by Christian Reconstructionists
Info from Home Education Magazine on how dominionist "homeschool" (more properly "correspondence school") groups are locking legitimate homeschool groups out of discussions including even regarding awareness of non-dominionist homeschool programs and are--by design--endangering non-dominionist homeschooling's legality

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