Young Christian Soldiers
David Neiwert printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Jun 10, 2006 at 10:37:17 AM EST
Hitler Youth ?

We are honored that David Neiwert proprietor of the blog site Orcinus,among other things, agreed to crosspost this piece to our front page. --ed

Digby brings our attention to the recent "Battle Cry" rally in Philadelphia, where a crowd of about 25,000 -- mostly teenagers and young adults -- pledged their fealty to a vision of a theocratic Christian nation. This pledge was obtained, mostly, by scaring the crap out of them,

That was clear from this account on DKos:

But BattleCry Philadelphia was more than just a vulgar carnival designed to suck donations into the coffers of Ron Luce's corporation "Teen Mania". Indeed, it had a point, to recruit the future elite "warriors" in the coming battle against the separation of church and state. It turned dark and frightening on Saturday afternoon. After Franklin "Islam is a Wicked Religion" Graham came out to thunder against the evils of homosexuality and the Iraqi people (whom he considers to be exactly the same people as the ancient Babylonians who enslaved the tribes of Israel and deserving, one would assume, the exact same fate)  we heard an explosion. Flames shot out on stage and a team of Navy Seals was shown on the big TV monitors in full camouflage creeping forward down the hallway from the locker room with their M16s. They were hunting us, the future Christian leaders of America. Two teenage girls next to me burst into tears and even I, a jaded middle-aged male, almost jumped out of my skin. I imagined for that moment what it must have felt like to have been a teacher at Columbine high school. 10 seconds later they rushed out onstage and pointed their guns in our direction firing blanks spitting flames. About 1000 shots and bang, we were all dead.

Perhaps most disturbing, the rally included an endorsement from President Bush, as Sunsara Taylor reported:
It began with fireworks so loud and startling I screamed. Lights and smoke followed, and a few kids were pulled up on stage from the crowd. One was asked to read a letter.

This was the letter that opened the event. Its author was George W. Bush. Yes, the president of the United States sent a letter of support, greeting, prayer and encouragement to the BattleCry event held at Wachovia Spectrum Stadium in Philadelphia on May 12. Immediately afterward, a preacher took the microphone and led the crowd in prayer. Among other things, he asked the attendees to "Thank God for giving us George Bush."

On his cue, about 17,000 youths from upward of 2,000 churches across America and Canada directed their thanks heavenward in unison.

Taylor filed an earlier report at Counterpunch, and likewise noted Battle Cry's ties to the White House, including the appointment of founder Ron Luce to the White House Advisory Commission on Drug-Free Communities, and extending to Bush's circle of contacts with the religious right:
Behind their multi-million dollar operation that sends more than 5,000 missionaries to more than thirty-four countries each year, are some of the most powerful and extreme religious lunatics in the country. Their partners include Pat Robertson (who got a call from Karl Rove to discuss Alito before the nomination was made public), Ted Haggard (who brags that his concerns will be responded to by the White House within 24 hours), Jerry Falwell (who blamed September 11th on homosexuals, feminists, pagans, and abortionists), and others. Their events have been addressed by Barbara Bush (via video) as well as former President Gerry Ford. This weekend's event will include Franklyn Graham who has ministered to George Bush and publicly proclaimed that Islam is an "evil religion."
I first noticed BattleCry when they held their San Francisco rally a couple of months ago. After reading up on them and listening carefully to their rhetoric, I think Taylor's labeling of them as "fascist" is not exactly correct. Rather, I think they're a classic case of pseudo fascism:
Unlike the genuine article, it presents itself under a normative, rather than a revolutionary, guise; and rather than openly exulting in violence, it pays lip service to law and order. Moreover, even in the areas where it resembles real fascism, the similarities are often more familial than exact. It is, in essence, less virulent and less violent, and thus more likely to gain broad acceptance within a longtime stable democratic system like that of the United States.
And further:
The familial resemblance of fascism's architecture is unmistakable, but it is not fully fleshed out. It is like a hologram, a skeletal outline, of fascism.

Fascism is not a single, readily identifiable principle but a political pathology, best understood (as in psychology) as a constellation of traits ... Taken individually, many of these traits seem innocuous enough, even readily familiar, part of the traditional American political hurly-burly. A few of them are present throughout the political spectrum -- but definitely not all of them.

It is only when taken together in sum does the constellation become clear. And when it comes together, it is fated to take on a life of its own.

The main component of fascism that is missing from Battle Cry is the real, beating heart of fascism: its eliminationist violence. There's plenty of pretend violence, and certainly plenty of demonization of the "enemy," all of which build toward the real thing. But there's relatively little talk, yet, of "crushing" or eliminating or exterminating the enemy, which is really the signal characteristic of the Brownshirt.

That doesn't mean they don't have the potential to morph into something very dangerous indeed, in large part because their message is so potent in the national environment of fearfulness that has been the core of the Bush administration's appeal since 9/11.

Recall, if you will, the description of the "exemplary dualist" mindset ( also here ) on which this appeal is based, drawn from "Religious Totalism, Violence and Exemplary Dualism: Beyond the Extrinsic Model," by the sociologists Dick Anthony and Thomas Robbins:

It has been a staple of recent American cultural analysis and criticism that the contemporary United States increasingly lacks a consensual and compelling social ethic and that in consequence, the 'covenant' uniting the American people has become, in Robert Bellah's words, an 'empty and broken shell.' One consequence of the lack of an integrative ethic, we have intimated above, is a diminished capacity of parents -- who are themselves wrestling with the fragmented selves that result from the lack of an integrated ethic -- to serve as persuasive role-models or identification figures for their children, and thereby to transmit a coherent set of values. In this context parents may tend to treat their children as 'self-objects' in the sense of evaluating them in terms of tangible, purely external criteria such as their apparent social-academic-vocational 'success' or competence. This pattern enhances the anxiety over the themes of success, competence and power on the part of children, who are more likely to develop a fragmented or polarized self composed of a grandiose, all-powerful or omnipotent self which is split off from a devalued, pathetic, failed self.

Social movements with distinctly dualistic worldviews provide psycho-ideological contexts which facilitate attempts to heal the split self by projecting negativity and devalued self-elements onto ideologically devalued contrast symbols. But there is another possible linkage between these kinds of movements and individuals with split selves in the throes of identity confusion. People with the whole range of personality disorders, which utilize splitting and projective identification, tend to have difficulties in establishing stable, intimate relationships. Splitting tends to produce volatile and unstable relationships as candidates for intimacy are alternately idealized and degraded. Thus, narcissists tend to have vocational, and more particularly, interpersonal difficulties as they obsessively focus upon status-reinforcing rewards in interpersonal relations. They have difficulty developing social bonds grounded in empathy and mutuality, and their structure of interpersonal relations tends to be unstable. Thus, individuals may be tempted to enter communal and quasi-communal social movements which combine a more structured setting for interpersonal relations with a dualistic interpersonal theme of 'triangulation' which embodies the motif of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend.' Such movements create a sense of mutuality by focusing attention on specific contrast groups and their values, goals and lifestyles so that this shared repudiation seems to unite the participants and provide a meaningful 'boundary' to operationalize the identity of the group. Solidarity within the group and the convert's sense of dedication and sacrifice on behalf of group goals may enable him or her to repudiate the dissociated negative (bad, weak or failed) self and the related selfish and exploitative self which they may be aware that others might have perceived. These devalued selves can then be projected on to either scapegoats designated by the group or, more generally, non-believers whose values and behavior allegedly do not attain the exemplary purity and authenticity of that of devotees.

As I went on to explain (also here), the "underlying worldview has a much broader audience in the field of mainstream fundamentalism and so-called cults":
Nine characteristics which appear to us to be shared by authoritarian personalities, fundamentalists and authoritarian cults such as Hare Krishna, the Unification Church, etc.:

(1) Separatism or the heightened sensitivity and tension regarding group boundaries. This usually includes 'Authoritarian Aggression' which entails rejecting and punitive attitudes toward deviants, minorities and outsiders.

(2) Theocratic leanings or willingness to see the state expanded so as to enforce the group's particular moral and ideological preferences at the expense of pluralism or church-state separation.

(3) Authoritarian submission entailing dependency on strong leaders and deferential attitudes toward authorities and hierarchical superiors.

(4) Some form of conventionalism in terms of both belief and practice. Apparent exceptions such as antinomian groups, for example, the Bhagwan movement of Rajneesh or the quasi-Marxist Peoples Temple of Jim Jones ?

(5) Apocalypticism.

(6) Evangelism or a focus on proselytization and conversion.

(7) Coercive tendencies in terms of either punitive reactions toward internal dissidence and non-conformity (for example, exile from fellowship, shunning, harsh 'self-criticism,' confessional sessions) or willingness to have non-conformists suppressed or discouraged by the state.

(8) Consequentialism or a tendency to see moral or ideological virtue producing tangible rewards to believers. This may entail belief in a 'just world' in which the good are tangibly rewarded and the wicked undone on the human plane.

(9) Finally, groups whose members tend to score high in authoritarianism or dogmatism tend to have strong beliefs and tend to make doctrinal acceptance a membership criterion. As with 'Moonies' studied by Galanter (among whom strong belief was correlated with feelings of group solidarity and the 'relief effect'), authoritarians and fundamentalists appear to have a strong 'investment' in their beliefs.

As I noted, much of Anthony's and Robbins' work builds upon the work of sociologist Robert Lifton and his colleague Charles Strozier, whom they cite extensively:
Both writers have explicitly linked totalism and fundamentalism. Interestingly, they tend to define fundamentalism in terms very close to descriptions of authoritarianism: for example, fundamentalist childrearing practices -- allegedly strict, repressive, corporally punitive and guilt-inducing -- resemble the familial milieux associated with authoritarian personalities. The emphasis by Lifton and Strozier on fundamentalist scriptural literalism, textual fetishism, obsession with disorder, nostalgia for a strongly ordered golden age less chaotic than the present, and emphasis on restoration keyed to inerrant scriptural texts, appears to evoke classic descriptions of authoritarian personalities.
This is the basis of pseudo-fascist appeals, and any effort to confront it effectively will have to come to terms with how it arises.

Michelle Goldberg -- whose new book, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, really is a must-read -- describes the depths of the challenge well:

To write "Kingdom Coming," I traveled all over America, going to megachurches and ministries, attending rallies and conferences, and visiting some of the government-funded faith-based initiatives that, under Bush, have slowly begun to replace secular social services. I immersed myself in the literature of the movement and even took to listening to Christian radio. I began to realize that what I was encountering was as much a totalistic political movement as a religious one. What I describe as Christian nationalism is not synonymous with evangelical Christianity or even Christian fundamentalism. It is, rather, a movement that purports to have extrapolated a complete governing program from the bible, and that claims divine sanction for its campaign of national renewal. It promotes a revisionist history in which the founders were conservative Christians who never meant to separate church and state, and in which America's true Christian character has been subverted by several generations of God-hating leftists. It explicitly condemns the Enlightenment and denies that Enlightenment values had anything to do with our nation's original ideals. The movement's literature is so vast, its alternative skein of pseudo-facts so intricate, that it often seemed totally impervious to outside argument.

... By citing Arendt, I am certainly not suggesting that theocratic dictatorship is imminent in America. Rather, I'm saying that the Christian nationalist movement has a proto-totalitarian ideology and structure, and that, while it only represents a minority of Americas, it has amassed more influence than those who cherish secularism and pluralism should be comfortable with.

When we see groups like this taking shape, we need to understand that they are a warning sign that something is coming that the politics of the past may be inadequate to contain. It means we need to reach deeper and find something that dispells the cloud of fear that conservative rule has shrouded over the nation.

Editor's Note : For in-depth coverage of Ron Luce's "BattleCry" by a research pair who have covered the group for nearly a decade, see:

Acquire The Evidence




Display:
.............is a hymn I've always had more than a bit of nostalgia for, having grown up singing it in Sunday school 40-plus years ago. Back then (horrors! I'm turning into one of those "back in the good old days" old coots I made so much fun of back in the day, and I'm only 53!) it was just one of many exciting marching-song hymns we used to sing. We thought nothing of such martial and quasi-martial expressions; we treated it all as metaphor even if we didn't know the word or its meaning.

But now, finding out how many "Christians" in this country are taking such things literally, I squirm in horror just thinking about it.

"Back in the good old days," the martial stuff was fun but pretty much incidental. The Sermon on the Mount and Paul's writing on the Fruit of the Spirit and the "Love Chapter" (I Corinthians 13) were the main things. Where is all that now?


by anomalous4 on Sat Jun 10, 2006 at 12:22:55 PM EST


Has always raised the hairs on the back of my neck, because we may be soldiers, but I believe we are soldiers of defense and not offense. Even the Armor of God is a defensive one, with words like resist, stand firm and preparation.

That being said, after reading this article it appears to me that the ONLY missing link to this chain or filler to this empty shell is a charismatic leader to pull it all together.

You are correct this is a warning sign, and though we aren't being attacked yet, this is a great time to prepare, to read up on the truths both in the constitution, history and get back into our own religious studies and prayer.

Thanks for your time.
D


by FFL on Sat Jun 10, 2006 at 07:47:00 PM EST


But you didn't want people to call you a fascist. And you knew that the people "watching out" for fascists had a list of traits.

You'd simply try to mask those as best you could, right? Part 8 of Berlet's God, Calvin and Social Welfare certainly supports the idea that the people in question are comfortable with running stealth campaigns.

For that reason, any list of traits isn't a sure thing.

It is, at least to my thinking, more useful to understand fascism for what it is trying to achieve.

The list isn't useless, but I can come up with another reason why monitoring the public meetings of (ostensibly) fascist groups is not particularly useful. Namely, one can't argue that Nazi supporters fully knew the plans when they set out.

The question then becomes, I think, whether or not this is tolerable. Is there an inherent problem with someone arguing that radical changes to moral basis of society can weaken, if only for a time, morality in society? I don't think so. Is it tolerable to proclaim that "we" are good and to be trusted, "they" are evil and to be hated, and that "they" aim to destroy us, and violent pre-emptive assault is the answer? Of course not.

It's fascist because of its aims. It's not "mainstream" because it hopes for radical change. It is clothed in militarism/militancy, but it has not chosen to take it any further.

Well, at least, that's how I look at things.

by JoshNarins on Sat Jun 10, 2006 at 10:02:15 PM EST


David, you are basing your conclusions about "BattleCry" and the Teen Mania organization largely on the Communist agitprop that has been bouncing around the left-blogosphere echo chamber since just before the "BattleCry" event in Philadelphia early last month.

There is a time, and a place, and a way to strategically talk about this movement - and this is not it. Far from it.

I use the term "Communist agitprop" for the simple reason that this is what it is, as made completely clear by "World Can't Wait" participant Stanley Rogouski on your very own blog:

I think we have to stop depending on the Democrats and build a broad, anti-Bush, anti-authoritarian protest movement.  These people [Teen Mania] are a good place to start.

("World Can't Wait," for those not familiar with it, was  initiated by members of the Revolutionary Communist Party.)

You've done a wonderful job of adopting this breathless, panic inducing tone, exaggeration and outright falsehood, that's used by WCW because, evidently, its initiators think that kind of hysteria will help them organize a mass movement ending in armed revolution (as stated here among other places online). In reality it primarily helps Teen Mania, whose leaders can now, in the usual Christian martyr's fashion, point to an opposition as proof of both the "righteousness" and "success" of their cause.

After all, Teen Mania advertised the series of "BattleCry" stadium events a year before with the introduction, "the nation will take notice." That so-called notice has since been provided primarily  by WCW and Revolution writer Sunsara Taylor and then bounced around the blogosphere. Two San Francisco politicians who've signed on to the WCW agenda even helped, one by enabling official government condemnation, the other, by inviting Teen Mania to get out of town.

Why are you now joining this effort to give Teen Mania the validation they so desperately crave, with exaggerations like this based on the rantings of those with their own revolutionary agenda?

a crowd of about 25,000 ...  pledged their fealty to a vision of a theocratic Christian nation. This pledge was obtained, mostly, by scaring the crap out of them...

Were you there to confirm that? No. (What is this "pledge of fealty?" They ran through their so-called "Teenage [sic] Bill of Rights," first presented in 1999, in a completely separate session from the Force Ministries presentation mislabeled as a formal presentation of "Navy Seals." The Wachovia Spectrum, venue for the Philadelphia "BattleCry," only seats about 18,000.)  I was present for the events to which you refer, and I can tell you that whatever commitment was obtained was primarily based on the same kind of sermonizing and altar-calling that's standard procedure in the thousands of churches that have been  involved with Teen Mania's events for almost two decades now.

And as for the "theocratic Christian nation" verbiage, it seems that nobody has sat down and actually listened, word for word, to the actual instructions that were given from the stage, the so-called "unveiling of the Battle Plan" that occured at the final session of each stadium event.  To the participant, there is nothing recognizably "theocratic" about it - it's a demand that they go out into any space they are where people can't walk away - work, school, clubs, sports - and recruit people to their church youth group. It's a demand that they complain about whatever offends them, or more accurately, what they've been trained to be offended by. It's encouragement to go restructure their lives around the institution of a certain brand of 'church,' twenty-four-seven, and to adopt all the resulting causes and positions of that institution as their own.

I am not suggesting that Teen Mania is somehow benign. In fact, I take issue with your assessment:

But there's relatively little talk, yet, of "crushing" or eliminating or exterminating the enemy, which is really the signal characteristic of the Brownshirt.

Ron Luce uses the rhetoric contained in Judges 19 and 20 as part of the "battle plan" presented in the final session of the "BattleCry" events.  He has also used this rhetoric with smaller audiences.

His use of these verses is rife with ambiguity and it much be explained as such.

Because it is ambiguous it  must be treated with great care, as if it were "live" and potentially dangerous. Our goal, as opposed to others who are writing about Teen Mania right now, is the defusing of this situation as part of a thought-through strategy for effectively dealing with this movement.

Adding more hysterical exaggerations, and conclusions unsupported through direct observation, serves Teen Mania's cause by providing an opposition that demonstrably doesn't know what it's talking about.

My partner and I have been watching Teen Mania for over eight years now.  We have been almost silent about what we've seen since the beginning, intentionally seeking to avoid exactly these kind of reactionary responses that only serves to validate and support Teen Mania's cause. Adding to this game of 'telephone'  by writing even more third-hand analyses based on these biased accounts is just adding to the noise and is not helpful.

--
Acquire the Evidence: on Ron Luce, Teen Mania Ministries and the "BattleCry" campaign. acquiretheevidence.com

by Mike Doughney on Sat Jun 10, 2006 at 11:59:00 PM EST

Mike, I'd have to start by saying that I think you and your partner are doing a great job covering "BattleCry" and that if anyone deserves the mantle of authority on Ron Luce's operation, the two of you - for your scrupulous research - deserve it.

Now, Dave Neiwert can choose to defend himself, or not - I don't need to get in the middle there.  That said, Neiwert has acquired a substantial reputation, over many years, for his careful and restrained coverage of aspects of the American far right : and, I think it's well deserved. Do I agree with every single thing he's written ? No, of course not - nor do I agree entirely with anyone. But I'd guess that Dave Neiwert would be very interested in the work you've done. The American Christian right is a vast field of study and it simply is not humanely possible to develop and maintain a broad overview of the movement - one which places the myriad of groups, organizations, churches, sects, cults, associations, businesses ( and so on ) in some sort of rough scheme of political ecology - while at the same time pursuing the sort of fine-grained treatment of one particular sub-movement, within the Christian right, as you and Sabina do :  that would take infinite time and superhuman brain capacity.

There's really a direct analogy to be made to the development of scientific specializations - then hyperspecializations - that have propagated over the last few centuries. In the early stages of Western science, individual early scientists could do meaningful or even pionering work in several or more fields. But over the centuries - with the accretion of scientific knowledge that now is increasing at an astounding pace - the sort of synthetic, interdisciplinary brilliance and pioneering breakthroughs of the Franklins, Bacons, Voltaires, and so on, of the era have become a thing of the past and few can achieve more than a perfunctory overview of the avalanche of  research and astounding breakthroughs we've come to expect, as a matter of course, from the modern global scientific endeavour.

It is only very recently that the concept - that there might be a legitimate field of study in the phenomenon of the Christian right - has surfaced, and it is far from being accepted widely. But, the field of research is astoundingly - or appallingly ( and on several levels ) vast. The richly variegated, endlessly shifting, mutating, and evolving decentralized ecological system of the religious right and the Christian nationalist movement in the US ( not to mention the global nature of these movements ) is the proverbial elephant : few see more than bits and pieces, the trunk or the foot or the tail, not the whole beast.

Lately, a flood of self-proclaimed experts has entered the fray to opine and present hastily cobbled together narratives and treatments on the Christian right and the theocratic, or Christian nationalist movement - the proliferation of such tomes, likely to soon fill up dollar-a-book stores, remnant bins, and the dumpsters of Barnes and Noble is not unlike the explosion of internet startups somewhere around 1997. The field is becoming hyper-saturated, and on the Internet, as well, turgid and windy screeds peppered with references to "fascism" and loaded up with - a whole managerie of ugly and misleading epithets (  "Christofascism", "fundies", on and on ) sour the blogosphere. Meanwhile, would be leaders - wielding parotted Christian right frames to inveigh against alleged demons of "secularism" - in apparent ignorance of the history of such attacks - leverage pre-existent power bases, or build new ones, to jockey for coveted mantles of "fight the religious right" and make the rounds on NPR and highbrow talk radio... on and on it goes.

Against that backdrop, "Acquire The Evidence" - as a political and research project - looks good indeed, I must say. "Acquire..." pays attention in a landscape dominated by windy opinionizing and is   really quite ahead of its time in pursuing very specialized treatment of one aspect of Christian nationalism, one organization and movement among many that nonetheless is a very significant aspect, one that certainly deserves such treatment.

Meanwhile, it is the mission of Talk To Action to watch the fuzzy outlines  of the whole phenomenon that is the religious right, to pay sustained attention to the totality. In that, Frederick Clarkson has often found himself in the role of pulling me, other Talk To Action writers, and members engaging in discussion here, back to that central focus. The constant trap many of us fall into is to confuse any one struggle in any field with that task of paying attention - many constituencies are impacted by the Christian nationalist agenda and few are fully aware of how much their interests have been compromised or how great the future threat is. But, Talk To Action is not an issues advocacy site - it is pro-abortion rights and pro-same sex marriage but does not cover even those issues, on which the site takes a strong stand, in isolation but only in the context of the Christian right ( and what to do about it ).  It is a discipline key to this site - as does "Acquire The Evidence" - Talk To Action pays attention.

Within that context Talk To Action would be - I would assert - an excellent venue for discussions of strategy insofar as one wanted to have those in a public forum rather than privately. Now, effective strategy doesn't tend to be aired publicly, sure. But, there are many levels of strategy, and one overarching thrust of this forum is to change basic ways people think about the Christian right movement. Our impact is not entirely contingent on the size of our readership (although that has been steadily growing). Even when the site traffic was far less than it has been lately, our readership might surprise you : a number of influential people frequent Talk To Action.

So if you want to promote what in your opinion is a more authoritative and judicious, and less histrionic, perspective - based on all the research you and your partner have done on "BattleCry" - this forum would be a logical place to air your views. The grandstanding of emergent self-appointed leaders, against the Christian right, with more PR capabiity than deep knowledge of that which they profess to fight can be annoying, yes. But, the solution to bad information is better information - and to the extent that you disagree with what Sunsara Taylor and her group are doing, why not make your case more publicly than simply in a comment on a Talk To Action discussion thread ?  I think years of research has given you the right to make such critiques, and my personal opinion is that silence may not be an effective approach. As you can see, if you and Sabina can't claim the space others will, perhaps to the detriment of the issue.

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Jun 11, 2006 at 11:14:16 AM EST
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.......the title says it all........

by anomalous4 on Sun Jun 11, 2006 at 11:40:56 AM EST
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your child could be the target.

Last fall the Home School Legal Defense Association introduced legislation that would have made them the designated agency to prove homeschooling status for military recruiting (H.R. 3753 and S. 1619, commonly known as HoNDA).  I wanted to know why HSLDA would be interested in acting as the military's recruiting agent, but as I researched I kept hoping what I was finding wasn't true.  

Apparently, HSLDA has been negotiating with the military for 6 years, including a 1998 study to determine homeschool student's fitness for the military.  Published in 2004, the study determined homeschooled students have a significantly higher attrition rate than public school students.  However, HSLDA negotiated for homeschoolers to receive `priority enlistment with no practical limit".  

In 1999, HSLDA wrote in their Court Report publication that, "Our office has heard from a number of parents whose children have now been accepted into the military in spite of being previously rebuffed simply for being home schoolers. Please pray these home schoolers can impact the military for Christ!"  

HSLDA continues to work towards recruiting homeschoolers for the military.  When the existence of  http://www.goarmy.com/hslda/ was disclosed, the homeschooling community immediately took action to correct the U. S. Army's endorsement of a private, religious organization.  While the HSLDA link still works, it takes you to `goarmy.com/homeschool'.

Even though HoNDA never got out of committee, S. 1042 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2006 was passed.  It included Section 522: RECRUITMENT AND ENLISTMENT OF HOME SCHOOLED STUDENTS IN THE ARMED FORCES which directed the Secretary of Defense to create a policy which would identify graduates of home schooling for purposes of recruitment and enlistment in the Armed Forces. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of HSLDA our children can now `impact the military for Christ'.


by Brainbelle on Sun Jun 11, 2006 at 01:41:15 PM EST

Regarding HSLDA's recent attempts to make themselves the sole certifying body for homeschooled youth (in HSLDA's case, the more proper term should be "Correspondence-schooled youth", as HSLDA is primarily a lobbying organisation for dominionist correspondence-schoolers rather than unschoolers and the like), I am reminded of stunts HSLDA has been pulling in other states specifically to "lock out" inclusive homeschooling groups.

HSLDA attempted an essentially identical stunt in South Carolina in 1992, pushing through a law which had the effect of locking out every non-HSLDA affiliated group in the state:

South Carolina

Dianna Broughton stated: "HSLDA attorneys were very instrumental in getting SCAIHS [an accountability organization] into existence via our state legislature in 1992. In return, SCAIHS made HSLDA membership a mandatory requirement. You couldn't become a member of SCAIHS without becoming a member of HSLDA first. Homeschoolers could either homeschool through their local school district (often not an option due to district hostility) or through SCAIHS--those where the only two options at the time.

In 1996 a group of grassroots homeschool moms pushed through a third option of our law that allowed other associations to develop. (And no, we did not seek, nor were offered, help from HSLDA). While we were fighting that fight (or shortly after we won -- I can't remember the exact timing), SCAIHS dropped their mandatory HSLDA requirement."

[NOTE from WebWeaver: Once the new law was in place, new organizations--some started by groups of homeschooling familes who wished for a truly inclusive association--sprung up quickly.]


As noted, HSLDA has also been trying to get the military to accept correspondence-schooled "God Warriors" for some time now; Home Education Magazine describes some of HSLDA's efforts in this end back in 2000.  As many inclusive homeschoolers have noted, this is a potential way for HSLDA to gain "backdoor control" of homeschooling laws and legal recognition of homeschooling by federalising it via the military recruitment program.

by dogemperor on Sun Jun 11, 2006 at 03:09:49 PM EST
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The recent coverage of the life and death of Richard Mellon Scaife, a transformational figure in recent American history, was pretty underwhelming. (Fortunately, our......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
When I Won One Over My Old (Former) Friend Jerry Falwell
July 13th was the anniversary of our friend Jerry Sloan's confrontation on live television with Moral Majority founder, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. This......
By JerrySloan (1 comment)
Vatican Defrocks A Bishop Over Sexual Abuse - But Not Finn.
Pope Francis recently indicated he is serious about ending child sex abuse and cover-ups by Catholic prelates by defrocking a former apostolic nuncio (a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Bob Jones University and the Real Roots of the Religious Right
Historian Randall Balmer notes writing in Christian Ethics Today, that the real beginnings of the Religious Right lies not in 1973 Roe v. Wade,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Becket Or Wreck It?: Little-Known Religious Right Group At Heart Of Hobby Lobby Case
The Supreme Court's recent (and horrendous) ruling in the Hobby Lobby case dealing with workers' access to contraceptives has turned the spotlight on the......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Bishop DiMarzio's Stilted Hobby Lobby Analogy
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the overseer of the Diocese of Brooklyn-Queens New York, recently weighed in on the recent US Supreme Court decision in Burwell......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)

Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (1 comment)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
A Wiccan Witch In Salem
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or......
irishwitch (0 comments)

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