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Blanket Training

I mostly agree with Tod Kelly’s post, Why I’m a Secularist: Icky Scandal Edition on the difference between Christianists circling the wagons around Josh Duggar and scientists revealing the fraud of Michael LaCour, I felt he presumed that Duggar was a pedophile, (he’s probably not, my experience of pedophiles suggests, it’s more likely he committed sexual assault.)

Before reading Tod’s post, I didn’t think I could empathize with the Dugger clan, stars of the reality show 19 Kids and Counting and the way his parents (read: his father!) dealt with what he’d done. But I dug in to understand why it bothered me that Josh is being labeled a pedophile — and it’s mostly because that hides a wider cultural problem that the Duggar’s are participating in — physical and mental abuse of women and children to fund the coffers of several different publishing conglomerations that equals a multi-million dollar industry in home-school curriculum for Christianists families.

Now I say mulit-million, it may well be a multi-billion dollar industry, I didn’t do an exhaustive search of curriculum developers . I did research some of them on Guidestar; they’re mostly non-profits and have to file a form 990 with the IRS; by registering with guidestar, you can see those tax forms. What they have in common is selling home-school and family curriculum for Christian families who subscribe to a strict, traditional (non-Catholic) beliefs. But some are for-profit companies. Hobby Lobby, for instance. Or TLC, The Learning Channel, which hosts the Duggar’s show and built their house for them.

These beliefs were on display in the Dugger’s TV show in an ever-so-charming Walton-esque way. There’s Bob, the head of the family, filled with wisdom and love. Michelle, the mother, who is subservient to Bob. If she sassed back, she’d be sinning, and risking falling from grace. Children are blessing — particularly these Christian’s children — an army for God, so contraception a sin, and the so the Duggar’s famous 19 and counting children. Girls and boys have no  right to have sex with anyone (including kissing and hand holding) until marriage, and wives have no right to say no to their husbands. If a girl catches the ever-lustful eye of some man (all men are sinners), and is assaulted, it’s likely she’ll be blamed for his discretion because she was not pure enough, demure enough, and tempted him, and she should find grace and join the body of God. He can be forgiven by repenting and rejoining the body of Christ, and living in the ways prescribed in the many books and on-line courses and seminars offered by the Christianist publishing industry. They’ve got the market cornered, too, becuase outside information, material, music, movies, even schools let demons into your world, and they are to be shunned.

This is a pyramid scheme, a cult. Indoctrination begins as soon as a baby can move about enough to leave a small blanket on the floor. It’s called blanket training, described here by R. L. Stoller, Community Coordinator for Homeschoolers Anonymous:

 

Blanket training is a child training method advocated by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo and popularized by the Duggar family through their TLC show. It has its own Wikipedia page and has its own featured page on the Duggar Family Blog. Parents have adopted this child training method specifically because of the Duggars.

In its simplest form, blanket training consists of 3 actions: (1) place a young child (usually an infant or toddler) on a small blanket, (2) tell that child not to move off the blanket, and (3) strike that child if they move off the blanket. Rinse, repeat.

The training can be more elaborate than this. Some advocates may describe it more gently, poetically, or less fearsome-sounding. Others prefer corporal punishment to be a last resort if a child moves off the blanket. But despite linguistic dress-up, at its core it remains the same: you punish a young, still-developing child for wanting to indulge its natural curiosity and crawl off a blanket.

Stoller says this is an example of an idea called ‘first-time obedience, and quotes a mother (Rose) who used the method, The boundaries of the blanket have brought us tremendous freedom. We can take her to meetings and expect her to sit quietly.

Rose minces no words here. The best part of this training method is not what it teaches the child but rather that “we can take her to meetings and expect her to sit quietly.” In other words, it trains children to be seen not heard, that old adage which expresses nothing but contempt for children and the beautiful chaos they bring into our lives.

Nicole Ducote, also a Community Coordinator at HA, did a review of Home Education Ideologies and Literature which breaks down some of the differing creeds and the people behind them, and lays out the difference between “inclusives” (unschooling) and “believers” (Christianist schooling, as the Duggar’s practice) based Mitchell Steven’s book, Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement. Unschooling, I’m familiar with, and it’s built on a philosophy of fostering the child’s independence and self-determination.

Believers, on the other hand, are into blanket training, and that’s for life, pre-cradle to after life. Children need to be ‘trained up,’ which may be the best-seller (next to the bible, of course) book of all time for the believer’s home-school publishing industry. To Train Up a Child was written by Michael & Debi Pearl, who a non-profit corporation, No Greater Joy Ministries. For a ministry of joy, they put a lot of effort into telling people to suck up abuse and isolate their children.

These techniques spark a host of heart-breaking stories from mothers and children caught up in the web of abuse, isolaton, and ignorance the Christianist publishing industry fosters. But there’s no doubt — men in charge, women unable to speak back, children trained to be obedient is a recipe for sexual abuseeducational neglect, and family violence.

The problem with Josh Duggar isn’t that he’s a pedophile, it’s that he’s part of a cult that profits from indoctrinating children and adults into a world of cruelty in the name of Jesus. He and his family were recruiters nor for an army of the righteous, but for a lifestyle that veers to evil when taken to its extremes.

God help him.

Edited to add: I want to be perfectly clear about something: if you put a 10-month old baby on a small blanket, tell her she has to stay there for five minutes, or maybe it’s fifteen minutes, and then slap her every time she crawls off that blanket, you are committing child abuse, you deserve to face legal justice for that abuse, no matter your personal religious beliefs. You do not have a right to treat a child like that, and if you do, the state has every right to intervene. If you aid and abet someone who is doing this, in my view, and perhaps legally, you are also criminally and morally guilty of child abuse.

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66 thoughts on “Blanket Training

  1. I don’t know if this will work, but this is the Form 990 for The Basic Life Institute at Guidestar. This is the company that publishes the home-school educational material used by the Duggers, the group founded by Bill Gothard, who was thrown out for sexual harassment.

    The group has about $81m in assets, $5.5m in annual revenue, and the executive director earns over $100,000 a year. Probably not very much money for a dude with a lot of children.

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      • Thank you, , that’s good to know, since guidestar requires a login to access pdf-files of 990’s, I wasn’t sure if the link would work or not.

        And to be clear, a Form 990 is the public disclosure form non-profits must file with the IRS. They are public record. Any non-profit is legally bound to show you this form if you ask to see it, though they can charge you a nominal fee for making a copy of it.

        If someone has tax expertise, and wants to explain the information on a 990, that would rock; I know a few things to look for, but I’m no expert.

        I am also thinking that the widgets used on sites like scotus blog to allow readers to scroll through documents would be a very useful thing to have here.

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  2. This is why I really can’t find too much sympathy for home-schooling.* Too often it can become an avenue to hide abuse and neglect of children. Finding away to protect children from said abuse and neglect is a valid state interest. If that means making sure kid’s go to a school rather than get educated at home, where hopefully a teacher might notice abuse or neglect, than so be it.

    *There are legitimate reasons to home school though like geographic isolation or if the kid is facing extreme bullying in school.

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    • Some homeschooling,

      I was blown away by the website I used to structure this piece, Homeschoolers Anonymous; they’ve done some amazing work and are very pro-home school, some deeply religious. While it’s a more subtle topic than simply two sides, the two ideologies — inclusive vs. believer are sort of the good version of homeschooling vs. the bad. Many of the people there see that the believers are endangering their own right to homeschool their children because of abusive practices.

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      • I’m not sure the people who are writing this stuff actually know what unschooling is…at least if they’re describing it as non-faith-based homeschooling (as opposed to faith-based homeschooling).

        Unschooling is a particular type of homeschooling…and, in fact, many practitioners don’t really consider it homeschooling, as homeschooling is still schooling. Unschooling is a teaching method, and there are many many teaching methods in homeschooling (just as there are in public and private schools).

        It is fair to say there are two sides to the homeschooling coin: the fundamentalist, Duggar-esque homeschoolers and then everybody else (and maybe this is what’s truly meant by “inclusives”), but there’s a lot of confusion that will come from the unschooling vs. believer framing.

        One thing that tends irritate the piss out of me is how a lot of fundamentalist/Evangelical sects distort language to co-op certain definitions or certain sides of an issue (and, yes, every political tribe does this, too, but playing with politics is less distasteful than playing with faith). In U.S., it appears (*appears*) that homeschooling is so dominated by fundamentalist homeschoolers, that no others really exist. And with that perception, this Duggar-esque homeschooling becomes the definition of homeschooling…even if this is primarily a U.S. convention (which may or may not be as dominant as it claims).

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        • “Unschooling” is relatively popular among a small but pretty well-off group of left-leaning Americans especially in the Northwest and Northeast. This group is very well-educated and seems to regard public education as nothing more than a tool for state control. So there is a fair bit of paranoia. I am not always fond of what public education entails but I am a firm supporter of public education and have a bit of hostility against special snowflake and alternative for the sake of being alternative education requirements. I am also small-c conservative enough to not trust unschooling as applicable on a mass scale.

          There are unschooling academies which have staff that help direct kids when the kids express interest in a certain area.

          So I know what it is. I just don’t agree with it.

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          • Most parents simply try to do what they think is right by their children, , and because the kids are their children, they are special snowflakes to those parents. How they go about deciding how to educate their children is a responsibility most parents take seriously, and special-snowflake invectives might generate some heat, but at the expense of actually exploring the differences in home-school education.

            I’m very specifically describing an ideology that isolates children from the greater world; and that isolation itself can be incredibly abusive by many metrics.

            Complaining about special snowflakes doesn’t really do much to increase awareness and understanding of the problem; particularly since many homeschoolers do a fine job, including Christian homeschoolers. Often, their children are far better educated than the kids graduating from public high schools.

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            • I think being a good liberal means supporting public institutions. This means public schools, public libraries, public parks, public transportation, etc. I don’t have much patience for liberals who say they support public education and then send their kids to private school or say they support public libraries and parks but always vote against funding or they go to a private country club instead.

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              • we’ve got two things going on here:
                1. Being a good liberal, and doing what’s best for society at large;
                2. Being a good parent, and doing what’s best for you child.

                I’m all for #1, but #2 sorta takes precedent.

                ETA: I’m also not talking about parents who are going to be good liberals; and so, again, it’s a distraction from a serious problem.

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                • The “right for your/my children” argument is valid but also problematic for a variety of reasons. This could be fore homeschooling, unschooling, or private schooling:

                  1. How much of “doing best for my kids” is really parental lifestyle preferences masquerading as doing best for your kids?

                  Example: I’ve heard a lot of people say that raising kids in the suburbs is not good for kids because suburbs are homogeneous and not exposed to diversity. cultural opportunities, freedom, etc. So the suburbs are bland though.

                  There is often a large amount of wanting your cake and eating it to when it comes to this attitude. So people want to raise their kids among diversity but choose to live in nice and fancy doorman buildings or in brownstones. When I lived in Brooklyn, I was told that the local elementary school was considered really good. The elementary school was very diverse. The local middle and high schools were 99 percent if not 100 percent minority students. All black and latino and poor. My neighborhood in Brooklyn was almost fully gentrified with families owning brownstones. The minority residents lived in a large public housing block and rarely crossed over to the street with businesses for the upper-middle class residents.

                  I am not sure that this is diversity as much as it is giving your kids a bubble that happens to see diversity.

                  Now I admit that urban school districts are often not the best in the world but the whole thing does seem to be excuses for the parents about not moving to the suburbs.

                  There is a certain extent to which parents must do well by their kids. Extreme bullying is a good reason to take a kid our of a school environment. But I am suspicious of those who don’t even try to use public schools first.

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                    • I think there is a certain honesty in saying “I think public schools are important but city public schools are often a mess so we are moving to the suburbs.”

                      I think there is a certain amount of dishonesty in saying that you are raising a kid in the city because cities are “ethnically and economically diverse” but then doing everything to make that diversity by observation largely. How is raising your kid in a fancy doorman building on the Upper-East Side more diverse than a well to do suburb? How are people celebrating diversity by sending their kids to a school that has the same ethnic breakdown as a very white suburban public school?

                      My suburban public high school was about 50 percent Jewish, 25-30 percent Asian. The majority of the rest of the students were usually Catholic and White. There were a handful of Latino and African-American students. This made it more diverse than most private schools in NYC.

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                      • I’m really trying to understand your point of view, but it’s difficult seeing it with all the personal anecdotes strewn everywhere (not to mention the smoke from all the strawmen that are being burned in this thread).

                        But does it come down to that the “right for your/my children” argument is only valid some of the time? And does it always align with your preferences?

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                        • I think that being a good liberal sometimes means sacrificing individual desires for the sake of the collective good.

                          Yes doing right by your children is important but if it is a choice between A plus private schools and B or B plus public schools, maybe the public schools are good enough.

                          If a kid is being bullied and is miserable, I fully support the parents moving the kids out of whatever school this is happening in. If parents live a long distance from the nearest schools, I do support home-schooling.

                          What I don’t support is people who meddle with what gets taught in public school and how if these people have no intention of sending their children to public school ever. Michelle Rhee sends her kids to private school. Why should she make a career of gutting teachers unions and turning public education into standardized test after standardized test. Why can’t public schools also be the mini-colleges that many private schools are?

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                          • Oh my god. You’ve gone from why it’s wrong to homeschool, to why it’s the responsible liberal thing to go to public schools, to urban parent hypocrisy, to why it’s ok to shun inner-city public schools if you’re going to a suburban public school, to people meddling with public schools, to Michelle Rhea gutting teacher unions, to turning public schools into mini-colleges.

                            And all of it (Rhea aside) supported by vague personal observations that cannot possibly be held up to scrutiny.

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                      • How is raising your kid in a fancy doorman building on the Upper-East Side more diverse than a well to do suburb?

                        EASY. The kid goes to the park, the kid sits on the subway. He talks with people, interacts with tons more demographics.

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      • My main problem with the decent homeschoolers is that many of them want access to public schools for socialization purposes even though they don’t send their kids to those schools. As tax payers, you can make a good faith argument that they do have access to the facilities they pay for but private school parents don’t argue that their kids should be allowed to play on the public school football, soccer, or whatever team if their private school is too small to have one. Kids not enrolled at a public school should not have access to those facilities.

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          • One reason why many parent’s home school their kids or send their kids to private school is that they feel that the public schools are problematic for one reason or another. More than a few of them just hate all public schools in general rather than the particular one they are dealing with. It is very hypocritical to lambast a particular public school or public education in general and still want access for the goodies. So yeah, I guess I am being punitive.

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              • Right. Wasn’t the conversation last week that homeschooling is bad and dangerous because it allows abuse without authorities being able to notice? Isn’t this a way for such things to be detected?

                There is also an interesting implication that going to public school is a price to be paid (for extracurriculars) rather than a service that people should want.

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                • Right. Wasn’t the conversation last week that homeschooling is bad and dangerous because it allows abuse without authorities being able to notice? Isn’t this a way for such things to be detected?

                  Yeah. As I was reading these comments, I was sitting here thinking how to express my views that, basically, everyone (Children *and* adults) should at least occasionally be *required* to be out of sight of other people in their household and other people that might enforce abuse. Like, a minimum hour every six months.

                  So they can see how people are *supposed* to be treated, and mention any abuse in a way that *isn’t monitored*. And also prove that they’re still alive, and that parents haven’t given them away or sold them to someone else, etc, etc.

                  Maybe we should require homeschooled kids to attend one day a year. No testing, no real attempt at education, just ‘Here are a bunch of normal people, this is how adults normally interact with children, this is basically how your family is, right? Sit here and watch a movie(1).’ Not even really asking that question, just *showing* them how it’s supposed to look. And then seeing which kids panic when they don’t understand a rule perfectly because they expect a beating.

                  And the *other* homeschooled kids would benefit from it also, the super-unstructured ones, because ‘how people are normally educated’ is actually an important thing to learn.

                  I’ve not quite solidified this idea in my head, so there’s probably some problems…but I’m absolutely horrified at the idea we should bar homeschooled children from anything interacting with others. That is literally the opposite of what we need to do.

                  1) I am very tempted to suggest they pick a completely harmless movie, like Frozen or something, and tell parents in advance, and see who objects to it…so they know who the crazy people are. But that’s just me being malicious.

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            • Well, at least you cop to it.

              As points out, though, you’re being punitive in a way that punishes children, because their parents hold political ideas that you find hypocritical.

              Also, who cares what they believe so long as they are paying into the system?

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        • I don’t consider getting access to public school facilities to be NEARLY the problem that NOT getting access to people who aren’t your family is.
          /priorities.

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    • That’s like arguing that because some public school teachers abuse their students we should abolish public schools. On the other hand, the potential for abuse might be an argument in favour of greater monitoring of home-schooling.

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      • The problem with homeschooling taken to an extreme is that it can leave kids pretty well unprepared for dealing with people (other children) outside their family.

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    • 10-month-olds don’t really go to school. This may be part of a larger home schooling program or ideology, but it is better described as a parenting or child rearing strategy, part of a broader ideology (which I think is zic’s point). This view of children is problematic independent of when/where it is implemented and can – and likely is – applied to children attending brick-and-mortar schools.

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  3. To Train Up a Child has gotten notice in the news over the past few years because of some high-profile child abuse cases (sometimes murder cases) where the parents relied on the book as a manual.

    All of this is pretty extreme stuff.

    I am not that fond of unschooling but it is not deadly as far as I know.

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  4. Twice in as many days, I am left and flabbergasted to learn that that “this is a thing.” It makes showing people ultrasound pictures of fetuses entirely innocuous by comparison. It makes me feel confirmed in the decision my wife and I made to not have children. I mean, kids don’t come without instruction manual, and books like this report to be the instruction manual. How easy would it have been for me to have been given a copy of this book, and thought that this was the right way to teach your children to do what their parents say? How much easier for someone who got that advice from a trusted social authority figure like a pastor or minister?

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    • When Lain was born, we got a fair amount of advice as well as some offers for hand-me-down “instruction manuals.” I don’t think any of them were this (I’ll ask Clancy when I see her again), but multiple were of the Christian variety. (Most of our friends aren’t devout, but those who are are more likely to have kids and more likely to have instruction manuals and have a more family-focused life in general (for lack of better phrasing) so when you see them they want to talk first and foremost about parenting.

      Anyhow, we did get one manual from a devout couple who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Clancy read through it. I asked what she thought of it and she said “It’s very authority-driven” and that was kind of that. Not that we don’t believe in parental authority, but… that’s just not our way. And if you know yourself, I think you can see something like that and know that it’s not your way. So I think you would have seen through it kind of like we did with what was (I assume) a much less severe manual.

      The last question, though… the last question. That’s where people for whom it isn’t their way might get caught up in it. (On the other hand, if it’s not your way, you’re probably less likely to be really devout anyway?)

      (And for what it’s worth, we’ve gotten a couple manuals more up our alley and used them. To either no effect or good effect but so far never to bad effect. So there is some good or at least not bad advice out there.)

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      • So there is some good or at least not bad advice out there.)

        The most important thing is to get advice. The next most important thing is to get neutral, or at a minimum, not-bad advice. These are the days, man. :)

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          • Thankfully, there IS some good science on the process of child rearing. However, one of the things a parent must determine is what are his preferred outcomes. Science can tell us that Practice A *tends* to yield Result X and Practice B *tends* to yield Result Y (it is imperative to note that because of myriad factors that impact a child’s development, no results are guaranteed).

            Problems tend to emerge when A) questionable outcomes are pursued and/or B) bad or non-science is used.

            The thing is much of the science is housed in fairly dense psychological research (and some other fields). And to best use it, you can’t really cheat. I can give you 10 tips based on Piaget, but to really employ what he’s taught him, you need to read his work. Who wants to do that? I studied this stuff (twice over!) and employ it for a living and still sometime glaze over reading a paper.

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          • Well there’s a lot of useful information in child development.

            One I just heard in passing a few days ago – -a rough approximation of a kid’s attention span is “His or her age in minutes”. I’m not sure what age that cuts out (the child in question was 7, so at least that far) but does track my personal experience.

            That’s attention span for listening to adults and focusing on specific tasks. Teachers, I understand (at least good ones) use stuff like that to plan how long to spend on a specific lesson before switching to something else (and then later back).

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            • There are different rules of thumb… age, age + 2. I don’t find them particularly useful because so much goes into a child’s ability to attend. But to those who don’t understand child development (and I don’t expect most people to), it is useful to demonstrate how unreasonable their expectations typically are. “My 3-year-old can’t even get through a simple story book!”

              There are lots of useful bits from the field of child development and psychology. Maybe I’ll write up a post (or series) on some key elements… though now I immediately feel like I’m in grad school again. Off the top of my head, attachment theory might be the one thing I’d point people to first.

              A bit here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory#Attachment_classification_in_children:_The_Strange_Situation_Protocol

              Interestingly, the research might seem counter-intuitive: the most secure relationships between child-parent are NOT the ones that result in crying upon separation. I remember being surprised about that when I studied it in undergrad. I figured the crying child must have had a really strong attachment because they were sad to see the parent go. It turns out that secure attachment allows for easy separation because the child is confident that the parent will return and would not leave him/her in an unsafe situation.

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              • I think the rules of thumb are great for new parents (ones with more kids have already sorted it out, if painfully, through experience) and for, say, grandparents (who often don’t have the 24/7 exposure to the kids and question and whose own parenting experiences are quite rusty).

                Professionals (teachers, psychologists, etc) will know the caveats and limitations, but people just dealing with random kids? It helps to know that five year old’s mind is gonna wander in a few minutes, no matter what.

                Now if only there was a guidebook to teenagers…I’ve worked out that teenagers will rebel (against WHAT seems to be highly fluid. I suspect it’s all about differentiating themselves from their parents, carving out their own separate identity — and most of what they have to work with, early on, is “not being my parents”), but most of the mental state there is just confusing.

                It’s hard to fathom “I just told you exactly what would happen if you did that. You did that. That thing I just said would happen, happened. WHY ARE YOU CONFUSED BY THAT?” even if it’s apparently entirely natural.

                Seriously. It’s hell for a parent to warn a kid about an oncoming catastrophe and watch him or her waltz right into it. Even though they listened and by all accounts understood, it’s like it’s…immaterial…to their decision process.

                (On the other hand, I got to listen to my in-laws complain about kids these days, starting with their own kids and moving down, which meant I got to point out that people have been saying that since Plato, and his words are a great comfort because people have been totally wrong about it all going to pot for thousands of years now because of ‘kids these days’).

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                • This is one of the best resources I can recommend: http://www.amazon.com/Yardsticks-Children-Classroom-Ages-4-14/dp/1892989190

                  It only goes through 14 and it is written with an eye towards the classroom as opposed to the home, but it offers very accessible developmental profiles that won’t make you an expert, but will at least help you know if what you’re seeing is typical or not and, if so, some general pointers on how to work with kids of a given age.

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                • Nah, this is all what self-report tells you.
                  Look at 100 pictures of 12 year old girls (where the girls have been allowed to choose their own clothing). They all look nearly the same.

                  That’s not rebelling. Attention-seeking, sure… but that’s different.

                  (12 yr olds are adolescents, now, by and large).

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                  • Rebelling from their parents. Not from each other.

                    Part of the emotional and mental process of transitioning to adulthood is differentiating yourself first from your parents, and then from your peers — all done in a socially conforming manner, of course.

                    Your rebellion from your parents is bounded by the attributes of your parents AND the acceptable boundaries of your peers — as well as your own sense of individuality.

                    I don’t think there’s any parenting style or guidebook that can prevent teens from rebelling. Part of growing up is making your identity separate from your parents, and teenagers rarely do ‘subtle’.

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                    • It’s the individuality that’s missing. You’re seeing a remarkable fashion choice, done deliberately, and by all the kids. Not some, mind. All.

                      This isn’t really… a social/mental/emotional thing. Because if it was, you’d expect to see more differentiation based on children attempting to disassociate themselves from their parents. Parents are different, in parenting styles and allowance of children’s choice.

                      Do you ever see a kid “rebelling” against a licentious parent by following rules more closely, by being more cautious, by becoming a “young republican”? At Age 12?

                      No, you don’t.

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    • Oh my goodness. I made it through maybe one of the links on the “No Greater Joy” website. How unspeakably awful!

      How easy would it have been for you in particular to think one of these manuals was “the manual”? Probably not very easy, if your reaction now is “how is this a thing?” If you already tended toward essentially that mentality, maybe it would have been easy to read those books as a good idea – but, I suspect, only if its effect would have been to make your parenting incrementally slightly worse.

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  5. Damn! I’d be looking sideways at someone using that technique to train a puppy, much less a baby!

    But really, I can’t say that I’m really that surprised. It’s just an expression of right wing authoritarianism in the context of Christian fundamentalism.

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  6. Now I say mulit-million, it may well be a multi-billion dollar industry, I didn’t do an exhaustive search of curriculum developers . I did research some of them on Guidestar; they’re mostly non-profits and have to file a form 990 with the IRS; by registering with guidestar, you can see those tax forms. What they have in common is selling home-school and family curriculum for Christian families who subscribe to a strict, traditional (non-Catholic) beliefs.

    People who have been reading me a while, either here or at Hit Coffee, will have heard me talk about Pensacola Christian College, which is perhaps the more right-wing private university in the country. The Chronicle of Higher Ed did a full article that you can read here.

    I mention them because they run Beka Books, which is considered one of the two big Christian education homeschool textbook makers in the country. The other one is BJU Press, and you can probably guess what the BJU stands for.

    (If you ever find yourself in Pensacola, though, you should go see their campus. It is absolutely gorgeous. Whatever else I might say about them, they have a beautiful campus. There is a coffee place right off campus that’s pretty good, too. Actually, if you go on their campus you might get arrested if you don’t look or act a certain way. So just drive by the campus, and have a cup of coffee. Unless it’s summertime, you’ll get to see some of the students.)

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  7. As an aside, I have adopted, and will write a book about, iPad Training.

    With this method, you will learn to find peace & harmony with your child in public, while visiting others, and at home when you really have to go to the bathroom.

    PS If you want evidence that touch interfaces are intuitive, hand an iPad to a 2 year old & show them the NetFlix or Amazon Prime Video icons, they’ll be using the thing better than you before nap time.

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  8. I can’t read this stuff and not think of Corey Robin and his thesis that the basis of conservatism is the preservation of the hierarchy- from King down to serf, male to female, father to child, property owner to tenant.

    And I say this even as one who sees merit and value in authority and hierarchy.

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  9. I had been working on a follow up post to this, a review of the ATI curriculum and training programs available. (They run a cop school, for instance; no girls need apply.)

    But either their website is down or (?) I’ve been blocked. Just to save myself paranoia and loss of being left out of the fun, would somebody test this? http://ati.iblp.org/ati/

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  10. Here’s some of that Christinist blanket-training, this time concerning the marital blankets.

    But I will say this, despite American laws to the contrary, Biblically speaking, there is no such thing as “marital rape”. In the Scriptures, the only way rape occurs is if a man forces himself on a woman who is not his property (not his wife, or concubine). A man’s wives, his concubines (slave wives taken as captives of war or bought) could be made to have sex with him, no questions asked.

    There is a great conflict within this community about American laws that disagree with their abusive religious ideology.

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    • That quote is completely idiotic. It’s attempting to argue semantics about the word ‘rape’…but gets everything* completely wrong.

      Firstly, let’s be clear, a man forcing himself on his wife in Old Testament times was legal.

      That said…this man is an idiot.

      There are various ways, to quote the text, that a man can ‘seizes a woman and lies with her’, which I will call ‘forcible sex’. Here are the *actual* rules about sex:

      If a man is sleeping with a woman married to someone else, this is *not* rape…although they both get killed, and it doesn’t matter if it was consensual or not.

      That’s very odd, considering that if a man and an *engaged* woman are caught having sex, and it’s in a city, it’s assumed to be consensual (Because no one heard the woman cry out), and both of them are put to death. If it’s not in a city, it’s assumed to be forcible and just the man is. (Why this differs from *married* women, I have no idea.)

      If the women is *not* engaged and a virgin and a man has forcible sex with her, the man has to marry her.

      And if the woman is not engaged and has consensual sex, that is completely legal, although later misrepresenting herself as a virgin when she gets married is a capital offense.(1)

      So, these rules are very regressive and somewhat stupid…but he’s still very wrong. He says ‘the only way rape occurs is if a man forces himself on a woman who is not his property’

      This is quite incorrect, because what is listed here *isn’t defining rape*. Again, no such crime, and that’s not just semantics I’m arguing because it’s written in another language…’a single crime’ should have, roughly, one defined punishment. (Or a defined range, at least.)

      Here, in short, if the woman is married, both of them are committing a capital offense, if the woman is engaged, forcible sex is a capital offense for one, and consensual sex is a capital offense for both, and if the woman is not engage, forcible sex is a non-capital crime and, and consensual sex isn’t a crime at all.

      Trying to shove all that under a single crime and call that crime ‘rape’ is nonsense. It’s like having the crime of ‘jaywalkingmurder’.

      Especially the claim ‘the *only* way rape occurs is if a man forces himself on a woman who is not his property’. To repeat, consensual sex with a married woman appears to be the same offense as forcible sex…so, one of those is somehow the crime ‘rape’ and the other isn’t? Despite it being the exact same thing according to the Bible?

      It’s very odd how often this sort of nonsense happens, where people attempt to argue the Bible is very specific about saying something it literally does not say. Guys, we have *copies of the Bible*. We can check them.

      And, of course, it must be pointed out that this idiot is making three stupid assumptions: 1) That these rules were entire *entirety* of the law, 2) That these rules were even part of the law as practiced, and 3) that he can read these rules and magically divine how they were interpreted by the people actually in charge of interpreting them at the time.

      tl;dr – This guy has a fairly accurate idea in his head about how martial rape is a fairly modern idea, and that people living under the laws in Deuteronomy would not consider that illegal. Sadly, he also has a completely inaccurate idea of what the Old Testament says, and of how any of that works.

      1) Yes, seriously. Everyone assumes sex outside of marriage is prohibited by the Bible. Nope. The rules about sex are almost entirely about *marriage beds*. There are a bunch of very silly people who try to hinge that prohibition off 1 Corinthians 7:2, but that’s rather rather thin gruel to pin the entire thing on.

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      • People just need to remember that women were kinda “property of a family” once married. And that enforcing the “bind two families together” part of the Marriage Contract was a Big Deal.

        A woman having sex with a guy who isn’t her husband would probably be seen as some sort of fraud — here she is taking her husband’s food/shelter, but not providing him with the contractually accepted children.

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    • I dunno zic. He then goes on to make this bullet-proof argument:

      Exercising the right and responsibility of sex in marriage results in feelings of fondness between a man and a woman ONLY when both the man and the woman humble themselves first before God, and then before each other, realizing he has given their bodies to one another.

      God is apparently a horny dude who wants to own lots of women as his property, yeah?

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