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July 6, 2011 10:44 AM   Subscribe

"A Quiverfull daughter is taught from a young age that her purpose in life is to serve the man whom God has placed in authority over her." An interview with ex-Quiverfull believer Vyckie Garrison (of NoLongerQuivering) provides some chilling insight into the lifestyle, fears, motivations, and movers and shakers of the Quiverfull movement. (also posted at PoliticusUSA)
posted by emjaybee (146 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great, now I feel quiverfull.
posted by fairmettle at 10:46 AM on July 6, 2011


Ugh, Quiverfull is just so fucking creepy and holyfuckwrong.
posted by kmz at 10:46 AM on July 6, 2011 [18 favorites]


Whenever I read about this movement I can never get the image of how miserable the Rev Quiverful was in Trollope's Barchester series out of my mind. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the life-style: even clerics are miserable when they have a passle of kids they can't afford. And it will end with your wife marching to Barchester to face down a bishop.

(I originally managed to make this comment in the Watson-Atheist conference wankathon thread. There's some sort of delicious irony in that.)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:50 AM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


How is this not child abuse?
posted by notsnot at 10:51 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Moneyquote: "It is my contention that the Quiverfull movement is regular Christianity lived out to its logical conclusions."
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:53 AM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I see articles like this, but technically, this is how 'good Christians' are supposed to act. Following the words of the bible almost to the T. They still seem to leave parts out, however, because I didn't read about stoning any slaves yet.

I don't like the idea of brainwashing the children, if everyone could just make an educated decision as adults about their religion, that'd be better, but then it wouldn't really be a religion, and they wouldn't exactly be following the bible.

So I can't really get mad at them. All I can do is just shake my head. But many religious people do very retarded things, like trying not to be gay, male and female genital mutilation and killing for religious sacrifice. These people don't really deserve singled out scrutiny, because if we take the "think of the children" route then it's my personal opinion that no child should be raised religious, and that wouldn't blow over well with most people, so why should anyone else's opinion effect Quiverfull families?
posted by Malice at 10:55 AM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


...Really? I mean, I don't think is the healthiest possible environment and would be extremely concerned if I knew someone leading this lifestyle, but if the children are fed, educated, and loved, it's certainly not abuse.
posted by maryr at 10:55 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The zealotry itself, as a modifier, is often more important than the actual subject. Some people seek intense certainty. What is fascinating is people who leave one movement or ideal of intense certainty and then immediately are intensely certain about something else.

Doubt must terrify some.
posted by adipocere at 10:56 AM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Clarify: "These people"=Quiverfull. Not sacrificial killers.
posted by Malice at 10:56 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have spent my entire life living on the periphery of Chasidic neighborhoods (I guess, to them, I would be living in the boondocks of their neighborhood) and I see a lot of overlap here.
posted by griphus at 10:57 AM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Since I don't believe my wife a member of this group, I but skimmed the post but am left wondering just how many people belong to a group that is here depicted as a serious threat to society.

My view: hey, you don't do bad shit to me or to others, then I have no quarrel with you and am not about to tell you how to live. But just don't intrude your ways upon my ways.
posted by Postroad at 10:57 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like it if the New Testament's version of Christianity were "lived out to its logical conclusions" for once.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 11:00 AM on July 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


Moneyquote: "It is my contention that the Quiverfull movement is regular Christianity lived out to its logical conclusions."

That might be her attempt at a money quote, but the vast majority of Christians disagree, so what she thinks is the logical conclusion of Christianity doesn't matter much.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:00 AM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


God A moderator "opens and closes the womb thread" of a woman user on a case-by-case basis.

OK I see how that could work here. . .
posted by Danf at 11:01 AM on July 6, 2011


I'd like it if the New Testament's version of Christianity were "lived out to its logical conclusions" for once.

Me too. It'd be a lot easier to get a loan for this beam-extraction ocular surgery clinic.
posted by griphus at 11:01 AM on July 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


So my friend and I have been arguing about whether, as a feminist, one should actively disaprove of partriarchal families. I actually see her point - she points out that if you really support women's rights to determine their own lives, then you should respect their choices to live in patriarchal families as well, just as we should respect a woman (or man) who chooses to have an arranged marriage.

But at the same time, I can't help but think that a family who taught their children that one race should be in authority over another would be roundly condemned by many people; why do we ignore families who teach their children that one gender should be in authority over another gender?

/no easy answers
posted by jb at 11:03 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


...Really? I mean, I don't think is the healthiest possible environment and would be extremely concerned if I knew someone leading this lifestyle, but if the children are fed, educated, and loved, it's certainly not abuse.

Yes, but what is your criteria for love and education?

In many cases, they are homeschooled, which leaves questions as to what they are learning and at what point the education (especially of girls/young women) ceases.

In addition, at least in my book, brainwashing a child to believe that a man holds domination over a woman and that woman have to be submissive 'helpmeets' and basically be little else but baby-making or baby-raising machines - that's not love.

So we're down to one out of the three, yeah, the kids are fed. Not really sure 1 out of 3 is a great success rate.
posted by FritoKAL at 11:06 AM on July 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


Quiverfull: awesome name, total douches.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:07 AM on July 6, 2011


the children are fed, educated, and loved

So is a bonsai kitten.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:08 AM on July 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


I'd like it if the New Testament's version of Christianity were "lived out to its logical conclusions" for once.
This.
It always perplexes me how the more fundamental a Christian is, the less they actually act in accordance with Christ's teachings in the New Testament.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:08 AM on July 6, 2011 [18 favorites]


Moneyquote: "It is my contention that the Quiverfull movement is regular Christianity lived out to its logical conclusions."

I mean if you think that picking three or four verses, mostly from song lyrics, out of an enormous collection of writings charting the history of a people in early civilization constitutes the heart of the matter, sure, go ahead. Try to mostly ignore the part where Paul suggests you not get married.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:09 AM on July 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


Since I don't believe my wife a member of this group, I but skimmed the post but am left wondering just how many people belong to a group that is here depicted as a serious threat to society.

Consider that one guy in Alabama - Jim Bob Duggar, the Quiverfull poster guy, has twenty kids. If his kids have an average of five kids each, which seems low to me, he's got a hundred grandkids. If they in turn have five kids each, that's five hundred. Within a few generations, it's no longer a family, it's a voting bloc. That's the whole point of this movement—to outbreed elements they see as being politically or societally undesirable, for the quiver full of arrows to spread the message.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:09 AM on July 6, 2011 [38 favorites]


Altogether, I find myself leaning towards Germany's position: we should not allow homeschooling. Whether parents want to give their children a religious schooling or a non-religious unschooling, it doesn't matter; children need to be integrated into their wider society and to be exposed to other cultures or they never really can make an informed choice.

Of course, I would also ban all private schools, because I'm just a crazy socialist radical.
posted by jb at 11:10 AM on July 6, 2011 [37 favorites]


My view: hey, you don't do bad shit to me or to others, then I have no quarrel with you and am not about to tell you how to live. But just don't intrude your ways upon my ways.

I agree. However, like the article says: "political domination is a core principle of the Quiverfull worldview."

Intruding their ways upon everyone else is the stated goal of this movement. For all the religious right cries about the [gay|atheist|feminist|blah blah] agenda, they sure seem to do a lot more planning for conquest and culture war...
posted by vorfeed at 11:11 AM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


FYI, the Duggars live in Arkansas and have 19 kids.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:11 AM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just to be clear, the quiver is the womb, and the arrows are Christian ejaculate, right?
posted by klangklangston at 11:12 AM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


That might be her attempt at a money quote, but the vast majority of Christians disagree, so what she thinks is the logical conclusion of Christianity doesn't matter much.

The statement is a bit of a tautology. Every Christian denomination thinks they are the logical conclusion of Christ's teachings.
posted by sbutler at 11:13 AM on July 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


So my friend and I have been arguing about whether, as a feminist, one should actively disaprove of partriarchal families. I actually see her point - she points out that if you really support women's rights to determine their own lives, then you should respect their choices to live in patriarchal families as well, just as we should respect a woman (or man) who chooses to have an arranged marriage.

Of course you should disapprove. Feminism does not mean supporting whatever sexist douchebaggery a woman chooses to engage in. It's perfectly fine to say "This is all kinds of sexist and I don't support it." Feminism is not about supporting whatever a woman chooses to do, because sometimes they choose to do sexist stuff. When that happens, feel free to say, "That thing you just choose to do is really sexist."
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:14 AM on July 6, 2011 [29 favorites]


I am really not a fan of homeschooling either, jb.

The big hesitation I have is that so many public school systems have been systemically gutted and I would hate to trap a child in a hellish public school situation. In some districts it would be like requiring that everyone sign up with the worst HMO in the world and then banning them from seeing an outside doctor.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:14 AM on July 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


The arrows are the children.

They see their children as ammunition.

This actually gets more fucked up the longer I think about it.
posted by Zozo at 11:15 AM on July 6, 2011 [22 favorites]


I'm dubious of the 'out-populate' the enemy schtick. There have been a lot of kids I've met from very conservative religious backgrounds in central PA that were very much repulsed by the heavy handedness of many evangelical organizations. Granted, there were those who fell into lock-step with the church but it seemed like it was a 50/50 split or at worst 40/60.

Probably the reason they fear college (or interaction with normal society in general without Their Great Leader du jour present), I saw a great many kids beliefs evolve beyond the restrictive fundie norm.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just to be clear, the quiver is the womb, and the arrows are Christian ejaculate, right?

The arrows are the babies. Arrow babies. Hopefully rather dull when they're on their way out because, ouch.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Probably the reason they fear college (or interaction with normal society in general without Their Great Leader du jour present), I saw a great many kids beliefs evolve beyond the restrictive fundie norm.

College means both potential exposure to other belief systems and potential exposure of classmates' flesh, neither of which is particularly in keeping with a strict authoritarian lifestyle.
posted by delfin at 11:20 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some day we should talk about cool Christian sects, like the Dukhobors, or Luddites and Shakers and Levellers and such. These days Christian off shoots all seem to be so reactionary.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:21 AM on July 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


So these people are more conservative and messed up than the Xian bride I saw at a wedding who had to swear in front of everyone that she was a virgin (thanks to her father)?

Wow.
posted by DU at 11:23 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Probably the reason they fear college (or interaction with normal society in general without Their Great Leader du jour present), I saw a great many kids beliefs evolve beyond the restrictive fundie norm.

Unless they send them to a religious school. I went to an academically rigorous yet religious college for undergrad, took a course called "Marriage and Family" to fulfill my minor. One of the assigned topics was "should the modern wife be submissive to her husband as Christ is submissive to the church." I was(am) a kooky liberal feminist and was stunned that anyone would try to throw the word "submissive" at me - my marriage would be one of equals! Yet, I stood alone among the females in the class in my objection.

But then again a significant number of women I knew were education majors, based on their plans for homeschooling children they didn't have yet. So there's that. I think that there's just a large segment of the country that those of us who are on the outside just can't begin to comprehend. (Mind you, not every woman on campus was like that. But enough to open my eyes to a world I didn't know existed.)
posted by librarianamy at 11:24 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


It always perplexes me how the more fundamental a Christian is, the less they actually act in accordance with Christ's teachings in the New Testament.

Yeah, I guess it's pretty clear that, like a lot of things, most conservative Christianity is more driven by a desire to make us/them distinctions in an increasingly diverse world and not so much out of a deep passion for the teachings of a 2000 year old hippy from the Middle East. Otherwise we'd probably give a lot more in foreign aid and start fewer wars.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 11:25 AM on July 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Former evangelical homeschooler here. Yep, was taught Creationism and all that. I think my parents would have had a ton of children, but my mother wasn't able to.

So I'm definitely not an evangelical or a Creationist anymore. In fact, I am currently enrolled in an evolutionary biology program. Some of the kids I grew up with went the opposite path and went to places like Liberty University (Jerry Falwall's college).

Why did I end up here and not there? I ask myself that question every day, though I tend towards the idea that some people have an inborn tendency towards skepticism.

It makes me sad that people use things like this to condemn homeschooling. I had a wonderful childhood thanks to homeschooling. I played outside in the woods for hours every day. Of course I think ALL schools should allow children exposure to nature, but that's not happening any time soon. So yes, my own children will be second-generation homeschoolers unless I can afford a good private school or get them into an innovative charter school. As for integrating people into society, if you ban homeschooling people will just send their children to private religious schools.

And what does it mean to be integrated into society by public schools? Learning to accept your lot as a sedentary junk-food eating standardize test taking person? I think that's the worst legacy of homeschooling for me, I'm less tolerant of being treated badly at work.
posted by melissam at 11:35 AM on July 6, 2011 [29 favorites]


thirteenkiller, the Duggars have 20 children. Their eldest is an unwed mother of an interracial child, so they don't count her anymore.
posted by pajamazon at 11:37 AM on July 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


I see articles like this, but technically, this is how 'good Christians' are supposed to act.

Yeah, no. This is how one small group of Christians thinks "good Christians" are supposed to act.

Following the words of the bible almost to the T. They still seem to leave parts out, however, because I didn't read about stoning any slaves yet.

After more than 2000 years Christians have in fact noticed this! Indeed, they noticed it right at the beginning and discussed what it meant to revere the Jewish scriptures and to practice a new religion that sometimes conflicted with the commandements of the Jewish scriptures. Different denominations have different understandings of the effects of the "new law" on the "old law", but almost everyone has thought about the issue.

I don't like the idea of brainwashing the children, if everyone could just make an educated decision as adults about their religion, that'd be better, but then it wouldn't really be a religion, and they wouldn't exactly be following the bible.

Umm... the Duggars, for example, are, I understand, Baptists, the eponymous tenent of their denomination is that they believe in a free educated adult decision for Christianity. You can quibble with them about the meaning of "free" "educated" and "adult", but you're actually fundamentally aligned on this belief.

So I can't really get mad at them. All I can do is just shake my head.

You could also educate yourself about them so that you don't make so many incorrect arguments about what they believe and what they should or shouldn't do based on those false conceptions of what the diverse body of Christians believe.
posted by Jahaza at 11:41 AM on July 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


This movement is pretty appalling, but what are their actual numbers? It really seems like a fringe of a fringe.
posted by Legomancer at 11:46 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just to be clear, the quiver is the womb, and the arrows are Christian ejaculate, right?

No, it's a reference to Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV)
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
I went to an academically rigorous yet religious college for undergrad, took a course called "Marriage and Family" to fulfill my minor. One of the assigned topics was "should the modern wife be submissive to her husband as Christ is submissive to the church." I was(am) a kooky liberal feminist and was stunned that anyone would try to throw the word "submissive" at me - my marriage would be one of equals! Yet, I stood alone among the females in the class in my objection.

I'm guessing they quoted the passage (Ephesians 5:24) correctly (NIV), "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." But it's wrong to read it in isolation from what follows:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
posted by Jahaza at 11:46 AM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Viscerally disgusting.
posted by foursentences at 11:46 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing they quoted the passage (Ephesians 5:24) correctly (NIV), "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." But it's wrong to read it in isolation from what follows:

Yeah, I'm guessing these guys missed that episode of The West Wing where they explain this.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:49 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and leave her reproductive life "in the Lord’s hands"... What higher purpose could there be - what better eternal use of her time, energy and talent - than to invest herself in the lives of her children? If she catches the vision, her entire life from that point forward will be consumed by her determination to conceive, birth, and raise as many of “God’s mighty warriors” as she is capable of producing.

The Quiverfull imagery of "building an army" makes me think of noobs playing real-time strategy games. There they are, frantically trying to generate as many foot-soldiers as possible, when all along they should have been upgrading their factories so they could build a nuke.
posted by rh at 11:50 AM on July 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


The sects that do this are barely Christian, but more importantly the greed in this thread to control other people is disgusting.
posted by michaelh at 11:51 AM on July 6, 2011


Learning to accept your lot as a sedentary junk-food eating standardize test taking person?
ad hominem is OK if the other party did it first ?
posted by k5.user at 11:51 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm guessing these guys missed that episode of The West Wing where they explain this.

Well they probably read about it on this web site run by the ultra-progressive Focus on the Family.
posted by Jahaza at 11:55 AM on July 6, 2011


I am really, really good at taking standardized tests, so at least that part is right

I also love junk food

Pretty sure my individuality is crushed

BRB, gotta go work for the man

posted by the young rope-rider at 11:58 AM on July 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm not going to say anything bad about religion here because actually lots of people have very moderate religious beliefs so, you know, let's remember that and how cool it is.
posted by Decani at 11:58 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have homeschooled cousins who know the Duggars. I think the consensus is "nice but weird."
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:00 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


pajamazon: do you have a citation for that?
posted by jcrbuzz at 12:03 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


thirteenkiller, the Duggars have 20 children. Their eldest is an unwed mother of an interracial child, so they don't count her anymore.

What? Citation?
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:03 PM on July 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Jahaza: I'm guessing they quoted the passage (Ephesians 5:24) correctly (NIV), "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." But it's wrong to read it in isolation from what follows:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.


I don't see how what follows is any better, actually. This is trotted out a lot to defend the "wives submit" thing. I was raised conservative, too. I and my brothers have since converted my parents into liberals.

Anyway, how does the above context mitigate the "wives submit" message? Just because the husbands are supposed to love them as if part their own bodies? I find that insulting. It's an even stronger message of submission than the outright statement. And the love, nice. The husband is not commanded to love the wife because he, you know, loves her. He should love his wife because he loves himself, and his wife is an extension of himself.
posted by gilrain at 12:06 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mixed metaphors are so often a tell-tale sign of a hidden agenda; so kids are objectified as arrows, while the man remains the - what: hunter? Warrior? And how/where does the mother of these children fit in the picture, literally? Womb = quiver? Quiver = household, with the woman as... what? A "helpmeet" [sic]?

Others have at least been less incoherent/inconsistent with their imagery:
"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable."
posted by progosk at 12:07 PM on July 6, 2011


The woman is clearly the fletcher.
posted by gilrain at 12:08 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


what the diverse body of Christians believe

What the diverse body of Christians believe is so widespread and far apart from each other you could probably say one on one end of the spectrum might as well be worshiping a different God based on the same story as the other. I've been Christian too, for a very short time, before I realized it was all a fairy tale. I'm not exactly looking in from the outside.
posted by Malice at 12:12 PM on July 6, 2011


How is this not child abuse?

Have you seen the Duggar's recipe page? It is child abuse.
posted by sourwookie at 12:20 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd just like to say the Duggars (who are a fantastic example of people living the quiverfull lifestyle) are fucking creeps. The worst part is that the parents chose the life after many years of being much less fundamentalist. Too bad their kids don't get the opportunity to make that decision for themselves. Or grow up with involved parents, for that matter.

The really funny thing is that Jim Bob, in his numerous runs for elective office likes to talk about being self sufficient and so on, the usual right wing religious extremist BS really, but hasn't been self-sufficient since child #4.

If it weren't for his church and TLC, he and his family wouldn't have a roof over their heads.

P.S. I should probably keep this to myself, but they're from Arkansas, not Alabama. I used to live down the road from them.
posted by wierdo at 12:21 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think someone is confusing the Duggars with another Quiverfull family.

freejinger.org is a forum where people go to snark on fundies: I betcha they would know in a heartbeat which family was being referred to.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:21 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I should clarify: It's not terrible that Jim Bob and Michelle chose the lifestyle for themselves. Whatever they want is fine with me. What bothers me is that they've indoctrinated their kids into this, never giving them the choice to decide for themselves how to live their lives.
posted by wierdo at 12:22 PM on July 6, 2011


Oh, and the quiver reference comes from this:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
—Psalm 127:3-5


Sometimes I forget not everyone knows this stuff automatically.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:23 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


thirteenkiller, the Duggars have 20 children. Their eldest is an unwed mother of an interracial child, so they don't count her anymore.

Out of curiosity I looked this up, and there is a Jemima Heppner, who is from another quiverfull family who has 2 mixed race children.
posted by Zophi at 12:25 PM on July 6, 2011


Consider that one guy in Alabama - Jim Bob Duggar, the Quiverfull poster guy, has twenty kids. If his kids have an average of five kids each, which seems low to me, he's got a hundred grandkids. If they in turn have five kids each, that's five hundred. Within a few generations, it's no longer a family, it's a voting bloc. That's the whole point of this movement—to outbreed elements they see as being politically or societally undesirable, for the quiver full of arrows to spread the message.

This, explaining why Quiverfull people are a threat to society, kinda bothers me. We could argue that their views are repressive and unhealthy and offensive to progressives, that children raised in this environment have a scarily warped understanding of gender roles, that producing such massive families is bad for the environment, the economy, the neighbors, whatever. But criticizing them for a voting strategy?

A lot of us went into low income black neighborhoods to register voters in advance of the 2008 presidential election - first it was a few houses, but eventually it added up to a voting bloc. Naturally, our motivations were right and true while Quiverfull motivations are wrong and bad, and like I said one can criticize the means, but assembling a voting bloc to use the democratic system to advance certain political ideals doesn't seem like a threat to society. It's pretty much how society is supposed to work.

Too bad their kids don't get the opportunity to make that decision for themselves.

The kids can decide whether or not to live like their parents when they grow up - just like any kids with any parents.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:30 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anyway, how does the above context mitigate the "wives submit" message? Just because the husbands are supposed to love them as if part their own bodies?

I think it mitigates it because it transform the one sideed "submit" command in to what is, in practical terms, a two sided submit command. If I love my wife as much as Ephesians is calling me to, I'm going to have to submit to her needs and desires, that's in the nature of love. The husband is called to have a relationship to his wife that resembles that of Christ to the Church, and the relationship of Christ to the Church is not one of self-serving domination.

It's also important to bear in mind that the context for this is Roman society, where a wife who did not submit to her husband would have been a serious violation of social norms, not a good idea if you're already part of a minority religious group.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:30 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


sourwookie: Have you seen the Duggar's recipe page? It is child abuse.

Ugh. That's nasty indeed.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:31 PM on July 6, 2011


thirteenkiller wrote: The kids can decide whether or not to live like their parents when they grow up - just like any kids with any parents.

If only it actually worked that way.
posted by wierdo at 12:34 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some day we should talk about cool Christian sects, like the Dukhobors, or Luddites and Shakers and Levellers and such. These days Christian off shoots all seem to be so reactionary.

Go for it! I would read that post.
posted by emjaybee at 12:35 PM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: "I think it mitigates it because it transform the one sideed "submit" command in to what is, in practical terms, a two sided submit command. If I love my wife as much as Ephesians is calling me to, I'm going to have to submit to her needs and desires, that's in the nature of love. The husband is called to have a relationship to his wife that resembles that of Christ to the Church, and the relationship of Christ to the Church is not one of self-serving domination.

It's also important to bear in mind that the context for this is Roman society, where a wife who did not submit to her husband would have been a serious violation of social norms, not a good idea if you're already part of a minority religious group.
"

If it were meant to be two sided, it would read: wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, submit to your wives. That it's not is telling. Instead, it's: wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, love your wives as yourself. Now, this interpretation can be interpreted by a decent person as you have, and basically waved away as referring to an equal partnership. I'm glad many Christian men do. However, it's really not actually saying that. And many other men do use it to justify controlling their wives. I've known them.

As to your latter point, I totally agree. In fact, many things in the Bible make plenty of sense in a historical context. Unfortunately, there are religions that try to enforce them on modern society, as well.
posted by gilrain at 12:37 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


...assembling a voting bloc to use the democratic system to advance certain political ideals doesn't seem like a threat to society.

It's not the bloc itself that's the threat; it's what they'd be voting for.

Pro-theocracy = anti-democracy, even if you establish the theocracy by a vote.
posted by Zozo at 12:38 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pro-theocracy = anti-democracy, even if you establish the theocracy by a vote.

..and suddenly I have a vision of Jim-Bob Duggar as Nehemiah Scudder.
posted by Tknophobia at 12:41 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


This movement is pretty appalling, but what are their actual numbers? It really seems like a fringe of a fringe.

It's growing, but it would be tricky to find actual numbers because it's not really a centralized movement and not all families in that community identify as such. The Duggars are pretty much the movement's poster children in a lot of ways (well, they certainly were; don't know if that's still the case now, although they're actively involved with Quiverfull-associated organisations) and they don't identify as Quiverfull.

I am really, really kind-of-embarrassingly fascinated with countercultural religious movements like this. There's this interesting tension between the more appealing parts of what they're selling (hey, let's ditch all these undesirable features of society and settle down on the land with a house full of loving family!) and the reality of it (the sexism, the insularity, the super-conservative ideology and theology, the actual experience of what people's lives are like when they're, e.g., raising nine siblings full-time from the age of twelve).

The Duggars get a TV show because they're unusual and they make it look like it works: big happy family of beautiful healthy children, living in a huge house where nobody wants for anything. Even when the youngest daughter was born extremely premature, the whole experience was turned into a heartwarming TV special and the baby was fine. The oldest son and his wife didn't kiss until their wedding day (also televised), and it was presented not as weird or repressive but as an old-fashioned aww-aren't they-cute! throwback to some more innocent age. And they're happy, happy people.

But then.... most families in their movement don't have that kind of money. Most don't have a house that huge, and enough income that 19 kids is not a problem. And I'm not going to make any judgements on other people's secret happiness levels - but it's difficult to see girls talking about getting married at 15/16 to someone they'd met twice and having their fathers put their engagement rings on because their fiancés weren't allowed to touch them, or alternatively not getting married at all and still living at home as their father's helpmeet aged 30 because nobody suitable has asked their father for their hand and they're not supposed to be doing anything else with their life, without thinking something's really wrong.

Home birth is one thing, but home birth when you don't trust doctors with your pregnancy and your baby ends up dead? Big families aren't inherently bad, but big families where girls are expected to act as substitute parents from their early teens? Not so much.

But it wouldn't be right to write the whole movement off as a bunch of idiot weirdos, so I've made an effort to read what its followers have to say about it, the adult stay-at-home-daughters (it's an actual thing! they say it with pride!) and the women with semi-arranged marriages and loads of children. And I can't write them off as idiots or forced into that life, because they're not. They're often smart and eloquent and self-confident. It's just.... a different world.
posted by Catseye at 12:48 PM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


thirteenkiller, the Duggars have 20 children. Their eldest is an unwed mother of an interracial child, so they don't count her anymore.

It's the Jeub family who shunned their oldest daughter, although IIRC that was because she rejected the lifestyle, not because of her mixed-race kid. IIRC they've since reunited with her.
posted by Catseye at 12:52 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it were meant to be two sided, it would read: wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, submit to your wives.

I'm not sure why it has to be phrased a particular way to have that meaning, but if it helps Ephesians 5:21 reads "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ," which is clearly two-sided and goes even beyond the marriage relationship. Paul(or whoever wrote Ephesians) then goes to, essentially, give examples of submission: wives submit to husbands, and he provides the Church's submission to Christ as a model for how wives should submit to husbands. Paul then explains how husbands should relate to wives. He uses a different word here, love instead of submit, but he's already told everyone to submit to everyone else in verse 21. He then goes on to describe a Christ's love for the Church as model of a husband's love for his wife; a model that doesn't really allow the husband not to submit to wife, because submission (to pain, suffering, and death) is a huge part of how Christ's love for the Church is made manifest. I'd actually say that it's wrong to call this an "equal partnership," it's more like each party is involved in a radically unequal partnership in favor of the other.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:56 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bulgaroktonos: "If it were meant to be two sided, it would read: wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, submit to your wives.

I'm not sure why it has to be phrased a particular way to have that meaning, but if it helps Ephesians 5:21 reads "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ," which is clearly two-sided and goes even beyond the marriage relationship. ... I'd actually say that it's wrong to call this an "equal partnership," it's more like each party is involved in a radically unequal partnership in favor of the other.
"

I appreciate your view, and I just wish more people interpreted it that way. Unfortunately, not everyone has such a healthy view of the passage. My point is, it's not very hard to see why this is the case when this...

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

...is immediately followed by this seemingly (or easily-read-as, if you prefer) contradictory command:

"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."

It sounds very much like the husbands are allowed to submit to their wives, if they wish, but the wives are then specifically commanded to submit to the husbands in everything. In other words: when in doubt, the husband wins.

Also, verse 21 is, in my understanding, addressing how all Christians should live. The following verses then detail the specific case of husbands and wives, which makes it seem like the "submit to one another" is superceded in the case of husbands and wives. However, this may just have been the teaching at my church.

The original intend of Paul is sort of a moot point. That it's so easily, and reasonably, interpreted as "wives submit" is the problem for those, like me, who feel it enables sexism. I honestly appreciate those who interpret it more generously, allowing for modern contexts, and you're right: many churches do.

In the context of this thread, I think it's safe to assume many in the Quiverfull movement interpret it less generously.
posted by gilrain at 1:08 PM on July 6, 2011


Vyckie Garrison is kind of a professional Quiverfull defector - pretty much all of the articles about this 'movement' quote her and Kathryn Joyce, who wrote a series of articles about Quiverfull and then a book. Both of them have a strong tendency to wildly exaggerate the 'threat' these people pose...but even Joyce is forced to admit that this movement contains roughly 10,000 families.

She then follows that with a lot of hand-waving, saying that, really, these 10,000 families are super-dangerous because of their supposedly outsized influence. I think that this movement is pretty bizarre, but I don't buy it. It's a ready-made boogyman, constructed by conflating the most extreme fringes of the pro-life movement with the entire pro-life movement, the most extreme fringes of the Christian homeschooling movement with the entire homeschooling movement (secular and otherwise), and the most extreme forms of Calvinism with all of conservative Christianity. It just makes no sense, but it's easy to do when you are writing for an audience that has little or no direct experience with pro-lifers and conservative Christians as anything but a political enemy, and little or no direct experience of homeschooling outside of the rabid frothing of the HSLDA (which represents only ultraconservative Christian homeschoolers, but generally pretends otherwise.)

I admire Garrison for her courage in getting out of what sounds like a very abusive marriage and a terrible church. I think the doctrines behind complimentarist theology and Christian patriarchy are crazy. I also think that the assertion in this article - that Quiverfull is somehow the guiding force behind the family politics of the entire Amerian right - is totally absurd.
posted by Wylla at 1:14 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


If it were meant to be two sided, it would read: wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, submit to your wives.

Nothing ever happens if you're both subs. Just sayin'
posted by Thorzdad at 1:16 PM on July 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


I would actually have guessed less than 10,000, so that doesn't make me feel much better. Bleh.
posted by gilrain at 1:26 PM on July 6, 2011


Wylla, I would be inclined to agree with you. However, we have witnessed an astonishing array of laws aimed at denying women full personhood, and instead granting it to fertilized eggs, or zygotes, or fetuses without a chance of survival. We have seen laws...laws...introduced in the last year that made it illegal to have an abortion without listening to false medical information, or to help any woman across state lines to have an abortion, or have tried to make it legal to kill someone facilitating an abortion.

We have started to see a similar push against reproductive freedoms, such as contraception. Funding is slashed, and slashed again, for programs that allow women not to be forced into preganancy.

There is a woman in jail right now because she had a stillbirth that may or may not have been caused by drugs--the evidence on it is sketchy, which shouldn't matter, because jailing any woman for failing to ensure a fetus' survival shouldn't even be a consideration.

And yet, here we are.
posted by emjaybee at 1:33 PM on July 6, 2011 [28 favorites]


I admire Garrison for her courage in getting out of what sounds like a very abusive marriage and a terrible church. I think the doctrines behind complimentarist theology and Christian patriarchy are crazy. I also think that the assertion in this article - that Quiverfull is somehow the guiding force behind the family politics of the entire Amerian right - is totally absurd.

I was homeschooled by conservative Christian parents, and I was a pro-life activist for many years, and I worked directly and indirectly with quite a few of the very high-profile Christian organizations that work hard to shape policy on those matters.

It is absolutely true to say that the Quiverfull movement is not representative of mainstream Christian beliefs. Dismissing it as irrelevant is disingenuous, however, as the basic doctrines that the Quiverfull movement is based on are absolutely popular and looked on approvingly in conservative Christian circles. Quiverfull isn't guiding public policy, but the people who are vigorously advocate all of the ideas and doctrines that shape the Quiverfull movement.

The Quiverfull movement is an interesting example of how those doctrines can look when taken very, very seriously. Not "To An Extreme" -- just taken very seriously. That is worth thinking about, long and hard, when those groups (like focus on the family, the american life league, the family research council, etc) speak on issues of gender and sexuality.
posted by verb at 1:36 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]




Stagger Lee: "Some day we should talk about cool Christian sects, like the Dukhobors, or Luddites and Shakers and Levellers and such. "

Pedantry: The Luddites were not a Christian sect, but a social movement of workers.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:38 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


If it's of interest to people, here is the Vision Forum resource catalog, which gives an idea of what materials these folks use to teach their children. While it is clear that they impart what I regard as a totally nutty and potentially harmful worldview, it's also clear that anyone completing this type of education would be fine if they later chose to leave the movement. (It's the Amish - the peaceful non-political quilt-making fundies we liberals love to love - who cut off their children's education at 16). I'd argue that quiverfull families have the same right to raise their children with their own views as anyone else.

Worth noting that this stuff (and the outlook it is meant to impart) are not considered mainstream among homeschoolers, even conservative Christians who advocate for 1950's roles and pay lipservice to the idea of female 'submission' in the home. Even conservative Christian homeschool conferences are much more likely to be full of women in denim jumpers who have driven there in vans marked 'homeschool bus' than of women in 'prairie muffin' muumuus who aren't allowed to drive.
posted by Wylla at 1:39 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slackermagee: "I'm dubious of the 'out-populate' the enemy schtick. There have been a lot of kids I've met from very conservative religious backgrounds in central PA that were very much repulsed by the heavy handedness of many evangelical organizations. Granted, there were those who fell into lock-step with the church but it seemed like it was a 50/50 split or at worst 40/60."

Agreed. This kind of feels like a "Marching Morons fallacy" case to me. We're not breeding for left-handedness or something here.

Probably the reason they fear college (or interaction with normal society in general without Their Great Leader du jour present), I saw a great many kids beliefs evolve beyond the restrictive fundie norm.

Exactly. The more people are isolated from the culture as a whole, the more they can be controlled.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:42 PM on July 6, 2011


Even conservative Christian homeschool conferences are much more likely to be full of women in denim jumpers who have driven there in vans marked 'homeschool bus' than of women in 'prairie muffin' muumuus who aren't allowed to drive.

Um.

We're using "they're allowed to drive" as our point of reference, now?
posted by verb at 1:47 PM on July 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Verb, I completely agree that the idea of the 1950's family, and the model of the 'perfect' Duggars are very attractive, and materials advocating this kind of 'christian family' are more and more mainstream in America. There is, however, a difference between advocating that women stay home, dress 'modestly' etc and the ultra-extreme fringe that Garrison used to be a part of...which is way, way more extreme. Garrison's blog makes that very clear - she's talking about groups that advocate keeping quiet about domestic violence in all cases*, forbid women to drive or sign contracts, and advocate true arrainged marriages (rather than 'courtship' -which is ikky enough for me, thanks! - but which they see as 'loose.')

I would argue that the evangelical right has a huge influence in the Republican party, and that whitewashed images of onservative families like the Duggars have lots of influence over the culture. I just won't go the next step - which this article does - and suggest that the Chalcedon Foundation, AFI, and Vision Forum are the real guiding lights for "conservative family values", rather than, say the AFA or the Southern Baptist Convention.

(*Note: my stated desire to live-and-let-live does not extend to people who are actually abusing or neglecting their children!)
posted by Wylla at 1:51 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


We're using "they're allowed to drive" as our point of reference, now?

No, but forbidding female members to drive is apparently a hallmark of this movement.
posted by Wylla at 1:53 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is, however, a difference between advocating that women stay home, dress 'modestly' etc and the ultra-extreme fringe that Garrison used to be a part of...which is way, way more extreme. Garrison's blog makes that very clear - she's talking about groups that advocate keeping quiet about domestic violence in all cases*, forbid women to drive or sign contracts, and advocate true arrainged marriages (rather than 'courtship' -which is ikky enough for me, thanks! - but which they see as 'loose.')

I understand. Perhaps the problem is that I have just had very different experiences -- I grew up in a church that concealed sexual abuse and protected the perpetrator for years because he was "A good man of God." I attended home schooling conferences where sessions on arranged marriages -- literal ones, not simply 'courtship' -- were attended by parents and children alike looking to learn more. I watched as a thirteen year old girl I know was forced to sign a contract with her father and pastor to never let a boy touch her or "have her heart" until she was married -- a real, literal contract. These were normal, computer using people in the Chicago suburbs whose decisions and actions were not questioned or considered troublesome by the other adults and children in their churches and social groups. Some eyebrows might have been raised, but they would have been raised if he let his daughter out of the house with a short skirt, too.


I would argue that the evangelical right has a huge influence in the Republican party, and that whitewashed images of onservative families like the Duggars have lots of influence over the culture. I just won't go the next step - which this article does - and suggest that the Chalcedon Foundation, AFI, and Vision Forum are the real guiding lights for "conservative family values", rather than, say the AFA or the Southern Baptist Convention.

I'd agree that those small fringe groups are not the policy-shaping organizations with political heft. I find the conservative culture's casual acceptance of the Quiverfull movement's principles -- right up until the very moment it turns to violence -- both telling and troubling.

At the end of the day they have the right to their views on human sexuality and gender roles, just as much as anyone else. But the Quiverfull movement, in my opinion, provides a chilling example of what kinds of dynamics easily become 'normed' in those philosophical circles. Perhaps I'm being uncharitable, but that's how I see it.
posted by verb at 2:01 PM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Incidentally, I don't care if you're Quiverfull, Catholic, Rastafarian, Unitarian, or Atheist, even if you can afford a bazillion kids, the planet cannot afford for you to have a bazillion kids.
posted by Legomancer at 2:03 PM on July 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


(P.S. altho a lot of homeschoolers might use their catalogs, once you get deeper into the vision forum folk mindset I think most of us would be quite comfortable considering them a cult. I certainly do.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:06 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Verb - I agree with you completely - the entire 'purity contract' (or ring, or dance, or locket) thing weirds me out completely.
posted by Wylla at 2:09 PM on July 6, 2011


St. Alia, yeah -- that's one of the interesting things about the homeschooling world. Finding good curriculum and assembling something coherent is tough work, and if someone's done the grunt work, it's easy to use them as a source.

I remember getting to the end of my junior high social studies book -- a well-produced hardcover textbook just like any other -- and startling to read a sidebar stating that bible-believing Christians shouldn't work for the government or hold public office. It was an amusing contradiction of the traditional dominionist picture, but that's because we'd purchased a 7th Day Adventist social studies book without realizing it.

It wasn't dominionism, so that's good, but it's a little troubling to realize that had I not been gung-ho about storming government for Jesus, I might have accepted an intensely doctrinal position woven into my history and government learnin'.
posted by verb at 2:12 PM on July 6, 2011



Pedantry: The Luddites were not a Christian sect, but a social movement of workers.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:38 PM on July 6 [1 favorite +] [!]


I thought about that as I posted, and decided it would be fair to include them anyway. They were in the right time, at the right place. Their members were largely Christian, and a lot of their slogans and rhetoric were Christian, so I figure they can have honorary membership...

Strictly speaking you're right, but it's the kind of debate I'd love to have, so I wasn't too worried about a slip there. :P
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:17 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you are old enough to remember, this was the Catholic model in the U.S. for much of the first 3/4ths of the 20th century...and then the kids mostly rebelled and became Unitarians (or whatever) and that whole thing fizzled out.

It's hard to maintain the fervor for much past the first generation in these movements.

There are a lot of splinter groups out there that refuse to accept the change that is the hallmark of human civilization. Witness the Lubavitchers and the Amish. Still stuck in the mid 19th century and still fighting the changes associated with the industrial revolution.

I expect the rise of these end times Christian cults are part of the same phenomena: Semi-conscious resistance to the end of the industrial era and the beginning of what some see as the age of technology (whatever that is.)

In times of great change part of humanity always reverts to what is safe and known - maybe a protective response by the human "organism"? (Not sure I really believe that)

Bottom line: I'm not going to lose any sleep, we've made if this far and through worse stuff than the quiverfulls.
posted by mygoditsbob at 2:23 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Verb - I agree with you completely - the entire 'purity contract' (or ring, or dance, or locket) thing weirds me out completely.

Wylia, thanks. I can definitely sympathize with the desire to tell an alarmed group of people unfamiliar with Christian culture that, "No, these people are not mainstream." So your comments above are really helpful in that light.

The aspects of the Quiverfull movement that I find really troubling are the parts that really are woven throughout a lot of conservative sexuality and gender issues, though. Even if the beliefs don't manifest in hardcore abusive bonnet-wearing craziness, the damaging mix of mutually-supporting ideas is there, waiting to ignite. Those are ideas that are not controversial in the conservative church. Those are practically articles of faith. The problem is that they easily form a self-supporting set of truisms that place women in a profoundly powerless, damaging, place. Quoting Vyckie Garrison:
A woman’s “choice” was anathema to me because I believed that I was not my own; I had been bought with a price (the blood of Christ ~ 1 Cor. 6:20) and therefore, I sought to “honor God with my body” which essentially meant dutifully birthing seven “foot soldiers for Jesus,” nearly losing my life on more than one occasion.
I don't think that the Quiverfull movement is the inevitable outcome of those beliefs, but I absolutely understand the mindset of the 'inevitability' and 'purity' of one's take on Scripture. To a large extent, I think that fundamentalism works hardest not to fight atheism, but to poison its adherents against more progressive strains of Christianity itself. They're the real threat.
posted by verb at 2:24 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Verb, that can happen in any education. I went to a secular, but conservative-leaning private elementary, and only realized years later that one of my science texts (the workbook on energy) was literally sponsored by the oil industry, and my US History textbook was immersed in a fairly extreme free-market view (the founding fathers were all about economic liberty, the 'protestant work ethic' was the American Way etc.) I'm sure there are others I didn't catch then and can't remember now.

...although I was never in danger of accidentally joining the 7th Day Adventists, which would have been really funny in that context. (I could have been an oil-drilling, shop-keeping, government-work-avoiding Adventist! - As it is, I'm none of the above.)
posted by Wylla at 2:27 PM on July 6, 2011


Verb, that can happen in any education.

Oh, absolutely. I wasn't implying that discovering wackiness in your textbook was an exclusively homeschooler phenomenon. That particular example just always jumped out at me...
posted by verb at 2:32 PM on July 6, 2011


It began to receive significant attention in the U.S. national press in 2004.

This makes me wonder what kind of weird shit is being thought up right now!
posted by hal_c_on at 2:33 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vyckie Garrison: How to Talk to a Fundamentalist (If You Must)
posted by homunculus at 2:34 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Catseye wrote: The Duggars get a TV show because they're unusual and they make it look like it works: big happy family of beautiful healthy children, living in a huge house where nobody wants for anything.

For what it's worth, the main reason they have that big house is that TLC paid for it. Jim Bob managed to scrimp and save for the land, and was vaguely on his way toward the goal of building the house, but the First Baptist Church of Springdale, who owned the older two bedroom they were living in until a few years ago, decided they needed the land the house sat on to expand the church.

A kind soul let them live rent-free in a house a few blocks away (an upgrade to three bedrooms, no less!) while the TLC money paid for the new house to be built. The original plan, IIRC, was for him and his kids to build the new house themselves. Didn't really end up working out that way thanks to being evicted from their sweet deal.

Don't be fooled. They have nice things precisely because of the TV shows and other attention they've gotten, not because they miraculously made it work themselves. If they were toiling in obscurity, like most people in their situation, they'd still be building the new house and wouldn't have had much to put in it. (most of the stuff in the new house was given to them by sponsors of their show)

I don't mean to disparage the Duggars beyond my usual opposition to indoctrination of children, but that's accepted in society so it's tilting at windmills; I only mean to clarify how they got where they are.

Also, I find it amusing that they run (or did, I don't know if they still do) one of the worst used car lots in Springdale.
posted by wierdo at 2:46 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


This makes me wonder what kind of weird shit is being thought up right now!

Somewhere, somehow, someone is planning a 2016 campaign for the /b/ party.
posted by verb at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2011


Whenever we watch the Duggers on TV, we always speculate which of the 19 will turn out to be gay. Statistically, it's gotta happen.

We then spend a great deal of time discussing how difficult (or impossible) it would be to come out to Jim Bob, Michelle and TLC as gay because they will have been taught all kinds of mindf*ck about being gay and being horrible.

But, how awesome would it be for Michelle Dugger to show up at a PFLAG meeting? I'd like to think that she has it in her. Jim Bob wouldn't.
posted by Leezie at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


One thing that could be important in predicting the success of a quiverful political strategy is the "quality-quantity tradeoff". I'm not sure what to expect from this, but there are several articles in economics and demography showing the marginal child has fewer parental investments.

http://www.google.com/search?q=quantity+quality+children+tradeoff&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari
posted by scunning at 2:51 PM on July 6, 2011


To a large extent, I think that fundamentalism works hardest not to fight atheism, but to poison its adherents against more progressive strains of Christianity itself. They're the real threat.

Oh this is absolutely true, but to some extent I think it makes sense. If your fundamental stance is that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God, Episcopalians who say they love Jesus and God's Word but still ordain women and homosexuals represent a diminishment of your beliefs-- They're a corruption of your argument rather than a dismissal.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:00 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


My view: hey, you don't do bad shit to me or to others...

Trouble is, they are doing bad shit to everybody. Women and children in a situation to be 'submissive' often are abused verbally and emotionally. They can be beaten and sexually abused. Often men use their 'superiority' to cheat outside the marriage. These women don't object or talk about it, because that violates their submission.
the men have so many children they can't support them, or rely on the state for assistance. Even if they can feed or clothe them, the kids have a limited cultural reference.

Kids grow into adults that don't know how to cope in the world and wind up further withdrawing from it or with problems stemming from abandoning this wacko religion and often their families and the only support they know. Are these the kids you want making serious decisions in the world to come and voting with the limited knowledge they have?

This misogynist religion attempts to limit my choices, and the choices of all women, control our bodies and force us into being second-class citizens. Reproductive choices? Work? Equal pay? Not if you're submissive. The bad shit spewing from this religion and others like it affects our society daily.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:29 PM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


but that's because we'd purchased a 7th Day Adventist social studies book without realizing it

How long ago was this? One of the more embarrassing (well, to the younger generation at least) elements in our church's history was a tendency to religious literature with a definite Adventist slant as general "Christian" literature. Thought we'd mostly gotten over that, though.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:19 PM on July 6, 2011


The TWOP thread about the Duggars has reached over 40,000 comments. Although I never watch the show, I check up on them from time to time to see what wacky hi-Jinks they get up to. Recently the eldest son's wife had her 2nd child. On the toilet. She wanted a home birth and she got one.

The oldest girls are all still at home however and this is presenting an interesting problem. What do you do with a 20 year old girl who cannot go out in public alone? They can't hold down jobs outside the house and they can't go away to college. One of the girls has joined the same Volunteer Firefighting Department as her brother, but if I recall she has to wear a dress under her firefighter's uniform.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:22 PM on July 6, 2011


How long ago was this? One of the more embarrassing (well, to the younger generation at least) elements in our church's history was a tendency to religious literature with a definite Adventist slant as general "Christian" literature. Thought we'd mostly gotten over that, though.

Late 80s, early 90s; I was also using A-Beka science books, which dedicated a full chapter to evolution: first they explained Aristotle's beliefs about spontaneous generation, then they explained Larmackian evolution, and then they idly mentioned that Charles Darwin, an embittered former religious student, went on to popularize evolution with his writings. Then there were lots of chapters about how Newton and other important scientists were faithful men of God.

I wish I still had that book. It was so full of win.
posted by verb at 4:50 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Was Christ submissive to the church? I thought that Jesus had personal conflicts with religious authorities when he was alive. After he died, well...
posted by ovvl at 4:53 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


When Paul says 'the church,' he's referring to the global congregation of Christian believers, not to any sort of religious structure or body of religious authority. At the time there wasn't much structure to the Christian church, and if there had been, it's still pretty widely understood nowadays that Paul is referring to Christians rather than institutions.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:00 PM on July 6, 2011


"It is my contention that the Quiverfull movement is regular Christianity lived out to its logical conclusions."

Nonsense. Mary Magdalene wasn't no stay-at-home mother.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:21 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hi there. My parents got into the "quiverfull" thing back before it was called that, and these links are basically describing my childhood. Home schooling, life completely saturated by religion, traditional gender roles, excessive modesty, and lots of children; I'm the oldest of eleven.

If his kids have an average of five kids each, which seems low to me, he's got a hundred grandkids. If they in turn have five kids each, that's five hundred. Within a few generations, it's no longer a family, it's a voting bloc.

Our family used to have dinner-table conversation along these lines. In fact, however, none of us have chosen to follow in our parents' footsteps, and their grandchild count is holding steady at zero.

I have not kept in any particular touch with the other kids from the fundamentalist community I grew up in, since I was the first to reject the whole thing and abandon my faith entirely; but from what I have heard, most kids from "quiverfull" families have not carried it on. The more common pattern seems to be an early marriage, the first kid a couple of months later, then maybe one or two more, and that's it. The "no birth control" doctrine just doesn't seem to stick.
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:25 PM on July 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


When Jesus walked on Earth, there WERE no Christians. Just Jews.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:25 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe I missed something, but has anyone mentioned that having huge families is ecologically unsound? And that having so many children is ridiculously hard on a woman's body? In fact, compelling women to have so many kids is a form of physical abuse, IMHO.
posted by mareli at 5:28 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "When Jesus walked on Earth, there WERE no Christians. Just Jews."

Well, and a few random others. Sample not intended to be representative of world prechristian populations.
posted by workerant at 6:27 PM on July 6, 2011


And what does it mean to be integrated into society by public schools? Learning to accept your lot as a sedentary junk-food eating standardize test taking person? I think that's the worst legacy of homeschooling for me, I'm less tolerant of being treated badly at work.
posted by melissam at 2:35 PM on July 6 [17 favorites +] [!]


For me, it means that children are exposed to other children from different races, religions, economic backgrounds, etc. I think this is very important for all children. Which is why I am also against private schools, especially private religious schools, and against state-supported religious schools. I'm not against teaching religion in schools - in fact, I think that the American state schools go too far in the other direction when they ban religious expression. But I think it's really important that there is one place where every citizen and inhabitant of a multi-cultural country must interact with people of different religions and cultures, and preferrably that this one place is somewhere they go when they are relatively young.

Besides, public schools do not have to be terrible places of soul-sucking non-learning; I had an excellent state education with an enriching and exploratory curriculum, in addition to learning about Judaism, Islam and Catholicism on the playground -- all things a good bible-verse memorising Methodist kid like me would not have learned otherwise. And maybe if the rich and/or concerned parents have children in the public schools, they will take action to make sure that the education in the schools is better.
posted by jb at 6:27 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am now picturing a world of just Jews. Wonderful smoked salmon, no pork pies. Heaven and hell at the same time.
posted by jb at 6:29 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


(didn't mean to leave everyone else out-just referring to the Jews to Christians proportions. Carry on.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:22 PM on July 6, 2011


No bacon, jb. No bacon.

*shakes head sadly*
posted by maryr at 8:14 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't see why an article on Quiverfull uses rows of Barbie dolls as an illustration. Does the editor think these people want to raise blonde-haired, blue-eyed teen fashion models?
posted by Yakuman at 8:21 PM on July 6, 2011


I am thinking of ronnie james dio eating a bacon sandwich.
posted by clavdivs at 11:03 PM on July 6, 2011


it goes on and on and on and on.
posted by clavdivs at 11:04 PM on July 6, 2011


The Quiverfull imagery of "building an army" makes me think of noobs playing real-time strategy games.

im in ur quiver, corruptin ur d00dz
posted by LordSludge at 11:13 PM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Does the editor think these people want to raise blonde-haired, blue-eyed teen fashion models?

well, it wouldn't be the first time someone accused the quiverfull flock of having a master race leaning...
posted by nadawi at 9:56 AM on July 7, 2011


For me, it means that children are exposed to other children from different races, religions, economic backgrounds, etc. I think this is very important for all children.

What makes you think public school does that? If you don't live in a school district that is diverse, you don't get exposed to diversity. I would say most suburban school districts aren't very diverse. I did go to public school for high school and was probably exposed to less diversity than I was as a homeschooler. 90% white, very few religions besides Christianity and Judaism. Homeschooling, BTW, is increasingly popular with American Muslims. The homeschool activities I did included hippies, extremist Christians, kids with severe disabilities, kids who were child stars, and Muslims. A weird group of people for sure.

It's telling that Obama sends his kids to private school. Not all public schools are bad, but one that fits the criteria that I would prefer for my own children is hard to find. I just don't buy that public schools are diversity science open-mindedness vehicles. Kids can have a good education and become open-minded citizens in all kinds of educational systems and I support the rights of parents to this kind of educational diversity.
posted by melissam at 1:27 PM on July 7, 2011


What makes you think public school does that? If you don't live in a school district that is diverse, you don't get exposed to diversity.

I'm just putting this out there, but it takes a very, very exceptional homeschooling experience to give a kid access to racial, religious, and economic diversity. I was homeschooled and it was a super awesome experience in many ways, and it allowed me to meet and interact with a huge range of white middle class Protestants that I never would have met otherwise.
posted by verb at 1:41 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


@jahaza : Baptists, the eponymous tenent of their denomination is that they believe in a free educated adult decision for Christianity. You can quibble with them about the meaning of "free" "educated" and "adult", but you're actually fundamentally aligned on this belief.

In other words, if you don't argue with me on the points where you think I'm wrong, I get to be right. Nice. And condescendingly calling a disagreement a "quibble". Bonus.

FWIW...while I agree that a fundamental (eponymous? what?) tenet of Baptists is "adult" choice of baptism (at least as a reaction to infant baptism practiced by other sects), I'd be interested in where doctrinally there is a requirement for an "educated" or "free" choice, because I suspect we'd define those words in very, very different ways. Especially in a contemporary context. But there I go quibbling.
posted by kjs3 at 4:07 PM on July 7, 2011


thirteenkiller wrote: The kids can decide whether or not to live like their parents when they grow up - just like any kids with any parents.

It took me one husband, one divorce, two elections, 30 years, and an atheist SO to realize that I could break away from my parents' christian beliefs. We are taught to aspire to this religious picture of a woman/man, above all else. It's hard to break away from that. And it's hard to leave all your family, friends and support behind. Sure, kids can decide how they want to live when they're adults, but there's a lot to undo. A lot of manipulated thought has to be torn through and many of the children in such extreme religious environments never do.
posted by persephone's rant at 5:04 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


@verb: [Homeschooling] allowed me to meet and interact with a huge range of white middle class Protestants that I never would have met otherwise.

This.

I know there are some awesome homeschooling parents who seek out diversity, unique experience and egalitarian views. I know, because I know a handful of them. But the other couple of hundred I've dealt with over the years are homeschooling because their mainstream school options are too "swarthy", "secular" or "poor", though they generally seek more "polite" ways of expressing it.

Insert disclaimer about anecdote != evidence, but hey, everyone else is working that angle...
posted by kjs3 at 5:45 PM on July 7, 2011


Insert disclaimer about anecdote != evidence, but hey, everyone else is working that angle...

Yeah, I would say that it's a mistake to issue any sweeping proclamations about whether or not homeschoolers get diverse exposure. It's absolutely a function of their parents' intentions and effort. If the family participates in a homeschooling support group, it's also a function of the ethnic/class/religious breakdown of the homeschooling group.

I can only really speak to my own experiences, but at the time that I was being homeschooled, blacks made up less than one tenth of a percent of the national homeschooling community. Minorities as a whole made up exactly zero percent of the regional homeschooling community I witnessed. That's not an accusation, just a statement of fact -- to some extent, homeschooling families in urban and suburban areas are tautologically ones that can afford to have at least one parent stay home full-time, and that adds layers of class distinction on as well. Minority groups are statistically much less likely to be able to pull that off, and it's also one of the reasons that homeschoolers tend to be strong supporters of tax credits, vouchers, and so on that would put "staying home to teach your kid" in the same realm as "paying a private school to teach your kid."

But all that is a digression, really. I absolutely did socialize with a broader range of age groups than I might have otherwise. In our social group, junior and high school students all hung out in a sort of undifferentiated social mass; we didn't really have the numbers to pull off fine grained cliques or more precise age segregation. And when parents worked for it, we got cool opportunities to learn from great sources, not just textbooks.

Homeschooling gives a lot of freedom -- for dedicated parents to give a kid a top notch self-guided education, or for paranoid, repressive parents to build a sealed bubble around their child's intellect. Most of the time it falls somewhere in between. In the case of these Quiverfull families, it's pretty obvious that it's taking the latter form.
posted by verb at 6:08 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I would say that it's a mistake to issue any sweeping proclamations about whether or not homeschoolers get diverse exposure. It's absolutely a function of their parents' intentions and effort. If the family participates in a homeschooling support group, it's also a function of the ethnic/class/religious breakdown of the homeschooling group.

And the diversity of public schools is a function of the diversity of that school district. Either experience can be lacking in diversity. It's simply unfair to single out homeschooling as a source of that lack of diversity, when really it is mostly a function of geography. In urban areas, parent choice does take children away from diversity they would otherwise be exposed to, but most of this is in the form of sending kids to private school or special magnet/charter schools, not homeschooling.
posted by melissam at 8:44 PM on July 7, 2011


It's simply unfair to single out homeschooling as a source of that lack of diversity, when really it is mostly a function of geography.

That's just silly.

Completely setting aside that the economic ability to homeschool is another limiting factor in the homeschooling populace, the raw numbers tell a very different tale than the one you're suggesting. The homeschooling community is nowhere near as diverse as the general population -- as I said, the homeschooling community as of a few years ago was only one tenth of a percent black -- that's increasing, but slowly, and other demographic groups are similarly under-represented. Religious beliefs are similarly skewed.

It is definitely possible for a homeschooling parent to give their child exposure to a wide range of influences and experiences, just as the parents of a child attending an exclusive school can ensure that they interact with kids from other backgrounds. But the pool they will have automatic exposure to via homeschooling circles is much, much less diverse than the general population. Denying that is either ignorance or sophistry.

That doesn't mean you didn't experience diversity, it doesn't mean that you didn't get exposure to lots of different people-groups and belief systems and social classes when you were home schooled. But home schooling is an automatic disadvantage on that front, and it takes effort by parent-teachers to overcome. When you combine that fact with the mindset that homeschooling is a way to protect children from the secular world, as is demonstrated by the Duggars and many of the families I knew growing up, this can definitely become problematic.

I say this as someone who would like to either homeschool my kids or send them to a good private school, I ever have any. I'm not ragging on it, I'm just saying them's the facts.
posted by verb at 9:20 PM on July 7, 2011


It is definitely possible for a homeschooling parent to give their child exposure to a wide range of influences and experiences, just as the parents of a child attending an exclusive school can ensure that they interact with kids from other backgrounds. But the pool they will have automatic exposure to via homeschooling circles is much, much less diverse than the general population. Denying that is either ignorance or sophistry.

Not necessarily. The home schooling population is not evenly distributed by geography.

Possibly analogous situation: the public schools in my home town were less than 1% minority. I then went to boarding school. While the boarding schools I went to were substantially less racially diverse than the general population of the United States, they were substantially more racially diverse than the public schools I had previously attended.

It may not be like this with homeschooling, but the data provided so far in this thread is not enough to make it a mathematical certainty.
posted by Jahaza at 9:35 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not necessarily. The home schooling population is not evenly distributed by geography. Possibly analogous situation: the public schools in my home town were less than 1% minority. I then went to boarding school. While the boarding schools I went to were substantially less racially diverse than the general population of the United States, they were substantially more racially diverse than the public schools I had previously attended.

I'm not quite sure what you mean. In the example that I mentioned (only .1% of the homeschooling population was black while I was being homeschooled), the numbers were pretty stark. Are you suggesting that homeschooling is clustered primarily in areas where the general population is even less than .1% black? And that blacks disproportionately homeschool, thus exposing homeschoolers to more diversity than they would normally encounter?

That is a pretty stretchy stretch, and it doesn't jibe with anything I saw in the homeschooling community.

I want to make clear that I'm not attacking homeschooling, or suggesting that these statistical skews are based in bigotry or racism. It's just the way that the numbers work out: If you are homeschooled and you experience a lot of your social interaction via homeschooling circles, it will take deliberate effort by parent-teachers to give you exposure to a more diverse peer group. Why? Because you're not going to find it in the homeschooling world unless you are smack dab in the middle of a wild statistical outlier.

I'm glad that melissam's experiences are better in that regard than most homeschoolers', but it's disingenuous to suggest -- as she did -- that homeschooling is more diverse than public schools.
posted by verb at 10:14 PM on July 7, 2011


racial diversity isn't the only thing that matters. In fact, I would say that religious/cultural diversity is more important.

A large number of people homeshool and/or send their children to religious schools because they want them to be segregated by religion. In the public schools, you may or may not have wide diversity, depending on the area, but you will still have more diversity than a self-selected group. Even if everyone is Christian, you may have Catholics and Baptists and Presbyterians -- and you will have devout people and not devout people. This is still diversity.

I'm not a complete radical for being against home-schooling in principle - it's banned in Germany.
posted by jb at 10:52 PM on July 7, 2011


You know what else is banned in Germany?

Sorry, I had to say it.
posted by maryr at 9:03 AM on July 8, 2011


A large number of people homeshool and/or send their children to religious schools because they want them to be segregated by religion. In the public schools, you may or may not have wide diversity, depending on the area, but you will still have more diversity than a self-selected group. Even if everyone is Christian, you may have Catholics and Baptists and Presbyterians -- and you will have devout people and not devout people. This is still diversity.

Uh, have you heard of Catholic schools? They are quite popular I hear.

only .1% of the homeschooling population was black while I was being homeschooled

It's now closer to 2-3% and growing. I don't think homeschooling has anything to do with diversity personally, geography is a MUCH bigger factor.
posted by melissam at 10:35 AM on July 8, 2011


It's now closer to 2-3% and growing. I don't think homeschooling has anything to do with diversity personally, geography is a MUCH bigger factor.

We have a fundamental failure to communicate, I think. The diversity of the community that a homeschooler lives in (not simply "geography") is certainly a factor. But homeschooling acts as a second amplification mechanism for that effect.

Homeschooling is considerably less diverse -- both racially, economically, and religiously -- than the general population. That's just a fact. It is getting incrementally better in certain specific areas, but there is still no denying that it is primarily a white, middle-class, Christian phenomenon. If someone's primary socialization is from their homeschooling circle, their odds of meeting and working and playing with someone outside that demographic profile are lower.

It's become a derail at this point, and I don't want to consume the thread with it, but please bear in mind that you came out with guns blazing -- claiming that public school just 'prepares people to be couch potatoes' and that home schooling is not simply equal to public schooling in diversity but often more diverse. You may have had a more diverse circle of friends and acquaintances than most, but that isn't reflected in the broader population of home schoolers.
posted by verb at 11:00 AM on July 8, 2011


The variety of socialization for kids being homeschooled is certainly a concern. I'm more concerned about the *volume* of socialization that a homeschooled kid gets. Interacting with other kids 3 or 4 times a week pales in comparison to being forced (via public/private school) to interact with many, many more kids 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Social skills are skills, just as academic skills are skills. Skills must be practiced to achieve proficiency. Homeschooled kids may get more work on academics, but even if parents enroll them in clubs, arrange playdates, etc., they almost certainly don't get nearly as much social practice as their conventionally-schooled counterparts.

(So consider a person who practices guitar 3 times a week for a couple hours. Then consider someone who practices guitar for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, play many more diverse pieces, on many different guitars, under a wider variety of scenarios. Which guitarist would expect to be better?)

This all implies that a homeschooled kid may do very well in a technical or academic field, but will probably have trouble in sales, marketing, etc. Worse, they may have trouble with the social fundamentals that are core to personal happiness: making friends, dating, interacting with other people (especially the opposite sex), resolving conflicts, leadership, establishing and respecting boundaries, etc. (I'd expect their awareness of body language, for example, to be abysmal.) These are things that are almost never explicitly taught, but are expected to be learned along the way as a consequence of interacting with other people.

I genuinely feel bad for homeschooled kids. Their parents think they're giving them a leg up on life, but it's very likely at a tremendous cost.
posted by LordSludge at 12:08 PM on July 8, 2011


The variety of socialization for kids being homeschooled is certainly a concern. I'm more concerned about the *volume* of socialization that a homeschooled kid gets.

When I was being homeschooled, I found that idea really annoying. I believed that school was a time to learn stuff, focus on academics, and so on. The numbers do bear out the idea that homeschoolers are better at academics than the average public school student; many colleges now actively recruit homeschoolers and the bad old days when a prospective student had to struggle to explain what they'd spent the last eight years doing are pretty much over.


This all implies that a homeschooled kid may do very well in a technical or academic field, but will probably have trouble in sales, marketing, etc. Worse, they may have trouble with the social fundamentals that are core to personal happiness: making friends, dating, interacting with other people (especially the opposite sex), resolving conflicts, leadership, establishing and respecting boundaries, etc.

With the benefit of time, I think there's some truth to it in some situations, but it is by no means a given. Strangely enough, I was a lot more comfortable interacting with adults in a professional context than many of my peers. I led groups without much effort, I worked in marketing, I interviewed for jobs and made good friends. I wasn't particularly ignorant of pop culture (other than my primarily lame musical tastes at the time).

(I'd expect their awareness of body language, for example, to be abysmal.)

That's kind of random. Body language existed before public schooling and will continue to. Homeschooling is very different than public schooling, but it's not exactly a Skinner box.

There's a danger in assuming that "being forced to go to school with a bunch of other people in the same class" is an inherently necessary experience simply because most people experience it, too. If it's actually better for a kid to be able to focus on his or her studies and spend "social" time doing recreational stuff with friends, I don't think it's a huge problem. For loner kids who aren't particularly outstanding at something others will take notice of, school is a pretty negative experience, and the "social" side of it is just something to endure while learning. People can learn valuable stuff by being forced to endure that, but Junior High isn't necessarily Toastmasters or anything.

I am definitely torn because the home schooling environment provides far fewer default opportunities, and families that are trying to restrict their childrens' exposure to the outside world will have an easier job. In that situation, I can see home schooling being a lot more problematic.
posted by verb at 12:29 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I genuinely feel bad for homeschooled kids. Their parents think they're giving them a leg up on life, but it's very likely at a tremendous cost.

And they say that about you! I mean, look at melissam's comments earlier: she describes public school students as people who've been trained to be rote test-taking couch potatos. It's important to recognize that there are real pros and cons to home schooling, public and private schooling, and any educational approach. Whether something works out as a net positive or negative in someone's life depends on the family, the student, and the public and private options that are available to them.

In my life? It was a mixed bag. It meant that by the time I was 18, I had been learning about subjects I was genuinely passionate about and had had the opportunity to contact and learn from experts in that field, try my hand at the kind of work I was interested in, and so on., as part of my day to day education. My friends were able to do the same -- they became computer programmers, mathematicians, auto mechanics, midwives, musicians, and so on. Their lives were different, not better or worse.
posted by verb at 12:35 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that with both homeschooling and "normal" schooling the quality of the socialization is more important than the time spent. I know a lot of people who were socialized in some severely unhealthy ways at school. Bullying, sexual harassment...these are not things I would want my child exposed to for 8 hours a day.

On the flip side, there are some children whose parents are either unwilling or incapable of exposing them to normal social behavior. Homeschooling in that case is not likely to turn out socially capable children.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:18 PM on July 8, 2011


Why can't you just homeschool kids for like elementary school and then give them a transition period in middle school?
posted by Apocryphon at 1:28 PM on July 8, 2011


Why can't you just homeschool kids for like elementary school and then give them a transition period in middle school?

Because middle school and high school are just as problematic as elementary school, by the metrics that most home schoolers use to measure public education. I actually went to public school through the end of elementary school, and was home schooled through the end of high school.

I joke that I graduated at the top and bottom of my class.
posted by verb at 3:01 PM on July 8, 2011


Of course I've heard of state-based Catholic school - I live in a country and province where they are enshrined in our constitution.

And I think that they are dangerously segregationist and I actively support their disbanding -- it's bad enough to have private schools segregating by religion, but to have a segregated public system is beyond the pale.

Thing is, I would never argue that public schooling is better than homeschooling. I'm not thinking like a student, parent or teacher - I'm thinking like a social engineer. The issue is not quality of education, but social cohesion and the promotion of shared national values like equality and human rights (and evidence-based science).
posted by jb at 4:28 PM on July 8, 2011


@maryr: You know what else is banned in Germany?

Nazi nostalgia and Scientology? They may be on to something...
posted by kjs3 at 5:37 PM on July 8, 2011


Why can't you just homeschool kids for like elementary school and then give them a transition period in middle school?

That's pretty much what we did when we homeschooled.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:28 AM on July 9, 2011


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