Monday, November 13, 2006

Quiverfull, Home schooling and other trends...

This post is about two unrelated sources have come across my monitor in the last twenty-four hours: home schooling (about which I have already said good things) and the Quiverfull movement. These two ideas intersect at an uncomfortable place: religion. I'm tossing them out for consideration as a pair, because they are related.

The Quiverfull movement is the subject of an article by Kathryn Joyce in The Nation.


...They borrow their name from Psalm 127: "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." Quiverfull mothers think of their children as no mere movement but as an army they're building for God.

Quiverfull parents try to have upwards of six children. They home-school their families, attend fundamentalist churches and follow biblical guidelines of male headship--"Father knows best"--and female submissiveness. They refuse any attempt to regulate pregnancy. Quiverfull began with the publication of Rick and Jan Hess's 1989 book, A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ, which argues that God, as the "Great Physician" and sole "Birth Controller," opens and closes the womb on a case-by-case basis. Women's attempts to control their own bodies--the Lord's temple--are a seizure of divine power.

No need for me to summarize a lengthy, well-written piece here. Go read it for yourself.

Next, take a look at Preach Your Children Well in New Scientist, focusing on Patrick Henry College, a postsecondary environment for home-schooled Christians of a certain stripe.

These students are part of a large, well-organised movement that is empowering parents to teach their children creationist biology and other unorthodox versions of science at home, all centred on the idea that God created Earth in six days about 6000 years ago. Patrick Henry, near the town of Purcellville, about 60 kilometres north-west of Washington DC, is gearing up to groom home-schooled students for political office and typifies a movement that seems set to expand, opening up a new front in the battle between creationists and Darwinian evolutionists. New Scientist investigated how home-schooling, with its considerable legal support, is quietly transforming the landscape of science education in the US, subverting and possibly threatening the public school system that has fought hard against imposing a Christian viewpoint on science teaching.


"This is a Watchbird..."

This is what I think of as a "Watchbird" post. I haven't come to any conclusions yet, but I have enough reservations about both links to read what they have said with respect.

The Watchbird was a creation of Munro Leaf whose cartoons from the fifties always ended with "This is a Watchbird watching a [whatever]. And this is a Watchbird watching YOU." Maybe it was this early training that made part of me into a Watchbird. I dunno. In any case, it missed the mark. I was suppose to identify with someone in the cartoon, not the Watchbird. I guess even at that early age I was more prone to judging than being judged.

Discernment versus Judging

According to the New Testament, "judging" is not considered a good trait. I'm always sensitive to that, but I have noticed that modern New Testament scholars have no problem with "discernment." If it makes the reader feel better, think of this post as an exercise in discernment rather than judgement.

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