We are loaded for bear today. The government is not only trying to shut down free speech and free religion in Houston by demanding pastors turn over their sermons to the mayor’s office, but we, as a nation, are crossing a line no American could have imagined when I was a kid. The state of Hawaii is bribing kids with gift cards for participating in a controversial sex education program. Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll resigned. And the homeschool community, if there is such a thing, is being attacked from within.
This last one may just be the elephant in the homeschool. This one is HUGE, folks. And, it is threatening the 800-pound gorillas in the old guard of the homeschool movement. My interest in this story is not to take sides and stir up animosity. My hope and prayer is that the truth will come to light and love will prevail. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the homeschool community eating its own.
It’s a story of allegations of child abuse stemming from many years ago and allegations of covering up the alleged abuse. You can read the article for yourself and research what you want. I first ran across this article when it popped up in my Facebook news feed. I confess I had heard something about this controversy before I saw this blog post, but I don’t tend to chase after stories for the juicy gossip. The reason I read this is that even the headline seemed to me an indictment of homeschooling – “WHEN HOMESCHOOL LEADERS LOOKED AWAY”. It starts off this way:
American Christianity is actively facing a sexual abuse crisis.
This crisis is more than just the evangelical community’s time to face their failings and follow in the steps of the Catholic church. It is a crisis of power and of children’s rights. It is a story about protecting abusers in order to preserve existing power structures in evangelical communities.
Now, to me, that just ramped it up. This isn’t just a story about homeschooling. It’s targeting American Christianity and/or the evangelical community. BUT, then it zeroes in on homeschoolers and certain “leaders” in the homeschool community.
“Sexual abuse in Christian homeschool communities continues to be uncovered…”
Now, I want to address something that troubles me in a lot of areas of our society today, including this one. That is this propensity to blame an entire community for the sins of individuals within the community. A current example would be those who are calling for the NFL Commissioner to be fired because of the supposed culture of violence in the NFL that allows or supports one football player who abused his fiancee. It’s not the commissioner’s fault that this jerk beat his fiancee unconscious. It’s also, to my knowledge, not the job of the NFL to police private citizens. Certainly, they can and do have policies in place players’ behavior, etc., but there are societal laws that pertain to domestic abuse and assault. My point is that we don’t need to target anyone and everyone, no matter how loosely associated with a person who did something horrible, just because we’re so angry we’ve taken leave of our senses.
In this case involving certain leaders in the homeschool community — Can I just stop right there for a second? Who is the homeschool community? The only qualification for membership I can think of is educating your children at home. It’s not like we all signed a statement of beliefs when we “joined”. And, who elected the leaders?
Do you see what I’m getting at? This isn’t a club or political organization. Yes, I suppose homeschoolers do share some common characteristics, but when we start talking about specific cases of real children being abused (even and perhaps especially if these are only allegations), then it’s time to dispense with the generalities.
Now, nothing about this is funny, but for lack of a better word, the funny thing about this is that homeschooling is growing so rapidly right now that I doubt the majority of current homeschoolers have ever heard of the individuals named in this article. You may recognize one or two of the organizations these individuals lead, but it’s just as likely you’ve never heard of them.
There’s a lot more that could be said about this story, but I’m not the one to say it. I don’t know any more than what I’ve read on this blog and the linked articles. All I can say is, if it’s accurate and true, then it’s pretty ugly stuff. I have a hunch this won’t be the last we hear of this story. I reiterate my desire for Truth to shine its light and for Love to prevail.
The last thing I want to say about this issue is that I’m concerned for all homeschoolers. It’s clear that freedom is under attack in America and around the world. The more we allow or support evil in our midst and its generalization to entire communities instead of holding individuals responsible for their actions, the more the big-government, nanny-state fascists will try to take away our freedom.
Government to Ordained Ministers: Celebrate Same-Sex Wedding or Go to Jail by Ryan T. Anderson
Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Resignation by Mars Hill Church
WHEN HOMESCHOOL LEADERS LOOKED AWAY: THE OLD SCHOOLHOUSE COVER-UP by Hannah Ettinger and R.L. Stollar