Kevin Swanson and the Fundamentalist Code Book

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Lana Hope’s blog Wide Open Ground. It was originally published on October 18, 2013 with the title, “In Fundie Land Name Calling is Fair Game.”

Some days — so much of the freakin’ time — fundies don’t give back any substantial rebuttal or feedback to arguments that have been addressed specially at them. For example, a while back, Libby Anne addressed how the leading homeschool legal defense group in America, HSLDA, had called a child abuser a hero. That’s a substantial claim that would deserve a good answer.

But fundies don’t usually give back any sort of substantial argument. They might, however, name call (“you feminist” or “Jezebel”), or they might go so insanely vague on the argument, or they might laugh themselves sick and assume others are bitter, but shallow, thinkers.

HSLDA responded all vague. Surprise, suprise. Then numerous other individuals just cried, “she can’t know what she’s doing. She’s an atheist.” Yea, FOR REAL KINDA CRAZY STUFF.

I’ll tell you an insiders secret:

Fundies are trained not to give the other side a bit of an edge.

For example,

My mom knows child abuse is an issue that has not been addressed in homeschool mom circles. She remembers when one of my friends came over with bruises on her back and how the girl had been forced to stand in front of her church and repent for something we knew was a load of crap. My mom knows about another friend whose dad repeatedly shoved him against the wall. My mom was always against their abuse and never said it was their fault.

Yet now a decade later she said I shouldn’t tell the child abuse stories online. Not because it didn’t happen. It did.

“It will ruin homeschooling for the rest of us!”

Dang truth!

So get this: It’s okay to defend your beliefs. But suppose someone else does come along and not only challenges your position, but also make some good points?

Name call.


Ignore the meat of the argument.

Ignore all together.

Don’t ever say, “Yeah, fundamentalism has some holes, you’re right. But here is why it’s not as big of a deal as you think….” or “Yeah, fundamentalism has some holes. I still disagree with your conclusion because…..”

NO HECK NO. We don’t ever say that. Not to our opponents face, anyway. (Debate teams don’t count.)

Here’s another secret: as a kid, I thought going all vague and not admitting to agreeing whatsoever at all was the best response. Yea, that’s what I thought.

Then I met healthy disagreements. A good example is the recent debate between Marcus Borg and Tony Jones. They disagree on whether Jesus physically resurrected from the dead. They went back and forth and back and forth on their blogs. They never name called, they addressed the dang arguments (especially that part), and yet they still disagreed. Novel?

Oh yes, novel to me.

I’ve gotten interested recently in a very, very, very, very current philosophy of religion debate in academia. In fact, it’s so recent that theists are arguing with theists over how to best defend this. ARGUING WITH THEIR OWN DANG TEAM MEMBERS! IN JOURNAL ARTICLES. Talk about flooring me.

This is why folks like Kevin Swanson who recently on his Generations with Vision podcast referring to Homeschoolers Anonymous, said we are “a bunch of bitter ex-fundie homeschoolers” who are “finding each other on these websites” and “opening up [our] websites.”

Not only could Swanson not say, “Yeah, Mary’s life was living hell. I agree” (cuz that might make homeschooling look bad), but he also couldn’t see beyond the fog that maybe we aren’t all or nothing kind of folks.

Why? Because if we were prohomeschooling, you see, (back to what my mom said), we wouldn’t be speaking up. Swanson is taking this at face value. So we are speaking up; therefore, we kind of people.

You are so wrong, Mr. Swanson.

In fact, I’m so pro-homeschooling that I’d totally leave the country if homeschooling were illegal in America (oh wait, I already left the country).

Yet I’m all in favor of Homeschoolers Anonymous and Homeschooling’s Invisible Children.

It’s possible to say, “yea, I’m pro-homeschooling, but sometimes homeschooling sucks.” It’s also possible for me to disagree with other bloggers on certain issues, even other bloggers on H.A., and yet still have some common ground and share group hugs.

I say let the defenses down.





If Swanson doesn’t want to agree with Homeschoolers Anonymous, he should say what he disagrees with and address our arguments. I’m not all oh-he’s-gotta-agree kinda gal. Just, yeah, tell me the what, why, and how you disagree.

Oh yeah, that’s against the fundamental code book.

That’s why I enjoyed the Tony Jones/Marcus Borg debate. The only thing that I didn’t like is that I’m a nobody and don’t get smart folks like that to argue with me.

6 thoughts on “Kevin Swanson and the Fundamentalist Code Book

  1. Heidi Underhill October 21, 2013 / 9:20 am

    You are so right. It is stupid to not admit faults with your own positions on whatever. Any belief system has wholes in it. Nothing is perfect, so we just choose which holes we are most comfortable with. I am really not sure why many people feel like their position needs to be water tight. Nothing is truly water tight. There are so many problems with home schooling, private schools, military schools whatever. It is okay to admit the faults of your own choices while still thinking it is the best option for your family. When Abuse is happening, it needs to be addressed. Children can face abuse in any situation and caring adults need to step up.


  2. Headless Unicorn Guy October 21, 2013 / 9:26 am

    Fundies are trained not to give the other side a bit of an edge.

    FUNDIES ARE TRAINED TO *WIN* AT ALL COSTS. No matter how much damage is done, as long as they can plant their foot on the other’s neck and gloat “I. WIN.”

    My first experience with “WIN AT ALL COSTS” was from my brother psychologically abusing me while growing up. I’m certain he’s an undiagnosed sociopath, though at least he didn’t use Godspeak.


  3. Concerned mom October 21, 2013 / 3:02 pm

    Why shouldn’t we bring everything into the light to be examined? Let each story be heard and have full weight of validation. Call a spade a spade. If there has been neglect, let it be exposed. If there has been abuse, let it be exposed. If there has been integrity, let it be exposed. If there has been love, let it be exposed. What ever abuse or sin or dysfunction that has occurred needs to be brought out of the shadows and into the light. It is a messy process but it is the only way for healing and growth and change can commence for individuals or the community.


    • nickducote October 21, 2013 / 6:33 pm

      I share that philosophy. To speak truth in love is a powerful force.


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