By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator
WORLD Magazine, a biweekly conservative Christian news magazine, was and continues to be immensely popular among homeschooling families. As a kid, I remember eagerly anticipating each new edition of WORLD. I particularly loved the music reviews, since I used them to convince my parents that I should be allowed to buy new CDs. My family certainly was not alone in our admiration for WORLD: Libby Anne at Love Joy Feminism, for example, also “grew up in a family that read every single issue of WORLD magazine thoroughly.”
The popularity of WORLD among homeschoolers probably isn’t a coincidence. One factor here is staff overlap: WORLD’s longtime (now former) culture editor, Gene Edward Veith, is the Provost of the HSLDA-funded Patrick Henry College, founded by Michael Farris — who also founded HSLDA. WORLD’s editor-in-chief, Marvin Olasky, is the Distinguished Chair in Journalism and Public Policy at Patrick Henry College. And Les Sillars, the current Mailbag Editor at WORLD, is also (currently) Patrick Henry College’s Professor of Journalism.
Another factor is the content of WORLD. WORLD’s founder, Joel Belz, wrote back in 2003 about homeschoolers being the “Secret Weapon” for conservative Republicans — which HSLDA broadcast in their 2004 Court Report while promoting its Generation Joshua program. Furthermore, as Libby Anne has pointed out, a rather friendly relationship has existed between WORLD and Christian Patriarchy, especially Doug Phillips and Vision Forum:
At least a few WORLD magazine writers have been fans of Vision Forum, attending major Vision Forum events, etc. … WORLD magazine published an article by Doug Phillips in 1998. Also in 1998 WORLD magazine also praised one of Phillips’ books and spoke positively of Vision Forum’s publishing wing. … WORLD Magazine…promote[d] the recent patriarchal Vision Forum—related movie Courageous up and down. If WORLD magazine is serious about having nothing to do with the patriarchy movement, they need to be more proactive and less ambiguous.
If WORLD is serious about having nothing to do with the patriarchy movement, they need to be more proactive and less ambiguous. That’s the same criticism we’re hearing about Patrick Henry College’s chancellor, Michael Farris, who gave a tepid and responsibility-shirking criticism of “Christian Patriarchy” in World Net Daily and also recently “critiqued” it via insulting LGBT* and atheist homeschool alumni.
Of course, WORLD has started covering several of the recent scandals within Christian homeschooling — including Bill Gothard being placed on administrative leave, resigning, and the charges against him; as well as the fall of Vision Forum and the sexual assault lawsuit against Vision Forum’s Doug Phillips. Yet in their just-published “2014 Books Issue,” it appears that money speaks louder than principles. Because just like HSLDA continued to receive ad revenue from promoting Vision Forum in Michael Farris’s official HSLDA emails (while claiming it was trying “to keep this stuff outside the mainstream of the homeschooling movement”), WORLD Magazine covers the crumbling public face of Christian Patriarchy all while taking its money to promote it in full page ads.
In WORLD’s most recent print edition, the magazine features two full page ads for the biggest names in Christian Patriarchy. The first is for Kevin Swanson’s new (and academically embarrassing) book “Apostate.” The second is for a NCFIC (National Center for Family Integrated Churches) conference featuring Christian Patarichy celebrities like Scott Brown, R.C. Sproul, Jr. Kevin Swanson, and Geoff Botkin.
You can check out the ads here, the photographs of which are courtesy of Chris Hutton at Liter8 Thoughts:
The NCFIC ad is for their upcoming “Church and Family” conference. You can see their speakers are a Who’s Who of Christian Patriarchy — and basically a list of everyone who previously walked in line with Doug Phillips: Scott Brown, Kevin Swanson, Don Hart (General Counsel for Vision Forum Ministries!), Geoffrey Botkin, R.C. Sproul, Jr., etc. You honestly can’t get much more Christian Patriarchical than this. As Julie Anne Smith at Spiritual Sounding Board has said, Scott Brown is “posed to fill the void left by Doug Phillips and Vision Forum to further the Christian Patriarchy Movement among homeschool families and family-integrated churches.”
And Kevin Swanson’s “Apostate”? Really, WORLD? You want the guy who talks about “feces eaters” and compares abused children to “dead little bunnies” advertising in your magazine? That’s a new low, especially since “Apostate” is a book that seriously proposes that “Charles Darwin’s farting at night (not kidding) is relevant to his philosophic and scientific influence.”
Not to mention that many WORLD subscribers are conservative Catholics and one of the “Apostates” that Kevin Swanson believes helped usher in the end of Christianity is Thomas Aquinas. Yes, like the classic Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas. But despite Aquinas being Evil Incarnate to Swanson, Aquinas’s face is absent from Swanson’s WORLD ad. Pretty convenient, right?
Ultimately, money makes the world go round, and that’s evidently no less true for Christian magazines. Considering that full page ads are $5,600 each, Christian Patriarchy just made WORLD $11,200 richer this month. And WORLD just brought Kevin Swanson and NCFIC into the homes of 100,000 families. Wink, nod, shhh.