Ready for Real Life: An Investigative Series

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Ready for Real Life: Part One, Botkins Launch Webinar

HA note: This series is reprinted with permission from Ahab’s blog, Republic of Gilead. Part One of this series was originally published on September 15, 2013.

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Also in this series: Part One, Botkins Launch Webinar | Part Two, Ready for What? | Part Three, Are Your Children Ready? | Part Four, Ready to Lead Culture | Part Five, Science and Medicine | Part Six, History and Law | Part Seven, Vocations | Part Eight, Q&A Session | Part Nine, Concluding Thoughts

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One of my readers alerted me to a webinar series hosted by the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences, led by Geoffrey Botkin. The Ready for Real Life webinar series, hosted by the Botkin family, is a seven-part audio series on how Christian homeschooling families should teach children.

“Starting this September, the Botkin family will be hosting a 7-week webinar series on educating children for leadership in the real world. Featuring all seven Botkin children, as well as Geoffrey and Victoria, they’ll be taking on the tough questions: What do you do if your child has a special gifting? How should we teach our sons and daughters marketable skills? How do we teach them to navigate the real world without becoming like the world? How do we find the best resources without breaking the bank? How do we prevent homeschool dropouts? What constitutes “success,” and how do we help our children achieve it? What should we do about higher education? And how do we teach our children well about things we don’t know ourselves?”

I have purchased access to the webinar series, and I will be posting a series of blog posts on its content. 

What I’ve listened to thus far has depicted the state as an antagonistic entity and Christian homeschooling as a positive force for freedom, children, and the future of faith. As the series progresses, I am eager to hear how the Botkin’s views on gender roles, “statism”, and children as torchbearers color their views on children’s education.

For readers unfamiliar with the family, the Botkins are a fundamentalist Christian family with strong ties to Vision Forum. The Botkins are not only supporters of fundamentalist Christian homeschooling, but vocal proponents of Christian patriarchy. For instance, books by the Botkins at the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences are supportive of Christian patriarchy tenets such as courtship and traditional gender roles. Geoffrey Botkin took part in an interview for the anti-contraception film The Birth Control Movie. Also, So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin encourages young women to be helpmeets to their fathers and promotes a “stay-at-home-daughters” vision for girls. Websites such as Overcoming Botkin SyndromeTime to Live FriendNo Longer Quivering, and Love, Joy, Feminism have criticized the Botkins for promoting sexism and unhealthy family relationships.

To boot, Geoffrey Botkins is vehemently opposed to so-called “statism”, painting the modern state as a bloated, intrusive entity at odds with the Christian community.

For instance, at this summer’s History of America Mega-Conference, Geoffrey Botkin devoted a talk to the alleged harms of the “Messiah state” and social safety nets. In a 2009 commentary piece, he attacked the state’s alleged “Marxist social engineering”, accusing it of seeking to kill Christendom, emasculate boys, exploit women through the workforce, and confiscate wealth. Geoffrey Botkin’s caricature of the modern state must be understood in order to understand his enthusiasm for fundamentalist homeschooling and Christian patriarchy.

With this in mind, the Botkins’ webinar series should offer a revealing glimpse into their ideology. Stay tuned for commentary on the “Ready for Real Life” webinar series!

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To be continued.

When Your Daughters are The #1 Threat to Your Agenda

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Julie Anne Smith’s blog Spiritual Sounding Board. It was originally published on October 15, 2013 with the title “Are Daughters the Biggest Threat to the Christian Patriarchy Movement and Reconstructionism?”

Whether they say it publicly or not, I believe that Christian leaders in the Reconstructionist and Homeschool Movements view adult daughters to be the biggest threat to their agenda in furthering their ideologies.

In this video trailer of The Return of the Daughters, you can hear the urgency of this movement, the fear-mongering blaming the feminists as the primary cause of the destruction of the idolized godly family image.

Stay-at-home daughters — it’s a matter of choice

I want to be clear what my beef is with this movement.

It is not the idea of daughters staying at home if they choose to stay at home.  It’s about an adult daughter not being allowed to make choices for herself.  It’s the idea that if daughters don’t stay at home under their father’s “protection,” they are not being biblical – that the only right way is if a daughter has her father’s blessing on all of her choices, including marriage – and that marriage is very selective as the father wants to make sure that his future son-in-law holds to the same Patriarchal beliefs as he.

I am sick and tired of the implication that young ladies who go to college are trying to perpetuate the feminist agenda and destroy families, simply for making the adult choice to further their education.

In studying the patterns of abuse in churches, the control tactics the proponents of this movement use are similar.  

Why does this issue have to be so black and white?  Because it’s about control.  We see love-bombing of daughters, building her up in her femininity, her homemaking skills, but there is no allowance for an adult daughter to question of authority, to have differing viewpoints, to have a mind of her own.

If adult daughters are not sold on the concept of first being comfortable at being stay-at-home daughters, and then stay-at-home moms, the authoritarian position of the Patriarch, and thus, the entire Movement, is diminished. Any diminishing of their role as Patriarch by a daughter challenging or questioning them would be looked at as disobedience and sin and divisive, just as in spiritual abuse patterns, any questioning of a pastor’s authority would be labeled as divisive.  Do you see the parallels?

Their ideology is that husbands will be spiritual heads of the home, will rule over their wives and families and wives will humbly submit without question to everything they say.  They will be reproducing babies and raising them with the same ideologies:  boys will grow up to be men and heads of households and will rule their families spiritually.  Daughters will grow up and embrace their “biblical role” as submissive wives/mothers.

But ask these folks what happens when abuse enters the picture?  

Does the wife and children get support?  Or what about a death of a husband or disability or unemployment?   Does the church assist these families in real and practical ways?  Or is the family abandoned and the wife accused of sin when she attempts to earn income for her impoverished and broken family?

…O, treason of the blood!
Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters’ minds
By what you see them act.  ~ Othello

Daughters who are allowed to think for themselves, make their own choices, are viewed as a threat

It is my belief that daughters who go against this system, who go to college, learn how to think for themselves, are viewed as a threat. It is wrong to challenge, to question, undermine, speak out against this destructive movement.

I’m certain that Patriarchs know this real threat and that is why we are seeing so much building up daughters positively by glorifying the godly wife role and encouraging the relationships with fathers and daughters.

Patriarchal fathers must win their daughter’s heart at a very young age, win her approval and trust, in order to successfully perpetuate this cycle.

I am now convinced that for many Patriarchs, the agenda is not to honestly build the relationship between the father and daughter. Rather, fathers are using their daughters to instill in them what they believe to be the godly ideology and sell the daughters on their role in continuing and supporting this ideology. This is accomplished through purity ballspurity covenants, books, videos, conferences or retreats like this:

God’s Word speaks volumes to the relationship between fathers and daughters: His most sacred duty is her protection and preservation from childhood to virtuous womanhood. He leads her, woos her, and wins her with a tenderness and affection unique to the bonds of father and daughter. Success in his life mission is directly related to the seriousness and compassion with which he seeks to raise her as an industrious, family-affirming, children-loving woman of God.

She, in turn, looks to her father as a loving picture of leadership, of devotion, and of care. Her relationship with her father will help to define her view of the worth of a woman, the meaning of fulfillment and contentment, and her vision for virtue. When these relationships are realized and cultivated, the generational mission of the Christian family is secure.

Is it any wonder that Satan is on the prowl seeking to tear the hearts of daughters from their fathers, and driving wedges of indifference between them — fathers with no time for their little girls, and young ladies who have replaced the love of their fathers with the acceptance of peers and inappropriate romantic relationships? The Vision Forum Ministries Father & Daughter Retreat is one step on the journey of recovering the preciousness of this relationship so crucial to the kingdom-building work of the Church. (from Father & Daughter Retreated Sponsored by Vision Forum)

Sadly, I also think that some fathers are unknowingly climbing aboard this fast train of destruction.

They don’t understand the system in which they are caught.  

They believe what they are doing is good for their families and daughters and don’t understand the price it will have on their family. It really is not about a relationship for many.  It is about an agenda.

As I have been following trends in the Homeschool Movement, what I am seeing is that those fathers who tightly control their daughters and their lives — do not allow them to have educational and work choices, do not allow them to make important life decisions,  do not allow them to think for themselves spiritually or own their own faith — will likely lose their daughters in adulthood.

They may in fact lose a relationship with their daughters forever.