By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator
Due to the controversy over the lack of indictment of Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, American Christians are having heated conversations about racism in the United States. One of these conversations was provoked by an article written by Voddie Baucham for The Gospel Coalition. Baucham’s article, entitled “Thoughts on Ferguson”, was immediately criticized by fellow conservative Christian Thabiti Anyabwile. Today four Christian leaders of color — Austin Channing Brown, Christena Cleveland, Drew Hart and Efrem Smith — condemned Baucham for an “assault on black people” that was “dishonoring the image of God in black people, especially at a time when so many black Americans are in pain.”
As all these conversations are happening, it seems a lot of people who didn’t grow up in the conservative Christian homeschooling world are wondering: who is Voddie Baucham? Well, as people who did grow up in the conservative Christian homeschooling world, let us assure you: oh we can tell you. For those unfamiliar with Baucham’s extremism, here are 6 things you should know (and share with anyone who’s sharing Baucham’s article):
1. Voddie Baucham was a featured speaker at a male supremacist homeschool conference that called for dismantling child protection systems.
Voddie Baucham is one of the most outspoken proponents of “Christian Patriarchy,” an extreme movement within conservative Christian homeschooling that advocates for male supremacy and men ruling over their wives and children, especially female children. Two of Baucham’s fellow Christian Patriarchy advocates, Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard, now stand accused of sexual abuse and harassment.
In 2009, an exclusively male group of such homeschool leaders descended upon Indianapolis, Indiana for a “Men’s Leadership Summit.” Voddie Baucham was one of the featured speakers at the summit. This summit included calls for girls needing to have an entirely home-focused education, the need to defeat “feminism” in homeschooling, the concern that “the female sin of the internet” (framed as equal to “the male sin of pornography”) was blogging, and the necessity of men taking back their rightful place as head of their own households. The summit also featured Doug Phillips declaring the entire child protection system should be dismantled. During his speech, Baucham himself complained that, “The homeschool movement is now rife with parents who do not know their roles” — a reference to the strict roles demanded by Christian Patriarchy.
2. This creepy quotation from Voddie Baucham:
“A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women because they yearn for attention from younger women. And God gave them a daughter who can give them that. And instead they go find a substitute daughter….you’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it. These old guys going and finding these substitute daughters.”
As Libby Anne said last year when this quotation was going around,
“There is nothing wrong with arguing that a strong father/daughter relationship is important—if, that is, you’re also arguing that strong parent/child relationships in general are important. But there’s something weird when you elevate the father/daughter relationship above these others and start arguing that fathers and daughters should find in each other what they would otherwise go looking for in sexual and romantic relationships. Voddie Baucham says that middle aged men should turn to their teenage daughters to get the attention and fulfillment they would otherwise look for through an affair with a young secretary.”
3. Voddie Baucham is a proponent of the “stay-at-home daughter” movement.
The “stay-at-home-daughter” (SAHD) movement, promoted by the disgraced Vision Forum president Doug Phillips as well as the cult-like Botkin family, is best encapsulated in the documentary movie Return of the Daughters. Here is a trailer of that movie, in which you can see Voddie Baucham featured:
The Wartburg Watch explains the SAHD movement in the following way:
“Young girls and single women are encouraged (perhaps coerced?) to be “keepers at home” until they marry. They are forbidden to attend college or seek employment outside the home (that is, their parents’ home). These maidens spend all of their time honing their “advanced homemaking skills”, which include cooking, sewing, cleaning, knitting, etc. A stay-at-home daughter is under her father’s “covering” until he transfers control to her husband.”
True to form, Baucham has not allowed his daughter Jasmine to leave their home. She has to “live under the discipleship of my parents until marriage.” While she has completed higher education, it was only through an online, conservative Christian homeschool college program.
4. Voddie Baucham wants you to hold an “all-day session” of spanking your toddlers to “wear them out.”
From Baucham’s November 4, 2007 speech on corporal punishment:
Spank your kids, okay? (laughter from audience)
And, they desperately need to be spanked and they need to be spanked often, they do. I meet people all the time ya’ know and they say, oh yeah, “There have only been maybe 4 or 5 times I’ve ever had to spank Junior.” “Really?” ‘That’s unfortunate, because unless you raised Jesus II, there were days when Junior needed to be spanked 5 times before breakfast.” If you only spanked your child 5 times, then that means almost every time they disobeyed you, you let it go.
Why do your toddlers throw fits? Because you’ve taught them that’s the way that they can control you. When instead you just need to have an all-day session where you just wear them out and they finally decide “you know what, things get worse when I do that.”
5. Voddie Baucham wants you to punish your children for being shy.
Also from Baucham’s November 4, 2007 speech on corporal punishment, on what Baucham calls “the selfish sin of shyness”:
The so-called shy kid, who doesn’t shake hands at church, okay? Usually what happens is you come up, ya’ know and here I am, I’m the guest and I walk up and I’m saying hi to somebody and they say to their kid “Hey, ya’ know, say Good-morning to Dr. Baucham,” and the kid hides and runs behind the leg and here’s what’s supposed to happen. This is what we have agreed upon, silently in our culture. What’s supposed to happen is that, I’m supposed to look at their child and say, “Hey, that’s okay.” But I can’t do that. Because if I do that, then what has happened is that number one, the child has sinned by not doing what they were told to do, it’s in direct disobedience. Secondly, the parent is in sin for not correcting it, and thirdly, I am in sin because I have just told a child it’s okay to disobey and dishonor their parent in direct violation of scripture. I can’t do that, I won’t do that.
I’m gonna stand there until you make ‘em do what you said.
6. Voddie Baucham wants you to punish infants if they’re not immediately obedient.
Baucham is an advocate of “first-time obedience,” a staple of Christian discipline books advocating the physical abuse of children, such as Gary and Anne Marie Ezzos’ Growing Kids God’s Way and Michael and Debi Pearl’s To Train Up A Child. First-time obedience has been criticized by many Christian parents because it “neglects the child’s basic well being”, cripples “the development of critical thinking”, and is based on “works-based salvation” and a “gross lack of grace.” According to Cindy Kunsman at Under Much Grace, Baucham “defines any ‘delayed obedience’ in black and white terms as intolerable, an unqualified disobedience to parent and God, something he requires of a two year old.”