Shame on You, Kevin Swanson

HA note: The following is written by Kathi and reprinted with permission from Julie Anne Smith’s blog Spiritual Sounding Board. It was originally published on June 4, 2015 with the title “Kevin Swanson talks (or doesn’t talk) about the Duggars on his radio show.”

About Kathi: Kathi is a Bible-belt midwest transplant to the beautiful Pacific northwest. After homeschooling her kids for 10 years (she decided that high school math and science were not her strongest subjects), both kids are in public school. She is a former church goer and finds herself in that unstudied demographic of middle-aged Nones. She has a B.A. in Urban Ministry and a M.S.W. (Master of Social Work). Her goal is to work with children who have been abused or are in foster care. She loves to knit, cook and read (not in any particular order). Kathi is a contributing writer at Spiritual Sounding Board. Also by Kathi on HA: “Kevin Swanson, Child Abuse, and Dead Little Bunnies”“A Closer Look at Karen Campbell and Lisa Cherry’s Podcast Series on Sexual Abuse Prevention”, and “Kevin Swanson on the Gen 2 Survey, Homeschooling, and Sexual Abuse of Women”.

On May 28, 2015, Kevin Swanson entered the foray of folks talking about the revelation of Josh Duggar sexually molesting several little girls when he was a teen. His radio show, “The Duggars – Why the Media Storm” starts off with the vague assertion that no matter what Christians may say about the Duggars, the world will attack because the world hates the Duggars because they don’t take birth control. Right.

“The liberals have hated the Duggars from the very beginning and they will admit that. . . .The reason they hated the Duggars was because the Duggars did not take birth control. That’s a simple explanation for why they hate the Duggars. They hate the Duggars because the world is into killing babies and they kill a lot of them.”

Instead of focusing on the issue at hand, here is what Swanson was not going to say:

  • Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.
  • Incest is worse than homosexuality. HUH?? Steve Vaughn chimes in saying, “They’re about the same.” To which he offers hearty laugh.
  • Humble, repentant sinners will go home justified rather than the proud, unrepentant homosexuals.
  • Most children sin, or that all children sin, or that all of us sin, or that some teens commit fornication, or that a lot of teens commit fornication.
  • Incest is a capital crime in some cases, and we’re not going to tell you which cases incest is a capital crime as defined by scripture.
  • The Duggars shoulda, shoulda, shoulda, shoulda, reported the problem to a different police officer, different judge, different church elders, and, and, and, and, and, and, and…
  • The Duggars can be more real now after all their sins are out there for the public to see and that’s going to make for a better reality show.
  • The whole sexual revolution with all of its millions manifestations was a really good idea.
  • American conservative Christianity is in really solid shape. (Really, this is such a long, drawn out rabbit trail that makes absolutely no sense.)

Whew! Am I glad that Swanson saved us all from listening to an uncomfortable conversation about the real issues surrounding the Duggar situation. So what did Swanson manage to talk about?

Well, he did manage to state that his radio show, Generations With Vision, is a part of the parent organization Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC). And, he did manage to mention that the Duggars have been invited to the Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family. He also mentioned that while the Duggars have not been asked to withdraw from the CHEC conference, the Duggars also have not informed CHEC that they will not be upholding their speaking engagement. So, as far as we know, the Duggars will still be making their appearance at this “super” conference. You know, all of this information would have made for a great disclaimer at the beginning of the show.

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So why has CHEC not revoked their invitation to the Duggars for this upcoming conference? It’s all about forgiveness. And, praying and loving the Duggars. And because sin is bad (because God said so), but Jesus went to the cross for that sin so who are we to judge? I think we all just got Jesus-juked.

If it’s all about forgiveness and not judging, then I want to know when the Duggars asked CHEC and Kevin Swanson to forgive them of their sins. When did Josh Duggar approach the organization and confess what he did and ask for forgiveness? When did Michelle and Jim Bob approach the organization and Kevin Swanson and confess how they manipulated the system to hide what their son had done and ask for forgiveness? Why does Kevin Swanson pull the forgiveness card so easily when he was not the one who was wronged? Why is he so quick to forgive and forget? Honestly, it is my opinion that Kevin Swanson views victims of sexual abuse as bitter and he has very little empathy toward victims of abuse.

Co-host, Steve Vaughn, summarizes this attitude by quoting Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” With this comes the call for all Christians to put it all away. Stop being bitter and slanderous toward the Duggars. Be tender-hearted and compassionate. Because that is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.

To which I reply, “Shame on you!”

Shame on you, Steve Vaughn, for callously laughing at victims of incest. And for saying that homosexuality is the same as incest.

Shame on you, Kevin Swanson, for not taking seriously the issues that have been exposed about how the Duggars mishandled Josh’s sexual molesting of young children.

And, shame on you Kevin Swanson for the appearance of not addressing the issue because it may impact your parent organization’s “super” conference. Because, if the Duggars don’t show up, then you need to take out “We’ve Got the Duggars” on your banner and then people may not be as interested in attending.

Kevin Swanson on the Gen2 Survey, Homeschooling, and Sexual Abuse of Women

HA note: The following is written by Kathi and reprinted with permission from Julie Anne Smith’s blog Spiritual Sounding Board. It was originally published on March 3, 2015 with the title “Is there a correlation between sexual abuse as an adult and homeschooling?”

About Kathi: Kathi is a Bible-belt midwest transplant to the beautiful Pacific northwest. After homeschooling her kids for 10 years (she decided that high school math and science were not her strongest subjects), both kids are in public school. She is a former church goer and finds herself in that unstudied demographic of middle-aged Nones. She has a B.A. in Urban Ministry and a M.S.W. (Master of Social Work). Her goal is to work with children who have been abused or are in foster care. She loves to knit, cook and read (not in any particular order). Kathi blogs at Moving Beyond Absolutes. Also by Kathi on HA: “Kevin Swanson, Child Abuse, and Dead Little Bunnies” and “A Closer Look at Karen Campbell and Lisa Cherry’s Podcast Series on Sexual Abuse Prevention.”

On February 6th, Christian homeschool leader Kevin Swanson and Steve Vaughn did a radio broadcast entitled, “1/3 of College Women Sexually Abused.” Swanson fails to mention the name of the study referencing this statistic and states that he received an email from his father with a link. The Oregonian reported in September 2014 about a survey done by the University of Oregon in which 35% of the female respondents indicated they had at least one non-consensual sexual contact event. I can only assume that this is the survey to which Swanson is referring.

The title of the radio broadcast is a bit deceiving because it seems that Swanson’s primary purpose was to discuss the findings of the Gen 2 Survey. The discussion of college women being sexually abused occurred in the middle of the broadcast.

Swanson starts off this part of the broadcast by discussing the findings of child sexual abuse in his Gen 2 Survey. Based upon self-report,  6% were primarily homeschooled, 18% were primarily public schooled, and 16% were primarily Christian (private) schooled.

The obvious conclusion of the study was that there is a greater chance of a student being sexually abused if he/she is in (or primarily educated by) public or private school.

Swanson continues by acknowledging that there is anecdotal evidence of child sexual abuse among homeschoolers because of recent stories being told. However, he warns that anecdotal evidence is not equal to statistical evidence, therefore, anecdotal evidence should not be a strong basis for change in public policy. Swanson’s hope is that the Gen 2 Survey will play an important role for family and parental rights in the future.

Moving on, Swanson then talks about the University of Oregon survey. At this point he states, “You wonder why anybody would want to send their daughters to a university like this. They’ve got a 1 in 3 chance of being sexually assaulted.” I fully understand the concern regarding the statistics from the University of Oregon survey. I have a daughter getting ready to go to college in the fall and I find myself feeling like it’s one more thing I have to worry about.

However, Swanson doesn’t end there, he says, “Homeschooling numbers are more attractive to parents who want to protect their daughters.” At this point I see where the conversation is heading. Swanson blames the college culture of sexual revolution, the grey line between consensual sex and rape (huh?), fornication, and students “having sex like rabbits” for the high number of sexual assaults. He compares sending daughters off to college to cohabitating prisons where there is no separation of men and women. In an environment such as this, surely bad things are going to happen. Right? He then suggests that a good way for daughters to attend college is by taking online classes from home. Vaughn chimes in and promotes College Plus, which is a program that is promoted and talked about by a lot of proponents of Patriarchy and the Stay-at-Home Daughter Movement, including Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham. You can read a little bit more about Voddie Baucham’s daughter and College Plus in this article, Jasmine Baucham, CollegePlus, and Leaving Things Out.

Folks, Kevin Swanson is promoting the stay-at-home daughter movement. Is anyone surprised?

Getting back to the original question related to the correlation between homeschooling and sexual abuse as an adult, Swanson makes one of his generalized statements that makes me so fond of him. In relation to the University of Oregon study he says, “This kind of thing was not happening 20 years ago.” It just so happens, Mr. Swanson, that the Department of Justice issued a special report, “Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013.” (psssttt…1995 was 20 years ago.) This report found that “the rate of rape and sexual assault was 1.2 times higher for non-students (7.6 per 1,000) than for students (6.1 per 1,000).” The report also found that “most (51%) student rape and sexual assault victimizations occurred while the victim was pursuing leisure activities away from home, compared to non-students who were engaged in other activities at home (50%) when the victimization occurred.”

It is interesting that non-students reported that half of the incidents happened at home. How does this look for the stay-at-home daughter movement?

So, Mr. Swanson, it does not seem that there is any correlation between your child sexual abuse statistics for those who were homeschooled and adult college women who are sexually abused. Apparently college-age women can be sexually assaulted whether they are in college or not and whether they are living at home or not. What is comparable, though, is that like most children who are sexually abused, most college-age women who are sexually assaulted know who their offender is.

While I applaud your effort in encouraging homeschoolers to protect their daughters, I’m not buying your push for stay-at-home daughters.

Transcript of Kevin Swanson and Steve Vaughan’s “Homeschool Educational Neglect”

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HA note: The following is a transcript of the Generations Radio episode “Homeschool Educational Neglect: Media Rages Against Homeschooling,” broadcast on August 27, 2014. It features Kevin Swanson (former CHEC Executive Director and current Director of CHEC’s Generations With Vision program) and Steve Vaughan (CHEC Board Member). The program is a response to Daniel James Devine’s “Homeschool debate” article published by WORLD Magazine on August 25, 2014. This transcript was created by HA Community Coordinator R.L. Stollar.

See the context of and “highlights” from the episode here. Content warning for transcript: abuse denialism and apologism and homophobic remarks.


(introduction, not transcribed)

Kevin: Today we’re going to take a look again at homeschooling. Why? Because homeschoolers, generally speaking, like to restore and reintegrate the family — as a family in the 21st century. And homeschoolers tend to like freedom. They’re the ones fighting for freedom. You want to find anybody interested in decreasing the influence of government in our lives in an era where 60% of the GNI is consumed by governments at all levels up from 9% in 1900? You want to find people interested in backing government off from education, backing government off from family-owned economies, backing government off from all areas of life? Homeschoolers at the forefront of fighting tooth and nail for any semblance of freedom left in the 21st century. I’m thankful for home educators. It’s hard to find anybody else fighting the good fight for freedom in the 21st century.

There are a few. There are some. Here and there. But not very many.

Hey you want to look at the Tea Party and you want to find the people who are fighting at the forefront for freedom? Tends to be homeschoolers. Not always. But I tell you what, you want to find pro-lifers out there? Tend to be homeschoolers.

People out there on the front lines of the battle fighting for the right to life — generally speaking, you’re going to find homeschoolers. K? Homeschoolers at the forefront of a battle for restoring family, faith, and freedom in the 21st century. and I’m thankful for them.

Steve: Amen.

Allright, so there’s my little spiel. Now, now, WORLD Magazine. Now I’ve been getting WORLD Magazine since the 1980’s. I used to think that WORLD Magazine was interested in home educators and home educators were some of their primary market. They were the ones buying the magazines.

Steve: Yeah, we did that.

Kevin: Then they got a lot, a lot, a lot of spread to public schools. A lot, a lot, a lot of spread to private Christian schools. And homeschool has kinda taken the back seat, I think. That’s my impression, Steve. Maybe I’m wrong. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong. But the recent piece published in WORLD Magazine on home education was not particularly positive.

Steve: Yeah it was particularly negative. (laughter)

Kevin: You think it was negative? It was more negative than positive.

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: I think so too. You know they found the 25 people upset with home education…

Steve: …yeah…

Kevin: …that started the little and then they gave them a nice little publicity piece. And HSLDA, you know, did their faithful thing, they wandered up to the microphone and tried to fight for homeschooling and its reputation but…

Steve: Yeah they got a paragraph in the middle of the article. (laugh)

Kevin: They did. But, but you know what? And I realize that makes news. I realize that the 25 people upset in America make news. But they’re not interviewing the 3.2 million kids who have been homeschooled. That didn’t show up in the magazine. And I don’t see that showing up much in the magazine these days. But you know, here’s the problem with Christian organizations. They turn into circular firing squads.

Steve: Yeah. (laughter)

Steve: You know how that works? Everyone just stands in a big circle. Aim, fire, shoot. And everybody falls. What happened? We turn into circular firing squad way too much. And I think it was a couple months ago they kinda had a negative piece on Mike Farris.

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: And they apologized afterwards, thankfully. But what is with WORLD Magazine, guys? I mean, come on. Aren’t we supposed to be one big family? Isn’t there supposed to be a little bit of symbiosis happening in the Kingdom of God? We are overwhelmed, we are outnumbered. The, the other side is gonna kill us when it comes to homeschool freedoms, the freedom to speak against homosexuality. The left is on the rise, baby! Barack Obama is President of the United States, the most pro-infanticide president ever to serve and what are we doing? Cutting each other down? I don’t think so! Try not to do that!

Now we talk a little about homeschooling negligence and homeschooling abuse. Now granted there are abuse cases out there. We know that.

Steve: Oh yeah.

Kevin: And sexual abuse, physical abuse, in the homeschool is as bad as it is anywhere else. And there’s a lot of it out there. Here’s an article from a South Dakota newspaper referring to child sexual abuse there. The estimate is 8% of kids in South Dakota are sexually abused. That’s bad. That’s really bad. That’s really, really, really bad. If we’re close to 1 in 10 kids in South Dakota are sexually abused, that’s really, really bad.

Steve: Now that’s overall, all the families of South Dakota?

Kevin: That’s right, that’s right. And WORLD Magazine, to their credit, did report that 7% of kids complain to some sort of unwanted touching in public schools.

Steve: Right. And that’s nationwide?

Kevin: That’s nationwide. So a lot of the sexual abuse is coming in public schools. But let’s not negate that issue. And HSLDA apparently has said 1.2% of HSLDA members complain of some kind of abuse. Or something like that.

Steve: Yeah, yeah but I think that’s the state complaining of homeschooling abuse…

Kevin: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Steve: …which could be a messy house. It might be that they didn’t have the right to… [cut off]

Kevin: It’s not just sexual abuse. It could be a messy house. It could be a lot of things. Ok, so it’s very possible there’s way, way, way less abuse happening in homeschools than in the rest of the population.

Steve: Yeah but it makes the news when it happens.

Kevin: Yeah. It does. It does. And of course what we’re talking is the minus 3 standard deviations. And it’s ok to refer to some of the abuse cases happening. That’s newsworthy. But we’ve got to keep these things in perspective.

Steve: Right.

Kevin: And by the way the report did not include references to individuals who have been sexually abused in homeschools. As far as I could tell, that was not part of the story. So first of all, let me say from the outset that sexual abuse, physical abuse — that’s verifiable, 2 or 3 witnesses, etc., etc., k? — a court or trial works through the issue and sure enough, someone was sexually abused? — that’s really, really bad.

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: That should not happen.

Steve: Anywhere. (laughter)

Kevin: Anywhere. Thank you! And I think it’s due to the fact that we had this sexual revolution that unleashed itself in the 1950’s and 1960’s. And America and many other nations around the world have become a sexual cesspool in which homosexuality, incest, sexual abuse, all sorts of things are happening.

Steve: Yes.

Kevin: Which is a very very sad thing, a very very bad thing. And may God bring repentance to the nation.

Ok. But when you talk about things like spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, educational neglect — we’re talking about things that are very, very slippery. Very, very hard to get your hands around. Okay? (laughter)  And it’s fun for people to use those terms because, you know, you can just bring accusations against anybody and everybody as you use the slippery terms that are very, very hard to define.

Steve: So yeah, how would you define spiritual abuse?

Kevin: Yeah! Or emotional abuse! What IS that? What exactly is that?

Steve: “Well she spoke harshly to me and used the Bible to let me know I was wrong, so I was spiritually and emotionally abused.”

Kevin: Right, right! Someone came up to a rapist and said, “It’s wrong to rape!” (pretending to be rapist:) “Oh you’re abusing me! You’re abusing me! That’s not very grace-filled! You know, what in the world are you doing? Accusing me of sin? That’s terrible! Oh I’m so abused! I’m so abused!”

Steve: Yeah! “You need to honor your father and mother!” “Oh my!”


Kevin: “I’ve been so abused…” (laughter) “…because this Christian is telling me that I’ve sinned against God and I need to repent.” Ok, so if that’s spiritual abuse… (laughter) …I don’t think the Apostle Paul would agree with you. Put it that way.

But when someone says, I could have had a better education than that provided by my mother or by my father, that’s really, really, really hard to prove. How, how, how do you know that? Maybe it was a character problem on YOUR part. Maybe you didn’t obey your parents! Maybe you didn’t study your books like you were told to! And to think that you could have had a better education if you had done it this way versus that way is extremely hard to prove.

Steve: Right!


Kevin: Extremely hard to prove!

Steve: Because you can’t go back and do it that way!

Kevin: You can’t! (laughter) You can’t… and even if you could have, you would have dragged your same old person, with your same old character flaws, with your same old slothfulness issue, into the public school or private school setting or other setting ‚ and you could have done worse…

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: …than you did with your parents — trying to do whatever they could have done with you, even with all of your character issues that you’re dealing with. It’s fun to blame your parents for your OWN lack of character!

Steve: Oh yeah!

Kevin: It’s fun to do! And I’m sure there are a lot of kids out there who are doing just that! They’re running across the country. Yeah! Their parents pointed out their sin, pointed out Christ. But they still rebelled and they were scoffers and they refused to take the correction their parents gave them. They violated every single principle in the Book of Proverbs. They made a point not to follow through on anything in the Book of Proverbs! Nothing! And at the end of their educational experience at home, they didn’t succeed. They didn’t make it into Harvard.


Steve: Right! But here’s the case with the WORLD Magazine article and this gal who wrote this. 31 years old. One of the things she was complaining about was that she still counts on her fingers and has to double-check the tip on her restaurant table.

Kevin: That’s 40% of public school graduates, by the way.

Steve: 31 years old now! She’s 31 years old and she set up a website and started an organization apparently counting on her fingers! And so, you know, give me a break!

Kevin: Yeah.

Steve: If you can do THIS, you can COUNT.

Kevin: And if your parents failed in 18 years, or 12 years, of education, she’s had an additional 13 years!

Steve: Right!

Kevin: So, so…

Steve: GROW UP!

(laughter) (more laughter)





Kevin: I ran into a family, Steve, a couple of years ago, and these guys had made it through Littleton public schools for 12 years. Okay? They had taken the special needs track as well. Okay, for 12 years, both of them, they got married at 20, 22 years of age and they couldn’t read. Okay? Littleton public schools had spent 100, no, no, excuse me, $347,000 on the education of these kids. They couldn’t read. So they went to church and there were some elderly church people who, you know, took them in and taught them how to read. They were concerned because they went down to the library to get some Dr. Seuss books and he said they couldn’t read the big 27 point font stuff.

Steve: Wow.

Kevin: And they got concerned because they were having kids. Pregnant with the first. So, so they went to some folks in the church and the church folks helped them. They taught them how to read. And so they thought to themselves: Okay, let me get this straight. The Littleton public schools spent $347,000 and they couldn’t teach us how to read. (laughter) They couldn’t pull it off!

Steve: I know there are stats out there about how many seniors can’t even read their diplomas.

Kevin: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s really high. Functional literacy really, really, really high. In fact, college graduates? It’s about 40%.

Steve: Yeah. Isn’t that crazy?

Kevin: College graduates! So this little whiner, talking about her bad experience with home education, um, you know she’s had 13 years to learn how to count.

Steve: Right!

Kevin: And to learn how to add. And still hasn’t happened. Sounds to me like there’s something wrong. With HER.

Steve: Yeah! Or she’s whining without any reason.

Kevin: Yeah! So anyways this couple decided, you know, if the public schools spent $347,000 and couldn’t teach us how to read, why would we send our kids to these schools? That was their logic. And I’ve met this family again — well, it’s been about 10 years — and their kids are doing very well. Very, very well.

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: They’ve got 8 kids. They live in Nebraska. They’re doing very, very well… So anyways, so why are we sending our kids to public schools? And, and ok, there are sort of the minus 3 standard deviations everywhere. Thankfully homeschoolers are averaging somewhere around the 80th percentile for reading and literature and such. So, if they’re at the 80th percentile, my guess is that there’s got to be something like 93% above the functional literacy level. Or 99% above the functional literacy level! Therefore, people like WORLD Magazine are going to have to look HARD and LONG for the 1%!

Steve: Yeah, that’s right.

Kevin: The minus 3 standard deviations on the standard curve! And they found them! Evidently they found them, they interviewed them!

Steve: Yeah! Yeah, and if you take a look at just the overall standardized tests, homeschoolers score consistently in the 60 to 80% percentile average, for public schools 50%. So, so we’re above that, too.

Kevin: The other, psssh, illustration given by the WORLD Magazine article was a young lady whose parents were divorced. And, and here’s one thing that almost every educator understands: that if the family situation is dysfunctional, the marriage is breaking down, there’s divorce in the family — the kids generally are not going to do well in school.

Steve: Right. No matter where they go.

Kevin: No matter where they go! Oh yeah! The reason you’ve got such problems in public schools is not the teachers, generally speaking. It’s the home life. And just taking a kid who is raised in a dysfunctional home — single mom, etc., etc. — putting them in the public schools is not going to fix the problem necessarily. In fact, it generally doesn’t fix the problem. Why? Because they come from dysfunctional home backgrounds. There’s a reason why inner-city schools typically are producing the very worst results. Well, that’s because the family situation for these kids attending these inner-city schools are dysfunctional. And you can’t fix the problem by fixing the schools! And you can’t fix the problem by fixing the education! I’m sorry, you’ve got to fix the family relationships. You have to fix the family. And that should be a no-brainer.

Moreover, I think WORLD Magazine should think biblically about these things. What does the Bible say about educational neglect? Again, look it up in the concordance! See, people aren’t used to that. Let me explain to you what a concordance is. A concordance is typically found in the back of a Bible. You can find them online. It’s called Go there. And… and you look up the word. “Educational neglect.” Look it up in the Bible. You say it’s not there? Yeah. Yeah, exactly! Why? Because it’s not an issue. What’s the issue?

Steve: Family.


Kevin: The issue is discipleship neglect.

Steve: Right.

Kevin: The issue is, biblically speaking — if we were thinking biblically — not, not with the psychobabble of the world gives us — but if we’re thinking biblically, educational neglect is the failure to teach God’s Word as you sit in the house, as you walk by the way, as you rise, as you lie down. Okay? So, so, so those are the categories in which we should be thinking, friends.

And, now, here’s the next question: How do we prosecute that through the civil magistrate? That’s the next question that comes to the mind of the socialists — whether they work for TIME Magazine or whether or not they working for WORLD Magazine. I don’t know if socialists work there or not. But, but the question in the minds of a socialist that are in the Christian population and the non-Christian population is: If there is an educational neglect — where a parent refuses to teach their children God’s Word as you sit in the house, as you walk by the way, as you rise, as you lie down — the question in their minds is, should the State prosecute it? My answer is: No.

Steve: No!

Kevin: Thank you! I’m glad that you have a biblical worldview, too!

Steve: Oh yeah!


Kevin: Oh it’s incredible, Steve’s got a biblical worldview, I’ve got a biblical worldview!


Steve: Yeah!

Kevin: Yeah! The State doesn’t prosecute it! So, who prosecutes it? Um, well — where there are church relationships! Where there is somebody who cares! Here’s one thing I’m learning, Steve: the State can’t fix these problems. They can’t fix the family. They can’t fix educational neglect.

Steve: They’re not designed to!

Kevin: They can’t! And it doesn’t matter how many compulsory [unintelligible] laws they pass down, it doesn’t matter how many… uh, their minions they hire… to enter into every single home and double-check and double-check and double-check. It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t fix the inner-city family! It has NEVER fixed the inner-city family! It has never fixed the educational problem in the inner-cities where there is all kinds of dysfunctionality in the families. Friends, the government can’t fix it! Period! Get. That. Down. Straight!

Those of you working for WORLD Magazine and Time Magazine and anywhere else where there’s people trying to be the do-gooders and trying to fix society’s problems: how you fix society’s problems, it doesn’t happen by government. It happens by people who care. Yeah. People who care. People in the church, people in the community, who come side by side and help those families to homeschool and disciple their kids. That’s how it gets fixed.

(commercial break, not transcribed)

Kevin: We’re back on the Generations Radio broadcast talking about homeschool educational neglect. Educational neglect: “when my fa—, when my parents did not get me into Harvard.” (using fake whining voice) “Why didn’t my parents get me into Harvard? What’s wrong with them?” And you know, the point is, the point is, the goal is not to get you into Harvard. The goal is to get you into Heaven.

Steve: Amen!


Kevin: Mike Smith gives that talk. Heaven, not Harvard!

Steve: Right.

Kevin: Um, the goal is to teach as you sit in the house, as you walk by the way, as you rise, as you lie down. And teach what? The Word of God. The goal is biblical discipleship in the Word of God because the Word of God is the core in the education program of a child. And I understand there are secularists who may listen to the program and don’t believe that. I understand. That’s a different worldview, a humanist worldview. I don’t. I have a biblical worldview.

Steve: Yeah! And so, really, when they talk about spiritual abuse, spiritual abuse REALLY is not following Deuteronomy 6.

Kevin: Yeah, it’s not teaching the Word of God as you sit in the house.

Steve: Right! And that’s what’s really going on. They’re thinking that when you DO do that, that’s spiritual abuse.

Kevin: And, and, and the problem is Huffington Post would not agree with you.

Steve: Yeah, that’s right!


Kevin: Or Or or wherever. Um, here’s the other thing I think we ought to draw into this: Homeschooling families are not like public school families. They have different values. Generally speaking. Now, some share values, but I’m talking about Christian homeschool families. Their values are primarily first and foremost not to get their kid into Harvard or get them a good job.

Steve: Right.

Kevin: That’s not primary. It’s not being sure that the kid can read Plato before he’s 12 years of age…

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: …and get really messed up with the wrong worldview. (laughter) That’s not the goal. See, homeschoolers bring in other values: like relationship building, character building, work, worship. These are important. So it’s not that you can count when you are 31 years of age. Now hopefully that’s a by-product…

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: …of other things that have been happening. But homeschool families are focused on other priorities. And that’s a shocker to the world out there.

Steve: Yeah. Yeah, there’s a — do you remember the dad and the daughter who, like, split the city and went out into the wilderness and lived in a tent for a while?

Kevin: Yeah, right, right, right.

Steve: And she ended up, you know, they were so afraid that she was horribly abused and didn’t know anything. And she scored way high.

Kevin: She scored as a 12th grader, a high school graduate, at 12 years of age. And they’d been woods-schooling for 4 years. I remember that story. Um, but again, the goal is not to be sure that your child is hitting the 97th percentile in math or reading.

Steve: Yeah!

Kevin: That’s not the goal. That’s not the goal.

Steve: Jesus said something about that. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose your soul?”

Kevin: Yeah. Well, what socialists are doing — and I’ve seen this more and more, Steve, and I’m concerned about WORLD Magazine and I hope that they don’t go this direction — but what the socialists are doing is they’re looking for the minus 3 sigma cases and using it as the PR case against home education…

Steve: Right.

Kevin: …in America. I’ve seen this a hundred times if I’ve seen it once. I… And… And, you know, that’s what they do. That’s what they do. Never mind the fact that homeschoolers are registering, averaging, at the 87th percentile, and Dr. Ray’s study looked at other teaching— other testing services beyond Bob Jones. I think he was looking at a broader slice of the population than the Rudner study in the 1990’s. So I think Dr. Ray nailed it with the Ray study that came out about 3, 4 years ago. And the overall core average was running somewhere around 87 percent. And remember the Rudner study of the 1990’s was running somewhere around the 83rd percentile point.

So, so, you know, the bad guys are gonna come after us one way or another. I’m just hoping the good guys would understand a biblical perspective on issues like this and fight for freedom. A little faith! A little courage to get out there and shove this back in the faces of the socialists and the homeschool whiners that — by the way, these homeschool whiners, let’s get back to what they’re really all about. They’re jettisoning a biblical world and life view. They’re looking for more socialism. They want more governmental controls of education. They want more socialist services sticking their noses into homeschoolers around America. This is their agenda. From what I’ve read. And, and they’re traitors. Traitors to the cause. The cause of what? The cause of freedom! The cause of anybody who wants to fight for freedom against the rising tide of totalitarianism and socialism in America! I am seeing a lot of these guys. They’re bitter…

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: …against the values represented by home education and their parents. And it’s probably due to broken relationships in the home. So they walk away from the home, all embittered against their parents and whatever stinkin’ issues their parents ever stood for. And whatever friends their parents ever hung out with. And they’re just angry, bitter people who are, have it in for home education. Now, not everybody. But there’s a handful out there that are making some noise. And as far as I am concerned I’m not giving their websites any credence whatsoever.

Steve: Right. And what they need to do is put the blame where the blame actually is supposed to be. They’re blaming the whole homeschooling movement. They’re taking… they’re… they’re actually committing the fallacies of… it’s, it’s a genetic fallacy. It’s a fallacy of generalization, that you take the small bit and you say that must be true of the whole. So, so since Judas was one of Jesus’s disciples and he betrayed Jesus, then ALL of the disciples must—

Kevin: —must be a bunch of nutcases—

Steve: Yeah. And so. So yeah.

Kevin: And yeah. That happens when you go irrational when, when your relationships bust up and you begin to hate everything about whatever your parents were associated with because those relationships went sour. Moreover, these ex-homeschoolers to which WORLD Magazine is giving credence are pro-homosexual. They’re right there behind the emerging gay movement in Christian colleges. They’re encouraging the or whatever it is. Uh, don’t go there. I said it wrong on purpose. They’re encouraging the homosexuals showing up at the conservative Christian colleges as well and giving them as much credence as possible. Why? Because they are apostates. They’re embracing everything the Bible doesn’t. They’re embracing socialism, totalitarianism, homosexuality. If it’s ugly, if it’s wicked, if it’s totalitarian, they love it! Why? Because they’re turning away from the values they were raised with.

And guess what? This has happened since Day One. Think about Demus. Think about Alexander the Coppersmith. Think about Judas. I mean, these people have existed since the beginning of the Christian Church. And these traitors are nothing new in the history of the world, my friends. Um, and they’re making it hard on the rest of us. But that’s what the Benedict Arnolds have always done.

Steve: And that’s nothing new either.

Kevin: Yeah, exactly. So, now, now, let’s get back to home education. Are there problems with home education? Yes. Yes. There are problems. And, and, and we need to be the first to confess the weaknesses. Where there are weaknesses, confess them. And, and their slothfulness is an issue. Now again, is it any different, public schools versus private schools versus homeschools? I doubt it. Slothfulness with young men? Yeah. It’s a huge problem.

Steve: Yeah.

Kevin: Huge problem. Lack of discipleship for young men because they’re stuck, tied to their mothers’ apron strings until they’re 18 years of age? Yeah, that’s dysfunction. I’ve seen that. Yeah, I’ve seen single moms out there who may have these co-dependent relationships with kids and they won’t do any schooling at all with them. It’s just this weird little co-dependency. They won’t let them go to the public schools, won’t let them go to private schools, and they won’t even homeschool them because they’re just sitting there in the house in this sort of weird, co-dependent relationship. It’s all self-centered. Self-centered, self-centered. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, you see, you see issues — sin issues — in people’s lives everywhere.

Steve: Right.

Kevin: And as you see those things, I think the church, the local church, needs to address them.

Steve: Yeah! See, really, this is a, not only a family problem, but it’s also a church discipline issue as well. And that’s a whole different show.

Kevin: It is, yeah.

Steve: But it is. I mean, you know, there’s a book Jay Adams wrote that I just really liked about church discipline. And it’s not, you know, most people think of church discipline as a way to kick people out of church. But really, church discipline is a right that everybody has in the church. A well-disciplined church is gonna turn out well-disciplined families, which will have an effect on the community at large.

Kevin: Well, Steve, to close off the program, my hope is that homeschool leaders get a little chutzpah to ‘em and fight the good fight, engage the battle of ideas, come back to a distinctively biblical world and life view and be more self-consistent to it. Stop being so wishy-washy and… And those leaders who are discouraged, I think they’ve been beaten up by an increasingly hostile media to homeschooling. And, and we can expect that.

Hey, you know, homeschooling is making an impact. Of course the enemy’s upset. Of course the media, the academy, the political world is going to note and they’re gonna come after us and they’re gonna do their best to discourage us. But, man alive, get a little faith! You know, dig in for the long haul! Be self-consistent to your world and life view and encourage the next generation of homeschoolers — who, hopefully, should be more self-consistent — and, and, and more committed to the vision of home education than the previous generation.

That’s why I wrote my book “Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education For Your Child.” And hopefully this will give vision to tens of thousands of people listening to the program, especially to our kids and grandkids who need a vision for educating their kids — a distinctively biblical vision because education is a point at which we have seen massive apostasy from the Christian faith. This is the catalyst to apostasy. So if you want to see a restoration of the good things of life, it’s gotta happen in the education of the next generation.

The bad guys understand it. Now it’s time for the good guys to figure it out. And that’s why I wrote my book “Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education For Your Child.” Also, “Keep the Faith: Volume One” deals with the historical Christian perspective of education based on 2,000 years of the greatest Christians who have ever written anything on Christian education. You need to get these books. Get these resources. And empower the next generation to be even more faithful than we were.

The vision for home education, for family-based education? You’ll find it in my book “Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education For Your Child” and our website,

(end transcript)

On Child Marriage: Kevin Swanson and Dave Bruehner Defend Phil Robertson

Kevin Swanson (and Dave Bruehner) have now publicly joined the ranks of Phil Robertson and Matthew Chapman in advocacy of child marriage.
Kevin Swanson (and Dave Bruehner) have now publicly joined the ranks of Phil Robertson and Matthew Chapman in defense of child marriage.

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Kevin Swanson and Dave Bruehner have now publicly joined with Phil Robertson (in particular) and Matthew Chapman (in general) in defense of child marriage.

In their latest Generations with Vision broadcast, “Sexting and Christian Modesty,” Swanson and Bruehner propose that liberals want pre-teen and early teen girls “sexing” it up all over the place, whereas biblically-based Christians should want them… “sexing” it up at that age only in marriage?

Generations with Vision describes the program in the following way: “Public junior high schools are doing more sexting, and Kevin Swanson recommends a biblical view of womanhood and modesty for Christian families.”

Starting at the 13:45 mark, Swanson and Bruehner mount a defense of Phil Robertson’s advocacy for child marriage. Shortly thereafter, Swanson presents his own ideas about child marriage. The transcript of the section is as follows:


Kevin Swanson:

Remember that one concern people had over Duck Dynasty, when the guy came out and said the girls, 15 or 16 years of age, she’s able to get married, they got all mad. Because boy, you get a girl married at 15 or 16 years of age, that’s a sin!

Dave Bruehner:

Well it is because she doesn’t have a whole life of fornication ahead of her anymore.




I mean, there’s a whole junior high, soon to be a high school, there’s the staff, there’s the janitors, there’s… there’s the police department, there are so many sexual opportunities for a young woman that are cut off if she actually commits to one guy and tries to live a pure life.


Yeah! Yeah! So see, again, the liberals are really excited about getting the kids doing as much fornication as possible. But the rest of us are saying, “Hey, what about God’s law? What about God’s law?” By the way, nothing in God’s law that would prohibit a young girl who’s ready to get married, at 15 or 16 years of age — now it takes some wisdom, it takes some wisdom — but nothing in God’s law that forbids — it’s not like immoral. There’s nothing in God’s law: “it’s immoral for a 15 or 16 year old to get married.”

By the way, my grandmother was married at 15. I think it was 15. My grandmother on my father’s side was married at 15. It was during the Great Depression. Her father had died and her mother was trying to provide for the 5 kids or whatever. So you know it just made sense. She was 15 years old, she was ready to get married. So that kind of thing has happened, friends. But a sin! A sin in a modern world?

I mean, think about what the president of the Girl Scouts would say about this, Dave, if we said, “Hey, these 15 year old girls, 16 year old girls, they may be ready to get married. They don’t have to live these, you know, independent lifestyles.”

Kevin Swanson Has Stumbled Upon a Very Real Truth

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was originally published on Patheos on October 17, 2013 with the title, “Kevin Swanson on ‘Apostate Homeschoolers.'”

It seems Homeschoolers Anonymous has made an increasingly large splash in the homeschooling world.

Prominent Christian homeschool leader Kevin Swanson himself felt the need to address the group in a recent broadcast on his Generations with Vision radio show. He gave it the title “Apostate Homeschoolers.” If you click the link to listen, the section on Homeschoolers Anonymous starts at 5:00 and goes until 10:40, when Swanson moves on to the Boy Scouts.

What does Swanson blame for the growth of the “homeschool apostates” and their increased networking and online activism? NCFCA homeschool speech and debate. Oh yes. NCFCA was started by Christian homeschool leaders to equip a generation of homeschooled children to be culture warriors, fighting against the godless secularists and working to establish a Christian America. But apparently, according to Swanson, it’s gone awry, and too many of its homeschool participants have left God’s Truth for the faulty world of man’s intellect and reason.

In other words, Swanson has stumbled upon the very real truth that indoctrination fails when you teach children how to think instead of what to think.

But if ensuring that your young people retain your beliefs requires teaching them what to think without ever teaching them how to think, the problem is with your beliefs, not with the fact that certain of your young people figure out how to think and then walk away. That this is the response of the Christian homeschooling world—that perhaps teaching kids how to think was a bad idea—then what they have to offer is very sad indeed.

And just so we’re clear, this is what Kevin Swanson is now apparently afraid of:




Look how scary we are, with all of our researching and talking and thinking and socializing!

Why Surveys? A Critique of the Tools Used to Judge Us All

About the author: Christopher Hutton is a freelance journalist from Bloomington who writes on technology, religion, and the ideas of the day. He currently writes for Christ and Pop Culture and Paste Magazine. He is also the Social Media Manager/Intern for Rivendell Sanctuary, a new education program designed to provide a truly thorough education. Follow Christopher’s blog at

Every day I seem to see a new study or statistic being used to prove a point about something.  Beginning in the 1980’s, the religious survey organization known as the Barna Group provided data point after data point in order to reveal truths of our culture and how to interact with it.

Most recently, Generations Radio host Kevin Swanson teamed up with Brian Ray in order to record the social and spiritual conditions of the millennial generation in a survey. (You can find the survey at

Now, to gather research is not bad.  In fact, it’s the very first thing that self-proclaimed culture-reclaimers should do.

But are they doing it effectively?

The problem with surveys is that they rely on the human language to present and record human behavior. Number concepts are different than word concepts because their definitions are clearer. If you say “five”, then people understand you are discussing a quantity. However, if you say the word “religion”, then the topic becomes fuzzier. Cultural and personal circumstances often cause words to be understood in different ways.

This causes companies to create a lot of ideologically inaccurate surveys. Consider a survey by the Barna Group which seemed to state that “only 4 percent of Christians have a biblical worldview”.  This is a big claim, and can seem scary to those fighting for a biblical worldview.

But what does Barna mean by a biblical worldview?  This isn’t obvious at first glance.  Historically, the concept of a Biblical Worldview has historically had only a few tenets which almost all people who argue for it would agree with (Inerrancy of the Bible, existence of God, Personhood of Christ, etc.), but everything else is flexible. So, was Barna adding political elements to their definition?  Were they adding debatable theological ideas into the biblical worldview?  It’s hard to know from how a group like Focus on the Family used the Barna Group’s statistics.

Kevin Swanson’s latest study is another clear example of this.  If you look at the language used in the study, it does focus on his particular form of Christianity, which emphasizes extreme forms of Conservative Christian theology, as well as an instinctual anti-government bent, an emphasis on the family relationship, and limited options for explaining one’s relationship with God, family, and the Church.

This kind of ideological shifting is dangerous, because it causes the otherwise objective data to be skewed and misbalanced.  It will misrepresent its survey-takers. It will also skew the facts.

So, be wary of surveys. Mark Twain once famously stated that “There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics.”  While quantitative data is helpful, it is dangerous if it is not true. So track statistics, check the facts, and never let them skew your take on a topic.

Crosspost: Methodological Problems with Kevin Swanson and Brian Ray’s Gen 2 Survey

Crosspost: Methodological Problems with Kevin Swanson and Brian Ray’s Gen 2 Survey

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was written by a guest writer, Apodosis, and was originally published on Patheos on July 17, 2013. 

Libby Anne posted recently about a new survey conducted by Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, a non-profit which conducts studies of questionable scientific validity on homeschooling. As a Ph.D. social scientist myself, I looked over the new survey with a critical eye and I’m sorry to say there won’t be much useable data gleaned from it because it is rife with methodological problems.

The survey has over 100 questions and nearly every question needs revisions, so I’m just going to summarize my main critiques of the study.

1. Institutional Review Board

When you are conducting a survey that collects personal information from the participants, every IRB in the country requires that you have signed informed consent forms for each of your participants. In online surveys, these tend to include a cover page describing the purpose of the study and what is asked of the participants, as well as a signature box to show you have understood your rights.These forms often include the phrases “You may stop the survey at any time without giving a reason” and “You are not obligated to answer any question you don’t want to”. They provide contact information for the primary investigator (PI) and other associated researchers, as well as for the IRB that approved it. “If you feel your rights have been violated, call this number” etc.

In the Gen 2 survey, there is no such information. It is not clear who is being asked to participate (see #2), the goals of the study are not honestly stated (see #3), and there is no contact information for the PI or an IRB to contact if you feel your rights have been violated. I had to dig on NHERI’s website to find the email address of the PI, Dr. Brian D. Ray (it’s, btw, in case you feel your rights have been violated), and he actively discourages you from contacting him. Red flag.

A peer-reviewed publication will not publish any results from research that was not overseen by an IRB.

2. Target Population

It is not clear who is being asked to participate in the survey. In the “About” section, Ray says the participants are “those between the ages of 18-38 years old that grew up in religious homes”, but in the FAQ he says “Anyone between the ages of 18-38″ may participate. I am between the ages of 18 and 38; I was raised in a moderate mainline Protestant family, and I am now a progressive mainline Protestant. I honestly cannot tell if he wants my data or not. Though both of those statements about who should participate apply to me, the questions on the survey indicate otherwise.

3. Goals

Which brings me to my most serious methodological critique of the study, which is that the goals are not honestly stated. There are two different studies conflated here which have entirely different goals. Dr. Ray even alludes to this in the “About” section: one goal is “to come up with data points of key influences that either encouraged or deterred the participants from practicing the same faith as their parents”; the other goal is to “use the statistics from this survey to help equip parents to make more informed decisions in the education and spiritual guidance of their children.” That is, in simpler terms, the goals are (A) to find out how young people’s religious views change as they reach adulthood, and (B) to figure out how to make sure young fundamentalists/evangelicals stay in the fold.

In fact, the main goal of the study seems to be (B) with a shallow veneer of (A) superimposed on it. Now, (A) is an interesting study whose results I would look forward to reading. (B) is not a scientific study. You do not perform a scientific study with the goal of achieving a certain result. Social science is about trying to describe and explain human behavior, not about trying to change it or attach value judgments.

Here are some examples of the problems that arise when the two studies are conflated. Dr. Ray pays lip service to the idea that young people may belong to a variety of faiths, as evidenced by his questions:

Generally, what kind of religious service did you attend as a child?

What kind of church or religion do you currently associate yourself with?

Available answers include Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and a variety of mainline Protestant denominations in addition to the exhaustive list of evangelical/fundamentalist groups. However, on the next pages he asks questions like

My current church is serious about applying the biblical principles of eldership, shepherding, mentoring, and church discipline.

Did you ever get any “worldview” training?

How often did your Father/Mother read the Bible to you?

These questions indicate that the primary audience of this study is people raised in a fundamentalist/evangelical/Christian patriarchy home. How are Buddhists and Hindus and Atheists supposed to answer these questions? Note that there is no “Not applicable” option available. This brings me to #4.

4. Not Applicable

It is important in surveys to allow your participants the freedom to answer the questions honestly, and not be forced to pick the “closest” answer. Many of the questions follow the “Have you stopped beating your wife” pattern, where e.g. a person who has never beaten their wife has no honest way to answer the question. “Not applicable” is only an available answer for one of 100 questions in the survey. This becomes a problem with questions like the following:

How distant or close do you feel to God most of the time?

What was the status of your parents’ marriage during your raising?

My father was very involved in our family home life.

How would an atheist answer the first question without “Not applicable”? How would someone answer the second question if they were raised by two parents in a committed relationship who were not married? And in the third case, what if you didn’t have a father?

“Other” followed by a fill-in-the-blank should also occur much more frequently as an available answer in questions such as:

Have you, or your significant other, ever chosen to have an abortion? Yes/ No

Do you think that people should wait to have sex until they are married, or not necessarily? Yes/ Not necessarily

How would you describe yourself when you were a child? I was very rebellious/I struggled with rebellion, but overcame it/I was always fairly obedient and honoring as a child

In the first question, it would be more appropriate to ask “Have you ever had an unwanted pregnancy?” and then to ask how it was dealt with. As it stands, a person who has never been pregnant and a person who has carried a rapist’s child to term would give the same answer. In the second and third questions, there are clearly more than just the possible answers given. My answers would be “No, unless they want to” and “My parents were supportive of what I chose to do and who I chose to be”. Participants in the study need a way to answer these questions honestly, so even if Dr. Ray wants to limit his variables it would be more methodologically sound to provide an “Other” response with a fill-in-the-blank to such questions.

5. Leading/Biased Questions

This brings me to another point: almost every question is leading or has other problems caused, for the most part, by faulty assumptions and a lack of imagination on the part of Dr. Ray.

“What kind of church or religion do you currently associate yourself with?” Some people consider themselves to be a member of a faith without having a specific faith community. Some people consider themselves to be members of multiple faith traditions. A better question would be “How would you describe your religion or faith?” with multiple check-boxes allowed. And he should list all the religions, not just the ones he could think of off the top of his head! He forgot at least (off the top of my head) Baha’i, Sikh, Wicca, Christian Science, Animism, Deist, Shinto, Unitarian Universalist, Not applicable, Other____, and he did not provide any different denominations of Judaism or Islam. In addition, he should have grouped the religions together by type rather than alphabetically—this list makes it very hard to see if your faith is represented. And groups like “Mormons” and “Congregationalists” should be called by their actual names—LDS and UCC, respectively. This list of religions, while it pays lip service to religious diversity, is actually offensive in its exclusions and ignorance. Plus, there is no acknowledgment in this survey of mixed-faith households. What if your parents were of different faiths, or what if you and your significant other do not share a faith?

Questions such as

What is your sex/gender? Male/ Female

How was your relationship with your Mother / Father when you were 16-17 years old?

How often did your Mother / Father explain biblical principles to you?

presume an oversimplified, heteronormative view of gender and family. Sex is not the same as gender; there are quite a few other genders than just male and female; you might have parents of multiple genders or the same gender (and therefore not have a “Mother” and a “Father”); and you might have been raised by other family members, or primarily by friends, or in foster homes. If this was really a survey about changes in young people’s religious views, it would try to get an accurate picture of their lives without limiting them to these binaries. Ray should also ask about people’s sexual orientations if he’s that interested in the status of their romantic lives; however, his reference to “homosexual” “encounters” in one of the questions indicates that he probably does not believe in sexual orientation as a concept (see #6).

6. Limited Mindset

Many of these questions portray a mindset that is isolated to the evangelical/fundamentalist/Christian patriarchy/Quiverfull/Purity movements–it’s possible that Dr. Ray does not even realize there are other ideologies out there. For instance, there is this question/answer set:

What statement most aligns with how many children would you like to have? I don’t want to have children / I want no more than a few children / As many children as God will provide / I don’t know

This really should be divided into multiple questions. First, he should ask “Do you plan your pregnancies?” If no, he should ask about “how many children you hope God will give you”, but if yes, he should ask how many you plan to have. I don’t think Dr. Ray realizes that some people plan their pregnancies. Then there is the following question/answer pair:

If you have—or were to have—children, what form of education do you plan to use for them? Christian school / Christian school and homeschool / Christian school and non-Christian private school / Christian school and public school / Homeschool / Homeschool and non-Christian private school / Homeschool and public school / Private school, non-Christian / Public school / Charter school/virtual charter / Other

At least this one has “Other” as an option, though it doesn’t let you write in your response. First of all, it’s a badly designed question—he should just list the types of school and let you check as many boxes as you want. Second, the question relies on the assumption that parents would choose their children’s manner of schooling before the children even exist. What if the child is gifted or disabled? Would that change the parents’ plans? And Dr. Ray does not even realize that people who would answer like me are out there—”It depends on the child’s needs and wants, as well as other considerations such as expense, distance, quality of education, etc.”

Then there’s this question/answer pair:

Did your parents use corporal discipline (spanking) with you?No / Yes, consistently and they were generally under loving control / Yes, consistently and often they were not under loving control / Yes, inconsistently and they were generally under loving control / Yes, inconsistently, and often they were not under loving control

These answers presuppose a worldview where the value of spanking is not open to debate (spoiler: we don’t live in that world). It would be more accurate to ask “What was your parents’ position on spanking?” “How often were you spanked?” “Are your attitudes toward it positive, neutral, or negative?” “Would you spank your own children?” etc.

And then there’s the part where he puts these two questions next to each other, clearly conflating them (shades of Libby Anne’s two boxes): “Have you had a sexual encounter or physical relationship with someone to whom you are not married?” and “Were you ever sexually abused before age 18?” Note that a girl who was repeatedly raped by her Christian patriarchy father for ten years and a girl who was raped once by an acquaintance at a party as a teenager would probably have different reactions to their faith traditions, though they would give the same “Yes” response. No effort is made to make this distinction in the survey. And nowhere does the survey ask about physical abuse, since Dr. Ray probably doesn’t think it exists.

Or how about the question “If you were unsure of what was right or wrong in a particular situation, how would you decide what to do?” with the available answers: Do what would make you feel happy / Do what would help you to get ahead / Follow the advice of a parent or teacher, or other adult you respect / Do what you think God or the scripture tells you is right / Something else. These answers reveal Dr. Ray’s belief that morality does not exist outside (his brand of) Christianity.

7. Exclusionary Language

The language Dr. Ray uses is exclusionary and often confusing. For instance, he persists in using terms like church, pastor, scripture, prayer, Bible, youth group, Sunday School when these terms are uniquely Christian and do not apply to people of other faiths–he ought to say faith community, religious leader, holy book, prayer/meditation, religious education if he wanted to get accurate data. He also fails to define several terms which I don’t understand because I was not raised in a fundamentalist environment: family-integrated, homeschooling-friendly, shepherding, church discipline, worldview training. In his questions about belief in “God” and “heaven”, he ought to ask separate questions about each property he wants to assign to these words’ meanings (e.g. “Do you believe in a deity or deities?” “If yes, do you believe the deity/deities is/are omniscient? Omnipresent? Omnipotent? Does it/do they have a gender? Does it/do they affect everyday events?” etc.). If Ray wants accurate data, he should define confusing and ambiguous terms.

You should not be able to tell someone’s political and religious beliefs from survey questions designed to elicit yours. You should not be asked to give dishonest answers to survey questions because your honest answers are unavailable as options. You should not have to infer how exclusionary language in the questions would apply to your situation. You should not be asked to give out your personal information without giving your informed consent.

An IRB would not approve this study. I would not rely on any of the conclusions that come out of it.