White Nationalism and Racism in Christian Patriarchy’s Background


HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Lana Hope’s blog Wide Open Ground. It was originally published on March 19, 2013.

A while ago, someone outside the homeschool movement mentioned that my post on Bill Gothard sounded like a description of a White Nationalist.

The claim startled me at first. I grew up in the south. My university was built on a plantation and slave quarters and my great-great-great grandparents owned slaves, for crying out loud. So I’ve never been sure what’s religious racism and what’s southern racism (or when the two cross).

As luck had it, Fiddlrts, who writes at Diary of an Autodidact wrote a highly researched post on Patriarchy, Christian Reconstructionalism, and White Supremacy. His post got me thinking about how we cannot divorce those who influenced Christian Patriarchy from the Christian Patriarchy leaders. He writes:

It was during my Gothard years that I first noted a racist edge to this segment of ultra-conservative Christianity. Gothard, who began his programs in the 1960s, blames most, or perhaps all spiritual problems on exposure to “rock music.” “Rock music” (which turned out to include jazz as well) was deemed evil, regardless of content, due in large part to its alleged origin in pagan Africa. “Godly” music came from Christian Europe, and was exemplified by military marching music. (There were also musical claims, which I discuss below in my note.)

I also noticed that the vision of “ideal” Christianity presented looked much like an upper-middle-class, white society of the past. Perhaps the 1950s, or the Victorian period. There didn’t seem to be any chance of attaining “God’s best” unless one was reasonably well off, certainly; and all vestiges of non-European or non-white American cultures were looked on with suspicion.

Fiddlrts makes the point that Doug Philips, Doug Wilson, and Bill Gothard all studied (and in some cases plagiarized) influential men who were racists. 

Dabney and Rushdoomy are two men mentioned a bunch in his post. This does not mean that Doug Philips and Bill Gothard carried over all their ideas; they may have picked and chose which ideas to follow. But I don’t think that makes us feel much better. (If they tossed out slavery, but kept the oppression of women, for example, is that a great leader?)

So after reading Fiddlrt’s post, here’s a few highlights that got me thinking more about this.

  • Both Doug Wilson and Doug Philips are fans of Dabney, an influential figure white nationalists love to quote. I owe this point to Fiddlrts. Doug Wilson wrote a book called Slavery As It Was that some book publishers refused to carry because it was a wholesale plagiarized book by Dabney. Doug Philips wrote a book on Dabney called Robert Lewis Dabney: The Prophet SpeaksI was able to download Dabney’s most racist work, A Defence of Virginia, for free. The book says that slavery in the south is recognized by the Bible.
  • In Christian Patriarchy, there is an emphasis on hierarchy. In a way there is a sense that the last people left for white males to control is women and children.
  • The Dominionist and Quiverfull mentality is almost parallel to overpopulating other races. The twist, of course, is that now we are overpopulating other religions and “left-flaming liberals,” instead of non-white people. Bill Gothard then has his military ALERT camps to go along with it.
  • Christian Patriarchy almost goes in hand with the Christian Reconstructionism ideology that Rushdoomy advocated. I suppose the name is clear in that Christian reconstructionists want to reconstruct the past. But keep in mind that the past controlled women, discriminated against minorities, and hated LGBT* people. This has led some, such as Rushdoomy, the late Christian Reconstructionist leader who influenced Doug Philips, to advocate stoning gays. Libby Anne writes about this here.
  • There is a prevailing elitism going on in Christian Patriarchy because of an emphasis on the Victorian age. I’ve gotten in debates on whether Victorianism was better with homeschool peers. It’s weird.
  • Rock music is evil because it came from pagan Africa. Bill Gothard and other fundamentalists say just this. European music has rock music too, but yet, Bill Gothard always blames the Africans. I already knew this was racist, but Fiddlrts pointed out that Gothard borrows this almost word-for-word from Rushdoomy.
  • The Patriarchal/Quiverfull leaders oppose public education. Again, this is a twist on Dabney, Fiddlrts says. Rushdoony advocated private schools, and we see this in fundamentalism as well.
  • Interracial marriage is sometimes discouraged. In fairness, I never heard Doug Philips or Bill Gothard say this. But I remember studying the “problem” of the interracial marriage between Pocahontas and John Rolfe. I learned that Pocahontas would not have died if she had not married a foreigner.
  • Bill Gothard is against wearing jeans. Even guys wear khaki pants, not blue jeans. Again, this point is Fiddlrts, not mine: “Jeans were marketed to factory workers (an evil Northern system, according to Dabney), although I suspect that James Dean also contributed to their ‘ungodly’ reputation.”
  • Christian Patriarchalists believe that a Godly society once existed. And that brings us back to the entire quiverfull, anti-women, anti-gay ideology that progressives fight to stop and reconstructionalists fight to bring back.

Please read Fiddlrt’s entire post for all the many quotes and sources he has to back up these points. Julie Anne also wrote a post on Reconstructionism and Rushdooney worth checking out.