Do Your Children Belong to Caesar?

Richard Collins has written one of the funniest anti-homeschooling screeds I have ever read (Sham homeschools are are fostering a radical rightwing fifth column, OH, MY!), at this blog which, incidentally, calls for the ‘end of hereditary religion.’ He wants this horrible threat eliminated through strict government regulation of homeschooling, apparently because parents sharing their faith and values with their children is a horrible thing and it gives him the heebie jeebies. Because he dislikes it so much when religious people homeschool (icky, ick!), tight regulation of All homeschoolers must be an Obama administration priority.

He claims that:

millions of vulnerable children (estimates are suspect because of poor reporting requirements) became virtual prisoners in their own homes, pawns in a scheme to overthrow the United States Government and replace it with a theocracy.

He also claims:

“The Supreme Court gave parents the right to teach children the tenets and the practices of their faith back in 1944. (Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 164 (1944).”

No, sir, it did no such thing. The Supreme court has no such power- this is an inalienable right recognized by all freedom loving peoples, and the Supreme court merely *recognized* that reality and simply added a recognition of those limitations on what the state could do to interfere to case law.

If that’s not scary enough, he makes this claim:

Lead by radicals, this movement is creating a virtual fifth column of ignorant children raised to hate democracy and to revile and distrust their government institutions. In this way, the theocrats are systematically grooming innocent children through a staged process involving homeschools, a project called Generation Joshua and the Patrick Henry College. Their aim is to quietly infiltrate, hamper, frustrate and then dismantle the government of the United States and establish a theocracy according to Dominionist theology.

He doesn’t have any citations for his numbers, of course. I doubt if there are more than a couple of million homeschooled children in total, and as an actual homeschooler who meets other homeschoolers, I would say that only a small subset of them are ‘Dominionists-‘ in fact, I suspect you will find far more Dominionists in the more regulated private schools than in home schools.

With sequestered children constantly supervised by zealous despotic parents, the indoctrination of a backward debauched religion can take place 24 hours a day seven days a week. Out of sight, the indoctrination goes unnoticed. The unfortunate children’s parents rigorously shield them from civilian authority, and they are not allowed to associate with anyone that has not been pre-approved. Parents heavily monitor and restrict radio, television, movies, the Internet and live entertainment events.

So, um, if these children are kept so hidden, how does he know about this secret army of millions of children being trained to take over the government? Where are they? The image he conjures up out of whole cloth is something like a surrealistic scene from the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie, isn’t it?

After referring to these dread homeschoolers and their parents and allies as cockroaches, termites, and other vermin, he complains:

In these families, there will be no nonsense about Title 9 gender equality, or sex education or tolerance of other’s beliefs; parents are convinced they alone have the truth and all outsiders are Satan’s spawn that are going to hell.

Dude. Aside from your own demonstration of hypocrosy over ‘tolerance of other’s beliefs, ‘There’s no ‘nonsense about Title 9 gender equality’ in ANY family, because Title 9 is about government funding in state supported institutions, not about family life.

He complains that a previous officials acknowledgment that the government should leave homeschools alone is not an impartial statement, but he offers no evidence for this. Nor is there any evidence for this:

The corrupt Bush administration and his allied theocrats were determined to surreptitiously undermine and drag down the government of the United States. Accordingly, it should be obvious to Americans that the Obama administration must act decisively to regulate homeschools on an urgent basis.

I would guess that homeschoolers voted for President Obama in roughly the same proportions that other parents did.

And this complaint that states should impose more testing and other regulations on homeschoolers is, given the state of public education, the most amusing complaint of all:

our democracy could clearly be at risk if millions of compromised children continue to go through this warped religious soaked system. In addition, why settle for minimum standards?

In regard to testing, when the public schools are able to educate children who can read and write instead of giving diplomas to illiterates, when their students can actually all test at or above the fiftieth percentile, when Chicago’s public schools do not have a drop out rate of more than 55 percent, then maybe you’d have a leg to stand on, but right now you’re making an argument insisting that the same institutions that are graduating thousands and thousands of illiterate students (it’s approximately 1/4 of public schooled GRADUATES who are functionally illiterate) each year should have the right to impose the standards they fail to meet on the only group that consistently beats public schools at their own game- homeschoolers can read and write

About 1 or 2 percent of all children are homeschooled at any given time (most are not homeschooled all the way through school). They can all read, yet about 25 percent of high school graduates from our public schools cannot read. 30 percent of college students have to take remedial courses because they do not have basic math skills nor can they read well enough for college work.

Right now there are more illiterate kids being defrauded of any education by the government and graduated with diplomas but no reading skills *each year* than the total number of homeschoolers. If you really cared about the kids, I think you’d do something about the millions who cannot read rather than the 1 or 2 percent who can read, who, as a group, consistently outscore the public school students, but also happen to include a subset of people whose religion you don’t like.

In the comments a graduate from Patrick Henry (which seems to be a primary target of Collins’ bile) says:

So from someone who is ruled by a rational mind, rather than irrational paranoia, here is something to consider. Patrick Henry students almost unviersally embrace the concept of liberty as one of the most important values extant in America.

Proper Christianity underscores the need for individual liberty. It is the individual who is responsible to God, not society as a whole. It is the individual who chooses their actions. Forcing individuals to do what is right is unproductive, and often counterproductive.

And then:

Mr. Collin’s absurd association of home-schoolers with Dominionist theology is quite the half-baked conspiracy theory. Dominionist theology, especial Rush Dooney [sic], desires to reconstruct American history and reshape American government. Patrick Henry College, and most home-schoolers I know, desire neither. I desire to understand American history from primary sources, with all its pain and glory. I do not believe America was a Christian nation, but I believe it, just like most of Western Civilization, was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and values. I do not want to reshape American government. I want American government to more closely match its constitutional bounds.

Don’t panic when you hear a crazy man tell you everyone will die if you don’t supress a people group. Just dismiss him as a nut and move on.

Feel honored, Mr. Collins, your vaccuous vitriol was definitely not worth this much critique.

Richard replies:

…Michael Farris has tried to cover up his links to the CNP and dominionist theology, but not successfully. The evidence is out there for people to examine. For Joseph to deny that the goal of Farris is to see that Christians, and him in particular, run the country on a dictatorial basis does not comport with public facts about him.

Proper Christianity underscores the need to obey secular authority.“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” Or do you object to the doctrine of separation of church and state?

If you want to continue in this discussion, and I hope you will, I will warn you to be respectful. If you feel slighted by my characterization of zealous and despotic parents churning out a filth column, then don’t put on the shoe. I have not met your parents.

emphasis added. Richard fails to understand that children are certainly not, never have been, and never will be, Caesar’s in this country. The government belongs to us, not the other way around.

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