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.

16 comments

  • Very well written and excellent points. I am the father of a beautiful little 18 month old girl, and the most important aspect of my raising her is teaching her how to think.

  • Yes, yes, and yes again. The movement was less structured and set when I was young, but your ending conclusion is accurate: because of this view, my father has lost relationship with me and two of my three sisters. The only one still in relationship with him continues to allow him to hold this role in her life though she is nearly 40 with a husband and children.

  • We homeschool. We have all daughters. We are not reconstructionists. We want them to be whatever they want to be. Seems like people in your movement paint all homeschool families the same. Btw we don’t follow any movement, just Christ. You also paint all people in the “patriarchal” model as tyrants. Sure there are many, but to paint them all the same is wrong. You might as well rip Eph 5 out of your bible if you don’t see the order of the family God intended.
    For sure, I understand the abuse in some of these systems, but to cast all homeschool families as abusive and strange is wrong. Btw, we don’t have an agenda. You may need to re-think your categories.

    • If we don’t see the order that – in your view – God intended, it does not mean we want to rip out Eph 5. It just mean we think differently about its meaning.

    • If you want to avoid the fate of many destroyed Christian families, you need to listen and not speak. NO ONE plans on winding up like the Duggars or Doug Wilson. Or the founder of your lifestyle, Bill Gothard. Put your defensive pride on the shelf and keenly observe these witnesses to the Christian homeschool movement. Don’t assume you are too clever to fall into the patriarchal trap. Then you night fare well.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    What’s that cross-worshipping ritual in the first pic with all the Vestal Virgins in a Liturgical Dance number?

  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Feminist

    Well said. I grew up homeschooled in an extremely conservative Christian home, but fortunately for me, my dad wasn’t what you would call a Patriarch. He was technically the “head of household” since my mom believed in the husband = leader, wife = helpmeet model, but neither of them really acted on it. My dad had no real convictions about the homeschool lifestyle, it was what my mom wanted to do, and he wanted her to be happy. Hence, I was raised by parents who taught me to think for myself and wanted me to go to college and learn, but the culture and community I was involved in stressed the importance of women becoming wives and mothers and home-makers. I had a few friends who were very clearly being constrained to certain roles by their parents though, and I felt bad for them back then even if I wasn’t entirely sure why. Now that I’m older and I’ve removed myself from the homeschool bubble, I understand, and I feel even worse for those who didn’t manage to break free of it.

  • Reblogged this on lifeofgraceandpeace and commented:
    Wow! Very well said! And accurate in my case. My dad lost me a long time ago.

  • This is a fascinating and informative essay. But this sentence: “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” seems to assume that the “feminist agenda” is something more sinister than just ensuring young women have the choice, as adults, to further their education and be considered full citizens under the law. One can certainly be a wife, mother, educated professional who values family and faith and also be a feminist.

    • Hear, hear! Feminism does not mean kicking over the so-called traditional gender roles*. Feminism means enabling all people, including women, to choose which roles they wish to fulfill. Or, feminism means that a woman should not have to accept as her lot in life putting up with things that a manly man wouldn’t touch with a bargepole for fear of woman cooties.

      *I study medieval history as a hobby. Some stuff that is held up as dating clear back to Eve is not very old at all!

  • Speaking as a mainline, educated Christian woman, I find it so interesting that, should a husband’s death or abuse occur, a woman does not have the option to go join her single sister, or, aunt, or friend, in a Naomi-Ruth sort of living situation, and instead is automatically assigned to another man. A woman *always* has to be dependent on a man.

  • Literally my life in text. I’m free now. Thank you. 🙂

  • Reblogged this on // everwander // always learning and commented:
    One of the side effects of the fundamental christian patriarchal method of /stay-at-home daughterhood/ & /giving the heart to the father until marriage when it may be redeemed as a possession of a young man the father deems acceptable to procreate with his daughter/: “They may in fact lose a relationship with their daughters forever.”

  • I know a lot of evangelical christians. I grew up around many of them and spent a lot of time in Baptist churches. This almost always stems from some irrational fear. Fear of women having their own ideas. Fear of gay people. Fear of anyone, literally, who is different. It’s a very isolated culture. They don’t want you to think for yourself. I think the only way you get out of a situation like that is when you start to become uncomfortable, and that feeling makes you start to question what you’ve been taught. It’s very difficult, though, when you’re never presented with an alternative viewpoint. That’s why their children are so sheltered. You can’t make a choice if you don’t realize you have a choice.

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