CHEC’s Kevin Swanson and Steve Vaughan on the “Little Whiners” and “Benedict Arnolds” of Homeschooling

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By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Yesterday we were “blessed” with the Generations Radio episode “Homeschool Educational Neglect: Media Rages Against Homeschooling.” In that episode, Kevin Swanson (former CHEC Executive Director and current Director of CHEC’s Generations With Vision program) and Steve Vaughan (CHEC Board Member) responded to Daniel James Devine’s “Homeschool debate” article published by WORLD Magazine on August 25, 2014. Here is Swanson’s own description of the episode:

We are seeing more negative reports on homeschooling than ever before.  Anecdotal evidence is fun, but does it reflect the real story? Kevin Swanson interacts with a World Magazine article that covers homeschool graduate malcontents, and discusses a biblical perspective of educational neglect. Should the state prosecute educational neglect in the case that a father fails to follow through on Deuteronomy 6:7?

Sound like fun?

Well, in case it does not, I saved you the teeth-grinding and transcribed the entire episode here.

Swanson and Vaughan go after WORLD rather mercilessly, accusing them of “cutting down” and creating a “firing squad” against fellow Christians. Furthermore, they insinuate that WORLD is too daft to know how to use a concordance and may have socialists on its staff. This is all curious considering that Swanson had no problem using WORLD to advertise his “Apostate” book just a few months ago. It’s also curious because Swanson and Vaughan neglect the fact that WORLD’s own Editor-in-Chief is the Distinguished Chair of Journalism and Public Policy at Patrick Henry College, the same college at which Michael Farris is Chancellor. They further neglect the fact that WORLD is probably the most go-to news source for conservative Christian homeschoolers. So whatever “bias” WORLD Magazine has, it clearly isn’t against Farris, HSLDA, or homeschooling. That Swanson and Vaughan would immediately jump to that conclusion is indicative of their own paranoia, not anything about WORLD turning an ideological leaf on homeschooling.

If you want to read the entire transcript of the episode, you can do so here. Below are the “highlights” from it. (Be forewarned you might need to steel your mind and stomach for abuse denialism and apologisms and homophobia galore.)

My final comment before I turn you over to the minds of Swanson and Vaughan is this:

Yesterday Michael Farris and HSLDA declared to the world that they are “drawing a line in the sand.” But time and time again they say this and yet it seems like nothing but word gamesit isn’t trueit minimizes or refuses to acknowledge the atrocious and previous lack of lines, or it isn’t enough. And sometimes, like today, when I am so disturbed, heartsick, and saddened by Kevin Swanson’s hatred, cruelty, and antichrist-like behavior towards homeschool alumni, and I see that HSLDA’s “line in the sand” means nothing when it comes to standing up to someone like Swanson — and thenthen I see Swanson promoting his book “Upgrade,” a book that HSLDA’s very own president J. Michael Smith said “should be in the hands of every homeschool family in America”

Then I want to say: You really have built your lines on sand, HSLDA, haven’t you?

I think Libby Anne said it best:

Real leaders speak out against dangerous teachings or leaders when speaking out is still difficult rather than letting others do the heavy lifting and waiting to speak out until speaking out is easy.

And on that note, here are some highlights from Kevin Swanson and Steve Vaughan’s “Homeschool Educational Neglect”:

WORLD Magazine just found “the 25 people” upset and created a “circular firing squad”:

Kevin: They [WORLD] found the 25 people upset with home education…

Steve: …yeah…

Kevin: …that started the little IHateHomeschool.com 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 [WORLD] 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.

WORLD Magazine covering abuse and neglect is just “cutting each other down”:

Kevin: 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!

To be real abuse, abuse must be verified by 2 or 3 witnesses; it is the result of the sexual revolution:

Kevin: 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.

Spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, and educational neglect are laughing matters to to Kevin Swanson and Steve Vaughan:

Kevin Swanson: 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!”

(laughter)

Kevin: “I’ve been so abused…” (laughter)

When kids are educationally neglected, it’s really just their own fault for being lazy:

Kevin: 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!

(laughter)

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!

Making fun of a homeschool alumna who was regularly beaten and neglected by her parents:

Steve: 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)

Steve: READ SOME BOOKS!

(laughter)

Steve: THERE ARE BOOKS OUT THERE ON MATH! YOU CAN LEARN HOW TO NOT COUNT ON YOUR FINGERS!

(laughter)…

Kevin: 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.

On WORLD Magazine not knowing what a concordance is:

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 BibleHub.com. 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.

On what educational neglect REALLY is and WORLD Magazine maybe having socialist employees:

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.

On educational neglect being a joke:

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.

Basic reading and math ought not be of primary importance to Christian homeschool families:

Kevin: 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.

On homeschool alumni being “homeschool whiners” and “traitors”:

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.

On how to logic:

Steve: They’re [homeschool alumni] 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.

On the “PatrickHenryGayBlogspot.com” or “whatever that is”:

Kevin: 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 PatrickHenryGayBlogspot.com 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!

Homeschool alumni are “Benedict Arnolds”:

Kevin: 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.

35 comments

  • [content note: descriptions of abuse]
    Two to three witnesses for abuse? HAH! my father screamed in my face in front of hundreds of so-called Christians and threatened to beat me. NOTHING HAPPENED.

    People watched. People, church members, pastors, explicitly encouraged my abuse from my parents. Having witnesses doesn’t do us victims/survivors a damn bit of good… not when they all believe in what the abuser is doing. When an entire subculture covertly and overtly states that abusing, whether physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, or psychological, is okay… [and, for the naysayers: I am talking “true” abuse such as: beatings so hard my tailbone was nearly broken. Being forced to turn an entire garden plot by hand in the middle of a Colorado October with pneumonia. Isolation from the rest of the world. Constant, never-ending brainwashing that I was worthless, only good to serve the male section of my family. Attempted exorcism when I was 8 because I had nightmares. The list goes on…] there is nothing that having witnesses will gain the victim. If you’re lucky your claim just gets dismissed. If you’re not… well, let’s just say there’s a reason I refuse to consider talking to a large number of people from my childhood.

    I simply… I can’t… I mean, how the hell can they hear these stories and ask “how is this abuse?” — are they that dense? Or are they being purposefully dismissive?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      I simply… I can’t… I mean, how the hell can they hear these stories and ask “how is this abuse?” — are they that dense? Or are they being purposefully dismissive?

      No. They’re personally benefiting from The System in some way. Money, position, prestige, emotional ego-boo, the Smug Satifsaction of being The Righteous(TM) Inner Ring.

      Or they’re in that church because they’re abusers themselves and like a place where that’s A Good Thing. Or they don’t want anything to interfere with their little churchy womb away from the Big Bad World. Everything’s Nice Nice Nice And Don’t You Dare Rock Our Boat.

  • Well. I think I permanently lost my appetite. That’s way too much willful ignorance, spite and hatred to dig into before breakfast.

  • Somebody should ask him if socialism is in the concordance. ; )

    And if it’s not there, but we SHOULD all be concerned about it-

    Perhaps the same is true of educational neglect.

    No, it’s not in the concordance. But that doesn’t give us an excuse not to love our neighbor enough to shield him from ignorance and probable poverty, so far as we are able.

  • Oh, it’s in the Bible:

    Acts 2:44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Womb Tomb Swanson STILL looks and sounds like a High School Dorky Kid from Central Casting.

    Everything about this guy sounds like a guy who was always on the bottom all his life and got into a position of Absolute POWER. Now he’s going to throw his weight around as much as he can.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      He Very Much LIKES being the Thought Police, the Enforcer of Morality. “Benedict Arnolds”? More like Traitors and Thought Criminals (and HOMOSEXUALS HOMOSEXUALS HOMOSEXUALS).

      Just got a flashback. Doonesbury, back when some governor of Arizona was getting in the news making stupid and outrageous public statements. Doonesbury had him making a press conference where “Studies Show That 98% of My Critics Are PRACTICING HOMOSEXUALS!!!”

      And something about how Trudeau drew that governor — he resembled Womb Tomb Swanson, except with a Big Smug Smile.

  • There is nothing about this interview that speaks to me of Christianity.

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  • Well, Kevin Swanson, I got a a good education and a full ride to a decent college. I consider myself a libertarian, I have an NRA sticker on the back of my car, I read the Bible every day, and I’m in church pretty much every Sunday (with a headcovering on!). I’m pro-life and I probably vote like my parents do more often than not. I was homeschooled for a decade and agree that there were a lot of good things about it.

    I also think abuse in homeschooling is a real thing and not something to laugh about. So I’m not sure where I fit into the picture you’ve painted. Oh, wait, I also work and am on the Pill, so never mind; I’m triply-damned.

  • In my dream world, I would love to think that Swanson and Vaughn imagine they have listeners, but in dream world reality they only listen to themselves talk. In my dream world they would find out what happens when they bite the hands that feed them.

    However, in the real world, they do have a bigger audience because HSLDA and World promote them. Even in the real world I still hope that their circle of influence is limited to the tiny church that he so-calls pastors. In the real world there will most likely be no consequence to them for their ranting about World and HSLDA.

    The real world sucks sometimes.

  • Thank you, HA, for doing the hard work of listening to this crap and condensing it for the rest of us. Just reading the excerpts was so painful for me; I can’t imagine having to listen to the whole thing. Please don’t stop what you’re doing! I have to believe that it’s making a difference.

  • No such thing as educational neglect? That is exactly why we do need HS oversight, because people like him think it’s okay just to teach their kids the Bible and not prepare them to count and read.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      That prepares the boys to become Fundamentalist Preachers and Homeschool Gurus and the girls to become submissive Quiverfull breeding stock. To them, that’s a feature, not a bug.

  • I dont know if you want this in the comments section…. thought it was very interesting. Beall Phillips commentrd on the HSLDA fb page REAMING Farris for voicing any criticism of Doug. She doesn’t sound like someone I would want to mess with. Here is her comment:
    “Well, Mike, your article about Doug was, at the very least, in bad taste, and your representation of what Doug and I believe and what we have taught through Vision Forum was rife with gross error.

    I have known you for 23 years. I have seen you in many circumstances, some admirable, some not admirable. For about the last 6 years, you and I have sat around the same table for board meetings. Yes, you and I (a woman) were on the same board. You came to Doug’s dad’s funeral in April 2013 with some kind words. Somehow I missed the letter of compassion and concern for my family this year. You have my email address and phone number.

    I know, it’s so much faster and easier and cleaner to publish an article and put it on the Internet for how many thousands of people?

    How much courage does it take to kick a man who is out of business, out of ministry, and publicly humiliated?

    Your caricature of our views would be humorous if it were not so grossly offensive.

    Let me help you with a couple of things. I have voted as my conscience dictated since I was 18. So do my sons and so will my daughters. I’m glad for Vickie that she is not under Dennis Rodman’s authority. And I am glad that I am not under your authority. I would choose my husband again any day.

    Maybe we can discuss all the other concoctions in your article over coffee sometime. My daughters might want to join us to speak for themselves. If you will sit and listen to them.

    Until then, please take my family off your membership list immediately. I do not think you are qualified to represent my children or me in any capacity.

    Doug has chosen not to respond, but I will not sit idly by while you use your bully pulpit to malign and misrepresent my husband, my company (yes, I, a woman, was an employee of Vision Forum) my family, and myself.

    Please note, this is part one of my response as well.”

  • My father son of southern Baptist preacher, deacon, and Sunday school teacher at my grandfathers church.
    1) My father would buy us school books making us skip a grade were he did not have to buy the extra books. I am dyslexic, I was in no place to be skipping grades:(
    2) My father then decided after eighth grade we did not need school any more. We did not graduate high school. We have an eighth grade education.
    3) My father whipped us with his very large belt. We got whippings if our cousins did it, my father did not ask to make sure we did it. If we were to say, daddy we did not do it, that would be talking back. So we were NOT allowed to explain ourselves. We went and retrieved his belt and delivered it to him, for him to whip us. Oh glory be to jesus, Christian MAN gets to indulge himself whipping scared, self hating little girls.

    I was sexually abused the first ten years of my life. The bible did me no good, as I begged god and Jesus to stop me from ever being sexually abused again, no help.

    These men are laughing, well yes! It is all very funny to christian MEN, on christian MEN heartless, hateful, power-trips.

    I am an atheist now;)

  • Kevin Swanson and Steve Vaughn lost my respect a long time ago. They point to everyone’s failures and short comings and harp when others do it to them. They speak in arrogant tones and DO NOTHING TO TRULY HELP HOMESCHOOLING from this electronic pulpit. As they sit in the seat of judge and try to expose error amongst the ranks they fail to judge themselves. They are scoffers. They mock.
    Do they really not get what spiritual abuse is? I find this a very convenient stance. Ignorance will not excuse them, real nor contrived. The continual mocking and belittling of those who have been wounded or have different opinions than they do, shows that they are NO true shepherds. Faithful men would handle this with care and truth and healing not derision and whining and condescension. These are men who display the works of the flesh not the fruit of the Spirit.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      As they sit in the seat of judge and try to expose error amongst the ranks they fail to judge themselves. They are scoffers. They mock.

      This is the attitude of the Abuser who holds the Whip, not the Abused who feel the Whip. “We don’t need ANY change, Everything’s Just Fine!”

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  • It reads like a two-headed Rush Limbaugh. o_O

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  • They’re just idiots… Short-sighted, single-minded, empathy-lacking idiots. Lots of systems of learning have flaws. Let’s work together to fix the flaws and stop with the 3rd grade name calling.

  • Pingback: Fault and Educational Neglect | Homeschoolers Anonymous

  • Why does Ken Ham allow this man to speak at his facility in Ohio this weekend?

  • Pingback: Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to Speak Next Week at Homeschool Conference | Homeschoolers Anonymous

  • Pingback: Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar Reverse Decision, Withdraw from Homeschool Conference | Homeschoolers Anonymous

  • Loura Shares A Story

    Interesting to me that Swanson accuses children of having no character, but not the parents? You can’t teach what you don’t know, and as I recall, character traits are often touted as being far more important in conservative Christian homeschooling, than knowledge or critical thinking.

  • With his focus on character and relationship building, he sure knows how to destroy individuals’ character. It’s interesting how he blames children for their own upbringing when the Bible pretty much says the opposite.

    Thinking back on the wave of “unschoolers”, I wonder how many of them were raised under this mindset and struggled to educate themselves, while their “advocate” parents boasted about how successful their “unschoolers” were.

    The problem with looking at the “40% of public school graduates” is that they had opportunities that a homeschool student will never have. Granted, their education is what they make of it but it’s in the hands of dozen of trained and experienced teachers rather than one semi-literate religious zealot.

  • Pingback: Please Vote “No” for Theocracy, Ted Cruz, and Kevin Swanson’s God | Becoming Worldly

  • How extremely immature of Kevin Swanson and Steve Vaughan. I’m still cringing over the transcription of their radio program. Yet how happily surprising that WORLD magazine published the article in the first place. Okay, so this was two years ago, but still…it’s encouraging to know that the message you are sharing here at HA is gaining traction within the homeschool community.

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