Capturing the Minds of Daughters via Reconstructionism, Gary DeMar, The American Vision, and the Homeschool Movement
CC image courtesy of Flickr, Jessy Rone.
Edited by Wende Benner, HA Editorial Staff
With the demise of the ministry of Doug Phillips, and now the negative connotations of the word patriarchy, I’ve wondered what would be happening in Reconstructionist/Dominionist circles. It’s been a while since I’ve written about Reconstructionism/Dominionism and how many in the Religious Right have Reconstructionist roots. But this week I read an article and saw a video on the topic, and wanted to highlight a bit from each, showing that Reconstructionism is alive and well.
I’ve written a few posts on Rousas John Rushdoony. He was a Reconstructionist and is considered the father of the Homeschool Movement – the movement of ideologies such as quiverfull (having as many babies as you can, ie, no birth control), courtship, purity/modesty, etc. If you want to understand how Patriarchy and quiverfull ideologies became part of the Homeschool Movement, and furthering the agenda of Reconstructionism, you can look no further than Rushdoony. It’s a fascinating study and explains why so many homeschool leaders (Doug Phillips, Gregg Harris, Kevin Swanson, etc.) jumped on the bandwagon. Many homeschoolers went to homeschooling conventions thinking we’d learn about educating our families, but probably very few of us realized there was an agenda beneath: Reconstructionism. For women, it meant bearing babies to take dominion over the world for Christ.
Daughters: The Key to the Success of the Reconstructionist Movement
One of the issues I’ve discussed about this movement is that the success of it depends on daughters. Without daughters’ participation and agreeing with the principles of these ideologies, Reconstructionism will fail. Reconstructionism/Dominionism relies on keeping daughters at home under their father’s rule. It means that daughters won’t be allowed to go to college outside of the home, they probably won’t be having jobs outside the home. Being away from the home would mean that their minds could be contaminated by the world. For Reconstructionists, it is most important to marry them young, have their fathers select their husbands through courtship (another Homeschool Movement ideology), and start making babies. When Patriarchal fathers select their daughters’ future mates, it is crucial that they make sure their future sons-in-law hold to their spiritual Reconstructionist beliefs. Thus, this cycle of indoctrinating daughters and marrying them off to like-minded men has the highest probability of continuing through the generations.
This ideology was so slick, many of us came alongside and supported parts of or all of it without realizing it, including me, mother of 7. It’s funny, you hardly ever hear “Reconstructionism,” but if you study it, you will see that’s exactly what was going on in the Homeschool Movement.
It’s important to note when I say Homeschool Movement, I’m not talking about the teaching of academics at home, I’m referring to the ideologies that connected with Rushdoony’s vision to perpetuate Reconstructionism through the generations of families.
What does Reconstructionism Look Like?
Here is the basis of Rushdoony’s beliefs taken from the article I read recently, An American Taliban by Alan Bean:
“Rushdoony’s theology was unapologetically patriarchal. Just as Adam took dominion over the birds of the air and the beasts of the field before Eve was created as a help-meet, so the male of the species stood at the heart of God’s plan for reconstruction. Women could play a role in taking dominion, but only by working in partnership with a Christian husband.
First the “dominion man” must reconstruct himself in accord with God’s law (theonomy) revealed in the Bible. Next the family organized around its patriarchal head must be reconstructed. Finally, with the earth brimming with reconstructed families a tipping point will be reached, the Sovereign God will have achieved effective dominion and Christ will return to reign in glory.” Source
I was glad to see this article and the author’s challenge to read the Bible through the lens of Jesus.
Interestingly, today, James McDonald recommended a video by Reconstructionist Gary DeMar on his Facebook page. James McDonald and his wife, Stacy, are long-time homeschool leaders, who have been involved with Patriarchy and support Reconstructionist ideologies.
Gary DeMar is connected with The American Vision. Take a look at The American Vision’s mission statement below.
Side note: whenever you see the word vision in a title of a Christian organization, make a mental note to get your Reconstructionist dander up — remember Doug Phillips’ Vision Forum? OK, this is taken from American Vision’s About page:
Restore America to its Biblical Foundation — From Genesis to Revelation — Psalm 11:3
An America that recognizes the sovereignty of God over all of life, where Christians apply a Biblical worldview to every facet of society. This future America will be again a “city on a hill” drawing all nations to the Lord Jesus Christ and teaching them to subdue the earth for the advancement of His Kingdom.
Just as the Apostle Paul used the Roman highways to spread the Gospel, American Vision uses the Internet, Audio/Video Resources, Publications, and Training Seminars to equip Christians with a Biblical worldview and empower them to fulfill the Great Commission and the Cultural mandate.
Major Goals of Outreach
An Internet leader for disseminating information and distributing educational resources that build a comprehensive Biblical worldview, motivating Christians to engage and reclaim our culture for Christ. Source
Ok, let me point out some key Reconstructionist buzz words: dominion, sovereignty, Biblical worldview, subdue, vision, advancement of His Kingdom, battlefield, Cultural mandate, reclaim.
Biblical worldview is a big issue – it was a big topic at homeschool conventions and students were encouraged to go to seminars to learn about it.
A second issue is the idea that America’s foundational roots were Biblical and that God had a covenant relationship with America. This notion has been challenged very recently by Russell Moore. Some of the earliest homeschool curricula I used endorsed the idea that America was chosen by God, by his Providence. (Oh, please add Providence and Providential to the Reconstructionist buzz word list.)
In the video clip below, Gary Demar (take a gander at the books he’s written) goes on a familiar bandwagon against public schools. (These folks really don’t like saying public schools, they much prefer saying government schools.)
Here is a screenshot from the video clip and the fear-mongering summary below the video clip:
Here is the wording from above:
“Now is the time to say: “Government schools are evangelical battlefields for my children”, “Not my kid” or “Not in our government schools”. The simple fact is that 90% of Christians are sending their kids to government schools where they are taught a worldview that is purposed in the destruction of the Christian worldview.”
Notice the buzz words!
And now on to the short video clip:
At the beginning of this 1-minute 29-second video, be sure to note what it says under The American Vision logo: Exercising Servanthood Dominion. Try to explain what that means to someone!
Many of you know that I homeschooled our 7 children for 23 years. Two years ago, I stopped homeschooling and sent our youngest four children to public schools. Whenever I hear someone like this guy, I want to roll my eyes and say, “What in the world are you talking about?” This is the kind of hype that instilled fear into so many families and kept them/us homeschooling, even when we probably shouldn’t have because of exhaustion, inability, etc. I am sure there are some bad teachers in public schools. I am sure there is bad curricula out there, but the same can be said about some “Christian” homeschool material. I have to laugh at all of the hype because as I have met my children’s teachers, many of them are Christian. I’ve been volunteering in high schools for 7 years and do not see this hidden agenda that these guys rant about.
It’s important to note that this hype is necessary so that you will join their bandwagon to “take back America for Christ,” again, the implication that America belonged to Christ from its beginnings. This hype is what so many of us homeschoolers dealt with when we thought we went to homeschool conventions. Instead of learning about how to teach our children and learning practical helps, we were indoctrinated by this stuff.
It is apparent that Reconstructionism is still alive and kicking. I will continue to speak out about my biggest pet peeve of this movement: the goal of conquering the minds of women and daughters so their bodies and wombs will be used to continue this indoctrination by bearing lots and lots of children.
Can I just say how relieved I am that my eldest is a college graduate and my youngest daughter is now a senior? Let’s go, ladies, while motherhood is absolutely wonderful, you are so much more than your wombs!
For more info on Reconstructionism, check out this 241-page PDF by Gary North (the Y2K-hype alarmist) and Gary DeMar, CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTION What It Is, What It Isn’t.