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  •  I can actually explain it. (9+ / 0-)
    The family in question is actually part of an explicit dominionist movement called the "Quiverfull" movement--birth control (even the rhythm method) is prohibited and its members are encouraged to breed as many "God Warriors" as possible.

    The "Quiverfull" movement is very closely connected to the scarier parts of the Joel's Army movement--which teaches explicitly that the generations of kids growing up nowadays are a "Joshua Generation" meant to establish a dominionist reign of terror over the rest of us to "Secure God's blessing" before the Rapture occurs--and, after the Tribulation, to come back down from heaven and throw the lot of us into the Lake of Fire.

    In other words, the view is not dissimilar to that stated by the King of England in the movie "Braveheart" to justify "first night" (the rape of women on their wedding night by the English): "If we can't burn them out, we'll breed them out."

    The scary thing is that these kids are in fact being raised in a highly coercive and abusive situation--they are pretty much isolated entirely in the dominionist "parallel economy" (which I am writing about extensively in my diary--today's section, as well as the sections in the next week or so, will be on dominionist Bible versions and lit, and I hope to start going into dominionist childrearing and educational systems the week after that), with little or no hope of being exposed to anything outside of it until their mid-twenties (if then).  I myself happen to be a survivor of a slightly less oppressive version of what these kids are going through (I at least did have access to public school, as dominionist "home education" through correspondence schooling was not yet the New Hotness among dominionist households--had I been born five or ten years later, I'd be assuredly screwed now)--and I've been in therapy for PTSD as a result.

    I do seriously fear for these kids--especially if one of them has the misfortune to begin questioning the dominionist dogma they are being fed or turns out to be gay.  

    Yes, there is a reason I fear abuse.  The parents are also apparently religious (pun intended) followers of Bill Gothard--Gothard happens to be one of the major promoters of neopente "deliverance ministry" (which promotes stuff almost identical to Scientology, only "Christianised"), up to and including some major league spiritual and occasionally physical abuse.

    Among other things, Gothard used to run a dominionist reform school that was shut down by the state of Indiana (who was actually paying for Gothard to run his "faith-based" "Jesus Camp gulag" and was sentencing kids to be held there) after things started coming out like kids being beaten and locked in "prayer closets".    He is also very explicitly dominionist, has actually run paramilitary training camps for "Joel's Army" kids, has encouraged others to set up incredibly abusive "Bible boot camps" not unlike his Indianapolis misadventure, explicitly promotes rather extreme forms of religiously motivated child abuse including beating of kids with rods (I'll be covering this stuff week after next in my series) which has been noted in multiple sources, promotes essentially raising kids in "Jesus Camp" madrassas, and attempted to suppress publication of a guide critical of his tactics.

    Gothard is known to have set up an extensive system of control that rivals the cultic systems in Scientology or the Moonies for levels of coercion; in addition, he claims that Cabbage Patch Kids and "trolls" are possessed by Satan and that illnesses are caused by "generational curses" (in "deliverance ministry" circles, caused by something as simple as your mom having worn a peace sign in the 60's or your great-grandmother having had her fortune read at Coney Island--or your great-great-great-great-grandmother having been a Cherokee or being brought across the oceans from Africa in a slave ship and not having been Christian in the first place), has promoted involuntary exorcisms on the unwilling (which is not only incredibly abusive and capable of causing permanent psychiatric injury but is actually fatal to a known ten to fifteen people a year in the US), is known to use abusive "shepherding" tactics (of the sort that are now widely recognised as highly abusive), runs front groups to try to market dominionism in public schools as "character education" programs, will in general not discuss his tactics unless you have been recruited into his programs (a dead giveaway we are dealing with a frank cult here), and promotes "Quiverfull" stuff in his own way by claiming in essence that "God will provide" for women having extreme amounts of kids and that parents shouldn't have Caesarian sections (and again attributes infertility to having Cabbage Patch Kids in the house)...among other things.

    Gothard's teachings have in fact been described as those of a Bible-based cult--which I am inclined to agree with, having grown up in a coercive group where Gothard's writing was heavily promoted and having written on the subject of abusive dominionist groups throughout most of my diary entries on DailyKos.  My experiences aren't unique--apparently Gothard's stuff is heavily promoted within the Assemblies of God in particular (which is the denomination I am a walkaway from); disturbingly, Gothard is also heavily promoted within the dominionist "home education" movement.

    •  Wait a minute! (1+ / 0-)
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      I've often thought that trolls were possessed by Satan.  You gotta problem with that?

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 02:47:53 PM PDT

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    •  But we see this lovely smiling family (3+ / 0-)
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      PaintyKat, dogemperor, lil love

      All is sweetness and light and absolutely no sibling squabbles or tantrums.  How could they be anything but wholesome and good?  I could cry every time I see those poor kids, especially the girls on tv.

      ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

      by Rebecca on Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 03:30:48 PM PDT

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    •  a full quiver, (0+ / 0-)

      a loud moan, and a long sigh.

      It's all about guilt-free sex.

      These people are perverts: inflicting their sublimated lust on the offspring they create.


      The first question someone should ask that guy when they interview him on TV is, "So, I guess this proves you have a big penis, huh?" and the first question someone should ask that woman is, "Does your husband let you have a good orgasm each time?"  

      Meanwhile, if I want to get some cats and try the same trick, can I qualify for Dominionist welfare, er uh, private donations from religious righty companies?  After all, cats are really good at doing what these people did.  How'bout mice?  They don't even take up as much room as cats, and I can have 17 mouselings so fast it won't even be funny.  Wait a few more months and I'd have 37 or 107 mouselings.  Wow, that's really special, huh?  

      And if I turn the cats and the mice loose on each other, I can even do an Armageddon re-enactment in my living room!  And if, after that, the Cat in the Hat comes back, does it qualify as the Second Coming?  

    •  yo, dogemperor, I have a question... (1+ / 0-)
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      I've frankly avoided reading your diaries because this stuff scares the living daylights out of me, even more so than Bush himself.  But I have a question, and it could even be a suggestion for a diary:

      What can we do to fight this stuff?

      I see the risks getting worse over time, as various ecological and resource crises worsen.  The dynamics of tribalism and vendetta culture, and the positive feedback spiral of violence that we presently see in the Middle East are exactly what is expected when population overshoots carrying capacity (average of SEVEN children per woman in most places in the Middle East).

      All of this is starting to look scarily like some science fiction short stories I wrote in highschool in the late 1970s, about cults such as the Moonies taking over and creating some kind of religious dictatorship.  The endpoint of one of these was routine frontal lobotomies for dissidents.  

      Even if we win 2008 by an unprecedented landslide, it's going to take an enormous amount of education to return our own culture to a foundation of rational behavior and pluralistic religion (as opposed to these cults that are undermining mainstream churches).  I don't know that we have the means to pull it off before something radically awful comes of the present trends.

      So how do we fight this stuff?  

      What do you see as the greatest vulnerabilities of the Dominionist movement?  What tactics do you think would be the most productive?  What legislative agendas do you think would do the most good in terms of encouraging counter-trends and removing the loopholes via which these people operate?  What about the media, the economic stuff, and so on?  

      Can we create a counter-Dominionist economic network and other social infrastructure to shift resources toward individuals and organizations that are actively working for a rational and religiously-pluralistic society?  

      What do we need to do here?  What's needed?  Or is my sense of urgency about this stuff merely paranoia and it'll all blow over in time on its own?

      •  I do think it's possible to fight. (1+ / 0-)
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        The thing is, we are going to have to fight on multiple fronts:

        a) Making damn sure that churches are not hijacked (this is one of their biggest things now--infiltrating mainstream churches and hijacking them).  This would involve, among other things, educating pastors and church boards of mainstream congregations of tactics used in steeplejacking; informing them on the groups largely participating in steeplejacking; and warning signs in their congregations.  This would also involve churches toughening up their own internal regulations, allowing them to dissolve or kick out steeplejacking groups.

        b) A major emphasis all around in educating people on the tactics used in coercive religious groups (this would have the effect of starving them of much of their membership, and would also innoculate against a lot of authoritarian movements in general).  Preferably in elementary school.  Maybe even in Sunday school, in conjunction with a) above.

        c) Revoke 501(c)3 status for both churches and, where necessary, entire organisations and denominations that have shown patterns of supporting specific candidates, parties, or specific bills (all of which are illegal--we just don't enforce the fucking laws).  This would pretty much collapse a lot of the worst offenders--the Christian Coalition and PTL pretty much folded as distinct bodies when their 501(c)3 was revoked, and much of the present dominionist political lobbying has been specifically to try to preserve their tax exemptions and even attempt to shield them from investigation.  I promise you, if we started yanking 501(c)3s from Focus on the Family, the Assemblies of God, the SBC, and so on--you'd see a LOT of political dominionism going away and fast.  Even more so if one started charging back taxes as well.

        d) Educate social welfare groups about religiously motivated child abuse and get them serious about removing kids in danger due to dominionist parents.  (This would break a lot of the cycle of abuse, even with the present problems in CPS.)

        e) Make damn sure that state medical boards do not allow alternate certification, and petition medical associations to pass binding ethics guidelines prohibiting certain forms of "therapy" only promoted in dominionist groups (like "reparative therapy" and religiously motivated child abuse).  Furthermore work with legit medical associations and state medical boards to make it a binding ethics violation (punishable by decertification and removal of medical license) to knowingly promote this stuff.  Furthermore make it illegal to promote one's self as a mental health professional without formal licensure.  (This would pretty much destroy the dominionist "medical associations".)

        As an aside, also require specific state certification and licensure of all mental health and "behaviour modification" facilities as well as children's homes in the state and make it illegal to knowingly send a child outside of the United States to be enrolled in a behaviour modification clinic (and mandate funding for repatriation assistance for kids already caught overseas).  This will pretty much shut down the dominionist "degaying" industry as well as the abusive "Bible boot camps".

        f) Require minimal curriculum requirements for all private and home education programs.  (I'm not saying a formal board.  I'm saying "Here is a list of stuff that MUST be included in a basic curriculum package, no ifs, ands or buts".  Things like basic maths including set theory, science courses that at least discuss evolution even if they don't necessarily agree with that particular theory of descent of species, a factual American History curriculum, and so on.)  As dominionist correspondence-schools are getting so bad that state university systems are starting to refuse high school credits for their courses, this IS going to become an increasing concern.

        For legitimate home educators, this should allow accreditation of a curriculum by the state or allowing a state inclusive homeschooling association to accredit (emphasis on inclusive); there should, likewise, be formal moves to not allow recognition of non-inclusive homeschooling groups for state recognition (this would shut out HSLDA and their groups whilst allowing legit home education to continue, for example, with unschoolers, etc.--preferably parents should be able to list how they are meeting educational requirements for curricula programs ("For the 'evolutionary science' requirement we watched 'Walking with Dinosaurs' and read Robert Bakker's 'The Dinosaur Heresies' before our field trip to the science museum")).

        One possible way of doing this is to require private schools to be formally accredited.  (The legit private and religious schools will be willing to do this; this will also pretty much block out dominionist curricula programs, as practically all of them are from unaccredited colleges that brag about their unaccredited status.)  Most dominionist "homeschool" programs are in fact legally considered correspondence schooling, which would cover them--but possibly leave it more open for "unschoolers" who could send a planned semester or yearly curricula list to a state educational department or homeschool liason office.

        g) Require all colleges issuing degrees to be formally accredited with a body recognised by the US Department of Education or a state or regional accreditation board, and make the use of "degrees" from a non-accredited institution illegal.  (This is already the case in Oregon and several other states.)  This will pretty much shut down dominionist accreditation and diploma mills.

        h) Increase awareness of the isolation and authoritarianism of dominionist groups in general.  Support initiatives of victims of abusive groups in general (not restricted to dominionists) to gain damages in courts from abusive groups.  Push for PTSD and complex PTSD to be formally recognised as disorders under the Americans with Disabilities Act (this would help survivors a LOT).  Possibly expand RICO to cover any form of targeted harassment of a business or person which would "knowingly cause that person to be in fear of losing their life or property".  (This pretty much gets rid of dominionist flashmobbing.)

        i) Get the government to start taking religiously motivated domestic terrorism fucking seriously.  All you have to do is say "Al Quaida" or "bomb" in an airport or be of unusually dark complexion and TSA goes apeshit; meanwhile, dominionist "Army of God"-linked groups are reenacting assassinations in front of women's clinics and doing chemical attacks and simulated anthrax mailings.  SPLC reports 65 domestic terror plots they found out about between 1995 and 2005--over half of which would technically have been covered under the PATRIOT Act as terrorism.  Why the hell aren't we freezing funds of Operation Save America, for instance, as "supporting terrorism" (their leaders are connected to the Army of God)?

        j) For that matter, start enforcing fraud laws against dominionist groups using "bait and switch" evangelism stuff, especially "bait and switch" aimed at vulnerable populations.  Start charging "pregnancy counseling centers" with fraud by deception.  Charge the Assemblies of God for fraud for promoting the Seven Project (which is in fact a youth ministry deceptively promoted as a program for "at-risk youth" to keep kids off drugs).  Shut down "faith-based groups" that are evangelism programs falsely being run as rehab groups (we have court precedent already for this--the US District Court effectively did this to Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries in Iowa's prison system and is making them pay back all the money the state paid them).

        k) Get the US Senate to formally ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and ICC jurisdiction.  (The US is the only country with a functional government that has not ratified the former.)  Specifically call for human rights tribunals against parties known to have engaged in genocide and/or crimes against humanity.  (This pretty much busts one of the Assemblies' frontgroups, the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, all over the fuckin' place.  Lots of FGBMFI men involved in grave human rights abuses, including Gen. Rios Montt (wanted for genocide) and former Gen. William Boykin (linked to the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo torture scandals as the asshat who authorised torture and likely connected to the "extraordinary rendition" gulag system as well)...again, there is precedent dating all the way back to Nurenburg and before for this.)

        Pass legislation formally defining the Trading with the Enemy Act to include any group specifically linked to domestic terrorism, known genocide, or crimes against humanity.  (Yes, this will kill our trade with some countries as well.  It also pretty much prohibits funding of dominionist groups that have supported genocide.)

        Note that in each of these cases I am not specifically banning dominionism.  I am advocating, if anything, a combination of tactics designed to inoculate churches and other groups against further spread along with enforcement of present laws we have on the books--and in a few cases, tightening up of laws to enforce standards across the board to effectively starve most funding for dominionist incentives, essentially make it much harder for dominionists to operate (I do not hold pretenses we'll ever get rid of dominionism entirely) and protect kids in particular against further abuse.

        One of the most important things that people can do for all of this:

        a) Get the word out.  Get the word out.  GET THE WORD OUT about dominionism and what it is, what it does, who funds it, who runs it.

        b) Work like hell to get out the vote and make sure the vote isn't fucked with.  This includes not only getting in people into Congress (and state legislatures) who will approve the tweaks to laws, but (in states where this is open to vote) getting in Attorney-Generals who will enforce laws and so on.  This includes not only doing major league GOTV, but also specifically including vote monitors in states and counties to make sure nothing funny is going on.  This includes lobbying your state to ban those fucking Diebold piece-of-shit black-boxes and all other voting machines without a secondarily and independently verifiable paper trail.  This includes raising fifty kinds of holy hell if something IS found to be off.

        c) Make sure that the Democratic Party is educated on this and made into a force where we CAN work for this change.

        •  wow! brilliant! how can we get you... (0+ / 0-)

          a half hour or more of face-to-face meeting time with each of the major candidates and with various current Representatives and Senators?

          I'm serious.  You need to have access to the top levels of the most significant D candidates' campaigns and current elected members of Congress.  What's it going to take?   Would writing to Markos be of any help?   If he got behind you on this, it's highly probable that he could make introductions.  

          What do we need to do to get you the opportunity to meet with candidates and current elected officials?

          And I do agree, all the steps you're describing are fully within our legal and Constitutional traditions & current practices.  The dominionists are taking advantage of loopholes, and these loopholes are also used by various forms of fraudsters and child abusers and so on.  Closing the loopholes is a good thing in and of itself.  

    •  Just one thing. (0+ / 0-)

      Not that what you're saying isn't scary, dogemperor. But there's a piece of this you haven't elucidated, so I will.

      I, for the record, was raised in just about the most hard-right, dogmatic, controlling, nuttiest authoritarian religion you can possibly imagine. Born into it, in fact, with extensive family involvement stretching back for generations, essentially since the founding of the sect.

      My point is--being quite an average person in most respects, lacking courage or vision or whatever beyond the norm--I did something that isn't at all rare in these situations. I GOT OUT. Not without a personal cost, mind you, but I did leave. Countless others in my situation do exactly the same.

      Mainstream religions keep records on attrition; my nutty baptismal creed, which is very fast-growing, doesn't. The attrition rate, for the rate of people joining, might not be any too flattering, you know :-) might not even amount to much net gain in the membership over time.  

      I made an informal break in my late teens, when I stopped attending church. I broke formally in my late 30s, when I finally had my name removed from the church rolls, so I wouldn't be contacted anymore.

      Bottom line, with my personal history--with YOUR OWN personal history, I  might add--can we get too worked-up about the fact that far-right religions often encourage breeding? Look at what might happen to the majority of theose kids, when they hit maturity.

      •  Walkaway myself there :3 (1+ / 0-)
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        The problem is that we aren't the only ones noticing how many second-gen and multigenerational walkaways are making themselves known.  (It's actually been a major change--five years ago, cult experts saw multigen-walkways as something theoretical, and now exit counselling conferences have specialised tracks on multigenerational walkaways.  It's actually been quite encouraging to see experts realising we exist!)

        Much of the major push for dominionist "home education" and even dominionist colleges (like Patrick Henry and Liberty University) has been very specifically because a lot of us are walking away and dominionists are friggin' petrified to see this.  I was raised in an abusive Assemblies group, and the three experiences I had that allowed me access to the outside world were ending up in the secular mental health system (due to what would eventually be diagnosed as complex PTSD from growing up in a Bible-based cult), being involved in Girl Scouting, and being able to attend public high school; were I growing up as a kid in a dominionist household nowadays, I likely would not have those crucial windows open because there is much more of a push now for dominionist "homeschooling" and for "parallel economy" alternatives to legitimate mental health facilities and psychiatrists as well as dominionist alternatives to conventional Scouting (which will also be touched on later in the series--especially in the case of Girl Scouting, dominionist groups are aggressively pushing "parallel economy" alternatives).

        In short, it's actually worse now for kids trying to come out of it--we had a lot of isolation, yes, but (as scary as it sounds) we actually had it good compared to the present generation of kids being "Jesus Camped" and such.  (I'll touch more on how things have gotten worse in dominionist education in an ongoing series I'm doing on the "parallel universe" neopente dominionist groups in particular have constructed.)

        •  Few of these nutty religions and movements (1+ / 0-)
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          keep statistics, unfortunately, so we don't have hard information about defections. But the fact that this one school of fundamentalists is cracking down the way you describe is encouraging. Hmmmm, attrition must be a very real threat.

          In my case, I attended a public school, but there were extensive church programs all week long, in addition to school. In those church classes, I was boot-camped, for many hours each week, about how evil the world was, and how "satan will tell 99 truths to accomplish 1 lie" (so don't ever trust yourself). I was also programmed to go out and try to win recruits to the church.

          In my teens, those two things 1.) the scheduling of my every spare minute outside of school by the church--which I grew to resent actively--and 2.) the church's emphasis on proselytizing, which I basically always abhorred, proved to be the "skinny end of the wedge" where my doubts about my nutty religion were concerned.

          There was a church university, but I attended a secular institution, instead. I think tacit approval was given to my "seeing first-hand how lost people outside the church are." I don't recall much flap about my decision to go to secular college, and it was there that my world blew wide open. Services were physically difficult to get to from the campus, so my attendance at church waned dramatically. This allowed me to realize I was really no better in any way attending church than not. Another very important thing that happened in college was I went to the student health service and connected with a counselor whom I credit with helping me break with the church, as early in life and as cleanly as I did.

          What an eye-opener to realize there were perfectly worthwhile developmental pursuits (like sexual experimentation), that weren't church-sanctioned, and perfectly worthwhile sunday activities that didn't involve worship.

          This is just how it worked for me. I don't know how it would work for other people who come from even more restrictive environments than my own (you, perhaps?). Most importantly, we don't know how effective the stepped-up measures against attrition by the most hard-line fundamentalists will be. My guess is that they will be flawed, and that many people are still going to find a way out. It reminds me of the great Leonard Cohen lyric:

          You know the way to stop me
          But you don't have the discipline.

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