The parents of Christian Patriarchy have one goal in mind: to raise children who believe and act as they do. The reason, of course, is that they see their beliefs and lifestyle as the only one that is truly Christian, and anyone who steps outside of their beliefs and lifestyle turns their back on God. Within this framework, parents of Christian Patriarchy act quite rationally.
Vision Forum and No Greater Joy and the Institutes for Basic Life Principles tell them that if they do just so, they will turn out perfect godly Children. This is the appeal these groups have, and parents buy it. They then live by the formulas these groups present and expect complete conformity from their children…
This is one aspect of the whole thing that I find quite opaque. What reason do people have for thinking this way of life is particularly “Christian”? What about it is specifically Christian? To an outsider it looks much more simply old-fashioned and off-the-charts strict, neither of which has anything at all to do with “Christian.”
I suspect it’s the other way around – people develop ideas of “religion” as being about purity (especially sexual purity) and related qualities, all of which are opposed to ordinary worldly secular life – pop culture, gossip, raucous music, advertising, sexy clothes, singles bars, non-marital sex, teh gayz, consumerism, the whole vulgar package. They think of the rejection of all that as religious and then they do a back-formation in which their particular religion turns out to mandate that rejection. Only it doesn’t. It forgot to, because it didn’t know about it.
Pascal Boyer talks about this way of thinking in Religion Explained.
As far as anthropologists know, people in most places conceive of some supernatural agents as having some interest in their decisions. This can take all sorts of forms. Christians for instance consider that God expects some particular kinds of behavior and will react to departures from the norm…
For instance, religious codes like the Christian Commandments specify a simple list of prescriptions and prohibitions. But the range of situations about which people have moral intuitions or uncertainties is far greater than this. [p 173]
And people just fill in the gaps, and assume that’s “Christian/Muslim/whatever.”
With the Patriarchy set, the results can be pretty stringent. Libby Anne quotes from Michael Pearl:
Over the years as our children were growing up, Deb and I offended about every family member and some of our friends by being “overprotective” of the innocent charges God sent into our care. We guarded them from any suspect company and thoughtfully planned their associations. We have not trusted, “good Christian families.” We have not participated in churches where the children were separated from us. After church, we watched them and their associations. When kids stop running around in circles, screaming, and start talking, or drawing aside, you’ve likely got the beginning of troubles brewing. Keep the little ones standing right beside you after church. They should always sit with you, never with their friends. If they go out to the bathroom, go with them. Never allow them to spend the night with friends or cousins. Slumber parties are sin parties. Never allow them to listen to music through headphones. Three-minute phone conversations, no chat rooms, no surfing the web for any reason. Parents should make it physically impossible for them to even access the web. We didn’t allow our children to spend time in their bedrooms unless they were working on a project or reading. Bedroom doors were always kept open, except for two minutes while dressing.
Wouldn’t the Pearls have been happier with a set of robots for children?