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Teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr turns women into lesbians?

I wrote before about the website The Thinking Housewife in the context of their idea that the increasing acceptance of feminism and homosexuality is leading the country, if not the world, into disaster and only a return to ‘Christian patriarchy’ can save us from doom.

I had taken this site at face value. But now comes another post that has me wondering if the whole site is not some elaborate spoof and that they have successfully pulled my leg. It would not be the first time I have been taken in by such hoaxes because it is often really hard to tell the difference between deeply religious sites and good parodies of them. I may have well fallen victim to Poe’s Law that suggests “that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between parodies of religious or other fundamentalism and its genuine proponents, since they both seem equally insane.”

This is what happened for example with the site known as Objective Ministries. I first heard about it some years ago when a reader sent me a link to an item on their website about how they were mounting an expedition to Africa to capture a live pterosaur and thus disprove evolution. It seemed like just the kind of crazy idea that creationists would have and I initially took it at face value.

But what gives hoax sites away is when they say something that is so over the top that people start becoming suspicious and cotton on to the fact that they are being had. This is what happened with the recent exposure of the saga of J. S. Dirr who had successfully fooled people for a decade until the creator took it a little too far and made some people suspicious. Once red flags are raised and people start looking more closely, these hoaxes quickly unravel. Another supposedly Christian site that I have my suspicions about is Christian Domestic Discipline that advocates spanking of wives as a means of securing for the husband his rightful place as the head of the household.

In the case of Objective Ministries, what made me pause was an item that said that Apple was an agent of Satan. That seemed so preposterous that I started looking more closely and could find no such person as “Dr. Richard Paley”, the leader of the pterosaur expedition or the “Fellowship University” of which he was supposedly a faculty member. Other creationist sites have warned believers that this site is a hoax.

So what made me suspicious about The Thinking Housewife? It was a post involving the late astronaut Sally Ride, in which the site’s owner Laura Wood said:

For all the fanfare that once surrounded it, Ride’s story will likely fade into history and her life ultimately inspire very few girls. This will be so not only because women do not excel at space science or the physical demands of space travel as men do but also because, as Ride’s obituary proved, she did not lead a full life. Ride was in a lesbian relationship with a childhood friend for 27 years.

The only good reason for a normal woman to go through the grueling rigors of becoming an astronaut is that NASA is a great place to meet men.

I could not imagine even an ardent anti-feminist like Phyllis Schlafly saying that the only reason for women to enter the space program was to find husbands so that they could lead a ‘full life’. In a follow up post, Wood explained that it was Martin Luther King Jr.’s influence on Ride’s mother that turned Ride and her sister into lesbians.

Their parents encouraged them to “study hard, to do their best and be anything they wanted to be.” The groundbreaking Ride sisters both became lesbians. Karen Ride is “married” to another female Presbyterian minister, and Sally, as was revealed by her homosexual activist sister this week, has been in a lesbian relationship for decades.

“The Ride family is an all-American family and at the same time an extraordinary one,” writes Michael Adee. Lesbianism has gone from shameful to a badge of honor.

What went wrong in this “all-American family?” Here’s a clue. The mother Joyce was known for her “groundbreaking Sunday School lessons about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movements to the little children there.” The Ride sisters grew up imbibing the Kool-Aid and their mother filled their glasses to the top.

Surely this must be a spoof, right? As is the post that suggests that feminism is making women go bald?

What adds to my suspicions is that the site is very tastefully laid out, the writing style elegant and graceful in a way that speaks of a good education and formal manners. When coupled with the retrograde views expressed, it conjures up Downton Abbey-like images of a bygone era of dowager ladies seated on straight backed chairs in the morning rooms of their homes in country estates, sipping tea daintily, and tut-tutting through their lorgnettes at the disgraceful behavior of young people nowadays and how hard it is to get good help. The site seems a little too perfect in creating that ambiance. Furthermore, there is absolutely no information given about the site owner Laura Wood. Usually these kinds of personal sites provide some brief biographical background information to establish the credentials of the creator.

I am not suggesting that the site might be a hoax as a backhanded way of belittling the views expressed by a genuine site. It also does not mean that fans of the site who submit comments here (such as Jesse Powell in response to my posts here, here, and here) are also part of the hoax. They may well be genuine people who have been taken in, falling victim to Poe’s Law.

Comments

  1. McC2lhu does not have gerseberms says

    If the site isn’t a Poe, I’m very frightened of that level of WTF going on in people’s skulls.

  2. Alverant says

    I remain skeptical. In light of some of the crazy things some conservative christians have said in the past few months (for example that President Obama was once married to a man), something like this doesn’t surprise me one bit.

  3. stonyground says

    I find it amusing that there are people who are so completely whacky in their beliefs that it really is impossible to satirise them without appearing to be genuine. This is not just about having been taken in because you swallowed something outragious due to it perfectly fitting in with your pre-conceptions of fundie types, it is carefully considering the content of their blogs and still not being sure one way or the other.

  4. stonyground says

    I also find it amusing that the Christian Domestic Discipline blog is blocked by the Nanny Programme at my workplace.

    Also highly amusing that the erotic nature of spanking games is acknowledged but with strict limitations. Naughty girl sent to the headmaster for six of the best across her navy blue knickers is hallal. Naughty boy sent to the headmistress for six of the best across his grey shorts is harim.

    Beyond parody.

  5. Jesse Powell says

    Hello, this is Jesse Powell from The Thinking Housewife website again. I wish to address some of the questions regarding whether The Thinking Housewife is a hoax.

    First of all I have been commenting at The Thinking Housewife for a long time, more than two years. I first ran across the website by searching the word “patriarchy” in Google blogs trying to find a positive reference to patriarchy trying to find like minded people. When I first found the blog I was thrilled because it openly supported patriarchy and at the same time it was mostly secular, a rare combination. I then started commenting there soon after and have sticked with the blog since.

    Me and Laura Wood think a lot alike on cultural issues. Since I know I am a real and sincere person when Laura Wood says things I am inclined to agree with anyways my assumption is that Mrs. Wood is being sincere as well. Mrs. Wood does occasionally make posts that are meant to be satirical or posts that are more lighthearted in nature but not more than is normal for most blogs. For example Laura Wood has done a series of posts about Pizza indicating the downfall of civilization. These posts are meant to be primarily satirical, though with a bit of truth; the bit of truth being the decline in the standard of homemaking that is due to so many women working outside the home and no longer preparing homemade meals. As an “insider” I perhaps have a better idea which posts are satirical and which are serious but the great majority of posts are serious even though some are more lighthearted in nature. I would consider the “Is Feminism Making Women Bald?” post to be serious. When Laura Wood is being satirical it is pretty obvious (at least to me), she is not confusing in the way she presents issues. By no means is the site overall meant as satire.

    Mano Singham said “What adds to my suspicions is that the site is very tastefully laid out, the writing style elegant and graceful in a way that speaks of a good education and formal manners.” This is due to the fact of Laura Wood’s style. The blog has a feminine presentation, which I like. Also, the blog is completely under the control of Laura Wood; everything written is something Mrs. Wood first approves of herself. All comments go through Laura Wood first; there is no direct commenting on her blog. First you send an email to Laura Wood and then she posts it if she chooses. I am a long time commenter and supporter but she doesn’t post every comment I send her. In addition Mrs. Wood edits all the comments she posts either to shorten them to highlight better the main points or to correct grammatical errors or to enforce a civilized presentation. The Thinking Housewife site is meant for the readership, it is not meant as a platform for commenters. The reason for the decorum of the site is because Mrs. Wood makes it that way. If you submit a comment that is not civilized or is overly verbose or is off-topic or is even simply dull and not interesting Mrs. Wood either will not publish it or she will alter it to make it conform to the purpose and style of her website.

    Regarding the connection hypothesized by Mrs. Wood between the Ride sisters becoming lesbians and their mother teaching about Martin Luther King in Sunday School, that hypothesis is definitely meant to be taken seriously. I don’t agree with the connection but it is definitely the type of claim that Mrs. Wood and many of the commenters at her site will be inclined to agree with.

    To offer some background to explain things better, The Thinking Housewife is part of a wider network of blogs that tend to self-identify as “Traditionalist Conservatives.” When I refer to “Traditionalist Conservatism” I am referring to the network of blogs that The Thinking Housewife is associated with. This particular branch of Traditionalist Conservatism is considered to have been founded by Jim Kalb at Turnabout. It is a standard part of Traditionalist Conservative thinking that the white man losing his hegemony and his “racial pride” after the Civil Rights Movement led directly to the wholesale overturning of the prior social order. In other words white men no longer defending white culture and their rightful authority as white men led to the white race no longer seeking to defend itself as a people which in turn led to the undermining of the social order first by blacks demanding special privileges from whites that they didn’t earn and by engaging in lawless behavior once the restrictions imposed upon them by whites were withdrawn. The second undermining of the social order came from the 1965 immigration act that allowed “uncontrolled immigration” from non-white nations. The third undermining of the social order is women’s liberation or feminism. The fourth undermining of the social order then could be said to be homosexual liberation or “gay rights.” All of these maladies come from one central source, that is “white guilt” and the vilification of “white men”; once white men lost their sense of honor and noble purpose as white men and therefore failed to protect the social order and the society that the “white man” created here in North America all the forces of social destruction were unleashed.

    Now, I don’t support this racial theory as to the underlying cause of America’s social problems but many of the commenters and supporters of The Thinking Housewife website do. Most importantly, this “racial theory” of the origins of America’s social crises is the standard model or the dominant hypothesis of the broader “Traditionalist Conservative” sphere that The Thinking Housewife website originated from and is an off-shoot of.

    Most Traditionalist Conservative websites are strongly racially oriented; this “core” of Traditionalist Conservative sites tends to be friendly towards Jews and moderate (compared to others) on racial matters; they tend to reject the label “White Nationalist.” They also tend to be strongly anti-Muslim. There are however branches or off-shoots from what might be called “core Traditionalist Conservatism”; The Thinking Housewife site is a family focused off-shoot from core Traditionalist Conservatism and The Orthosphere website is a religiously focused off-shoot from core Traditionalist Conservatism. These off-shoot branches of Traditionalist Conservatism do not focus so much on racial matters; the core of Traditionalist Conservatism focuses on racial issues much more. Traditionalist Conservatism overall tends to be rather secular in orientation; this is why they are tolerant of an open atheist such as myself. I’d estimate that 20% of Traditionalist Conservatives are atheists. Support of patriarchy is a standard part of Traditionalist Conservative philosophy. Most Traditionalist Conservatives are Catholics. I consider myself to be a supporter of the family oriented branch of Traditionalist Conservatism (The Thinking Housewife) and the religiously oriented branch of Traditionalist Conservatism (The Orthospere).

    The Thinking Housewife website has a mixed support base. It started out as an off-shoot from the Traditionalist Conservative core. As time went on supporters from other backgrounds found the site. As far as “Christian Patriarchy” is concerned there is a portion of the website’s supporters from what could be called “Christian Patriarchy culture” but I am probably the biggest promoter of Christian Patriarchy on the site. I am not sure the site overall can be characterized as a “Christian Patriarchy” site. In the past there was a big invasion of MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) at The Thinking Housewife website but myself and others beat back the Men’s Rights invasion. Today The Thinking Housewife has a reputation for being decidedly against “men’s rights.”

    Traditionalist Conservatism seems to be home to the largest concentration of atheist supporters of patriarchy (to my knowledge). I’m hoping the non-racial or weakly racial branch of Traditionalist Conservatism will grow. I would also like to see an atheist contingent develop. Anyways, The Thinking Housewife is most definitely not a hoax. Traditionalist Conservatism is quite small; my primary hope is focused on the Christian Patriarchy Movement. I think Christian Patriarchy is where the real action is. I think the Tea Party is the closest approximation to a significant political force whose views are somewhat similar to what can be found at The Thinking Housewife.

  6. stonyground says

    My wife and I have a very equal relationship. We both work, we are both skilled in home cooking and, all things considered, our homelife is pretty idyllic. I sort of resent the implication that our homelife is somehow inferior. If someone else wants to run their home on a more patriarchial model that is nobody’s business but their own, just as it none of their business if I don’t.

  7. says

    Good morning Mano,

    If there is a more perfect example of Poe’s Law, than Jews & Christians Together, I don’t know what it is.

    Hours before the expected announcement of Paul Ryan as Willard Mitt Romney’s running mate, this group has issue an 84-page manifesto: Dump Rominee: Why Tampa’s Republican Delegates Must Dump Romney To Defeat Obama.

    In reading just the table of contents, parody leapt to mind. This can’t be real, can it? Yet, the manifesto is being played as real by people who ought to be savvy about such spoofs.

    Then there’s this bit about The Big Problem:

    So, let’s now face it squarely, the Big Problem: Can there be any real doubt that the fascinating metaphysics of Mitt’s Mormonism – which belligerently declares all other faiths to be “ABOMINATIONS” – will soon find wide distribution in Bible Belt areas of FL, VA, IA and MO? Can any of us (including our own LDS loved ones and friends) watch this animated yet accurate summary of Romney’s sci-fi polytheism without cringing? No mere adherent, Romney presided as the LDS equivalent of Boston’s Cardinal Law. In 2008, Obama had his Jeremiah Wright problem; in 2012, Mormon Bishop Romney is Jeremiah Wright.

    So, are we being played or is this real. I can’t tell.

    Clearly, Poe is right.

    Do all you can to make today a good day,

    Jeff

  8. Mano Singham says

    Hi Jesse,

    Thanks for providing this helpful background.

    I am curious. Have you had any direct contact with Laura Wood that tells you something about her (other than what she posts on her site) that makes you think she is genuine and that tells you something about her as a person?

    I am certainly not asking you to violate her privacy by sharing with us things she may have told you in confidence. I just want your reasons as to why you think she is genuine other than the fact that her site is congenial to your views.

  9. Jesse Powell says

    My relationship with Laura Wood is email only. I don’t wish to reveal anything based on my email correspondence with her. However, I can see how to the uninitiated or for those who are not “of like mind” her site can be interpreted as a parody. I was able to experience her site as a parody myself after putting forth an effort to “think like a liberal” and then read again the particular passages that you found suspicious with an eye on humor. After doing that the site became hysterically funny, Laura Wood turned into a master comedian. Alas, however, I am very confident the site is not a joke. Even if Laura Wood herself intended the site as a parody it wouldn’t matter at all as it would still promote the same cultural message to society with equal effectiveness.

    Laura Wood originally was a commenter at View From the Right (VFR). VFR is the biggest and most important Traditionalist Conservative website. It is part of what I refer to as “core Traditionalist Conservatism.” I do not support the racial views at VFR but Laura Wood got her start as a commenter at VFR. Lawrence Auster is the person in charge of VFR. There was a post at VFR titled “British atheism, and Laura Wood’s first comment at VFR.”

    A picture of Laura Wood can be found at her website under a post titled “Hello, and a Request”; the request being a request for donations.

    There is a rumor that Laura Wood is Lawrence Auster’s alter ego; that Lawrence Auster runs both View From the Right and The Thinking Housewife. I don’t know how seriously people take this rumor but it is definitely not true.

    Another rumor is that Mrs. Wood writes all the comments at her blog herself; that her many supporters and contributors are figments of her imagination. I suppose the “supporting evidence” for this idea is that she doesn’t use automatic comments and that all her commenters “sound alike”, that they all have “a smilar voice.” Mrs. Wood has never posted a comment falsely attributed to me that I never sent her. I think the reason why her commenters often “sound alike” is due to Mrs. Wood’s editing changes where she tends to inject “her voice” into other’s comments in the process of editing them. Laura Wood has always been loyal to the main points I was trying to make and the arguments I was presenting in whatever editing changes she made to my comments.

    Turning to more philosophical questions; I think it is important to understand that the views at The Thinking Housewife represent an internally consistent train of thought or an internally consistent world view. Before I discovered The Thinking Housewife I thought my views of the world were very idiosyncratic, that they were kind of cobbled together randomly and that there might be some people who agreed with certain parts of my worldview but that my worldview overall was unique to myself. After finding The Thinking Housewife I discovered that this was not true; that my views followed along a consistent organized pattern and that other people viewed the world according to the same overall pattern that I myself used. So, instead of myself agreeing with the cultural views of Laura Wood 30% as might be expected if my views were randomly cobbled together and Mrs. Wood happened to agree with me more than most I instead found myself agreeing with Mrs. Wood 90% on cultural matters indicating that we were using the same overall organizing principle to decide upon our views and that our differences were only small particular interpretations of specific subjects.

    I find the same very high level of agreement on cultural issues when listening to Christian Patriarchy preachers on the Internet. My very high level of agreement with Christian Patriarchy teachings on cultural issues is particularly interesting as I am an atheist with no significant exposure to religion and yet my worldview appears to have the same underlying organizational structure as “extreme” or “fundamentalist” Christianity. How can this be? How can someone drenched in Christianity of the old school traditionalist variety have the same overall world view as an atheist with no exposure to Christianity who grew up in a liberal feminist cultural environment? My answer to this conundrum is that both myself and the Christian Patriarchy preacher are reacting to “The Truth” or what I call the “externally imposed moral order.” The Christian Patriarchy preacher assigns the source of the order of the world to his literal supernatural God Jesus Christ while I assign the source of the order of the world to evolution and naturalistic phenomenon. However, even though I and the Christian Patriarchy preacher have different “theories of origin” regarding the nature of things we agree on the practical questions of how life should be in the day to day material world.

    The important point is that Christianity does not start out as an invented God with everything derivative of the invented God invented as well. Instead Christianity starts out with a material world to explain and places an invented God at the top of a system of moral rules that are required by the realities of the material world.

    Traditionalist Conservatism in general has the same overall model of how the world works as it relates to cultural matters as I personally believe and as modern Christian Patriarchy teaches. I have disputes with core Traditionalist Conservatism regarding “theories of origin” questions mostly regarding the issue of race but I agree to a very large extent with Traditionalist Conservatism how society should be organized regarding family behaviors.

    The central theme of agreement between myself, Laura Wood, Traditionalist Conservatives in general, and Christian Patriarchy is that we all agree in the primacy and overriding importance of the “externally imposed moral order.” We each have somewhat different interpretations of what exactly this “externally imposed moral order” consists of and where it comes from but we all agree that the “externally imposed moral order” is indeed “externally imposed”; that it is not a self-willed or self-determined choice of human beings either individually or collectively; that it is imposed upon humanity by God.

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