Schaeffer: Subversives from Within
Frank Schaeffer, son of the late Calvinist preacher Francis Schaeffer, has some very interesting insights into the nature of the Christian far right — the extreme fundamentalists behind much of the home-schooling movement — and their almost total withdrawal from American culture: Glenn Beck and The 9/12 Marchers: Subversives From Within.
As Schaeffer explains, he was raised as a scion of this movement, and became very disenchanted with what he saw. As a former insider, his analysis of the fanatical far right is fascinating and disturbing.
As a former Religious Right leader, who was raised (and home-schooled by my Evangelical-leader parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer) in the movement, let me explain just why the ordinary rules of decency don’t apply to the right these days.
Let me also answer this question: Who are these people?
Protecting Your Children From Satan
A big part of the answer to understanding the heightened climate of outright hate and fear of the “other” is the home school and Christian school movement. It is a modern incarnation of the anti-federal government ideology of earlier firebrands such as John Calhoun who was the 7th Vice President and a Southern politician in the 19th century. Calhoun embraced slavery, states’ rights, limited government, and said that Americans should secede from the union if it went against their wishes. (See: “Calhoun Conservatism Raises Its Ugly Head” by Mike Lux in the Huffington Post Sept 11/09.)
In the early 1970s the evangelicals like my late father and James Dobson decided that the our society had fallen so far “away from God” and so far from “America’s Christian history” that it was time to metaphorically decamp to not just another country but to another planet:. In other words virtually unnoticed by the media and mainstream political operatives, a big chunk of American society seceded from the union in all but name.
What they did is turn the white race-based “Christian school” movement of the 1950s into a countercultural phenomena. As tens of thousands of new Christian schools opened, it was no longer just about “protecting” white kids from minorities and African-Americans. It was about protecting your children from Satan — in other words the United States government’s long reach through the public school system.
To protect your children from Satan — in other words mainstream, open patriotic and pluralistic America — you either kept them at home where mom and dad could teach the children right from wrong or send them to a cloistered private evangelical/fundamentalist school. At home or in school you used curriculum prepared by the likes of James—beat-your-child-and-dare-to-discipline-Dobson, RJ-slavery-was-a-good-thing-Rushdoony, or many and other right-wing anti-American activists. That curriculum presented “secular America” as downright evil. Hating the USA became next to godliness.