Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Josh Duggar Backs Out of Teach Them Diligently Conference

After In Touch Weekly alerted the public to the Josh Duggar sexual abuse scandal, Josh Duggar has withdrawn from public life. Duggar is no longer an employee of FRC Action, and his official website is offline, reports Time. Now, Josh Duggar's speaking engagement at Teach Them Diligently's Christian homeschooling conference has been canceled, according to E! Online. The entertainment magazine reports that Duggar is no longer scheduled to speak at the 2015 Teach Them Diligently convention, which will take place in Sandusky, Ohio from May 28-30.

In a public letter shared on Facebook, David Nunnery of Teach Them Diligently announced that Josh Duggar withdrew as a speaker at the conference. Actor and athlete T.C. Stallings will replace him on the schedule, according to the statement. "Despite the disappointment and disbelief that accompanies news like we have heard, we have come to expect that through disappointments, we will witness God working mightily!" Nunnery wrote.

I'm relieved that Duggar will not be speaking at the event. However, when I skimmed over the conference workshop schedule, I was disappointed that the topics reflected the unhealthy Christian homeschooling culture in which the Duggars live.

Some workshops covered the usual homeschool convention topics: academics, balancing marriage and homeschooling, creationism and evolution, the Great Flood as historical fact, and so forth. The Benham brothers, who lost their HGTV show due to David Benham's homophobic remarks, are scheduled to deliver a talk about how they were "fired for their Biblical values".

Other workshops gave me pause. For example, two workshops will depict families as under attack by ominous outside forces. When fundamentalists obsess over real or imagined threats from outside the family, they forget the threats that can emerge within families. Family violence (including sexual abuse) is a far more pressing danger to children than "spiritual warfare", "the Enemy" or "the World", and I wish Christian homeschoolers would take the problem seriously.
Call to Arms: The Guts & Glory of Courageous Fatherhood
Chuck Black
Perfect Praise Publications
There is a war being waged for our families. Our enemy is strong and we are in his territory, but God  has called us to arms. Chuck offers straight answers and practical help for dads who are looking to  equip and launch soldiers for Jesus Christ.


Spiritual Warfare: Fighting for your Family
Chuck Black
Perfect Praise Publications
Homeschooling doesn’t exempt families from spiritual warfare; instead it puts us on the front line. Don’t underestimate the Enemy. Trained as a military warrior, Chuck offers insight and training on how to survive the battles and advance the Kingdom.
Another workshop urged parents to teach "purity" values to their sons. With regard to the Duggar scandal, other commentators have argued that purity culture prevents young people from developing a healthy sense of sexuality, discourages open conversation about sexual issues, denigrates sexual abuse victims, and encourages silence about sexual abuse. Now more than ever, purity culture deserves close scrutiny.
Shining Armor:Your Son’s Battle for Purity
Hal and Melanie Young
Raising Real Men
Most purity resources these days focus on girls, but purity tends to be a much bigger problem for young men and many seem hopelessly na├»ve about the battles our sons are facing. Today’s young men grow up with challenges to their purity on every side. In a time when over 90% of teens have been exposed to Internet pornography, how can we teach our boys to keep their way pure? What can we do when temptation is lurking on friend’s phones and beckons just a click away? How can we give them a Biblical context for sexuality—from their toddler years to adulthood? Come hear the parents of six sons give you frank, practical advice on raising your son to be a virtuous knight.
The Youngs are also scheduled to deliver a workshop on how to resist the world's alleged attempts to "feminize" boys through "gender-bending". Such gender essentialism, which assumes that boys are automatically more aggressive than girls, runs the risk of normalizing male violence. To boot, where we find rigid gender roles, we find devaluation of qualities labeled "feminine"and of females in general. In the wake of the Duggar scandal, especially the erasure of Josh Duggar's female victims, these attitudes should give us all pause.
Raising Real Men: Surviving and Appreciating Boys
Hal and Melanie Young
Raising Real Men
In spite of what the culture is telling us, boys and girls are different. Have you ever had a war break out in the middle of history, or had a single math lesson take three hours? Then you’re probably raising boys! If the world seems intent on gender-bending and forcing our sons into a feminized mold, Hal and Melanie, parents of six boys, explain the Biblical way out – and a better way to turn wild little dirt-lovers into strong Christian men!
When I see workshop offerings at Teach Them Diligently, CHAP, and other Christian homeschooling conventions, my heart sinks. While the parents and presenters at these conferences have good intentions, they seem oblivious to how unhealthy their worldview is for children. When Christian communities rage at imaginary attacks on families while ignoring real ones, foster toxic attitudes toward sex, and promote rigid gender roles, they do a disservice to children. As the Duggar scandal reminds us, these attitudes do not necessarily protect children, and may actually make it more difficult to confront child abuse.

If the Christian homeschooling community wants to protect its children, it must learn from the Duggar scandal. It must question its own toxic values about sex, gender, and the outside world.


To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Homeschoolers Anonymous: Josh Duggar Withdraws from Teaching Them Diligently Convention

Inquisitr: Josh Duggar Cancels Speaking Engagement, But 19 Kids And Counting Could Still Go On Without Him


8 comments:

  1. This jingoistic language is disturbing. Also disturbing that the workshops are so focused on men exclusively.

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    1. Donna -- This is the tip of the iceberg. After attending a Vision Forum conference and several CHAP conferences, I learned that the hardcore fundamentalist homeschoolers live in their own parallel reality -- a reality of creationism, rigid gender roles, historical revisionism, and suspicion of the outside world.

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  2. Its funny how bad I thought Mormonism was, to get out of it and try to de-clutter my head and find new beliefs. I can't imagine anyone leaving something as controlling as the Quiver-full or anything like it. Plus, this kind of conference is MUCH worse than the droning on and on in LDS conference! Good hell!

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    1. Heather -- This kind of ideology could seriously mess someone up. It would take years to sort through all the lies, if one escaped that subculture.

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  3. The only reason Josh got involved in the first place is that he misread the conference title as Touch Them Diligently.

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  4. What astounds me is that governmental teaching bodies and child service agencies allow these conferences to carry on. While people are allowed to practice their religion, surely if it is doing harm then its time to step in and solve the problem.

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    Replies
    1. Christian -- Stronger regulation and oversight of homeschooling is definitely needed. It floors me that some homeschooling families are still teaching creationism and revisionist history.

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