Monthly Archives: May 2016

That Christian Man Selling Child-Training Whips Is Back

When I was a pre or early teen, a traveling home school family, with a traveling home school family business of “rods” made a stop in the area. The homeschooler moms in our area had, like, a tupperware party of thing to beat your kids with. Many of them brought their kids along to the presentation- including my mom.

The mother of the family described how she would go quietly through the house and watching to see if the children were performing well enough. If they weren’t, she would surprise them with a sharp little snap on the legs or buttocks.

In retrospect- holy fucking christ! Are you kidding me? Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a perfect recipe for Complex PTSD?

The beating-ware party was decorated in the horrible overly floral pseudo-Victorian style that I remember seeing a lot in the homeschooling version of the ’90’s. The man of the family was clean cut and slimy. He didn’t say as much but he handled the money. The woman gushed about her product. Her ten or twelve children didn’t talk much unless the script or social niceties required them too. They stood in the back ground with wide, matching smiles, brought out their instruments and played music when they were required to. Hung back and smiled again.

I remember hanging out in the entry room of the house with some of the local group children. One of the boys told the rest of us quietly that he would run away from home if his mom started doing this.

There were strawberries dipped in chocolate on silver trays. The moms were all talking and laughing. And giggling.

Homeschoolers Anonymous

CC image courtesy of Flickr, Pimthida.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was originally published on Patheos on May 18, 2016.

The above image is an advertisement that used to run in Christian homeschool magazines. “The ideal tool for child training,” reads the test below an image of a long, thin shaft with a handle, a rod intended for whipping children. “The means prescribed by God,” it reads. And there’s a poem: “Spoons are for cooking / Belts are for holding up pants / Hands are for loving / RODS are for chastening.” This “flexible nylon rod” with its “cushioned vinyl grip” was marketed by Steve Haymond, and was primarily purchased by Christian homeschooling families.

By 2006, the internet and the activism of several concerned homeschool parents had taken its toll on Haymond’s whip-selling business. Raymond had advertised his whips in Christian…

View original post 795 more words

Advertisements

End of the Endless

0425162126h

My father died on Monday. He was buried on Friday. He had an aggressive cancer that he left untreated because “God told him” that he could heal it himself by taking extra Vitamin C and by giving himself enemas with coffee.

His dad had a similar cancer a few years ago.  He had a doctor advise him on treatment, instead of God. Grandpa is alive and cancer free to this day.

One time, before he got so bad, I argued with dad about his decision. The books and articles “God was using” to direct his treatment sounded distinctly like conspiracy theories to me. The conversation ended when he told me I was making him think he was crazy and roared at me to GET OUT.

Which I did.

I was very angry.

I was in the process of moving out already. Not because I had enough money.  I just couldn’t stand being home anymore. It was too crazy making.

Towards the end, when it was clear that he was going to die, he wept pretty frequently. About even little things. It’s possible the tumor was growing into his brain. It had started in his throat, after all. One day he wept and told me he was so sorry he had yelled at me- that day when we argued.

I was sad too. I didn’t give a flying fuck that he had yelled.

The evening after his death I went to see my family. The front room, where he had been all day every day for the past week, hallucinating and begging to be allowed to get up, had been cleaned.

The furniture had been brought back in. The hospital bed had disappeared.

The spring peeper frogs were singing in the ditches. A night wind was flowing through the fields around the house. Someone had set a jar of lilacs on the dresser. Words and phrases from a poem were eddying in the back of my head, but I couldn’t recall them all or fit them together.

The dresser is an antique. I believe it came from his mother. I never knew her. She died in a car wreck when my dad was- 19? Hit by a drunk driver.

He was angry at his dad about something then and moved out.

Dad was born in March- like me. His mother died in May.

The drunk died in the wreck.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers…
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                      Frisch weht der Wind
                      Der Heimat zu
                      Mein Irisch Kind,
                      Wo weilest du?
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Oed’ und leer das Meer.

-T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland, The Burial of the Dead