, 32 tweets, 16 min read Read on Twitter
1. Baptist pastor rants against #ExposeChristianSchools in an op-ed dripping with sarcasm—color me shocked. Scratch just below the surface, though, and you see how he exemplifies what we’re criticizing, even apart from the shittiness of deflecting criticism and mocking survivors.
2. Straight off the bat, Pastor Bo goes to Proverbs 22:6. "Train up a child in the way he should go" is a verse that is weaponized against kids in evangelical subculture. It doesn't just serve to "justify" corporal punishment, although it does do that (along with "spare the rod")
3. Note the end of the verse, "and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Kids are expected to conform exactly to rigid white supremacist patriarchal norms in evangelical subculture. Obedience is emphasized at the expense of curiosity and openness. #ExposeChristianSchools
4. In its most extreme form, the invocation of Proverbs 22:6 is used to prescribe the spanking of INFANTS and other horrors, such as blanket training. See e.g. the book To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debbie Pearl, used by many fundie/evangelical families as a parenting manual
5. I was not subjected to that level of authoritarian parenting growing up, but my parents did get the idea from James Dobson and the general evangelical environment that children's wills must be "broken." This is the point of spanking in Jesus Land, USA. Breaking. Children.
6. For a general overview and analysis of the pervasive authoritarianism that characterizes white evangelical subculture, see my essay "Escape from Jesus Land."


#ExposeChristianSchools #ExposeChristianHomeschooling #EmptyThePews #SundayMorning #Resist
7. My sister and I were spanked with bare hands and with a wooden spoon. Many get much worse. My sister in particular was identified as a "strong-willed child," a term popularized by James Dobson, the anti-Dr. Spock. Follow @sparkle_heretic's Dobson threads for more info on him.
8. From the tweet below you can click through to a Moment preserving @sparkle_heretic's James Dobson threads:

Fun fact on Dobson. He interviewed Ted Bundy just before the latter was executed (allowing Dobson to control the resulting narrative).
9. Dobson used his Bundy interview to blame pornography for violent crime and to launch a moralistic anti-porn crusade, which is a major factor in the rise of belief in a "porn addiction," which psychologists like @JoshuaGrubbsPhD say doesn't exist.

10. But anyway, back to Pastor Bo and the whole "train up a child" thing. One of the more insidious aspects of the way this verse is used in evangelical subculture is that parents can be punished if their kids disobey. #ExposeChristianSchools #ExposeChristianHomeschooling
11. The degree of community enforcement varies. Some evangelicals shun, some don't. But a "rebellious" child may get a parent working in ministry fired. Here Proverbs 22 combines with I Timothy 3, where it is laid out that a deacon "must manage his... children well."
12. Believe me, if you grow up the kid of parents who work in ministry, you are VERY aware that your behavior "reflects on them." You have that pressure while getting to see how the sausage is made. My dad is a music pastor. My mom is a Christian school teacher. #Exvangelical
13. Getting back to Pastor Bo, we can dispense quickly with the next part of his op-ed, which takes the intellectually dishonest tack of decrying "hypocrisy" b/c we're using #ExposeChristianSchools when supposedly no one would stand for a version of the hashtag targeting Muslims.
14. This ignore that: Christianity is the majority religion and thus highly privileged in the U.S. (and ol' Bo is protecting his privilege by claiming to be persecuted--boo-hoo, Bo); there are hardly any Muslim schools in the U.S.; and public schools are subject to accountability
15. Above all, of course, #ExposeChristianSchools is a hashtag that I started and through which I and other survivors of evangelical (and sometimes Catholic, etc.) authoritarianism have been sharing about OUR OWN EXPERIENCES. Bo at least dose recognize that we started it.
16. Much of the right-wing narrative suggests that the hashtag is a conspiracy and is being used by a "leftist mob" to "attack Christianity." Pastor Bo clearly feels similarly affronted, but credit where credit is due in that he at least implicitly recognizes the HT's origins.
17. Then, Pastor Bo does what authoritarians do which is to mock and bully and belittle and deflect. You see, his op-ed is going to be mostly about how "wonderful" his Christian school experience was. In his paranoid, narrow mind that negates our trauma. #ExposeChristianSchools
18. But if Pastor Bo's experience was so wonderful, why does he feel al need to shut down legitimate criticism and to make his case in such defensive, caustic prose? Along with the other signs of authoritarianism in the piece--the emphasis on obedience as a virtue--this is tell.
19. Like all the other right-wing bullshit out there about #ExposeChristianSchools, Pastor Bo protests too much. He pulls out all the classic tropes, even getting in a jab at that bugbear of evangelicals and other right-wingers, the secular university.

20. Today's American conservatives let this kind of claptrap pass for "analysis," because they are fundamentally authoritarians not interested in facts. They need to have power and control and to maintain a sense of superiority to othered people, to marginalized groups.
21. When it comes to alternative facts, evangelicals have been doing them since before it was cool. Check out the hashtag #ChristianAltFacts for examples of what's taught to evangelical kids in their parallel institutions. #ExposeChristianSchools #ExposeChristianHomeschooling
23. So, what's Pastor Bo's deal? He's defending his family and his tribe; he's bought in, and to even consider breaking from the ideology that colors his entire social world would be a massive ego threat and could come with huge social costs. That's how authoritarianism works.
24. And his whole argument--well, it's more a series of assertions than any kind of actual argument--that Christian schools have been great for him and his family? That comes from a place of privilege. If you're the kind of person centered in this environment and you buy in, well
25. But here's the thing. Just as patriarchy also hurts men and white supremacism--which is at the root of this white evangelical authoritarianism Pastor Bo embodies--evangelicalism hurts everyone in it. #ExposeChristianSchools #ExposeChristianHomeschooling #Exvangelical #Resist
26. Pastor Bo's "Christian schools are great for me and my family, so shut up!" approach parallels the way parents who were beaten growing up defend beating their kids. "I was spanked with a belt by my dad, and I turned out fine!" Well, science says, no, you actually didn't.
27. Here's a link to back up that claim that corporal punishment of children does lasting harm. Many Christian schools, by the way, still use the paddle. Probably most.


#ExposeChristianSchools #ExposeChristianHomeschooling #Exvangelical #EmptyThePews
28. Evangelicalism, like any fundamentalism, is literally a cycle of abuse. Authoritarianism is abuse. It is fundamentalism of a sort enforced on a large social scale. To me, it currently feels America itself is turning into a giant Christian school. #ExposeChristianSchools
29. Here's a link to an essay providing some more information on evangelical authoritarianism and the kind of anti-intellectualism that rears its head even in academically "good" Christian schools like the one I graduated from.


30. I'll leave you with another essay as a plea to any parents reading this to break the cycle. Don't spank your kids, don't use fundamentalist, Christian nationalist homeschooling curriculum, and for God's sake don't send your kids to evangelical schools

31. If you benefit from my content and can afford to, I'd greatly appreciate you pledging a few dollars a month to support my work via @Patreon. Thanks to patrons ,I'm progressing toward a sustainable career as a writer, speaker, and advocate/activist.

That was suppose to read that white supremacism also hurts white people. I need more coffee.
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