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Generation Joshua

Social Issues

on HSLDA and homeschooling culture

When I found out about the Turpin parents and how they had starved and tortured their children, like most of my colleagues who have been fighting for more protections for homeschooled students … I was unsurprised. Horrified, sickened, heartbroken, but not surprised. This isn’t even the first time parents have starved and tortured more than a dozen kids in California since 2000. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear about yet another case of a “homeschooling” parent abusing or murdering their children.

For a lot of reasons– in my opinion, primarily the pictures that show the family in matching clothes that don’t change from year to year– the Turpin story made international news. 20/20 did a story on them, as did many other US-based national media outlets. Friends of mine that live overseas from me read about it in their newspapers. The common theme: how could this have happened?!

The answer is easy: The Home School Legal Defense Association.

I started pitching pieces about the Turpins, explaining exactly how that was possible and how they were able to get away with it for decades, and an editor at The Establishment was interested. In our conversation, she asked a lot of really great questions about HSLDA, and the piece morphed into an explanation of the political power HSLDA wields in American politics. I’ve been interviewing people, including the heads of HSLDA and Generation Joshua, for about a month now, and the article came out this morning.

I am hoping this article can become a resource, hopefully a touchstone for people trying to explain HSLDA and how homeschooling culture has become what it is: a bastion, a legal shelter, for abusers and killers. As far as I’m aware, this is the first article anywhere covering the HSLDA like this, in a way that’s accessible and can be read in about five-ten minutes.

You can read it here: “Meet HSLDA, the Most Powerful Religious-Right Lobby You’ve Never Heard Of.”

Also, if you use the Medium app, The Establishment is a really awesome online magazine and you should totally follow them.

Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw

two random things for you to enjoy, possibly

So, for a variety of reasons, yesterday was a suck-tastic day for me, so no Zimzum post this week, I’m sorry. I’m trying to give my wrist a break, since my tendonitis is acting up– but that doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff I can’t share with you all.

I have another post up at The Mary Sue, and once again I am over the moon at the opportunity to write for them. I geek out every time one of my posts go up. This one, in particular, I am very proud of since it was pretty labor-intense on the research side of things. Watching women die over and over again so I could try to capture what happened to them in as few words as possible was … an interesting way to spend last month, let me tell you.

Anyway, here it is: “It’s [Not] Ok”: How Women Die in Comic Book Movies.”

I also had another opportunity to be interviewed for a radio program, this time for BBC4’s “Beyond Belief,” covering Moses, the Exodus, and interestingly enough the Christian homeschooling movement and the “Generation Joshua” nonsense. If you just want to listen to my segment, it starts at 14 minutes in, but the whole program is worth listening to.

You can find it here. It’s the January 5th episode, which you can download there, listen to it streaming in their player, and it’s also available for download from the iTunes store if you are an Apple person.

I think some of the scholars might have gotten the impression that I’m anti-Judaic (I mention something about God condemning how the Israelites were greedy and power-hungry in the minor prophets and how the conquest of Canaan is a pretty disturbing bit of the Bible), but hopefully you all know that I’m not. If not, well … I’m definitely not anti-Judaism or anti-Semitic. Like every other white person in America I have absorbed anti-Semitic ideas, and there was a lot of “the Church has replaced Israel because they just kept messing it up” in my Sunday school, but I will always fight against those things. If you think that something in what I said sounds anti-Judaic, I would appreciate having that conversation with you.

Photo by Ilmicrofono Oggiono