But If Doug Phillips Says He Doesn’t Hire Women, Then What Are All Those Females Doing Working At Vision Forum?
Doug Phillips has a policy against hiring women employees. In fact, he’s privately boasted to various men, “I don’t hire women.” If you ask him why he doesn’t hire women, you’re likely to get a very Bill Gothard-like response about the sin of females being out from under the “umbrella of authority” of their husbands or fathers.
Doug Phillips has often been heard to say, “Your wife is your helpmeet, and not another man’s.” What he means by this is that if a wife, or even a daughter, is employed by “another man,” then she becomes that man’s helpmeet. Doug Phillips has also been heard to say, “Too many problems with having women in the workplace.”
Most people wouldn’t be aware of Doug’s anti-female hiring policies. After all, even though he’s privately quite proud of himself for it, it’s still not something that he’d probably want to advertise.
Doug Phillips knows that women are the primary readers of his Vision Forum catalog, and women place most of the orders from his catalog. Just imagine what might happen if he had a statement in the Vision Forum catalog, “Vision Forum is an all male employee business and does not hire females.”
Even though many of the women who patronize Vision Forum know that Doug Phillips is one of the chief spokesmen for the Patriarchy movement in America today, I seriously doubt that many of them are aware of Doug’s anti-female hiring policies. I think it only reasonable that this become common knowledge.
However, if you ever happen to visit The Vision Forum, don’t expect to see only males working there. In spite of what Doug Phillips privately boasts to various male colleagues and friends, you will regularly see female workers at The Vision Forum. They’re just not thought of by Doug as “employees.” In this way Doug gets to boast to fellow Patriarchs that he doesn’t “hire females,” and yet he still gets the benefit of their very competent labor. With such “straining at a gnat but swallowing a camel” thinking, Doug Phillips epitomizes the very reason why Jesus said, “Woe unto you lawyers.”
So if there are women workers at Vision Forum, but they’re not classified as “employees,” what are they? Some are unpaid volunteers. Others, however, are paid. They’re probably just not paid directly. Doug probably pays their husbands for their wives’ and daughters’ labor, or he makes some other arrangements so that he doesn’t have to pay them directly. That way Doug gets to say that he doesn’t hire women. This is just another expression of Doug’s Phariseeism — his Gothardite hyper-patriarchy.
Being a Pharisee can be challenging. It’s hard juggling all those legalistic balls and not dropping any. It becomes especially hard when Doug suddenly finds himself needing a bunch of additional workers. For Vision Forum, this happens very predictably, every year. Vision Forum’s busiest time of year is the Christmas season. Doug himself doesn’t celebrate Christmas. In fact, he disdains Christmas. He calls it a “Catholic holiday.” Doug hates Catholics in some ways even more than he hates pagans, atheists and feminists. When we were members of Boerne Christian Assembly we often heard Doug express his contempt for Catholics. This has never dissuaded him, though, from going all out in promoting this “Catholic holiday,” at least in the commercial sense.
Christmas for Doug isn’t a time to celebrate our Savior’s birth, but it is a time to celebrate other things, like, for instance, being able to rake in a big pile of cash. Christmas is big business, and in order to make that big business flow smoothly, and keep those shipments flying out the door, Doug has to hire a lot of extra help. Where does he get that help from? I’ll share that part a little later.
Several years ago I noticed the very obvious need that Doug had for additional workers to cover the Christmas season. Just like any other retail mail order business, Vision Forum’s Christmas-season business suddenly skyrockets, starting immediately after Thanksgiving. I wasn’t impressed at all with how Doug was addressing that short-term labor need. In fact, it appeared to me that the way that he went about addressing that labor need was a public image disaster just waiting to happen. So I made a suggestion to him: Organize home school families in the San Antonio area to come in and cover the short-term need. To me this made perfect sense. It would be a true win-win, and just about any of the work that needed doing could be easily accomplished by some home school families.
Doug is supposedly a big proponent of internships, cottage industry, family businesses and entrepreneurialism. He even offers an Entrepreneurial Bootcamp. What better way for Doug to promote his entrepreneurial internship vision than to hire home school kids and offer them a seasonal internship program at Vision Forum? In some cases it might be wise to also hire some moms, so that they could also supervise the kids.
To me it seemed like a great idea, but Doug hated it. Why did Doug hate it? For the same reason he hates having women employees. In Doug’s Gothardite Patriarchal view, females should never be out from under the “umbrella of authority” of their husbands; or if they don’t have a husband, then out from under the “authority umbrella” of their fathers. Hiring home school kids, supervised by their mothers, apparently violates this Gothard/Phillips principle. Doug preaches that it is a sin for a female to work outside the home, because in doing so she’s coming out from under the authority of her “head.” “Wives and daughters shouldn’t leave the home to be under the authority of another man. Females must remain under the authority of their husbands or fathers.” Doug could have hired just home school boys and then hired a home school dad to supervise them, but he wouldn’t consider doing even that.
So what about those women who do work at Vision Forum? Why, in Doug’s view, are they not out from under their “authority umbrellas”? Apparently the reason why is because some of them are probably just unpaid volunteers. It’s not clear to me why that logically should make any difference, but apparently it’s logical in Doug’s mind. Even the Phillips’ family nannies, maids, and maintenance workers are often unpaid volunteers. Several young ladies have worked in the Phillips’ home for many years, unpaid. From all accounts, most of these young ladies are anything but financially well off. Sometimes, though, Doug does pay their travel expenses to send them on a Faith and Freedom Tour with him and his family, so they can take care of his children there as well.
One poor family has the mother, daughter, and son all volunteering at the Phillips’ home on a regular basis. Doug appears more than pleased to daily “oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy” (Deut 24:14) and have them come out from under their “authority umbrella” to come and help raise Doug’s children. There are also other women who work for Doug as unpaid volunteers. They do so at Vision Forum’s facilities. Just like with his unpaid poor nannies and maids, Doug sees no inconsistencies between what he preaches and what he practices.
Some of the other women who work at Vision Forum are the wives and daughters of male Vision Forum employees. Rather than legally hiring the women, Doug probably pays their husbands or fathers for the time that they work there. In Doug’s mind, those women don’t work for him — they’re working for their husbands or fathers, who in turn work for Doug. In order for that to make any sense, the first thing you’ll have to do is disregard the fact that most, if not all of those women, aren’t working for their husbands or fathers at all. In most cases their husbands or fathers don’t supervise them at all. In most, if not all cases, those women are clear on the opposite side of the building and their husbands or fathers may not see them at all, but perhaps at the lunch break.
Back now to the “Catholic holiday” season. How does Doug cope with the sudden demand for additional labor? He hires employees through a Temporary Agency. Does Doug get to tell the Temp Agency to only send him male workers? No, that would be job discrimination. Doug could get into big trouble for that. Does he get to tell the Temp Agency, “I don’t want any Catholics or pagans. We’re a Christian business, so I only want Baptists”? No, again, that would job discrimination. Doug could get into trouble, so he doesn’t do that.
Christmas season at Vision Forum is truly a sight to behold. The warehouse is full of foul-mouthed, scantily-clad, non-Christian males and females processing orders for this so-called family-friendly Christian business. Break times and lunch time are an even more disturbing sight. Many of the temp workers go out into the alley in back of Vision Forum’s building to puff their cigarettes. After a few weeks, the alley literally piles up with cigarette butts and even empty beer bottles.
To me it’s very sad that Doug never took my advice about hiring home school kids instead of temps from a Temp Agency. Perhaps he rejected the idea only because it came from a woman? I don’t know. What I do know is that this is just another one of the many examples of Doug Phillips’ hypocrisy.
A Father’s Day Poem
by Doug Phillips
More noble than the valiant deeds of shining knights of yore,
More powerful than earthly plights that make the rich man poor,
More kingly than a royal throne or a lion with his pride,
Is he whose babes sleep well at night sure Daddy will provide.
There is a spirit in this land and Jezebel’s her name.
She’s calling you to leave your home for power, fun, and fame.
She wants your wife, your children too — she’ll never compromise,
Until your house is torn in two by listening to her lies.
But though a hundred thousand million men may fall prey to her lures,
And wives en masse leave home in search of “more fulfilling” chores,
Though preachers praise, and friends embrace, her pagan plan of death,
Stand strong and quit you like a man with every blessed breath.
Stand strong and rise, O man of God, to meet this noble call,
The battle is not new you see, it’s been here since the Fall.
Your wife is your helpmeet, my friend, and not another man’s,
So care for her and keep her far from Mistress Jezi’s plans.
Protect, provide, and give to her your undivided life,
This is the dear one of your youth, your precious bride, your wife.
And rally to those tiny ones who trust you for their care —
A lifetime spent discipling them’s a lifetime pure and rare.
For when they put their hand in yours and know a Daddy’s love,
You’re showing them a picture of the Father from above.
Look not toward worldly goal or gain, or for your liberty,
Look only into their sweet eyes to find your ministry.
Devote your heart and sacrifice and make your manly mark —
There is none so great as he who finds his call as patriarch.
Posted by Doug Phillips on June 19, 2005