Huffington Post — More on Doug Phillips and Vision Forum: More Than a Scandal

Julie Ingersoll, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Florida
Posted: 11/18/2013 4:30 pm

There are important and disturbing developments in the Doug Phillips scandal that has rocked the Christian home school movement. As I noted in my earlier post, Phillips’ carefully parsed initial resignation statement admitting to an “inappropriate relationship” raised more questions than it answered.

Now reports are circulating that the scandal may well have multiple levels including claims that the “relationship” was with a nanny, lasted between six and 10 years, and likely began when she was in her late teens. This would make biblical patriarchy’s emphasis on authority combined with the way in which girls are intentionally kept vulnerable, dependent and submissive, crucially important. The young woman may or may not have been technically old enough to consent in Texas, but the context of biblical patriarchy would make this an abuse of power if not a crime.

You can visit these sites to see examples of the reports and discussions: No Longer Quivering; Spiritual Sounding Board; Homeschoolers Anonymous; Love, Joy Feminism; Rethinking Vision Forum. This is just a sampling and there are many others but it’s worth noting that many sharing their stories on these sites are still conservative Christians and even home schoolers.

Phillips (trained as an attorney) is well known for his authoritarian and litigious style that permeates the organizations with which he has been associated and which results in carefully controlled messaging and image management as well as the silencing of critics. I have first-hand experience with this from my own fieldwork, but you can read about it in Kathryn Joyce’s important book Quiverfull as well at those sites noted above.


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