In a humble act of public repentance, Michael Farris, on behalf of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) , apologized for not "speaking up sooner" about the errors of Vision Forum and Doug Phillips. In the latest online Home School Court Report (due out in mailboxes late August), Farris regrets renting out ad space for Vision Forum and critiques patriarchy.
Both the HSLDA board and Farris, its president, offered a proper, humble apology:
"Mike Smith and the HSLDA board of directors join me in apologizing for failing to speak up sooner. We intend to change that, starting now."
Specifically, president Farris wrote:
"Frankly, we should have spoken up sooner...While we did not directly promote their teachings using our own resources, we did allow Vision Forum to buy ad space to promote their products and ideas. We were wrong to do so. And we regret it."
The essay continued to critique the versions of patriarchy offered by Phillips and Gothard. The concern is that these views were of such a nature to bring the legal rights of homeschoolers into danger.
Farris listed several particular views that he disagreed with: that women should not vote; that higher education is not important for women; and that unmarried adult women are subject to their father's authority.
The essay continued to critique legalism in homeschooling circles, warning people to be careful about exalting their personal applications of God's law to divine authority. It was a plea for Christian liberty and the liberty of Christian women in Christ.
It is unclear if those who have endorsed, promoted and been closely aligned with Phillips' views will follow Farris' example. Christian Home Educators of Colorado, Generations Radio and other groups have sold ad space and even promoted or endorsed Vision Forum. In particular, the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the brainchild of Phillips, has expunged all of his speeches while remaining curiously silent about their role in enabling and promoting Phillips.
Farris is calling on homeschool conference leaders to better investigate their speakers. And he warns families to resist the allure of formulaic promises to solve the problems of life: "Our movement will only be tainted by extremist views if we give our platforms over to such teachers."