Michael Farris, head of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Chancellor of Patrick Henry College, has issued a statement condemning Christian Patriarch philosophy. This statement comes after two prominent members of that community are facing allegations of sexual misconduct. It seems that either Farris has had a sudden epiphany or he just wants to distance himself from the on-going scandals.
Farris outlines his homeschool and Christian philosophy in A Line in the Sand. Here he claims that he personally does not follow a Christian Patriarchy philosophy, and that the patriarchy world view is a danger to homeschool and it endangers women and children.
The two scandals involve Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles Ministry, and Doug Phillips, founder of Vision Forum Ministries. Although the two scandals are not connected to one another, both men are prominent figures among conservative Christian homeschoolers. Doug Phillips worked as an attorney for the HSLDA for six years prior to founding his ministry. Gothard’s teachings about the quiverfull philosophy was instrumental in bringing Farris into the conservative Christian realm. Both Gothard and Phillips frequently speak at homeschool conventions. In addition to having ties to the HSLDA, Phillips and Gothard are friends and advisors to the Duggar family. Michelle Duggar is the matriarch of the TLC series 19 Kids and Counting.
Beal Phillips, wife of shamed Doug Phillips, has come out with a statement defending her husband and slamming Michael Farris.
In all fairness, Michael Farris is not facing any scandals. He is not implicated in the multiple allegations against Bill Gothard or Doug Phillips. However, many children, especially those from conservative Christian homeschooling families, allege that Farris and the HSLDA protect child abusers. A glance through the posts on Homeschoolers Anonymous reveals many disturbing allegations against the HSLDA.
Looking at the close ties between Michael Farris, Doug Phillips, and Bill Gothard, it is hard to imagine Farris having a widely different world view than Phillips and Gothard. Has Farris really drawn a line in the sand or is this just lip service to keep the majority of homeschool families on his side.