Homeschoolers Praying to Guns, God, Government As Trinity

1 05 2007

UPDATE one – I think this is important so I’m bringing it up top:

“I sense that the reluctance that has kept many of us quietly deferential to religions we did not share and believed to be of no threat to our own families, is about as dead as the dodo.

Believe it or not, we all will have to learn to reckon with that new reality in our own ways.”

UPDATE TWO – I just crossposted this essay at Culture Kitchen, with a longish new introduction, and closing with a new appeal for the help of secular progressives, that at the least they refrain from prejudicially lumping all home educators together as religious wackos.



I grew up here and know the stories, speak the native languages.

Not Spanish. I mean idiomatic dialects like Goldwater Republican. Metaphorical Methodist. Southern Democrat. Spring Break Speak. Hiassen. Government in the Sunshine. Even PublicSchool Speak.

For a while our National Tourism slogan was “Florida– the rules are different here!”
It encouraged folks to dream of our white-sugar beaches and sunshine as the Promised Land, to plan idyllic pilgrimages here with faith they would be welcome as if to heaven, however they got here and however long they wanted to stay and live it up.

But the rules here aren’t so different anymore.

Not sure when it happened, that the Trinity of God, Government and Guns took over again. I have been slow to notice, with all this gentle, loving, respectful and mannerly pretense that religious education is a private non-governmental realm of the spirit, not the State.



National Day of Prayer State Capitol Rally Thursday, May 3, 2007 Homeschoolers are invited to take part in this important day of prayer for our state and nation and participate in the children’s prayer walk. If older youth would like to help stamp prayer passports, please email — Volunteer time is from 10:30 am – Noon, report to the tent in the courtyard


Children’s Prayer Walk
Location: Capitol Courtyard
Time: 11:00 am-Noon
Emergency Response & Military Vehicles will be on display in the Courtyard as part of the Prayer Walk.
Each child will be issued a prayer passport to take to each stations and pray for the personnel. They can tour the vehicles as well.


National Day of Prayer Rally
Location: Capitol Courtyard
Praise & Worship: 11:30 am
Prayer Rally: Noon-1:15 pm
Governor Crist, Lt. Governor Kottkamp and other leaders will be taking part in the service.


We did have Easter at the Governor’s Mansion this spring– a very important holiday, said Governor Crist — but at least in the newspaper, his Easter Bunny gig played as a secular hospitality for a few Florida kids who might or might not have been Christian, a ceremonial family occasion and photo op, not associated with the state sausage-making of the Legislature down the street nor with public prayer walks on the Capitol Plaza.
And nothing to do with home education at all.

But now comes a special day for masses of children where the Governor himself will stamp prayer indelibly onto home education “passports”, and not on a weekend at his home but on a legislative workday at the Capitol, in front of all the lawmakers, not in a bunny suit but in his official governing suit and tie. Prayer flanked with tanks and guns for real action, followed by ambulances to mop up all the blood and waste, the way elephants are followed in parades. Talk about Power of Story!

God, government and guns. No wait, that’s not the sponsors’ exact slogan, let me get it just right, oh here it is: Governing Florida with Prayer and Action” which isn’t tricky to translate — “governing Florida” is plainly the dominion that their version of god’s will (prayer) commands them to exercise over the secular State and all our laws. And how will this be accomplished? ACTION. The spiritual realm translated into physical reality, warfare on every front in this world and time.

Resistance is futile?
I personally prefer this version but I digress . . .

The point is I get the meaning of the purpose and method. Dominion through warfare. But when it comes to the education this all represents, I have knotty translation problems. Does mixing home education with military might — bringing the kiddos along to get their draft cards stamped, whoops I mean “prayer passports”, the better to learn how God wants them to govern Florida — just chill me to the bone? You betcha, particularly the same week as the much more directly child-protective lessons of National Spank Out Day! (which needs prayer and action too, but these folks had no Capitol rally for THAT, didn’t even acknowledge its existence. I doubt the Governor noticed either, or prayed for the kids against whom god is being invoked as commanding their punishment.)

Does this mean child beating has become both corporal and capital punishment?

Whatever happened to peace vigils and humble candlelight, praying for strength to endure, for guiding hands to heal, not hurt? This sounds like state-sponsored prayer for the strength to fight and win and take over!

And what about teaching citizenship and constitutional separation of powers as important, in the system these kids will someday operate and defend (hopefullly with their good minds, not just their gods and guns!) Do we not have that rule any more?
This isn’t a Sunday church prayer picnic and it’s not a school or state holiday of any kind, please note. It’s a lobbying show of strength on the steps of MY state capitol, at the high-drama, high-stakes end of session, while real laws with real force are being passed and everyone’s life, liberty and private pursuits (not to mention money and identity) are at major risk.

Never mind school reform and the protection from school conquest we homeschoolers thought we were fighting for; these lessons have nothing to do with “school and state.” What will this teach kids about CHURCH and state, prayer and government? And what will this teach lawmakers about homeschooling?

Is there really nothing wrong with this, not even a little off-sounding, to these conservative Christian homeschool parents? If it’s really a prayer day then it doesn’t belong in the middle of the secular government identified with legal “home education” and conversely if it’s a home education lobby, for the legislative presence and show of strength and solidarity, then it isn’t about prayer and religion; those are constitutionally separated for good reason.

All the other Christian kids are still in school this time of year, folks, so this rally will be rightly (pun intended) perceived as primarily homeschooling kids.
Wonder if “we” will be sponsoring a State Purity Ball to follow? The warfare weaponry will already be all polished up and onsite, kinda silly to waste it once we have the girls and dads all rounded up to put on a show and the lawmakers paying attention. . .



21 responses

1 05 2007

Oh dear. Daryl just brought to my attention that this Government Glory of Prayer Day has been put in the same week as “Loyalty Day” with all its more traditional military and patriotic lessons of might makes right.

I redouble my concern about National Spank Out Day (with the opposite message!) being in the same week with them. Maybe there is some way to use that to the good next year, since SpankOut Day comes first at least? Let’s think on it . . .

1 05 2007

Capitol prayer-in-action news today much too close and creepy for comfort, from a woman’s rights blogger in Texas I admire, and who probably makes this resist-dominionism point better without even writing as a homeschool mom, than I just did:
“Willfully Blind”

1 05 2007

Our local homeschool email list is where this prayer walk announcement appeared, or I wouldn’t have seen it. We don’t discuss much there, and my impression is that over the years a young bunch of helpmeets has taken it over, and that we older, independent career-type moms had older kids by then and we’d all gone on to wider worlds — so we haven’t bothered to assert ourselves, just let the ninnies have it to themselves.

But I sense that my personal Threat-O-Meter has pinged on prayer and I won’t be going back to the sanguine deference I used to maintain about the radical Christian takeover of public discourse and rule, in home education (or any other) terms.
So I just posted this:

Hi all HOMESCHOOL Families reading here —

I saw the announcement about homeschoolers doing the children’s “prayer walk” at the Capitol and wrote a blog essay about it, describing it as a dangerous linkage of home education with an unconstitutional and perhaps even unholy Trinity of God, Government and Guns. I won’t post it here because it will be seen as offensive by some of you, as this politically targeted prayer notice was to me. But everyone is invited to visit this blog link to read my essay and see how “evolved homeschoolers” view whether politically targeted prayer is making life better or worse for children and families.

For example National Spank Out Day was yesterday. I didn’t announce it here as a homeschooling issue but we blogged it there as an issue for all parents to ask themselves and each other to think over– which side of corporal (and capital) punishment is your prayer warfare fighting for? What does it teach your children about might and right? How will they govern themselves (much less others) when they grow up, having learned whatever lessons you’re teaching them?

Even the Prayer Walk sponsors may want to hold their noses and study it as opposition research, because I sense that the reluctance that has kept many of us quietly deferential to religions we did not share and believed to be of no threat to our own families, is about as dead as the dodo. Believe it or not, we all will have to learn to reckon with that new reality in our own ways.

JJ Ross, Ed.D.

1 05 2007

The original poster responded on our homeschool email list so I am providing that here in full, and I’ll comment later. See what you think reading this, and whether it makes any chills you feel better (or worse) —


This is the only comment I will make on the National Day of Prayer since this is a homeschool forum. If you wish to contact me off list please do so.

The invitation to homeschoolers to take part in the Children’s Prayer Walk at the capitol was because it makes a great field trip to the capitol to see and thank our emergency response, law enforcement and military personnel.

Homeschoolers can chose to come out to visit and pray or not pray. They can explore the cool vehicles and talk to the troops and they don’t have to pray unless they want to. They can also witness their government leaders making a free choice to stand up for their beliefs (it is at lunch time when the service is held).

No where does in say in the Constitution that our leaders have to check their faith at the door of the Capitol. As for you stating that this is unconstitutional, the National Day of Prayer is a day designated by Congressional Law, as a day of prayer for our nation. It is celebrated at all 50 state capitols, our Nation’s Capitol, the White House, city halls and county courthouses throughout the nation, yes, and even in schools.

What an opportunity for homeschoolers to visit the capitol and see how our nation was founded on prayer and freedom of religion not freedom from it. By the way, Christian school students also participate in this event and love it, as do many homeschoolers. This is not a dangerous linage to home education or any other education…it is prayer.

We homeschool in order to have a choice in our children’s education….so…homeschoolers…you chose what you want to do this Thursday, May 3…. we will be asking God to protect our youth, our military, give guidance to our state and national leaders and to heal our lead.

And yes, the name of J-E-S-U-S will be used, it is not a dirty name…although in our politically correct society we certainly get upset over prayer, God, Jesus and government being uttered in the same breath.

You better stay home then on Thursday because all those politically incorrect words will be uttered.

Thank you for your time.

Pam Olsen

1 05 2007

This is very upsetting! I can’t even think of what to say about it right now.

1 05 2007

I recently spent a lot of time in Florida in a car, stuck listening to the local radio. My research revealed to me then that there were only 2 kinds of radio stations there; ones with Christian values talk shows, and ones with shock jocks who said things that were very unkind. It reminded me of the descriptions I’ve heard about Victorian times, how the prudence wave created a lashback of somehwhat sadistic subcultures. It seemed like a land of insane extremes to me. Also, this seemed magnified by the culture clashes between native Floridians, retirees and immigrants. It was a very surreal place. I also saw a billboard that said “The United Nations wants to take your guns!” Not really related to your topic, but I needed to share.

2 05 2007

While there is still time TODAY, preferably within the next couple of hours, please let me have all the comments you’ve got. I have someplace meaningful to send them before this thing goes in the history books as wacko homeschooling. Maybe we can help make it a good “lesson” for the kiddos after all? 🙂

p.s. and thanks to Kim, it wasn’t off-topic at all, love the word “surreal” and the phrase “a land of insane extremes . . .magnified by the culture clashes.” Zimbardo really stressed how important it is to get the view of good people completely outside the situation, with no role to play, if you want to save yourselves and each other from its psychological effects. What could be a better eyeballing person with no assigned or perceived role in the situation, than someone driving down the road in a car? And having the radio to narrate your visit can be quite revelatory, can’t it? I once saw spirituality as an outsider in similar fashion. 🙂

And I’d have to say the car radio pretty much narrates my unschooling life here now . . .

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8 11 2007

Just came across this at culture kitchen, a governor with good sense!

“I believe in the separation of church and state…. We all have our own religious beliefs. There are people out there who are atheists, who don’t believe at all…. They are all citizens of Minnesota and I have to respect that.”

— — Gov. Jesse Ventura, explaining why he refused to sign a National Day of Prayer proclamation (May 6, 1999)

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7 01 2008

Ironically, Crimson Wife just dismissed me as a “militant atheist” based on the above.

*I’m* the militant one??

Emergency Response & Military Vehicles will be on display in the Courtyard as part of the Prayer Walk.
Each child will be issued a prayer passport to take to each stations and pray for the personnel. They can tour the vehicles as well.

So then I Googled “proselytize” and found a pithy blogpost that applies to both the personal and political layers of this crusade, and why so many of us resist whether we’re atheists or not:

. I was born in the campus hospital of the infamous Bob Jones University. . .
I attended fundamentalist, evangelical Christian schools from kindergarten through grade 12 and fundamentalist, evangelical churches – usually of the Grace Brethren variety. The Grace Brethren denomination, which is not as prominent here as it is in the Midwest, is similar to Southern Baptist in doctrine.

. . .The controversies – local and international – underline the importance of the separation of church and state. Many evangelicals’ willingness to pay almost any price to save souls (so what if we offend millions of Muslims, make the world more dangerous and make the president’s job more difficult, we’re sending those missionaries) means that separation is imperative.

Our secular government must consider earthly consequences – including increased terrorism, religious freedom and free speech – unfettered by literal interpretation of any religion’s holy texts and unencumbered by commandments to evangelize, for the sake of every religion, which often contradict and conflict with one another.

With church-state separation, everyone – fundamentalist, evangelical, religious, and some or none of the above – wins. The strife, persecution and intolerance in so many countries that lack it prove that separation of church and state is, well, fundamental.

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