Saturday, November 11, 2006

Red Diaper Babies

Shortly after it became obvious that the Republicans were in for a "thumpin'" on Tuesday night, my forever optimistic, seventeen year old daughter said, "Just think about how many big families we know with kids who will be able to vote in a few years. The impact will be huge." No kidding. She's not the only one who has noticed. The Nation took a look at quiverfull homeschoolers and the army of "red diaper babies" that are impacting the political landscape in the article, Arrows for War.

Quiverfull parents try to have upwards of six children. They home-school their families, attend fundamentalist churches and follow biblical guidelines of male headship--"Father knows best"--and female submissiveness. They refuse any attempt to regulate pregnancy. Quiverfull began with the publication of Rick and Jan Hess's 1989 book, A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ, which argues that God, as the "Great Physician" and sole "Birth Controller," opens and closes the womb on a case-by-case basis.
The article looks also mentions Mary Pride, Nancy Campbell, and a few others who refute feminism with the quiverfull message. In an odd way, the article was fun to read. It is always fascinating to see how evangelical homeschoolers are perceived by others. The author, Kathryn Joyce subtly attempts to present the idea that children are a blessing as a bit extreme, but at the same time realizes that if the trend continues our children will indeed be a political force in the future. So much so that the Democrat Leadership Council is worried and trying to figure out how to match the conservative message with one of their own. Philip Longman, an advisor to the DNC asks,

"Who are these evangelicals? Is there anything about them that makes them inherently prowar and for tax cuts for the rich?" No, he concludes. "What's irreducible about these religious voters is that they're for the family." Asked whether the absolutist position Quiverfull takes on birth control, let alone abortion, might interfere with his strategy, Longman admits that abortion rights would have to take a back seat but that, in politics, "nobody ever gets everything they need."

Aside from the centrist tax policies...he urges a return to patriarchy--properly understood, he is careful to note, as not just male domination but also increased male responsibility as husbands and fathers--on more universal grounds.

The Democrats preaching pro-life patriarchy will be fun to watch. Somehow I just can't see a woman like presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton talking about a return to patriarchy with Bill Clinton standing behind her. Or Nancy Pelosi, after realizing that she has been serving in the wrong house, giving up her gavel for a toilet brush. And any suggestion putting abortion rights in the "back seat" will undoubtedly be met with shrieks of a return to the "back ally."

Me thinks the DNC has it's work cut out for them in order to convince this quiverfull homeschooler much of anything. It does show that despite winning this election, the Democrats are not too sure that things will go this well in future elections. But if the Republicans think they have my vote or my "red diaper babies" in the bag, they can think again.

As a side note, if you enjoy politics you might consider reading Barbara Curtis's book Reaching the Left from the Right: Talking About Social Issues With People Who Don't Think Like You. Very eye-opening book, from a lady who has lived life on both sides of the political spectrum and is now a quiverfull mommy of 12.

Update Wed: Welcome Anchoress readers! You may also be interested in my commentary today focusing on Florida's plan under the direction of Jeb Bush which requires all eighth graders to declare a career major similar to college. Proof that socialism isn't just a Democrat ideology. Click here to read the details.

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