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Vol 1 No. 11                       January 13, 2005 


Is Our Children Learning?
investigative report
by Hart Williams

Question: What do a pamphlet entitled “Slavery As It Was,” the Christian Reconstruction Movement, David Duke, Haley Barbour, Stonewall Jackson’s biographer, John Ashcroft, the League of the South, Moscow, Idaho, and homeschooling have in common? More than you might think.

The pamphlet, “Slavery As It Was” came to light nationally in mid-December 2004 when a Raleigh, North Carolina area school, the “Cary Christian School” found itself in a flap over the teaching of the pro-slavery text:

Leaders at Cary Christian School say they are not condoning slavery by using ‘Southern Slavery, As It Was,’ a booklet that attempts to provide a biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren't treated as badly as people think.

“Principal Larry Stephenson said the school is only exposing students to different ideas, such as how the South justified slavery. He said the booklet is used because it is hard to find writings that are both sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery.

“‘You can have two different sides, a Northern perspective and a Southern perspective,’ he said.” reported the Raleigh NEWS OBSERVER.

The Cary School hurriedly repudiated the pamphlet and the perspicacious journalists of America turned their eagle eyes to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston. Crisis averted.

But, the Cary School turns out to be one of the over 135 schools nationally that have been “accredited” through Moscow, Idaho pastor Douglas Wilson’s “New Saint Andrews” scheme. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Far greater are the numbers of “home schoolers” who are regular recipients of Wilson’s educational program and publications -- a scheme and movement that traces its roots to Stonewall Jackson’s chaplain and biographer, southern apologist and “theologian” R.L. Dabney, and R.J. Rushdoony -- founder of Christian Reconstruction -- the founder of the modern home schooling movement.

Douglas Wilson is a pastor in Moscow, Idaho. He is also the founder of New Saint Andrews College -- where he holds the self-proclaimed title of “Senior Fellow of Theology” -- an unaccredited “great books” institution pushing, according to their website: “The College's primary objective for its students is to educate young Christian men and women broadly and deeply in the liberal arts from a distinctively Christian, Reformed perspective,” and a “vision for the reformation of higher education from a classical and Christian approach.”

This is more pernicious than it sounds.

The co-author of the pamphlet, Steven Wilkins, is a pastor at the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church, of Monroe, Louisiana, and is  co-founder of the “League of the South,” and it was John Ashcroft’s ties to the League that surfaced and then were disregarded in 2001 that gave a hint that the entire “Southern partisan” movement might be something more than just Confederate flag decals and license plates on the pickup trucks of good ol’ boys.

According to Mark Potok, editor of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report. "Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins have essentially constructed the ruling theology of the neo-Confederate movement.”

In Oregon, no fewer than five schools are listed as “members,” “affiliated,” or “accredited” by Wilson’s “Association of Classical and Christian Schools.” They are Agape Christian School,  Aloha (144 students); Heritage Christian School,  Hillsboro (140 students); Veritas School, Newberg (216 students); ClassicalFree Virtual Academy, Aloha (enrollment unknown); and Living Stones Classical Homeschool, Hillsboro (unknown). How many homeschooled students additionally are in Wilson’s program is anybody’s guess, but there is little doubt that the number is not insubstantial. After all, it is the “homeschool” approach that is prime here.

Twelve schools are listed in California, seven in Idaho, six in Washington state, and even one in heathen Nevada. There are twelve listed in North Carolina, headed up by the Cary School, accredited in 2002. Considering that the majority of affiliations occur after 2000, this is a growing movement, and a source of growing concern.


Consider that the “stolen elections” of 2000 and 2004 both have, as their salient features, the suppression of the black vote, ergo, blacks per se. And that the whole shady substrate of the League of the South, the Council of Conservative Citizens, Stormfront (the neo-Nazis, who broadcast a weekly webcast from David Duke and support and/or underwrite groups such as the Tualatin Valley Skins), all have as their fundamental base a hatred of blacks, homosexuals -- and “illegal immigrants” or thinly veiled anti-Latino hatred -- we’re looking at the old Southern White Supremacist agenda reborn with an astonishing vigor.

This isn’t some far-fetched hokum. The “homeschool” craze grew, in part, out of the virulently racist writings of R.L. Dabney.

The Christian Reconstruction Movement, which shares features and goals with the Christian Identity movement claims to be apolitical: “We are postmillennialists and believe that in the long term the majority of society will be saved or will at least outwardly conform to God's Law. Therefore, our goal is not to capture the political realm, but to work for regeneration of individuals and families at the local level and to reform the church by teaching correct doctrine especially in the area of biblical law. A brief perusal of Reconstructionist books will prove that this is the case. A few deal with civil politics. Most deal with families, the church and Christian education. Most of the early materials for home schooling children were written by Reconstructionists,” writes Reconstructionist Jay Rogers.

Either way, there is always about it a distinctly “Southern” flavor to the mix. (Dabney’s 1867 "A Defense of Virginia and the South" remains a popular home schooling textbook!) Last year, Wilson denounced one critic as “abolitionist” and the term “abolitionist propaganda” has been freely bandied about. According to the NEWS OBSERVER, “Potok said people who argue that the South should secede again have latched onto the writings of Wilson and Wilkins, which portray the Confederacy as the last true Christian civilization.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, The CCC (which grew out of the old White Citizens' Councils of the Jim Crow South), and "former" Klansman David Duke have a decade-long history of  hobnobbing, fundraising (Duke for the CCC), and sharing campaign management personnel and firms. Meantime, the CCC has been embarrassingly linked with Trent Lott, Bob Barr, Newt Gingrich, and, in 2003, former GOP Chairman Haley Barbour when he was running his successful campaign for Mississippi governor. Oh, and the CCC and the League of the South have longstanding ties, as well.

Which brings us back to Moscow, Idaho, and  “the recent unpleasantness” as Prof. William Ramsay of the University of Idaho termed it, writing on the History News Network on 12-20-04, “Critics on the right have stepped up attacks on multiculturalism, ‘political correctness,’ and even on the general framework of ‘secular humanism’ that has guided much of western thought since the Enlightenment. In many cases, these critics propose the adoption of a ‘Biblical worldview’ as the only viable solution to America’s cultural and social problems. Different ‘worldviews,’ they argue, lead people to see the same events in a very different light. But can such a shift in “worldview” lead rational adults to praise the institution of slavery as it existed in the antebellum South?”

Wrote Mark Potok on the SPLC’s “Taliban on the Palouse?”: The fliers showed up one day last fall, scattered around the sprawling campus of the University of Idaho at Moscow and looking for all the world like a routine advertisement for a couple of visiting scholars.  "Meet the Authors!" the one-page announcements shouted, referring readers to an upcoming February conference on campus that would be featuring speakers Douglas Wilson and Steven Wilkins, the co-authors of Southern Slavery, As It Was.

" ‘Slavery as it existed in the South ... was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence,’ the excerpts read in part. ‘There has never been a multiracial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world. ... “‘Slave life was to them [slaves] a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care.’"

Prof. Ramsay writes: “Wilson’s ninth annual ‘history conference’ in February 2004 turned out to be the final straw for many residents. Wilson had scheduled himself as the keynote speaker, praising the southern racist ideologue R.L. Dabney, but he had also scheduled as co-speakers white supremacist League of the South co-founder [Rev.] Steve Wilkins and the anti-gay Tennessee minister George Grant, notorious for advocating the extermination of all homosexuals in his book Legislating Immorality.

It was ugly in that Moscow winter. The town moved “to the brink of open hostility during the past year. Previously friendly neighbors perfected outrageously inventive insults for one another and in some cases cut off communication altogether. Boycotts were threatened, Christmas lights pulled down, safes allegedly stolen, tires slashed, and soda cans thrown at ‘nigger lover’ professors,” according to Ramsay. All over an apologia for slavery.

He concludes, prophetically: “It may be worthwhile, therefore, for educators elsewhere to take notice of this tempest while it is still contained in a distant teacup and remember that our country’s commitment to civil rights and equality are in truth only a generation old. There are still many Americans who consider the South’s surrender at Appomattox a temporary setback. If Idaho is any indication, brothers and neighbors may yet be forced to choose between those same two sides again.”

Somehow, this brouhaha all managed to end without bloody confrontation or national attention. Only the SPLC and NAACP seemed to notice at all. Which is more than a little chilling. Our parochialism has managed to keep a convergence of national forces in “far off” Idaho off of the radar. But Ramsay’s warning requires heed.

The homeschooling movement continues to gather momentum, seemingly, with the ascent of the “faith-based” millenialist administration of Bush, the sons of the old South seemingly have no interest whatsoever in laying the old ghosts to rest: and why should they? They now have utterly absorbed and corrupted the Republican party into the party that FIGHTS “abolitionist propaganda” and suppresses black voting rights as a matter of policy. Their “solid South” now controls both houses of Congress and the White House, and the slow, patient education of the young heads bullheadedly to a time BEFORE the Enlightenment, to theocracy. A decidedly protestant theocracy, of course. Anti-popery is, as in the old Klan, a salient feature of most neo-confederate cults.

The ironic anger at the Bush Administration is fueled by a belief that the neo-cons are guided by “Jews” like Wolfowitz and Perle. But these minor squabbles can be dealt with in that slow, patient manner that these grudges of 145 years and longer have been nurtured and nursed back to health. The Civil War was only a minor setback, after all.

Finally, this strange statement appeared on the “Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church” website, Wilkins’ pulpit: “We believe the institution of slavery as it existed in this country prior to 1865 did not follow the Biblical requirements and therefore cannot be defended and certainly should never be resurrected.” Er ... what ARE the requirements for acceptable slavery, pastor?


Hart Williams has been in print since 1973, and has written for THE WASHINGTON POST, THE KANSAS CITY STAR, THE SANTA FE SUN, THE LOS ANGELES HERALD- EXAMINER, THE OREGONIAN, OUI, NEW WEST and many others. 

woof  AT barkingmoonbats DOT org