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Bachmann brings in out-of-state "Christian nationalist" home-schoolers to campaign

I hate on the Minnesota Daily a lot, because, frankly, it is a terrible newspaper, but their article on the CD6 results contained a very interesting tidbit:

One group called Gen J, or Generation Joshua, rallied middle school and high school students to pass out campaign literature and call voters for Bachmann.

Patrick Henry College (Virginia) journalism senior Adrienne Cumbus is a volunteer leader for Gen J. Originally from Houston, she said she came to support Bachmann because the candidate doesn't try to appeal to everyone - instead, she knows her own values.

"She's very articulate in what she says," Cumbus said. "She's not sitting on the fence."

I did some research on this Generation Joshua. Start out first at their website: What is Generation Joshua?. Generation Joshua is an organization born from the Home Schoolers' Legal Defense Association, a group that purports to represent all American home-schoolers... but not every home-schooling family feels represented. Some believe that the organization has become nothing more than a publicity and money-making front for its founders, and many take exception to the legislative agenda of the organization, which runs far beyond the bounds of home-schooling issues to issues like gay marriage, abortion, and even the Chemical Weapons Treaty (!):

"The more non-homeschooling issues homeschooling groups are associated with, the more negative opinions you cultivate, and you take on unnecessary risks that could hurt what should be your primary task: protecting homeschoolers...unless it's of vital interest and a homeschooling issue, don't stick your neck out." While HSLDA's full agenda "may be worthy of your interests, it is a catch-all for conservative... issues, and it paints us all with that brush."

-Will Shaw, long time homeschooler,
state homeschool lobbyist and
founder of the Virginia Home Education Association

The organization has been linked to the Christian Reconstructionist movement through its founder, Michael Harris, a former attorney for the Moral Majority and unsuccessful Republican candidate for Lt. Governor of Virginia in 1993. The Christian Reconstructionist movement is scary:

The Dominion theology movement places Judeo-Christian biblical law above any and all constitutional law, including the U.S. Constitution. "Postmillienialists believe that righteous human beings, essentially servants of Christ, must achieve positions of influence in societies in order to prepare the world for the Messiah's return."

In his excellent 1996 book, With God on Our Side, William Martin used a sampling of the views of several noted Reconstructionists to give a sense of how a Reconstructed America would be: "The federal government would play no role in regulating business, public education, or welfare [S]ome government would be visible at the level of counties but citizens would be answerable to church authorities on most matters subject to regulation income taxes would not exceed ten percent - the biblical tithe - and social security would disappear [P]ublic schools would be abolished in favor of home-schooling arrangements, and families would operate on a strict patriarchal pattern. The only people permitted to vote would be members of 'biblically correct' churches. Most notably, a theonomic order would make homosexuality, adultery, blasphemy, propagation of false doctrine, and incorrigible behavior by disobedient children subject to the death penalty, preferably administered by stoning a reconstructed America would have little room for Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, or even non-Reconstructionist Christians. 'The Christian', one Reconstructionist author has asserted, 'must realize that pluralism is a myth R.J. Rushdoony, also regards pluralism as a heresy, since, in the name of toleration, the believer is asked to associate on a common level of total acceptance with the atheist, the pervert, the criminal, and the adherents of other religions."

Generation Joshua's political goals are similar to their parent organization's: "Our goal is to ignite a vision in young people to help America return to her Judeo-Christian foundations."

The group is mentioned in this Salon article, which describes them as "an organization ... that trains college kids to make Christian nationalism palatable to the MTV generation, [attempting] to take a " 'firm, solid Biblical worldview' and [translate] it into 'terms that the other side accepts.' "

Here are the extremely well-informed political views of one precocious, intellectually independent teenager, expressed in an almost Bachmann-esque stream of eloquence:

"We took the church out of the state, but you've still got that thing of our founding fathers were Christians and they put God in the government and the way things have gone now, it's just gone almost," Kaity says.

But, Kaity also says the group doesn't form her opinions for her.

"I'm not an uneducated kid," she says. "I'm not going to base what I believe on mere opinion. I'm going to research it and I'm going to look things up [ed.: In the Bible?] and look at both sides of an issue and make an informed decision based on what I believe and not what my parents tell me."

The HSLDA PAC has a page up detailing the group's planned efforts for Bachmann. Apparently all travel was reimbursed for these volunteers and their families:

Travel Compensation

Travel to, from, and during the Student Action Team will be compensated. ALL RECIEPTS MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS BY NOVEMBER 21, 2006. NO EXCEPTIONS.

PO BOX 3000
Purcellville, VA 20132

Someone should check into the legality of this... I have no specific legal reason to doubt it, but it seems kind of fishy. At the very least, it seems to me ethically dodgy that the PAC of the entire home-schooling association would be used to pay for the tenuously-related political activities of its daughter group.

The page also includes this reminder:

Note: Under no circumstances can unrelated students room with a chaperone.

Probably a prescient move, given the recent troubles of the religious right.

Wikipedia has more information on Generation Joshua, and this local media story gives a good inside look at a "Gen J" chapter.


Excellent research, Pat. Keep up the great work.

Janet Reno and the ATF burned out the wrong cult, eh?

Eric, looks like it.

I am vaguely saddened that the Bachmannite home-schoolers seem to have flocked to Eva's post about this post, and didn't care to join the discussion over here. Oh well.

Pat: A lot of us are vaguely saddened by this election. I supported Elwyn Tinklenberg until he didn't get the endorsement. I supported Patty anyway and believed she would be a great Congressperson all the same. I'm very disappointed by the loss. But life goes on. You did a great service with your blog which I checked regularly. I encourage you to keep the blog up in one form or another because we need a focus on Bachmann and the psychosis which drives her support.

BTW: and FWIW: Eric Z. raised a point during the campaign about the psychological basis of Bachmann's support. I have sicne learned about a very learned psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School named Robert Jay Lifton. google his name and read what's out there. I think his analysis speaks volumes about the Superpower Syndrome and the mass hysteria in the Sixth district and the rest of the country.