Palimpsest – a document written over leaving traces of the original
A palimpsest is an old writing scraped from the original manuscript material to make room for a later over-writing, leaving only traces of the original.
We have witnessed an erosion of the plain meaning of the words found in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting any government, federal, state or local, from “establishing” a religion. We have a federal appellate decision as recent as this year plainly re-stating that religious worship in schools is an activity that violates the First Amendment. Yet some government entities have embraced practices establishing religion, in effect, over-writing the plain meaning of the First Amendment.
In the past week, I invited our local government agencies to stop using public buildings for religious worship as a plain and blatant constitutional violation.
In response, some agreed that they couldn’t understand how or why the County permitted church services in our public schools. One wrote, “I have been bothered by the Grace Church sign on Harmony Middle School for some time. Wrote a letter to LCPS Administration but didn’t even receive a reply.” Continue reading
The administrators at Patrick Henry College have had a tough week.
Beginning on Sunday, PHC founder and chancellor Michael Farris posted a public statement about the recent disgrace of two important leaders within the religious homeschooling and “parental rights” movement, both of them because young women have come forward with testimony of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. Former Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Doug Phillips resigned last fall from the separatist group he had founded after it was revealed that he pursued a sexual relationship with a young woman, under 18, who was under his “authority.” Bill Gothard, leader of an influential Christian Patriarchy instruction program, is slowly being exposed as a predator who has for decades sexually molested young women sent to him, often at his personal invitation, to be his interns.
Farris did not dispute the misconduct of these men, seeming to accept evidence of their “protracted patterns of sin.” Instead, he tried to distance his own kind of “leadership” from theirs. But his statement is very strange. Attempting to avoid criticism of the authoritarianism that undergirds his own position, it ends up reading as if he thinks these “leaders,” these powerful men, should rightly have such control over the women and children under their authority, and that maintaining this position of male authority is a “basic strength.” The only problem with these men is that their strength was allowed to “get out of control.” The statement then ends with a lighthearted punchline normalizing the idea that men naturally want to pursue young women, but are inhibited by the fear that their wives will shoot them.
What came the next day must have been a surprise, although one is at pains to imagine why.