In this eye-opening interview, Dr. Chrissy Stroop peels back the layers of Christian dominionism, and explains how this ideology is deeply woven into the fabric of Christian homeschooling.
When it comes to American evangelicalism in general and dominionism in particular, Dr. Chrissy Stroop is both a former insider and an expert scholar. Dr. Stroop has long written and shared candid stories of growing up in a Christian educational environment. Here, she vividly recounts the effects of concepts like pre-tribulation rapture and providence on her own educational experiences, and challenges us to question their broader impact on the Christian homeschooling movement. Her experiences are a prism for a deep exploration into the world of Christian homeschooling and its dominionist influence throughout the country. As Dr. Stroop explains, the pervasiveness of Seven Mountains Dominionism in homeschooling spaces cannot be underestimated. More than an implicit ideology, it is often central to the curricula adopted by homeschooling parents.
Dr. Stroop also sheds light on the disturbing realities of Christian homeschooling’s intersection with anti-vax and anti-mask rhetoric, as well as the racial biases that have historically colored decisions about foster care. In the process, she exposes the homeschooling movement’s concealed objective: To uphold White male patriarchal power. Dr. Stroop concludes by emphasizing the pivotal role of advocating for child rights and looks at the necessity of restricting parental control for the sake of children’s educational opportunities.
- The Bugbear Dispatch, Chrissy’s new-ish Substack
- “Mission to Destroy Public Education Rebrands Under COVID-19: Understanding the Christian Homeschooling Movement,” by Chrissy Stroop
- R.L. Stollar’s blog and writings for Religion Dispatches
- Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstruction, Julie J. Ingersoll.
(0:00:06) – Dominionist Influence on Christian Homeschooling (13 Minutes)
Dr. Chrissy Stroop provides a first-hand perspective on the Christian homeschooling and Christian school movements and the influence Christian dominionism has on them. In addition to taking stock of the Christian educational landscape, we examine the valid reasons for pulling kids out of public schools in order to homeschool them, and the difficulties of finding non-right-wing Christian co-ops and curricula.
(0:13:34) – Christian Schools and Homeschooling (8 Minutes)
Stroop explains the ideological rigidity of Christian schools, how they guide students into evangelical colleges, the mobilization of right wing political activism, the lack of opt-out options for pledges, and the use of corporal punishment.
(0:21:42) – Christian Dominionism and Homeschooling Agenda (9 Minutes)
Dr. Stroop takes us into the world of Christian dominionism and its influence on homeschooling and Christian schools. We discuss the Christian Reconstructionism movement and its advocacy of the “right” kind of Christian – conservative, authoritarian, nationalist, and fascist – who is trained to be in control of society. We look at how the curricula created by Christian Reconstructionists has spread to homeschooling and Christian schools alike. We also explore the idea of “Seven Mountains Dominionism.” Finally, we examine the idea of a “pre-tribulation rapture” and the concept of Providence, and how these notions have shaped the Christian homeschooling and Christn day-school environments.
(0:30:26) – Child Abuse, Homeschooling, and Conspiracies (10 Minutes)
Stroop parses the consequences of Christian nationalist homeschooling and Christian schools and how they are intertwined with anti-vax and anti-mask rhetoric on the Christian right. We look at the historical racial biases that have influenced decisions about who to take from their parents and place in foster care, and how the 1980s satanic panic, QAnon, and the moral panic mindset were forerunners to the current groomer rhetoric and ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws.
(0:39:59) – The Christian Homeschooling Movement’s Hidden Agenda (10 Minutes)
We examine the major institutions and political players behind the Christian homeschooling movement and their ultimate agenda of shrinking the federal government and protecting white male patriarchal power. We explore the role of the John Birch Society and the Council for National Policy in the grassroots development of the public school exit initiative, and how this initiative was celebrated as a great opportunity to get children out of ‘godless indoctrination centers’. We also discuss the pervasive Lost Cause narratives present in conservative schools, as well as the far-right movements that are supported by the DeVos family’s school choice agenda. Finally, we consider the strategic defense against these movements and how to promote true separation of church and state, as well as religious pluralism.
(0:49:56) – Child Rights Advocacy, Limiting Parental Control (8 Minutes)
We discuss how the legal precedent of Wisconsin v. Yoder has enabled religious communities to limit the educational opportunities of children, and the need to challenge this ruling. Stroop discusses the influential work of activists like R.L. Stollar and Torah Bontrager, as well as the importance of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We concluded by examining the impact of conservative Christian homeschooling and Christian schools on the development of children, along with the strategies used by Christian nationalists to shrink the federal government’s role in public education.
Christian Homeschooling, Christian Schooling, Dominionism, Seven Mountains Dominionism, Anti-Vax, Anti-Mask, White Male Patriarchy, John Birch Society, Council for National Policy, School Choice, Child Rights Advocacy, Limiting Parental Control, Wisconsin v. Yoder, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, HSLDA, Charter schools, Private schools, Public school