Sunday, October 5, 2008

ABC: God's Next Army?

If you missed Sunday's Compass program God's Next Army on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), it was a low point for our national broadcaster. It was an uncritical look at Patrick Henry College near Washington D.C. which uses the bible to prepare home-schooled youths for leadership in conservative America. They have been George W. Bush's and the Republican Party's campaign fodder. Many have worked as White House interns or as volunteers with right-wing lobbyists. The student body appeared to have no black or Hispanic students and only one of Asian background.

Geraldine Doogue introduced the program as topical though it was made in 2005-6. It is so old that they were boasting about working for Karl Rove. It is a promotional video at best, propaganda at its worst. It contained no analysis and could not be described as investigative in any sense. Its tone was highly supportive at the end.

This was a shocker! Is the ABC's budget so low that it has to buy such low quality stuff or was it free?

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Dina Roberts said...

I don't know much about it, but from what you have posted, I personally don't see anything that wrong with the program.

I can't say I love what they're teaching.

I'm not Christian.

I don't believe in the Bible.

I'm very liberal (in the American sense of the word...not Australian).

I'm not into groups of all white people.

All of it is a bit repulsive to me personally, but I feel they have every right to promote that mindset and prepare these children to be conservative right wing Christians.

We homeschool our child. I try to be open-minded. My belief is my child can believe what he wants to believe. But as homeschooling parents (or ANY type of parents) we do share our beliefs with him and we do somewhat push/promote a certain type of mindset/belief system.

My seven-year-old is being raised with the idea that homosexuality is perfectly fine, healthy, and normal. He's being raised to believe that it's perfectly okay NOT to believe in God. He's being raised to believe that boys can take ballet lessons if they want. He's being raised to believe that the Democrats are right and the Republicans are a bunch of greedy fools.

Some people would be horrified with what our family believes in. They would be horrified to know we are passing our opinions down to our child.

I strongly support homeschooling because I think it gives parents the ability to guide their children via their viewpoints. Even if I disagree with a homeschooling families, personal politics or ideologies, I'd rather they keep them within the home rather than pushing them on the Public School System.

I'd rather parents teach their children from the Bible at home rather than insisting the Ten Commandments be posted on every classroom door.

I do have very open discussions with my son and explain that he may one day have his own opinions that are not the same as ours. I let him know that we will love and accept him no matter what. But I can't deny that I share my opinions with him and that because he's so young and impressionable, it's very likely that he's going to adopt some of these opinions.

OR he'll completely rebel and become one of those Bible thumping Christians
; )

Unknown said...

My reason for posting was not my concerns with the evangelical politics or home schooling themselves. I do have issues but hardly any of these were addressed in this program.

It took the form of a documentary but could have been a promotional film. No hard questions were asked and no opponents were interviewed.

It was almost totally uncritical, with the exception of women's role in their community and society in general.

It was a shoddy production with poor journalistic values.

Dina Roberts said...

I've never seen the show before. Is it usually more critical? Does it usually show a variety of viewpoints?

I don't watch that many documentaries, but the ones I HAVE seen do seem to push a particular viewpoint. Sometimes they're subtle about it, but I feel the producers of the documentary usually have an opinion and push that opinion via the film. Examples I can think of are Michael Moore stuff and Morgan Spurlock. I think "Super Size Me" was not a balanced look at eating at fast food restaurants. I think it was very strongly anti-McDonalds. So some could say that film was not a documentary. They could say it was a promotional film for vegans and health nuts.

I guess for me it would really depend on what the show is usually like. Does it usually give a more balanced view and then this week's episode was much less balanced?

I'm just thinking that maybe whoever made the video is in support of this Christian group and therefore didn't make too much of an effort to be critical about it.

I did look at the website. I didn't see the episode you mentioned. But the show looks fascinating. I'm very intrigued by this episode about that big cemetary in Sydney.

Unknown said...

A current affairs documentary should be more than just asking those who support an issue or organisation what they think. For example, some students were lobbying members of congress against compensation for asbestos victims. How much did they know about the issue? Is this an appropriate activity for college students? Are they open to exploitation?

If they have been home-schooled to protect them from society as the video stated, how aware are they of the political processes and how open to manipulation?

Dina Roberts said...

I think they're VERY open to manipulation. I think ALL children are whether they're homeschooled or go to an outside school.

Young people are manipulated by their parents, teachers, peers, the media, etc.

I also think in some ways, all people are sheltered by society. Homeschooled children are very much sheltered from the school aspect of society. Christian children are often sheltered from learning about other religions. School children spend a lot of time in a classroom with very little contact with adults (outside their one teacher) and children not of their age group. So, you could say school children are sheltered from the "real world".

The question is what's the definition of "real world".

I don't think any child is going to be free from being sheltered in some way. Even if they have the best open-minded parents and/or the best open-minded schools, they're still going to be missing out on SOME aspect of society.

As for the children in the video, they might be OVER-sheltered. But again....I think this is quite common. Not that being common excludes it as being a concern. I think kids like this will either a) remain in the fringe group as an adult b) educate themselves, open their mind, and escape the brainwashing.

Unknown said...

It is true of much of the elite at ivy-league colleges too.

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