As an alum of the Christian fascist, uh, I mean "homeschooling" movement—and not one of its more celebrated alumni, but magna cum lethargic, more like, as I'm the first to acknowledge—I still keep a lazy eye on that particular circus (inasmuch as an outsider can). Looking too long and deep could be dizzying. Which is probably true for any source of entertainment.

Recently I noticed that the Wikipedia has a blurb-like entry for Patriarch magazine. I knew the Lancaster family, peripherally, back in central Missouri. Probably it would've been hard to avoid knowing them at that time and place. Amusingly, however, it's a bit of a touchy topic even for the 'pedia. An earlier version of the article had this paragraph:

The magazine's mission was to promote a "Christ-like manhood" that is "neither tyrannical or wimpy" and a "home-centered lifestyle." The magazine was explicitly anti-feminist, blaming feminism for a large number of social ills. It promoted homeschooling, and daughters remaining in their father's household until marriage.

A Wikipedia editor killed the line about anti-feminism, deeming it to be "biased content." Perhaps the editor wanted to forestall any perception of the magazine's being associated—even tangentially—with an assortment of contemporary far-right cults. Namely, and most loudly: the Internet Right, the whole shebang marinated in cheap Reddit stoicism (on the Internet, nobody knows you're not Jack Bauer). That herd can range pretty far afield of the evangelical tent, depending on how you measure the distance.

My impression was always that Christian culture benefits the average woman more than the average man. If you're a man, and you're not a "patriarch," or whatever the current model of Christian Alpha Male is, then you may be invisible at best. But if you're a woman, then you get a support group; a forum for airing concerns. That's what church is for, really: Christian women tend to have a lot of (probably justifiable) resentment of men, so there has to be some kind of outlet for it.

Which is how tribalism usually works, of course. Belonging to the tribe confers certain benefits. They may be ultimately illusory, but those benefits have to be enough to keep adherents, well, adhering. That's how the center holds—or doesn't. The call for "Christian leadership" is usually disingenuous, because who wants the competition? They want more followers, not more leaders. Last time I checked, the Kool-Aid doesn't drink itself.

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