Monday, August 20, 2007

A Star Special Report: Home schooling today — The Joshua Generation

Adam Franklin campaigns for conservative Paul Broun. Photo: Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star

The thin blonde teenager was wearing a pink bikini top and cut-off shorts as she sauntered slowly toward the lake, oblivious to the worried stares of onlookers.

Without pause, the counselor walked toward her with a smile and explained that she should leave, pointing a finger toward the entrance.

Besides learning the tenets of conservative ideology — yes to intelligent design, no to same-sex marriage, yes to prayer in schools, no to new taxes — students attending the National TeenPact Conference in Winder, Ga., a gathering of politically active home-school students from around the nation, are required to look a certain way.

“Oh my gosh! Was that one of us?!” said a young girl with braces, retreating to the side with a group of friends to discuss the incident.

Star Video
The politics of
home schooling

The first thing the camp counselor saw was the flash of flesh.

“That is totally not T.P.A.”

Belly buttons may not be T.P.A., or TeenPact Approved, but neither are a lot of things, said 16-year-old Lineville native Steven Franklin.

“Outside ... there are so many distractions that can get in the way of learning,” Franklin said. “At TeenPact they are trying to get you to focus on politics, on the attitude they are trying to teach you, and on God and stuff.”

TeenPact, and organizations like it, want to provide the ideological backbone for a Joshua Generation — an assemblage of Christian home-schoolers who will claim the culture much like the biblical Joshua led the Israelites to claim Canaan.

And teenagers like Franklin are on the front lines, part of an intricate grassroots youth network that home-school leaders believe eventually will overturn Roe v. Wade, stop same-sex marriage, and bring the country back to what they believe is its biblical heritage.

“These students are impacting political organizations all over the country,” said home-school mother Jean Whatley, 55, whose four children have worked a combined total of 20 political campaigns. “They want to transform the culture for Christ.”

Yet educators who have studied home education question the civic education of home schoolers.

Instead of influencing people for the better, they see home-school students as nothing more than messianic messengers who peddle their convictions in a world they know nothing about.


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