Pass Over This Jordan

Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, “Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.'”
— Joshua 1:10-11

Upon the death of Moses, Joshua became the leader of the Israelites and led them in the conquest Canaan — which he carried out with quite ruthless thoroughness. At Jericho, the finale of the siege is described thus:

So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.

— Joshua 6:20-21

Only the household of Rahab “the harlot” was spared as she had earlier concealed two of Joshua’s spies. Joshua dealt with various other Canaanite cities in pretty much the same bloody-minded fashion, getting big thumbs up from God all along the way.

Cut to 3200 years later:

“This is the land of MTV, Internet porn, abortion, homosexuality, greed, and accomplished selfishness.” … Giants stalk America, “giants that live in the fields of the law, government, journalism, and history. And we are going to look in depth at the elite colleges and universities of our nation. The enemies of freedom and truth dominate these institutions and thereby dominate our nation.” — Farris, Michael, The Joshua Generation, pp 11-12 as quoted in Goldberg, Michelle, Kingdom Coming, p 2.

Michael Farris, a protégé of Tim “Left Behind” LaHaye, has been America’s leading exponent of Christian homeschooling since 1983 when he founded the Home School Legal Defense Association. Farris is also the founder of Patrick Henry College, an evangelical “liberal arts” college which, despite only being in operation since 2000 and admitting less than 100 students per class, has placed interns with at least 22 members of congress and on Karl Rove’s staff. In spring of 2004, 7 out of about 100 White House interns came from this one school. More recently he has started a movement called “Generation Joshua” which, while perhaps not exhorting that one’s opponent’s children and sheep ought be put to the sword, seeks to inspire the current generation of homeschooled students to use politics to reclaim America from its secular Canaanites with a martial fervor worthy of Joshua’s Israelites.

Then Joshua … and all Israel with him … fought against Libnah: And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.

And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it: And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah. Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.
— Joshua 10:29-33

Farris, seeing the parents as kind of home-school issei, refers to them as the Moses generation, “because they have successfully led their children out of the bondage of the godless public schools” (Goldberg, 1). The nisei, Generation Joshua, will fulfill the the promise of the homeschool movement when they “engage wholeheartedly in the battle to take the land” (Farris quoted in Goldberg, 2).

According to Goldberg (p 2-3):

What Farris wants is a cultural revolution. He’s trying to train a generation of leaders, unscathed by secularism, who will gain political power in order to subsume everything—entertainment, law, government, and education—to Christianity, or their version of it. […] Through Generation Joshua, launched in 2004 to involve homeschooled teenagers in politics, children are becoming Republican foot soldiers before they can vote. In its first year, Generation Joshua paid all the travel and living expenses for hundreds of homeschooled students who volunteered on right-wing political campaigns nationwide, rewarding the most productive with scholarships to Patrick Henry.

While the front page of the GenJ (as they call it) website has a kind of cheery “Hey kids! Politics!” take on things, the logo for the organization shows someone blowing a ram’s horn and brandishing a sword. The web site describes GenJ’s mission thus:

Generation Joshua is designed for Christian youth between the ages of 11 and 19 who want to become a force in the civic and political arenas. Our goal is to ignite a vision in young people to help America return to her Judeo-Christian foundations. We provide students with hands-on opportunities to implement that vision.

In America today, battles are being waged over many issues—from judicial activism to attacks on traditional marriage to the moral disintegration of our society. In the midst of the battles, we can lose sight of where our nation has come from, and these pressing concerns could crush our hope for America’s future.

John Winthrop, then governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, wrote in 1630 concerning New England and America: “We shall be as a City upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.” He warned that “if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.” Generation Joshua wants America to be a perpetual city on a hill. We seek to inspire every one of our members with the kind of faith that sees beyond our present circumstances to what America can become—if each one of us consistently impacts our sphere of influence for Christ and for His glory.

The site banner includes John Trumbull’s famous painting Declaration of Independence. Of course, it’s a bit more difficult to find ringing endorsements of Christian nations from the founders than from 17th century puritans.

And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it: And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish. [Yeah, yeah, whole lotta smitin’ goin’ on…]

And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it: And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein.
— Joshua 10:34-37

There is a thread that runs through not just Farris’s projects, but other similar fundie organisations. Farris’s college is named after Patrick Henry, GenJ wants you to associate it with the Declaration of Independence, Jerry Falwell founded Liberty University. It’s possible that they’re just trading on the association with the founders, but it strikes me that there is some definition of “freedom” or “liberty” that is being pushed that is, shall we say, not precisely congruent with what Jefferson and Madison had in mind.

GenJ’s director Ned Ryun, a homeschooler himself and a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, sees his job as teaching kids to translate their proper biblical worldview into terms that mainstream society can accept. Ryun is quoted by Goldberg (p 3-4):

“A lot of time in the public debate Christians will say, ‘Well, the Bible says so,’ or ‘God says this is wrong,'” explains Ryun. “And that’s true. God is not for same sex marriages. God believes that the Bible protects life.” In public though,, “you usually have to use terms and facts that the other side accepts as reasonable. What I’m trying to do with young people is, let’s take the Bible and the Constitution, and let’s look at current events. What does the Bible have to say about it? Let’s get a firm, solid biblical worldview, and then learn how to communicate that in terms that the other side accepts.”

Russell Cobb of Slate agrees that Generation Joshua and Patrick Henry College are good examples of how the right-wing culture warriors have learned from their earlier battles, and notes a similar approach is “embraced by the many faith-based organizations Goldberg profiles. For example, Leslee Unruh, ‘the doyenne of the chastity industry,’ who helped her organization, Abstinence Clearinghouse, land a $2.7 million contract with the Department of Health and Human Services in 2002, does her best to promote the cause in secular terms—never mind how strained: Her claim that postponing sex until marriage is good for promoting ‘simultaneous orgasms’ lacks, shall we say, a scientific ring.”

However, citing the fissures that can be found between various factions, Cobb finds Goldberg’s overall take on Christian Nationalism a bit pessimistic. Indeed, he finds Patrick Henry College itself to be “a perfect example of tensions within the conservative Christian fold”:

In May [2006], five of the school’s 16 faculty members left the school over a debate about how to read non-Christian texts. Farris, the school’s founder, publicly rebuked a rhetoric professor for not mentioning the Bible in a lecture about St. Augustine last fall. Other professors—many of them evangelicals themselves—complained of “arbitrary limitations” on what they could say in class. As the debate heated up in March, two professors wrote in the school newspaper: “When we examine the works of any author, professed Christian or otherwise, the proper question is not ‘Is this man a Christian?’ but ‘is this true?’ ” They resigned a day later.

There are about 1-2 million homeschool students in the US. There is an industry dedicated to providing them with materials that recast the complexities of earlier American history as a story of Christian triumphs and recent times as an unparalleled threat to that heritage from the blight of liberalism. Michael Farris would like these kids to go forth under the banner of Joshua as cultural and political warriors in the cause of Christianity and the GOP.

And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it: And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king. So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.
— Joshua 10:38-40

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51 Responses to “Pass Over This Jordan”

  • And we can add Monica Goodling at Justice as a grad of Regent U. law. Believing super fervently in Super J. does not qualify you especially for any job. The corruption and perversity of this administration is obscene and I can almost guarantee that the amount of true believership currently makes the Nixon Administration look squeaky clean in comparison. Truly a new low.

    Are these the kids who throw themselves at the window praying across the street from the Capitol?

    You forgot to warn everyone about Serious Pants™. Nice job.

  • Serious Pants™ warning added. 3B readers should be reassured that we try to keep our Serious Pants properly labeled.

  • The Uncanny Canadian

    At first I thought this was going to be a humourous article about the smiting of Canaanites, and instead it turned into a serious article about homeschooling. What gives, Ploverre?

    I should point out that the stories of the conquest of Cana’an are pretty hyperbolic. Later in the bible, it’s clear that the conquest of Cana’an was half-assed at best, and the story of complete and utter destruction might have been just a teensy bit exaggerated. I knew a wonderful Israeli archeologist, who actually did a fair bit of work in Jericho among other places, and she told us that the best evidence is that Jericho was actually abandoned at the time of the Israelite invasion. It all sounds like execution: 2/10, storytelling: 8/10. Nah, make that 6/10.

    My point being not that the bible is full of inaccuracies (duh), but more that it is ironic that this is the inspiration for these whackos. Joshua did a terrible job “conquering” Cana’an, did an even worse job of dividing up the land for the different tribes, and left the whole thing in shambles for the early kings, who were apparently not that adept. Which, makes me think that this really is a valid inspiration for Patrck Henry College.

  • UC is such an Old Testament apologist.

    Bad stuff=exagerrated

    Good stuff=totally happened!

    I heard they just passed out leis and had kosher luaus. Mahalo, Canaanites!

  • One of my favorite bits from Sexing the Cherry:

    “I had a name but I have forgotten it.

    They call me the Dog-Woman and it will do. I call him Jordan and it will do. He has no other name before or after. What was there to call him, fished as he was from the stinking Thames? A child can’t be called Thames, no and not Nile either, for all his likeness to Moses. But I wanted to give him a river name, a name not bound to anything, just as the waters aren’t bound to anything. When a woman gives birth her waters break and she pours out the child and the child runs free. I would have liked to pour out a child from my body but you have to have a man for that and there’s no man who’s a match for me.

    When Jordan was a baby he sat on top of me much as a fly rests on a hill of dung. And I nourished him as a hill of dung nourishes a fly, and when he had eaten his fill he left me.


    I should have named him after a stagnant pond and then I could have kept him, but I named him after a river and in the flood-tide he slipped away.

  • Later in the bible, it’s clear that the conquest of Cana’an was half-assed at best, and the story of complete and utter destruction might have been just a teensy bit exaggerated. I knew a wonderful Israeli archeologist, who actually did a fair bit of work in Jericho among other places, and she told us that the best evidence is that Jericho was actually abandoned at the time of the Israelite invasion.

    So, maybe the Israelites found this city, Jericho, and they camped outside it. When everyone ran inside, all set for smiting, then they realised no one was there, and everyone simultaneously exclaimed “D’oh!” But later, some traveler was passing by and so the Israelites were all like:

    “We did that.”

    “Yup, not a single person, ox, or ass left in the whole city. We killed every one we found — even the children.”

    “And those collapsed walls? That was us too. We did it by, ah, blowing horns. And shouting. We can do that, you know.”

    At this point half the Israelites are snarfling into their sleeves trying not to bust out laughing. And the traveler goes on, convinced that Israelites are frenzied killers but cursed with some weird allergy.

    Somehow these incidents never come off quite like that in ancient manuscripts though.

    At first I thought this was going to be a humourous article about the smiting of Canaanites

    Maybe it should have been. 3B needs more smiting.

  • I think “smiting” is going on the Tuesday amusing word queue.

  • The Uncanny Canadian

    I think I’d much rather read the old testament as written by Plover. Funnier AND more historically accurate. Even though there would be 200% less smiting.

  • Smite the Homeschoolers!

    I agree with Pinko, the Serious Pantses nearly blew me away. Maybe this should be labeled Welcome to Gilead.

    Oddly enough, homeschoolers are few and far between in fields like engineering and architecture. Where physics has little tolerance for faith based ideologies. Prayer won’t hold up a bridge, and I notice these yahoos don’t feel like trying to part the waters instead of using said bridges. Bridges are TOTALLY secular.

  • What about smiting of the colon?

    BP, it depends on how far the home school half-assery permeates say the Army Corp of Engineers who, maybe they don’t build bridges, but they build dams. Maybe they are building “Damns” now. Super G will hold bakc the water if the people in the valley below are worthy. If not, C’est la vie!

  • At first I thought this was going to be a humourous article about the smiting of Canaanites,

    Okay, that sentence is just hysterical.

  • Even with the misspelling of humurous.

  • Amendment 1 of the US Constitution clearly states that “Congress shall make no law disrespecting the establishment of any religion except Christianity because that is the bestest religion ever, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof Christianity while limited all other religions to practicing their pagan rites in a shack out of town on the far side of the rail yards with one (1) parking space; “

    Fundamentalists groups sure do seem to fracture easily. What is the Biblical term for Sharia anyway? Boredom? Inquisition?

  • I love Sexing the Cherry. The book, that is, not the act, which I don’t even know how to do exactly. Nor have I tried, I think.

  • The Israelites made several classic strategery mistakes in the Canann campaign:

    1. They failed to conquer Madagascar, which prevented them from getting a three-army Africa bonus.

    2. They selected the vulnerable Middle East as their main base of operations, instead of the much easier to defend Indonesian terriotory.

    3. They turned their cards in too soon and didn’t receive a high number of bonus armies, which especially hurt them later in the game against the Babylonians.

  • Also, Babylonian food= super colon smitey.

  • God, I hate Risk!

    As for homeschooled children… I had one visit once. She, surprisingly, did not burst into flames upon entering my abode. Her mother told me that she was a whiz with her Fine Arts flashcards and yet this girl had no idea what a painting was. She was watching me while I was painting and didn’t get it. I told her that you put paint on a canvas with the hopes of creating an image, just like those flashcards. She still didn’t get it… that’s okay, she is being told her only future job will be to procreate… and conquer Madagascar.

  • I think this link has some relevance to the mindset of the founding fathers concerning the Christian state the current pretenders to the throne espouse:

  • HEY! How come Grizzled comments over here???

  • I don’t think there is more than one, big G is sneakin’ around on J!

    Or there is more than one.


  • No… that’s my G. I sent him the link to the post this morning. I figured it would be right up his alley. I just didn’t think he’d comment over here first… sniff…

  • You know Grizzled and plover are tight like that. 3Bulls is just like that. Canaan and colon smiting. A one stop shop.

  • Sadly Jennifer, I know a family that have five of them being home schooled. They only know what their parents tell them and they don’t go out and mix with the public. It’s very scary given they know about three non church types.

    On the otherside, I reviewed an undergraduate application for a math genius that was homeschooled. He was amazing and we accepted him on a full scholarship.

    Guess it has to do with what is actually the reason for being homeschooled. It may affect the quality of the education.

    Plover, AG did not read your post. Sorry, but AG has strong feelings on religion and feels that her thoughts on the Bible should be kept to herself. Why go there so close to Passover and all.

    Having said that and totally OT, you kosher cobags need to get over to RoD! We have Altmouse footage that Belle Dame tipped us off about.

  • Hi Grizzled! Did you know we were tight like that? No one tells me anything. Nice link.

    Did you know there’s a group in Fargo trying to get a Treaty of Tripoli monument put up next to their Ten Commandments monument?

  • That first link give us:

    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error ‘80040e14’

    [Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server]Cannot use empty object or column names. Use a single space if necessary.

    /News_Stories.asp, line 140

    They are using Emusoft OLE DB Provider, whatever that is. OLE!

  • The link should be de-emued.

    Well, at least overtly. The emus are still there lurking in the heart of the servers, waiting for the unwary.

  • Speaking of smiting, I had the oddest thing happen today.

    I was shopping in my neighborhood grocery store, as I often do, when I saw a guy with a big Glock in a fast draw holster on his back hip.

    He was pushing a cart; I was not. He most likely had a carry permit; I did not.

    As I approached, I saw his pistol was cocked and presumably locked and loaded. I thought to myself, “This guy is really afraid of groceries.”

    It occurred to me, “I could just snatch the Glock out of the holster and accidentally shoot him in the ass just to make a point.” This actually crossed my mind. It was right there for anyone to take. Thank goodness for the frontal lobes, because I decided not to do that. However, if someone walked into a crowded store with a rattlesnake around his neck, I’d have something to say about it, so…

    I passed him and said, “Say, did you know you’re cocked?” He gave me the oddest look. I don’t know why.

    I explained, pointing to his pistol, “It looks like your hammer is drawn back.”

    He said, “Yeah, I know.”

    I said, “OK then.”

    I walked down the aisle. He thought something behind me, but not loud enough to hear.

    I mention this only because this exchange happened on a grocery aisle lined from top-to-bottom, end-to-end… with condiments.

    If he had shot up the joint it would have looked so cool in slow motion.

  • Ed, you just creeped the shit out of me.

  • You never know when the grapefruit, or indeed, the passion fruit chupacabra may strike. Better safe than sorry. What’s a few innocent bystanders when you are repelling the Citrus Horde?

    Some guys luuurrrve their guns a little TOO much, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

    On the other hand, one of our fine legislators here in wisconsin recently proposed controlling school out-of-handedness by arming ALL teachers. Which I think would be bitchin’ It would certainly make school less boring, if Johnny got popped for a dodgeball infraction. (I think the legislator is related to Jeffy Dahmer)

  • Pinko, you are flying over the no swear zone. Please refrain from the use of sh*t, otherwise AG will have to f****n’ ban you!

    [Edited for swears]

  • Excuse me Editors but how is it that AG gets edited for swears but not La Pinko at 11:24 PM?!!

    You are all a bunch of sexist pigs! Piglets extraordinaire. Except perhaps Plover who AG knows can be above this bravado you all have going on here. You really do make Altmouse look like a good little Feminist. However, for he/she/it/bird, the P–love-R gets that you cannot shat all over other genders, humans and beasts.

    For shame. I hope the Easter Bunny poops in your baskets this year!

  • “You can get this Tobasco when you pry it out of my cold dead hands.”

    I agree with Pinko, that’s a messed up story.

  • And I think we mean that gun dude was messed up, not Ed.

    It is always cool for various mustards and catsups to arc through the air in John Woo-style art.

  • That’s a great story Eds Appliances! There’s something about people that wear guns that makes me think exactly what EA thought: 1) what is this dude afraid of? and 2) man, I could take that gun off him before he knew what hit him. Of course I also think that dude must have a wee-wee inversely proportional to Chuckles’ otherwise he wouldn’t be compensating.

  • Chow-Yun Fat stars in John Woo’s Kung POW.

  • plover, thanks for the monument link. It’s that sort of old testament, eye-for-an-eye thing. Heck with a little encouragement, there could be some smiting going on in Bismarck.

    As for J, I generally try to be like Maris, the unseen, unheard wife of Niles in the TV series Fraser. J is my foil.

  • Take that, Reynolds Wrap!

  • Smiting Bismarck ought to be the name of a movie: Bronze Age army invades North Dakota to prevent the 19th century unification of Germany.

    Well, it makes as much sense as most action movies. It will be a trick though to convince people that North Dakota is on the coast for the battleship scenes.

    Stars Edmund Fitzgerald as Bismarck.

  • Hey! Grizzled was referring to plover as *she*!!! I kept asking him, “Why are you saying, she??? Do you know it’s a she??” He said he didn’t. I still think plover is a male… and instead of a brain in a jar, I am now envisioning plover as Doogie Howser. Yes, plover is now 12 in my mind and wearing a lab coat.

    No, I’ve changed my mind… plover is a Rorschach test… we all bring our own interpretation, our own neuroses, to the field.

    I do like the Edmund Fitzgerald casting. 🙂

  • Ahh, well AG thinks Plover is a female. We got nothing because P-lover won’t give it up. Perhaps one will never know, JLo.

    Pinko, you are a total cobag! AG’s birthday is not until the Fall and there isn’t anything on that blog worthy of AG.

    I double hope the Easter Bunny gets the runs before she gets to your house, Cobag!

  • even though AG would kill in a tiny fez, we have an even better idea.

  • the only thing i’ve learnt from all of this is that michael “bueller” farris is a complete cobwad.

  • Well, it makes as much sense as most action movies. It will be a trick though to convince people that North Dakota is on the coast for the battleship scenes.

    No more of a trick than Captain Von Trapp of the Austrian Navy.

  • Austro-Hungarian Navy, chunderwich. Several delightful ports on the Dalmatian Coast.

  • Sorry, fish, I just needed to use my new word.

  • does this mean we will have an action musical?

    finally! someone outside of bollywood wants to make one!

  • The (Black) Hills are alive with the sound of smiting
    A sound some thought done for a thousand years
    The Prussians will run from the sound of smiting
    Bismarck’s hull will be breached by explosive-tipped spears

  • After the story of the Glock in the condiment aisle, I think we need a new version of the Snacktator Sweepstakes — this time it will be the Shoot and Sauce ‘Em Up contest:

    1. Sam Pickapeppa’s The Wild Lunch.

    2. Little Caesar Salad Dressing

    3. Donnie Tabrasco

  • Can there be Mongols in our South Dakota Austro-Hungarian action musical? The Mongols were horribly excellent at handing out the smite.

  • What sucks is that if there were a movie with “smite” in the title, I would say something like the Mongols Vegesmite their enemies.

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