What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

The Failed Quest of Orphan Theology

April 30, 2013, 4:25 PM
Bt-army-of-god

After her uterus nearly erupted, Vyckie Garrison was rushed to the hospital to give birth to her seventh child. The emergency caesarean section nearly killed her. Her doctor warned the family to stop having children. Her friends balked at the prospect, promising that God would see to it that she was OK.

“Jesus died for us," Garrison said. "We should be willing to die for him.” Her next two pregnancies have resulted in miscarriage.

As part of the Quiverfull movement, it is Garrison's role to keep churning out as many babies as possible, in hopes of transforming America into a fully realized Christian country. This evangelical subset teaches complete submission to the husband; women are considered little more than vessels of reproduction.

I became aware of another movement bent on creating 'God's Army' eight years ago when discovering Patrick Henry College, a Virginia University specifically designed to send young Christians off into a life of politics, where they transform religious values into public policy.

The process is simple enough to explain, if nearly impossible to digest: raise as many children as possible to beget as many children as possible; home school them, the Bible being their main textbook; ship them off to a Christ-centric college.

The major problem is that not all eight children (Vision Forum Ministry pastor Doug Philips calculated that eight children will each beget eight, and so forth) are going to get down with the program. In fact, it appears that is rarely the case.

Yet there are alternatives, evidenced by Kathryn Joyce's article in Mother Jones. Borrowing from her new book, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption, she covers another evangelical movement: Liberian adoption.

According to Joyce, hundreds of families rushed off to the America-invented African country to, once again, cross an ocean and fuel modern religious enslavement: shackling children with the chains of doctrine.

In 2005, the same year that the New Yorker exposé on Patrick Henry College was published, Above Rubies publisher and home schooling cheerleader Nancy Campbell began advocating for American families to adopt Liberian children. She thought this was the most 'cost-effective' method of adoption (unsurprising, considering some agencies were illegitimate) in a nation in which she claimed one million children die every year—in a country of under four million. 

Campbell's 'orphan theology' sent hundreds of American families to Africa, gleeful papas hauling back five, six or more children—some congregations scooped up a bulk rate of 100 and passed them around.

As can be expected, plenty of turmoil ensued: beatings, sexual abuse, death, and a host of families attempting to return the African children who would not 'Americanize' quickly enough.

Such an unfortunate reality can be expected when encouraged by an ulterior motive. The Liberian—and as Joyce writes, other denominations have focused elsewhere, such as in Ethiopia and the Congo—orphan theology was not founded to help children, but to make them part of the Army. The children's well-being was secondary. As Campbell wrote at the time,

When we welcome a child into our heart and into our home, we actually welcome Jesus Himself.

Today—literally—Campbell continues to promote female subservience on her Facebook page. The failed orphan theology has quieted, though not ceased. The many faces of this growing Army continue to emerge; barely a day can go by without evidence of such. Most unnerving, parents are not even attempting to raise independent children to be responsible, free-thinking adults. They are breeding moral machines programmed to recite rhetoric. 

When a defector appears in the ranks, he or she is treated with scorn and derision; disownment is a predictable fate. Parents claim how hard they tried to raise him righteously; it's his fault for not understanding the truth of their god. The Army marches forward, undeterred and maddened, the carnage of family and friends a mere toll for their piety, stopping at nothing until their vision of reality manifests.

Image: Anelina/shutterstock.com

 

The Failed Quest of Orphan ...

Newsletter: Share: