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HR 3753/ S 1691-Homeschool NonDiscrimination Act 2005

Friday, October 21, 2005

HR 3753/ S 1691-Homeschool NonDiscrimination Act 2005

by Mary McCarthy

On September 13, 2005 Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) and Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) introduced the Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2005 (HoNDA) in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. (1)

H.R. 3753 and S. 1619 are almost identical to the previously introduced Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2003. Identical except for the addition of Section 10, "Recruitment and enlistment of home schooled students in the Armed Forces." (2).

Knowing that the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is lobbying for passage of these proposals, it first appeared that they were simply trying to write themselves into law as the designated accountability organization for students wanting to prove their homeschool status for purposes of enlistment. HSLDA as a quasi-government accountability entity is troubling enough but could there be another reason?

The Washington Times reported in 2005 "HSLDA has been at the forefront of the battle to gain access for home-schoolers to the military, and HSLDA senior counsel Chris Klicka has been negotiating with the military for six years." (3)

In 1998, the Department of Defense began a study that included homeschool students to assess their fitness for enlistment. (4)

The results were published in 2004 and concluded homeschool recruits have attrition rates significantly higher than public high school graduates. (5)

The study ended in 2004 and homeschoolers reverted to a lesser status for enlistment. In January of 2005, following meetings between Chris Klicka and the Department of Defense, homeschoolers were again "afforded priority enlistment with no practical limit." (6)

In June 2005, however, Army Secretary Francis Harvey, interviewed by USA Today indicated, "Home-schooled students are a growing pool of potential recruits." (7)

An October 2005 release of a master plan for increasing Army recruitment includes targeting "those of high school age who are being homeschooled -- a potential market the Army has largely ignored." (8)

So why efforts to attract homeschooled students to the military when its been proven they are separated from the military at higher numbers than publicly educated students?

In his President's Report for 2003, Michael Farris, an ordained Baptist pastor (9), announced, "we were invited by the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) to send our students for officer training. Placing our graduates on the path to leadership in the U.S. military is another way PHC can influence the nation." (10)

On December 18, 2003 PHC announced that students were eligible to enroll in the US Army's ROTC program. (11)

Why does HSLDA/PHC continue to champion HoNDA legislation and military involvement for students? They must know from the last introduction in 2003 that most homeschoolers are overwhelmingly against HoNDA and the federalization of homeschooling? And why have they added Section 10?

The Larger Picture

A Department of Defense investigation in 2004 determined that Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, the Pentagon's senior military intelligence official, violated at least three internal regulations while speaking at 23 religious-oriented events beginning in January 2002 while in uniform. Speaking before crowds ranging from small groups to over 1000, General Boykin's remarks included a depiction of the war on terrorism as a battle against Satan; he stated "President Bush had been placed in his post by God;" and he said that "the U. S. military is recruiting a spiritual army (emphasis added) that will draw strength from a greater power to defeat its enemy." (12)

In September of 2004, General Boykin appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes in an attempt to repair his reputation, damaged by the disclosure of his speaking engagements. Interviewed by correspondent David Martin, Boykin defended his comments before a congregation in Dayton, Florida that, "my God was bigger than his [Allah]." According to the article, he further explained that "America's real enemy was not Osama bin Laden, but 'a guy called Satan.'" In a reference to captured Islamic militant Osman Atto, Boykin said, "I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol," which refers to Atto's "worship of corruption, of of power, of money." Martin noted, the "Secretary of the Army is expected to issue Boykin something called a 'letter of concern,' which amounts to a mild slap on the wrist." (13)

Prior to his speaking tour, Major General William G. Boykin had organized an event for Southern Baptist Pastors at Fort Bragg NC on April 22nd and 23rd, 2003. The event was promoted as part of the FAITH evangelism program of the Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay Christian Resources. (14)

According to promotional materials mailed to pastors, "we must find a group of men who are warriors of FAITH, pastors who have the guts to lead this nation to Christ and revival!" The "Super FAITH Force Multiplier" materials also promised unprecedented access to the military base, including heavily secured areas, a Special Forces demonstration with live ammunition, and a visit to the "Shoot House" to learn how Special Forces attack the enemy inside buildings. After complaints from Americans United for Separation of Church and State regarding the appearance of the U. S. Military advancing a specific faith and religious mission, the event was scaled back. (15)

General Boykin was the keynote speaker at Patrick Henry College's Council for Statesmanship Banquet on March 29, 2004. (16)

Back to HoNDA

So is that the reason HSLDA is promoting the military recruitment and enlistment? "so these home schoolers can impact the military for Christ..."? (17)

If the homeschool recruits are at risk of not completing their enlistment, if they are not as qualified, yet are being targeted, what other conclusion is left? And -- perhaps most importantly -- with their increasingly close relationship with the Pentagon, will the membership information your family has entrusted to HSLDA be kept confidential?

HSLDA does seem to be recruiting for the Army --

(1) "Homeschool Non-discrimination Bill introduced in Congress"
(3) "Military Levels Playing Field for Recruits," The Washington Times April 11, 2005 (requires registration)
(4) Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, "DoD Evaluating Recruits with Alternative Diplomas." American Forces Information Service, February 1999.
(5) Wenger & Hodari, Final Analysis of Evaluation of Homeschool and ChalleNGe Program Recruits, CNA, January 2004
(6) Army Opens Doors Wide for Homeschool Graduates
(7) Dave Moniz, "Army recruiting up for June but still down for year," USA Today, June 29, 2005
(8) Robert Burns, "Army has plan to boost signups in 2006," Associated Press, October 12, 2005
(10) Patrick Henry College President's Report 2003
(11) "ROTC Now an Option for PHC Students," Patrick Henry College press release December 18, 2003
(12) R. Jeffrey Smith and Josh White, "General's Speeches Broke Rules," The Washington Post August 19, 2004, page A23
(13) "'Holy Warrior' General Takes to CBS to Repair Reputation," Americans United for Separation of Church and State, September 17, 2004
Also The Holy Warrior, CBS News, September 15, 2004
(14) Steve DeVane "Army says pastors' training at Fort Bragg meets regulations" North Carolina Biblical Recorder April 28, 2003
(15) "U.S. Military support for Baptist Evangelism Program Draws Protest from Americans United" Americans United for Separation of Church and State, April 7, 2003.
(16) 2004 Council for Statesmanship, The Trumpet of Liberty, Patrick Henry College. Vol. 4, No. 1, 6/2004.
(17) "Military Recruitment of Home Schoolers Increasing," Home School Court Report, July/August 1999

Further reading:

"Army Offering More Benefits to Homeschool Graduates," HSLDA, October 19, 2005

"General Seeks 'Satan' Speech Probe," CBS News, October 21, 2003

Money for College & More Benefits Bonuses for Home School Graduates

Thanks to Publius for the space to post this, and KY for the original breadcrumb trail that led me to question why HSLDA would be so interested in the military, and thanks to all my friends who helped.
posted by Publius, 1:47 PM


Thank you for gathering up all the breadcrumbs and giving the homeschooling community something solid to chew on!
commented by Blogger leaddog, 2:34 PM  
Others are picking up the meme:
Talk to Action: Reclaiming Citizenship, History and Faith
Evangelical Christians Taking Over Air Force Academy? (and other subjects)
commented by Blogger Valerie, 7:39 AM  

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