Commentary Religion

My Life as a Daughter of Christian Patriarchy

Vyckie Garrison

Deep within America, beyond your typical evangelicals and run of the mill fundamentalists, nurtured within the homeschool movement and growing by the day, are the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements. This is where I grew up.

This article, “The Beautiful Girlhood Doll,” by Libby Anne is shared by Vyckie Garrison from her site No Longer Quivering. Libby Anne also writes at her blog, Love, Joy, Feminism. This article first appeared at Butterflies and Wheels.

Deep within America, beyond your typical evangelicals and run of the mill fundamentalists, nurtured within the homeschool movement and growing by the day, are the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements. This is where I grew up.

I learned that women are to be homemakers while men are to be protectors and providers. I was taught that a woman should not have a career, but should rather keep the home and raise the children and submit to her husband, who was her god-given head and authority. I learned that homeschooling is the only godly way to raise children, because to send them to public school is to turn a child over to the government and the secular humanists. I was taught that children must be trained up in the way they should go every minute of every day. I learned that a woman is always under male authority, first her father, then her husband, and perhaps, someday, her son. I was told that children are always a blessing, and that it was imperative to raise up quivers full of warriors for Christ, equipped to take back the culture and restore it to its Christian foundations.

Christian Patriarchy involves the patriarchal gender roles and heirarchical family structure, while Quiverfull refers to the belief that children are always a blessing and that big families are mandatory for those following God’s will (some eschew birth control altogether). While these two belief sets are generally held in common, they can technically exist separately. Now of course, not everyone who holds these beliefs actually claims the term “Christian Patriarchy” or “Quiverfull.” My parents certainly didn’t. In fact, I never heard those terms growing up. What matters is not the name that is claimed, but the beliefs – the beliefs outlined above.

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My parents were originally fairly ordinary evangelicals. Like so many others (it’s a very common story), it was homeschooling that brought them to Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull. They began homeschooling for secular reasons, and then, through homeschool friends, homeschool conferences, and homeschool publications, they were drawn into the world of Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull. It starts slowly, one belief here, a book there. For those who are already fundamentalists or evangelicals, like my parents, the transition is smooth and almost natural. Suddenly, almost without realizing it, they are birthing their eight or ninth child and pushing their daughters toward homemaking and away from any thought of a career.

Why are these movements so enticing to evangelical and fundamentalist homeschoolers? Simple. Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull offer the enticing image of the perfect family and the promise that you can make a difference and change the world, raising up an army for Christ, without ever leaving your home. Organizations like Vision Forum and No Greater Joy promise parents perfect families in very explicit terms. If you follow the formula, you, too, can be like that pretty picture or happy face in the catalogue. They are the huckster traveling salesmen of the homeschool world, but this time they sell dreams.

The actual experience for children growing up in the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements varies dramatically because every set of parents is different. I happened to have a mother with never-ending energy and a father who was naturally fairly laid back. That meant that my home life was pleasant and my childhood happy. Others, though, have mothers who are debilitated by pregnancy after pregnancy and fathers who quickly become tyrannical and overbearing. These children may not have a very happy upbringing at all.

While my upbringing was fairly happy, it was anything but normal. For one thing, I was homeschooled. For another thing, I grew up with a dozen younger siblings. Other families commonly have seven, eight, or nine children. A few have as many as eighteen or nineteen. While there are some very fun things about growing up with so many siblings, the sheer size of the family means that daughters of Christian Patriarchy have little privacy and many chores. And since they don’t go to school, their time with friends is limited and their time working by their mothers’ sides is maximized. By the time I was twelve, I could fix meals for the entire family, keep the laundry going, and essentially run the house single-handedly. When I was fifteen my parents went out of town for a week, leaving me in charge of the younger siblings. Later when I was in high school, my mother had a hard pregnancy and was completely incapacitated for a month. I ran the house and homeschooled the younger children without a problem. I practically raised some of my younger siblings. And yet, this endless list of chores and expectations and responsibilities is seen as the natural order of things, rather than as a problem.

Daughters of Christian Patriarchy are essentially servants in their own homes, but this does not mean they are necessarily miserable and unhappy. While some daughters of Christian Patriarchy rebel and inwardly resent how they are being raised, most don’t. Most accept what their parents teach them as true, and look forward to their wedding day as the beginning of their lives. This was me. I was perfectly happy to help with my younger siblings and cook for a dozen and do load after load of laundry. At age ten, twelve, or fourteen, I was being trained to be a “helpmeet” to my future husband, preparing for my life’s role by working alongside my mother and serving as junior “helpmeet” to my father. I dreamed of my wedding constantly, and thought of what a wonderful wife, mother, and homemaker I would be. A wife and mother was all I wanted to be, because any dream of anything else was nipped in the bud before it ever took root. I truly believed that this was what God wanted of me, and that serving my family and raising my siblings was serving God. And I gloried in it.

Families in Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull place extreme importance on maintaining their daughters’ sexual and emotional purity. Sex before marriage is held to be sin, and sex before marriage also damages a daughter’s marriage prospects. Girls are told that the best gift they can give their future husbands is their virginity. And we’re not just talking sex here: Most couples in Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull circles don’t kiss before marriage, and some don’t even hold hands or embrace. Furthermore, this virginity is more than just physical; it is emotional as well. Girls are urged not to “give away pieces of their hearts” by becoming emotionally entangled with boys their age. Every teenage crush becomes suspect and dangerous. Dating is out of the question, as it is considered to be “practice for divorce.” Instead, daughters of Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull find husbands through parent-guided courtships, trusting their father’s guidance and obeying his leadership. Marriage is seen as a transfer of authority from the daughter’s father to her husband.

Growing numbers of parents in the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements are keeping their daughters home from college. They argue that college is wasted on daughters who are never supposed to hold jobs or have careers anyway, and that it distracts them from serving others and learning homemaking skills. Furthermore, they contend, college corrupts daughters and fills their heads with ungodly thoughts of equality and careers. This phenomenon is called the Stay-At-Home-Daughter movement.

I, however, was sent to college. Yet it should be remembered that this did not initially mean that I dreamed of anything outside of the role I was taught God had laid out for me. Rather, I felt that college would prepare me to be a better wife and mother, and especially, a better homeschool parent. For this reason, in those families in the Christian Patriarchy movement who do send their daughters to college, nursing and teaching, which are seen as naturally feminine and excellent skills for future mothers and homeschool parents, are favored courses of study. And of course, it is understood that even daughters who attend college remain under the authority of their fathers and must obey them, even after they turn 18. After all, their fathers are their godly authority. God speaks to daughters through their fathers and daughters are bound by God to obey their fathers.

You have to understand just how deeply these beliefs are implanted. Even though I began questioning my parents’ beliefs halfway through college, I was so inculcated into their mindset that I did not even think of having a career or being other than a stay at home homeschool mom until four years later. Even though I have been out for years and am now in my mid twenties, I still feel like I am a failure because I only have one child. I feel that if I don’t have five or six kids, I am somehow a flop and a dud. In my brain, my worth as a woman is still tied to the number of children I have. I know these brain patterns are bullshit and I’m working on eradicating them, but they are still there. And in my conversations with other daughters who have left, I have found that I am not alone in this.

By now, you may be wondering, how is this possible? How can parents indoctrinate their children in this way? The answer, I would argue, is simple: homeschooling. By homeschooling, these parents can control every interaction their children have and every piece of information their children come upon. My parents called it “sheltering.” The result was that I knew nothing of popular culture or the lives of normal teens, besides that they were “worldly” and miserable while I was godly and content. I had no idea that normal teens would see the amount of chores I did as unfair and oppressive, and even when I did realize this, I took pride in it, for the amount of chores I did and my cheerfulness in doing them showed my godliness.

Furthermore, by homeschooling us my parents could completely control what we learned. I studied from creationist textbooks and learned history from a curriculum that taught “His Story,” beginning with creation, Noah and the flood, and Abraham and his covenant with God, showing the hand of God moving through the six thousand years of the earth’s history. I never had anyone tell me to dream big, or to think outside the home, or that with my talent and intellect I could have a brilliant career. Everyone around me believed the way my parents did, including all of my friends, who, after all, were without exception children of my parents’ friends. They encouraged me in my steadfastness of belief and held me up as a paragon of virtue. Why would I desire anything else?

It didn’t help that I was taught that those outside of our beliefs, including humanists, environmentalists, socialists, and feminists, were evil selfish people who were destroying our society, and that Christians who did not share our beliefs were “wishy-washy” and “worldy.” There is a very “us versus them” mentality at work in Christian Patriarchy. They were the enemy, the agents of Satan out to destroy belief in God and pervert the world. They cared only for themselves and their own desires and were not to be trusted. I was taught further that the world outside was a scary and dangerous place. If I stayed under my father’s authority, I would be protected and safe.

You also have to remember the sense of purpose that accompanies the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movement. We were raised to fight the enemy, be that Satan or the environmentalist, socialists, and feminists, to come against them in spiritual warfare and at the polls. This is why Michael Farris, a proponent of Christian Patriarchy and the leader of the Home School Legal Defense Association, founded Patrick Henry College in 2000 to train homeschooled youth in the law and government. There were more interns from Patrick Henry College in the Bush White House than from any other college. Put simply, their goal is to take over the country, instituting godly laws ruling according to Christ’s dictates.

While the goal is to take back the world for Christ through the polls, force is never completely ruled out. I was taught that someday the government might take away our rights entirely, become a dictatorship, and crack down on everything we believed in. My father used to point out the armory to us and tell us that that is where we would mount the resistance when this happened. Force, though, was to be a last resort. In the meantime, my family campaigned tirelessly for conservative political candidates and attended marriage rallies, pro-life marches, and second amendment rights meetings. I dreamed of someday being a politician’s wife, supporting him in his bids for office and attempts to restore the country to its godly foundation. The world was framed in terms of good versus evil, and I had a role and a purpose.

Taken together, these beliefs comprise a comprehensive worldview that gives those within it a sense of purpose and provides simple answers to complex problems. It can be very attractive. While the world is a complicated place, Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull explain exactly what your role is and what you must do to please God and carry out his will. It provides you with a formula for raising perfect children and upholds order and hierarchy. You know what your role is, what you are to do, and where you are going.

One last point to make is that evangelicals believe essentially the same things as the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, they just don’t take it to the same extreme. Evangelicals believe that husbands are to to be their wives’ spiritual heads, but in practice their marriages are generally fairly egalitarian. Evangelicals believe that children are a blessing, but in moderation. Evangelicals believe that children should receive a godly education, but most of them send their children to public schools. Evangelicals believe that adult unmarried daughters should honor their parents and listen to their advice, but they don’t expect them to always obey it. Evangelicals believe that men and women are different, and that children need their mothers at home, but most evangelical women work outside the home. Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull simply take these beliefs to their natural – and radical – conclusion.

Perhaps now you have a better understanding of the world of Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull and the minds of those within it. While some like me leave, many stay. I watch my younger sisters echo my parents’ beliefs, speaking of the importance and protection of fatherly authority and planning to eschew birth control entirely, and my heart breaks. 

Commentary Violence

This is Not The Story I Wanted—But It’s My Story of Rape

Dani Kelley

Writer Dani Kelley thought she had shed the patriarchal and self-denying lessons of her conservative religious childhood. But those teachings blocked her from initially admitting that an encounter with a man she met online was not a "date" that proved her sexual liberation, but an extended sexual assault.

Content note: This article contains graphic descriptions of sexual violence.

The night I first truly realized something was wrong was supposed to be a good night.

A visiting friend and I were in pajamas, eating breakfast food at 10 p.m., wrapped in blankets while swapping stories of recent struggles and laughs.

There I was, animatedly telling her about my recently acquired (and discarded) “fuck buddy,” when suddenly the story caught in my throat.

When I finally managed to choke out the words, they weren’t what I expected to say. “He—he held me down—until, until I couldn’t—breathe.”

Hearing myself say it out loud was a gut-punch. I was sobbing, gasping for breath, arms wrapped as if to hold myself together, spiraling into a terrifying realization.

This isn’t the story I wanted.

Unlearning My Training

I grew up in the Plymouth Brethren movement, a small fundamentalist Christian denomination that justifies strict gender roles through a literal approach to the Bible. So, according to 1 Corinthians 11:7, men are considered “the image and glory of God,” while women are merely “the glory of man.” As a result, women are expected to wear head coverings during any church service, among other restrictions that can be best summed up by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:11-12: Women are never allowed to have authority over men.

If you’ve spent any number of years in conservative Christianity like I did, you’re likely familiar with the fundamentalist tendency to demonize that which is morally neutral or positive (like premarital sex or civil rights) while sugar-coating negative experiences. The sugar-coating can be twofold: Biblical principles are often used to shame or gaslight abuse victims (like those being shunned or controlled or beaten by their husbands) while platitudes are often employed to help members cope with “the sufferings of this present time,” assuring them that these tragedies are “not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

In many ways, it’s easy to unlearn the demonization of humanity as you gain actual real-world experience refuting such flimsy claims. But the shame? That can be more difficult to shake.

The heart of those teachings isn’t only present in this admittedly small sect of Christianity. Rather, right-wing Western Christianity as a whole has a consent problem. It explicitly teaches its adherents they don’t belong to themselves at all. They belong to God (and if they’re not men, they belong to their fathers or husbands as well). This instilled lack of agency effectively erases bodily autonomy while preventing the development of healthy emotional and physical boundaries.

On top of that, the biblical literalism frequently required by conservative Christianity in the United States promotes a terrifying interpretation of Scripture, such as Jeremiah 17:9. The King James Version gives the verse a stern voice, telling us that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” If we believe this, we must accept that we’re untrustworthy witnesses to our own lives. Yet somehow, we’re expected to rely on the authority of those the Bible deems worthy. People like all Christians, older people, and men.

Though I’ve abandoned Christianity and embraced feminist secular humanism, the culture in which I grew up and my short time at conservative Bob Jones University still affect how I view myself and act in social situations. The lessons of my formative years created a perfect storm of terrible indoctrination: gender roles that promoted repressed individuality for women while encouraging toxic masculinity, explicit teaching that led to constant second-guessing my ability to accurately understand my own life, and a biblical impetus to “rejoice in my suffering.”

Decades of training taught me I’m not allowed to set boundaries.

But Some Habits Die Hard

Here’s the thing. At almost 30, I’d never dated anyone other than my ex-husband. So I thought it was about time to change that.

When I found this man’s online profile, I was pleasantly surprised. It was full of the kind of geekery I’m into, even down to the specific affinity for eclectic music. I wrote to him, making sure my message and tone were casual. He responded instantly, full of charisma and charm. Within hours, we’d made plans to meet.

He was just as friendly and attentive in person. After wandering around town, window-shopping, and getting to know one another, he suggested we go to his favorite bar. As he drank (while I sipped water), he kept paying me compliments, slowly breaking the touch barrier. And honestly, I was enthralled—no one had paid attention to me like this in years.

When he suggested moving out to the car where we could be a little more intimate, I agreed. The rush of feeling desired was intoxicating. He seemed so focused on consent—asking permission before doing anything. Plus, he was quite straightforward about what he wanted, which I found exciting.

So…I brought him home.

This new and exciting “arrangement” lasted one week, during which we had very satisfying, attachment-free sex several times and after which we parted ways as friends.

That’s the story I told people. That’s the story I thought I believed. I’d been freed from the rigid expectations and restraints of my youth’s purity culture.

Now. You’re about to hear me say many things I know to be wrong. Many feminists or victim advocates almost certainly know the rationalizations and reactions I’m about to describe are both normal responses to abuse and a result of ingrained lies about sex in our culture. Not to mention evidence of the influence that right-wing conservatism can have on shaping self-actualization.

As I was telling people the story above, I left out important details. Were my omissions deliberate? An instinctive self-preservation mechanism? A carryover from draconian ideals about promiscuity?

When I broke down crying with my friend, I finally realized I’d kept quiet because I couldn’t bear to hear myself say what happened.

I’m a feminist, damn it. I left all the puritanical understandings of gender roles behind when I exited Christianity! I even write about social justice and victim advocacy. I ought to recognize rape culture!

Right?

If only being a socially aware feminist was enough to erase decades of socialization as a woman within rape culture—or provide inoculation against sexual violence.

That first night, once we got to my car, he stopped checking in with me. I dismissed the red flag as soon as I noticed it, telling myself he’d stop if I showed discomfort. Then he smacked my ass—hard. I pulled away, staring at him in shocked revulsion. “Sorry,” he replied, smirking.

He suggested that we go back to my house, saying we’d have more privacy than at his place. I was uneasy, unconvinced. But he began passionately kissing, groping, petting, and pleading. Against my better judgment, I relented.

Yet, in the seclusion of my home, there was no more asking. There was only telling.

Before I knew it, I’d been thrown on my back as he pulled off my clothes. I froze. The only coherent thought I could manage was a weak stammer, asking if he had a condom. He seemed agitated. “Are you on birth control?” That’s not the point! I thought, mechanically answering “yes.”

With a triumphant grin and no further discussion, he forced himself into me. Pleasure fought with growing panic as something within me screamed for things to slow down, to just stop. The sensation was familiar: identical to how I felt when raped as a child.

I frantically pushed him off and rolled away, hyperventilating. I muttered repeatedly, “I need a minute. Just give me a minute. I need a minute.”

“We’re not finished yet!” he snapped angrily. As he reached for me again, I screeched hysterically, “I’M NOT OK! I NEED A MINUTE!”

Suddenly, he was kind and caring. Instead of being alarmed, I was strangely grateful. So once I calmed down, I fucked him. More than once.

It was—I told myself—consensual. After all, he comforted me during a flashback. Didn’t I owe him that much?

Yet, if I didn’t do what he wanted, he’d forcefully smack my ass. If I didn’t seem happy enough, he’d insistently tell me to smile as he hit me again, harder. He seemed to relish the strained smile I would force on command.

I kept telling myself I was okay. Happy, even. Look at how liberated I was!

All week, I was either at his beck and call or fighting suicidal urges. Never having liked alcohol before, I started drinking heavily. I did all I could to minimize or ignore the abuse. Even with his last visit—as I fought to breathe while he forcefully held my head down during oral sex, effectively choking me—I initially told myself desperately that surely he wouldn’t do any of this on purpose.

The Stories We Tell and The Stories That Just Are

Reflecting on that week, I’m engulfed in shame. I’m a proud feminist. I know what coercion looks like. I know what rape looks like. I know it’s rarely a scary man wearing a ski mask in a back alley. I’ve heard all the victim-blaming rape apologia you have: that women make up rape when they regret consenting to sex, or going on a date means sex is in the cards, or bringing someone home means you’re game for anything.

Reality is, all of us have been socialized within a patriarchal system that clouds our experiences and ability to classify them. We’re told to tend and befriend the men who threaten us. De-escalation at any cost is the go-to response of almost any woman I’ve ever talked to about unwanted male attention. Whatever will satiate the beast and keep us safe.

On top of that, my conservative background whispered accusations of being a Jezebel, failing to safeguard my purity, and getting exactly what I deserve for forsaking the faith.

It’s all lies, of course. Our culture lies when it says that there are blurred lines when it comes to consent. It violates our personhood when it requires us to change the narrative of the violence enacted against us for their own comfort. Right-wing Christianity lies when it says we don’t belong to ourselves and must submit to the authority of a religion or a gender.

Nobody’s assaulted because they weren’t nice enough or because they “failed” to de-escalate. There’s nothing we can do to provoke such violence. Rape is never deserved. The responsibility for sexual assault lies entirely with those who attack us.

So why was the story I told during and after that ordeal so radically and fundamentally different from what actually happened? And why the hell did I think any of what happened was OK?

Rape myths are so ingrained in our cultural understanding of relationships that it was easier for me to believe nothing bad had happened than to accept the truth. I thought if I could only tell the story I wanted it to be, then maybe that’s what really happened. I thought if I was willing—if I kept having him over, if I did what he ordered, if I told my friends how wonderful it was—it would mean everything was fine. It would mean I wasn’t suffering from post-traumatic stress or anxiety about defying the conservative tenets of my former political and religious system.

Sometimes, we tell ourselves the stories we want to hear until we’re able to bear the stories of what actually happened.

We all have a right to say who has what kind of access to our bodies. A man’s masculinity gives him no authority over anyone’s sexual agency. A lack of a “no” doesn’t mean a “yes.” Coercion isn’t consent. Sexual acts performed without consent are assault. We have a right to tell our stories—our real stories.

So, while this isn’t the story I wanted, it’s the story that is.

I was raped.

Roundups Politics

Trump Taps Extremists, Anti-Choice Advocates in Effort to Woo Evangelicals

Ally Boguhn

Representatives from radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue praised Trump’s commitment to its shared values during the event. “I’m very impressed that Mr. Trump would sit with conservative leaders for multiple questions, and then give direct answers,” said the organization's president, Troy Newman, who was in attendance at a question-and-answer event on Tuesday.

Making a play to win over the evangelical community, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump met with more than 1,000 faith and anti-choice leaders on Tuesday for a question-and-answer event in New York City and launched an “evangelical advisory board” to weigh in on how he should approach key issues for the voting bloc.

The meeting was meant to be “a guided discussion between Trump and diverse conservative Christian leaders to better understand him as a person, his position on important issues and his vision for America’s future,” according to a press release from the event’s organizers. As Rewire previously reported, numerous anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ leaders—many of them extremists—were slated to attend.

Though the event was closed to the media, Trump reportedly promised to lift a ban on tax-exempt organizations from politicking and discussed his commitment to defending religious liberties. Trump’s pitch to conservatives also included a resolution that upon his election, “the first thing we will do is support Supreme Court justices who are talented men and women, and pro-life,” according to a press release from United in Purpose, which helped organize the event.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List, told the New York Times that the business mogul also reiterated promises to defund Planned Parenthood and to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a 20-week abortion ban based on the medically unsupported claim that a fetus feels pain at that point in a pregnancy.

In a post to its website, representatives from radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue praised Trump’s commitment to their shared values during the event. “I’m very impressed that Mr. Trump would sit with conservative leaders for multiple questions, and then give direct answers,” said the group’s president, Troy Newman, who was in attendance. “I don’t believe anything like this has ever happened.” The post went on to note that Trump had also said he would appoint anti-choice justices to federal courts, and repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Just after the event, Trump’s campaign announced the formation of an evangelical advisory board. The group was “convened to provide advisory support to Mr. Trump on those issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America,” according to a press release from the campaign. Though members of the board, which will lead Trump’s “much larger Faith and Cultural Advisory Committee to be announced later this month,” were not asked to endorse Trump, the campaign went on to note that “the formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of those diverse issues important to Evangelicals and other Christians, and his desire to have access to the wise counsel of such leaders as needed.”

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Much like the group that met with Trump on Tuesday, the presumptive Republican nominee’s advisory board roster reads like a who’s-who of conservatives with radical opposition to abortion and LGBTQ equality. Here are some of the group’s most notable members:

Michele Bachmann

Though former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann once claimed that “women don’t need anyone to tell them what to do on health care” while arguing against the ACA during a 2012 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, her views on the government’s role in restricting reproductive health and rights don’t square away with that position.

During a December 2011 “tele-town hall” event hosted by anti-choice organization Personhood USA, Bachmann reportedly falsely referred to emergency contraception as “abortion pills” and joined other Republican then-presidential candidates to advocate for making abortion illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. During the event, Bachmann touted her support of the anti-choice group’s “personhood pledge,” which required presidential candidates to agree that:

I stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting “the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death,” and with the Republican Party platform in affirming that I “support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children.

Such a policy, if enacted by lawmakers, could outlaw abortion and many forms of contraception. A source from Personhood USA told the Huffington Post that Bachmann “signed the pledge and returned it within twenty minutes, which was an extraordinarily short amount of time.”

Bachmann has also claimed that God told her to introduce a measure to block marriage equality in her home state, that being an LGBTQ person is “ part of Satan,” and that same-sex marriage is a “radical experiment that will have “profound consequences.”

Mark Burns

Televangelist Mark Burns has been an ardent supporter of Trump, even appearing on behalf of the presidential candidate at February’s Faith and Family Forum, hosted by the conservative Palmetto Family Council, to deliver an anti-abortion speech.

In March, Burns also claimed that he supported Donald Trump because Democrats like Hillary Clinton supported Black “genocide” (a frequently invoked conservative myth) during an appearance on the fringe-conspiracy program, the Alex Jones show. “That’s really one of my major platforms behind Donald Trump,” said Burns, according to the Daily Beast. “He loves babies. Donald Trump is a pro-baby candidate, and it saddens me how we as African Americans are rallying behind … a party that is okay with the genocide of Black people through abortion.”

Burns’ support of Trump extended to the candidate’s suggestion that if abortion was made illegal, those who have abortions should be punished—an issue on which Trump has repeatedly shifted stances. “If the state made it illegal and said the premature death of an unborn child constituted murder, anyone connected to that crime should be held liable,” Burns told the Wall Street Journal in April. “If you break the law there should be punishment.”

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland founded Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM), which, according to its mission statement, exists to “teach Christians worldwide who they are in Christ Jesus and how to live a victorious life in their covenant rights and privileges.” Outlining their opposition to abortion in a post this month on the organization’s website, the couple wrote that abortion is wrong even in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. “As the author of life, God considers an unborn child to be an eternal being from the moment of its conception,” explained the post. “To deliberately destroy that life before birth would be as much premeditated murder as taking the life of any other innocent person.”

The article went on to say that though it may “seem more difficult in cases such as those involving rape or incest” not to choose abortion, “God has a plan for the unborn child,” falsely claiming that the threat of life endangerment has “been almost completely alleviated through modern medicine.”

The ministries’ website also features Pregnancy Options Centre, a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) in Vancouver, Canada, that receives “financial and spiritual support” from KCM and “its Partners.” The vast majority of CPCs  regularly lie to women in order to persuade them not to have an abortion.

Kenneth Copeland, in a June 2013 sermon, tied pedophilia to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, going on to falsely claim that the ruling did not actually legalize abortion and that the decision was “the seed to murder our seed.” Copeland blamed legal abortion for the country’s economic woes, reasoning that there are “several million taxpayers that are not alive.”

Copeland, a televangelist, originally supported former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) in the 2016 Republican primary, claiming that the candidate had been “called and appointed” by God to be the next president. His ministry has previously faced scrutiny about its tax-exempt status under an investigation led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) into six ministries “whose television preaching bankrolled leaders’ lavish lifestyles.” This investigation concluded in 2011, according to the New York Times.

James Dobson

James Dobson, founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family (FoF), previously supported Cruz in the Republican primary, releasing an ad for the campaign in February praising Cruz for defending “the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage.” As Rewire previously reported, both Dobson and his organization hold numerous extreme views:

Dobson’s FoF has spent millions promoting its anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ extremism, even dropping an estimated $2.5 million in 2010 to fund an anti-choice Super Bowl ad featuring conservative football player Tim Tebow. Dobson also founded the … Family Research Council, now headed by Tony Perkins.

Dobson’s own personal rhetoric is just as extreme as the causes his organization pushes. As extensively documented by Right Wing Watch,

Dobson has:

Robert Jeffress

A Fox News contributor and senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Jeffress once suggested that the 9/11 attacks took place because of legal abortion. “All you have to do is look in history to see what God does with a nation that sanctions the killing of its own children,” said Jeffress at Liberty University’s March 2015 convocation, according to Right Wing Watch. “God will not allow sin to go unpunished and he certainly won’t allow the sacrifice of children to go unpunished.”

Jeffress spoke about the importance of electing Trump during a campaign rally in February, citing Democrats’ positions on abortion rights and Trump’s belief “in protecting the unborn.” He went on to claim that if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Hillary Clinton were elected, “there is no doubt you’re going to have the most pro-abortion president in history.”

After Trump claimed women who have abortions should be punished should it become illegal, Jeffres rushed to defend the Republican candidate from bipartisan criticism, tweeting: “Conservatives’ outrage over @realDonaldTrump abortion comments hypocritical. Maybe they don’t really believe abortion is murder.”

As documented by Media Matters, Jeffress has frequently spoken out against those of other religions and denominations, claiming that Islam is “evil” and Catholicism is “what Satan does with counterfeit religion.” The pastor has also demonstrated extreme opposition to LGBTQ equality, even claiming that same-sex marriage is a sign of the apocalypse.

Richard Land

Richard Land, now president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, was named one of Time Magazine‘s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005 for his close ties with the Republican party. While George W. Bush was president, Land participated in the administration’s “weekly teleconference with other Christian conservatives, to plot strategy on such issues as gay marriage and abortion.” Bush also appointed Land to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2002.

According to a 2002 article from the Associated Press, during his early academic career in Texas, “Land earned a reputation as a leader among abortion opponents and in 1987 became an administrative assistant to then-Texas Gov. Bill Clements, who fought for laws to restrict a woman’s right to an abortion” in the state.

Land had previously expressed “dismay” that some evangelicals were supporting Trump, claiming in October that he “take[s] that [support] as a failure on our part to adequately disciple our people.”