“Is Life so Dear…” A Comparison Between the Works of David Walker and Patrick Henry

Anna Melvina

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry gave a speech at the Second Virginia Convention. It’s a speech that has been praised throughout the history of our country. Although the exact words were not recorded, William Wirt’s version in his biography of Patrick Henry was largely thought to capture the substance of the speech, so his version is the one that’s usually cited.

Near the beginning of the speech, Henry says,

“The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate.”

So whatever terrible thing that is happening to Patrick Henry and his compatriots is comparable to slavery. What is this terrible thing?

“Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with…

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Corporal Punishment and The End of The Red Stick

Becoming Worldly


This picture could be anybody’s little sister blindfolded and hitting a piñata at her Dad’s house for another sibling’s birthday. But it isn’t. It’s my little sister. She lives in a different world than I did. One with her own bedroom and court-ordered visitation and Christmas presents from a kind stepmother. She has never been homeschooled. She does not remember a time when our family didn’t celebrate birthdays, or was too poor to buy a piñata, or was too “modest” for her favorite summer clothes to be allowed.

She could be using any stick to hit this piñata but she isn’t. She’s using the “red stick,” the most infamous spanking implement our family had. As far as I know, none of the younger siblings attending this party were ever touched by the red stick and I imagine just a few had been threatened, but the grim knowledge of what it…

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Prisoner of Patriarchal Presbyterian Pedagogy: Alia’s Story

Homeschoolers Anonymous

CC image courtesy of PixabayBilder_meines_Lebens.

HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Alia” is a pseudonym.

I grew up in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. It was a small denomination, and I hope it’s getting smaller. In the RPCNA, only preachers and elders could be part of the governing body of the church: and preachers and elders, by church law, were always male. The patriarchy was so established that it wasn’t even questioned. I was disenfranchised by my two X chromosomes and barred even from speaking in a worship service or teaching Sunday School classes to a group of adults.

My parents homeschooled their children back when homeschooling was still fringe, and they took patriarchy even further than the RPCNA did. As if being second-class in the church wasn’t bad enough, I was second-class at home. I was not encouraged to…

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An Evangelical Vice: How Sin-Leveling Fails Survivors

Mapping the In-Between

[Content warning: discussion of sexual violence, abuse, and victim-blaming]

Sin is sin is sin. I grew up evangelical and heard this a lot. Maybe you have too.

Recently, I learned a new term: sin-leveling. Essentially, sin-leveling makes out all sins to be equally bad, “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NRSV). And it is true that we all mess up, and we’ve all done wrong.

But sin-leveling can have serious consequences.


Imagine this: a young woman at a Christian college gets raped. She gets blamed for it—for breaking a rule or doing something else considered by the college to be wrong—and maybe even gets expelled.

Sound crazy? Things like this have already happened at Brigham Young University. And Pensacola Christian College. And Bob Jones University. And numerous other Christian colleges and organizations. Sometimes the survivor doesn’t even break a rule…

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Why Autism Speaks is bad: it actually hurts Asperger’s / autistic people

I don’t really know much about Autism Speaks. And I had no idea….

the silent wave

The short version: Autism Speaks sucks.  It advocates (ineffective) “therapies” that do actual harm to autistic people and it promotes a 21st-century reincarnation of eugenics.  If you think Hitler was a bad guy, and you embrace tolerance, diversity, and unity, and abhor racism, bigotry, and discrimination, then please, please do not support Autism Speaks in any way.

The long version (I’m issuing a potential Trigger Alert: Sensitive Material)…

This “charity organization”, as you probably know, was founded by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of an autistic child (who later grew up to become an autistic adult, as autistic children tend to do).

I won’t delve much into their “I Am Autism” campaigns (link to YouTube video of commercial, with subtitles; here is a link to the written transcript on ASAN’s website) or the general fear-mongering that they’ve generated, because that’s been covered pretty well in many other…

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A PO’d Woman’s Manifesto

Becoming Worldly

Feeling on my game. It is my life, my sidewalk, my internet, my dreams, my world. I don’t give a damn. I’m taking it back. This is a wilderness hike. Anybody bringing me garbage can pack it back out along with their tent.

I am mad that there is an abusive man y’all elected as president. I’m mad that they are gonna be drilling in our wilderness and already trying to tell teen undocumented immigrants what they can do with their bodies like they own them.

I’m done with all the “fake news” people who wouldn’t know fake news if it was a poisonous snake that had already bit them (and it did).

I’m done with the people who are so against abusive behavior unless it’s their friend and then in that case could you just calm down recognize that there are two sides to every story.

I am done…

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The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying

Especially when “I’m blessed” is used to make one feel superior, as if those in poverty and having misfortune have somehow not ‘served God’ well enough to be blessed.

The Accidental Missionary


I was on the phone with a good friend the other day.  After covering important topics, like disparaging each other’s mothers and retelling semi-factual tales from our college days, our conversation turned to the mundane.

“So, how’s work going?” he asked.

For those of you who don’t know, I make money by teaching leadership skills and helping people learn to get along in corporate America.  My wife says it’s all a clever disguise so I can get up in front of large groups and tell stories.

I plead the fifth.

I answered my buddy’s question with,

“Definitely feeling blessed.  Last year was the best year yet for my business.  And it looks like this year will be just as busy.”

The words rolled off my tongue without a second thought.  Like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or placing my usual lunch order at McDonald’s.

But it was a lie.


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