Thursday, April 24, 2008

Christian Homeschoolers for Obama

I googled the phrase “Christian homeschoolers for Obama” today. No hits. There are “homeschoolers for Obam” and there are “Christians for Obama.” Indeed, there are “families for Obama,” and “Republicans for Obama,” even “Swedes for Obam,” but no “Christian homeschoolers for Obama.”

As a Christian family who homeschools one of our children (and who have cast occasional votes for Republicans and, perhaps, even for Swedes) and who now feel quite drawn to Obama’s vision, I’m struck by the disconnect. Oh, for sure, it’s not the lack of any organized group that strikes me, although when there are “Irish Americans for Obama” and Presbyterians for Obama,” and most any other group you can imagine, it does seem that perhaps some self-identifying Christians who homeschool kids might put out the idea. (On the other hand, there are not, as yet, any “Christian homeschoolers for McCain … or Clinton” either at this point.)

So, what’s the point of this silly exercise? Just that the slicing and dicing that we do to one another in the attempt to pin people down or put them in the correct box almost always fails to grasp the entirety of anyone’s faith or politics or life choices and decisions. It does violence to the wholeness and integrity of one's life.

To reduce all homeschoolers to the image of them as conservative Christians trying to protect their children from a debased culture suggests misses all the other families who may be trying to protect their children from the culture for decidedly nonconservative, non-Christian reasons, or who may simply be better suited to educate particular kids. To reduce all Christians to the media image of conservative evangelical similarly misses folks whose faith is just as dynamic and important but is expressed quite differently and may arise from different human responses to the experience of God. To reduce all Obama supporters to elite, latte liberals misses folks like the trucker I heard on the radio this morning. To reduce McCain and Clinton supporters to the caricatures the media broadcasts does the same violence to them, and, in the end we are all the poorer for it.

So, Christian homeschoolers for Obama take heart; it’s a big country with a big politics and there’s space for all of us!

In a much more erudite and fluent manner, Ched Myers addressed this same basic question years ago in Who Will Roll Away the Stone, when he wrote:

"The highly polarized public struggle over multiculturalism -- trivialized by the ideological right and by the popular press as 'political correctness' -- has ironically made it both easier and more difficult to be self-conscious about social location. It is easier because class, racial/ethnic, and gender identification is rightly expected as it becomes more widely accepted that such matters necessarily shape one's perspective. The presumption, for example, that a professional discursive community made up of predominantly white male theologians could speak for everyone in the church has, gratefully, been thoroughly discredited. It is more difficult, however, because identifying social location necessarily entails certain cultural, economic, and political generalizations that can easily degenerate into one-dimensional stereotypes of, worse, caricatures of one's own group or others. Nevertheless the task is a necessary one; theology, like other forms of public discourse, must come to terms with multicultural realities and the promise and problems of genuine social pluralism."

Obama's "bitter" remarks fell prey to the tendency to caricature groups; unfortunately, his critics on this score have tended also to fall prey to the tendency to caricature, as well. Thus, what might have been an opening to an important conversation has been erased.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi there... I noted your post as I searched for Christians for Obama. As a former homeschool parent (after 7 years) who is a registered Republican as well as a member of Sojourners, I am drawn to separate from the herd mentality and vote for Obama. It's great to find another like minded individual out there in your post. I totally agree w/ your thoughts! You should post again as the election draws near.
Momof 4Js

Prairie Political Ponderings said...

Woo hoo! I was doing a search for Homeschoolers for Obama,too! There is a group on Barackobama.com: http://my.barackobama.com/page/group/HomeschoolersforObama08/
there ya go! :) There are actually others like us!
God bless you for following your heart, and not ignoring your mind in this election! :)

Springway Classical said...

Well said! As a homeschooling parents, one of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is to stand up for their convictions. With this year's election process including early voting at many precincts, we have the opportunity to serve actively in the political process during these final days. All parties are looking for volunteers to work as poll greeters, on phone banks, door-to-door campaigning and more.

If you have the time and desire to participate, you can make a civics lesson come to life. I can say from our experience as poll greeters for the Democratic party that it is a lot of fun and a super educational experience to see all parties campaigning side by side with respect and genuine camaraderie. Democrats and Republicans actually hugged goodbye at the end of the day. Now THAT'S a great lesson!

Organizers are ready to get you involved at www.barackobama.com.