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The Article That Started It All January 10, 2012

Posted by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus in Uncategorized.

Here’s the article that I published over at Renew America a few days ago, In Defense of Hephzibah House,

For the past four and a half years, Hephzibah House has faced one battle after another. For those who are unfamiliar with this ministry, Hephzibah House is a fundamental Baptist girls’ home and boarding school that focuses on helping teenage girls, largely from independent and fundamental Baptist homes and churches, by maintaining them in a biblically-oriented living and educational environment. Typically, these are girls who have become such disciplinary problems that their parents are unable to deal with them anymore — we’re talking about things like involvement with drugs and alcohol, girls who have threatened their parents and even pulled knives on them, and so forth. This ministry and its founder Dr. Ron Williams, however, have faced a lot of, shall we say, robust criticism in recent years from several former students and their supporters, many of whom have taken to unaccountable internet forums in an effort to spread the message about their dislike for Hephzibah House, and (as I mentioned incidentally in an earlier article) were recently given a soapbox by CNN.

One must admit, the accusations leveled against Hephzibah House by these folks are pretty grim. Tales are told of all kinds of physical and psychological abuse. Lurid details are poured out onto various forums, full of stories of beatings, degradation and humiliation of these girls, starvation, forced overfeeding, and so forth. Terms like “criminal” and “child abuse” are stock fare in most places where this facility is discussed. Many of Hephzibah House’s accusers sound as if they consider themselves lucky to have even escaped with their lives. There certainly is a lot of bitterness and resentment against the ministry from these former students.

However, I’d like to take a different approach to the discussion about Hephzibah House, one that deals with facts and reason, rather than emotion and innuendo. And let’s face it — there doesn’t seem to be much to actually substantiate the allegations being lodged against Hephzibah House.

Click the link to read the whole thing, as it’s rather long and detailed.

As the reader may judge from the comments section at the bottom, the article stirred up a little bit of a hornet’s nest, as news of the article started to get out onto the Facebook pages of some of the HH accusers, who promptly issues calls for all their friends to come to the comments section and vent their angry little spleens about how evil it is for somebody to disagree with them.

The comments have, and surely will continue, to provide a goldmine of insight into the mindset of the HH accusers and their supporters.  That, in fact, is going to probably make up the lion’s share of posts to this blog for a little while – I haven’t been able to dumpster dive through all of the comments that have been posted in all the nested subthreads yet, so I’m sure little gems of “wisdom” will keep turning up that will merit debunking with their own posts. 

In general, however, the comments that I have seen and even tried to dialogue with so far fall into a few distinct categories:

  • Profanity-laced rants by people who apparently believe that invective is an adequate substitute for intelligence,
  • People who fault me for being “unloving” for not being willing to automatically believe sensationalistic accusations that don’t have any substantiation backing them up,
  • People offended because I would have the nerve to “defend abuse” (which hasn’t been demonstrated to exist),
  • People trying to pretend to be neutral, outside observers who just so happened to discover the discussion (yet who somehow seem familiar with various aspects of the HH saga) and just so happened to arrive at the immediate conclusion that my arguments must be uniformly, inutterably wrong,
  • One who even tried the “God’s gonna get ya” argument.

So, I’m going to start addressing some of the more relevant issues regarding these “arguments” as they appear in the discussion about Hephzibah House. 




1. Lucinda Pennington - January 10, 2012

wonderful article! Thank you!

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