Conservative Christians stage own Jamestown celebration

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A group of conservative Christians staged their own celebration of the 400-year anniversary of the historic colony—and blasted the official commemoration as politically correct folly that failed to recognize Jamestown's importance as the beachhead of American Christianity.

Fifteen miles from Williamsburg, Va., in Charles City County, on a country road dominated by plantations turned bed-and-breakfasts, 4,000 ultra-conservative, largely home-schooling Christians gathered to correct a month-old mistake: to do Jamestown right. The women wore hoop skirts, bustles, bonnets and mob hats. The men wore tricorn, feathered "Musketeer" or top hats; they carried swords. "Maidens," that is, girls, wore aprons, while "heroes"—boys—donned armor or coonskin caps.

The Jamestown Quadricentennial: A Celebration of Our Providential History was organized by a Texas-based "historical home-school ministry," Vision Forum, and its president, Doug Phillips. Phillips, the son of Conservative Caucus and Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips, is a celebrity among home-schooling Christians. His San Antonio-based ministry, Vision Forum, functions primarily as a conservative publishing house with a distinct ideological bent: advocating stringent "biblical" family roles, with patriarch husbands, "home-working" wives and large broods of children. Another famous son was also in attendance: Jonathan Falwell, son of the late Jerry Falwell and (along with his brother, Jerry Jr.) heir to the Liberty Baptist empire, came to deliver his father's intended speech.

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