Practical Definitions: Defining the Acceptable Fringe

Something that is important to keep in mind is the concept of the Acceptable Fringe.  This would be behaviors, beliefs and practices that are considered weird or fringey, but do not result in the person or family practicing them being considered “not one of us”.  It’s very important to distinguish acceptable fringe things from unacceptable fringe things mainly because if you don’t understand where the lines are, you can’t really work to combat truly dangerous fringe practices that are being protected by their acceptable-fringeness.

Vision Forum was acceptable fringe until the scandals exploded with Doug Philips’ sexual misconduct and abuse of authority.  Many conservatives didn’t buy into the whole shebang, but owned a few videos or books.  Bill Gothard/ATI was also acceptable fringe, along similar lines.

Quiverfull is (barely) acceptable fringe.  Christian Identity (white nationalist Christianity) is not acceptable fringe.  Interracial and international interracial adoption is acceptable fringe.  A lot of people aren’t really into it in conservativeland, but they don’t want to upset their friends and family who are.  It remains relatively uncommon and fringe in practical terms, though.

Homeschooling is acceptable fringe.  Homeschooling is an interesting case because it’s being successfully co-opted and drained of its fringeyness and, well, that’s another post for another day.

Acceptable fringe: homebirthing.  Unacceptable fringe: unassisted homebirthing.

Acceptable fringe: living off the grid.  Unacceptable fringe: not getting your kids Social Security numbers and birth certificates.

This post is also a work in progress.


3 thoughts on “Practical Definitions: Defining the Acceptable Fringe

  1. Acceptable fringe: practicing orthodox Christianity and being faithful and obedient to God.

    Unacceptable fringe: Scrupulousness, aka actual man-made traditions.

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