Monthly Archives: August 2012
Of all the peer-reviewed literature on the Christian Right I’ve found, Professor David Berliner’s is the most excoriating. Not for Berliner the tolerance of historians like Adam Laats. He sees the Christian Right as a malign force, and shows some clear examples why. In short: they are politically active, and they want to destroy public schools.
Berliner’s paper, “Educational Pyschology Meets the Christian Right: Differing Views of Children, Schooling, Teaching, and Learning” makes the case that the goals of the Christian Right are so far removed from most educators – and from moderate Christianity – that it is not possible to work with them in a free society. He quotes from their fear-mongering propaganda literature, which calls on parents to dismantle the public education system from within by applying to become school governors, and purposely sabotaging the schools.
“Many among the Christian right are unable to engage in politics that make a common school possible. They may be unable to compromise and live with educational decisions rejecting a pluralistic democracy keeping separate church and state… If you are of the Christian Right, to be pragmatic, to give in, to compromise, to bargain or negotiate – that is, to engage in politics – is to lose to Satan.” Read the rest of this entry
First up, big thanks to the awesome hosts – including Andrew, Jenny, and Nicola – as well as the excellent guests at my talk at Questival yesterday. It was a great bunch of people, and I highly recommend 1) considering attending next year, and 2) checking out the talents of Jonny Berliner, who, along with a superb first name, has a top line in comedy/ science/ singer-songwriter musical goodness.
And now, today’s post…
There’s a common idea among Christians that not just sex, but all physical contact outside of marriage, is a Bad Thing. This kind of repression is simply a denial of basic facts about human sexuality. When you try to suppress human nature, it generally has a way of escaping. And, for some evangelical women, it escapes in quite hair-raising ways.
Welcome to “Jesus is My Boyfriend” – an entire genre of Christian music and literature for women who literally want a romance with God.
“Although God certainly loves us even with unshaven legs, no makeup, and a bed-head hairdo, he also deserves to occasionally have his princess sit at his feet while she is looking and feeling her best… You are running away with your Lover, not confining yourself to a convent.”
I’ve spent a lot of time digging up ACE survivor stories on the net. These three, in my mind, best capture the experience of attending one of these schools.
I’ve only managed to contact the author of one of these posts. The other two are reposted with attribution to the original source. You can decide for yourself how credible they are. I’m willing to stick my neck on the line and say that these stories are representative of what I’ve seen in ACE schools. Regardless of who wrote them, I think they are good illustrations of Accelerated Christian Education.
If you wrote either of the other posts and would like to add a comment, or update your story, or would like me to remove the post, please get in touch. If any other readers have direct experience of ACE, I’d also love to hear from you.
1. Originally posted here. I’ve been in contact with the author.
Ah, Accelerated Christian Education. They now call themselves by the fifties-ish appellation “School of Tomorrow,” apparently without even a sliver of irony. Faugh.
This is a hideously condescending system of private-school education that consisted, in my day at least, of having students work “at their own pace,” but really struggling almost unaided through 60 workbooks a year, in little partitioned desks whose primary resemblance is to office cubicles. These workbooks, called PACEs (standing for “Packet of Accelerated Christian Education”) are liberally sprinkled with the most inane, poorly-drawn cartoons you will ever see, most of which featuring simplistic morals and cookie-cutter characters in self-righteous situations. Therein we are introduced to Ace (“Ace-ee”) and his friends Christi, Reginald and, representing all the ugly people of this great world, Happy, with his buck teeth and cross-eyed expression, who, if memory serves, is assured has a place on this Earth in blue-collar employment. All the characters, both the “good” (e.g. Christians) and “evil” (e.g. not-yet-Christians) have descriptive last names, as in that overrated religious path-straightener Pilgrim’s Progress, all of which I have graciously forgotten. Read the rest of this entry
David Modell’s 2008 documentary for Channel 4, In God’s Name, is one of the most astonishing pieces of television I’ve seen. He visits an ACE school and actually has film of the lessons. Given that Christian Education Europe refused even to comment to the Scottish Herald about the content of the PACEs, I can’t imagine it will happen again.
The segment in the ACE school, Carmel (in Bristol), is under five minutes long. Watch it soon; this particular documentary has already been taken down from YouTube several times. It’s well worth watching the whole thing; it’s a staggering insight into life as a British fundamentalist. The minute immediately preceding the Carmel school segment (which is at 5 minutes, 55 seconds) is particularly enlightening.