Monthly Archives: September 2013
Children matriculate into Christian school in dire need of spiritual programing [sic] of their minds to accept and desire the things of Christ. Conditioning, according to Philippians 4:8 (whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure. . . .) breaks down secular programed [sic] ideas, thoughts, and habits alien to Scripture. Little by little, day after day in the temple, things of God hammer away at the worldliness packed into the child’s treasure chest of experiences. The carnal nature of children necessitates that adults sometimes do more than just nudge their thinking toward godliness. This fact forms a basis for the use of demerits, detentions, corporal correction, discipline committees, corrective research, etc.
Modern society constantly bombards his mind with negative character drains, things that take his focus off eternity. Restricting secular access to his mind and conditioning with Scriptural principles breaks down the child’s carnal resistance against God, removing previously (or currently) accepted ideas, values, notions, and concepts. Little by little things of God begin to hammer away at the child’s resisting nature. At first, the child (especially teenagers) may reject godly standards and principles – yet gradually, negative mental resistance gives way. The Holy Spirit’s first knock at their heart’s door is met by a resounding “no!” The second knock is heard with less offense and resistance; “I will try it but I won’t like it.” Finally, the grace of God wins its way into the child’s heart, bringing the child into conformity with those principles which enable him to succeed in a Christian ministry.
Ronald E. Johnson, Under Tutors & Governors, (c) 1980 Accelerated Christian Education
This is a guest post by Paul Braterman, Professor Emeritus, University of North Texas and Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Chemistry, University of Glasgow. Paul is a leading member of the British Centre for Science Education and enemy of creationism wherever it arises, and the author of From Stars to Stalagmites. He was the one who sent me the photos for my recent discussion of creationism in a Scottish primary school. Here, he expands on that information to reveal the extent of creationist influence in Scottish education. He begins with an appeal for assistance:
Please help. British Centre for Science Education are collecting evidence of creationist activity in UK education, and Scottish Secular Society of this and other abuses of religious privilege in education in Scotland. Please let me know, in confidence, of any recent specific examples you know of personally. Email psbraterman [at] yahoo [dot] com.
The past few weeks have seen two victories against creationism in the Scottish town of East Kilbride. Both are to be celebrated, but neither should have been necessary, and both represent battles that will need to be fought again and again, until there are major structural changes in how education is administered in Scotland. One has attracted attention at both local (BBC and tabloid and broadsheet newspapers) and UK national (Telegraph) level. The other one has taken place unannounced and almost unnoticed. But both are real, and both the result of publicity.
If you’ve spent any time at all reading about creationism online, you’ll be familiar with the infuriating experience of attempting to have a reasonable conversation on the subject. Creationists are notorious for quote mining, for a seemingly wilful ability to misinterpret the clearest of arguments, for ad hominem attacks, and for repeating the same arguments after they’ve been addressed. This has been so widely observed that it’s led to the internet adage that arguing with a creationist is like playing chess with a pigeon: They’ll knock over the pieces, crap on the board, and then strut about clucking like they won.
What’s really interesting, though, is seeing creationists use these same tactics on each other. I first observed this when I was a kid, and I should have seen through the whole enterprise back then.
Creationist activist Dr. Don McLeroy said it: Give creationist kids evolution.
Because the evidence for evolution is so weak, creationist kids will be all the more convinced of the Bible’s truths.
McLeroy’s plea for evolution-heavy textbooks has left us controversy-watchers scratching our heads. Did he really say that?
McLeroy leapt to national prominence a few years back in his role as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. As documented in the indispensable film The Revisionaries, McLeroy used his influence to promote a profoundly conservative vision of proper educational content for Texas schoolchildren.
As that film demonstrated, Dr. McLeroy had a knack for confounding the easy stereotypes of “right-wing” educational politicians. For outsiders like me, it was odd to hear such a friendly, avuncular fellow insist that Texas schoolbooks needed more creationism and less “hip-hop.”
Earlier this week, Dr. McLeroy returned to testify in front of…
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In 2014, a new ACE school will open in Dover. If they can get planning permission. The school’s first proposal was to put the school on the seafront. This was dropped when locals pointed out the proposed facility had no parking, no play area, no dining facilities, and was on a main road.
Unlike virtually every other ACE school, though, Dover School for All Nations looks like it has some serious investment behind it. The school website says it was established by its “visionary partners“, TBN – the Trinity Broadcasting Network – the world’s foremost broadcaster of the Word of Faith prosperity gospel, founded and run by Paul and Jan Crouch. The school lists Richard Fleming first on its list of directors and trustees (so it’s not clear which he is). Fleming was “director and General Manager of God TV during its inspection” [sic], the other big prosperity gospel broadcaster in the UK and Europe. And if I am reading his biography correctly (it’s not the most clearly-written thing I’ve ever seen), he is landlord to 50 charities in central London. So he isn’t poor.
This makes DSFAN a collision of all the things this blog discusses. According to the school’s PSHE policy, students will be taught “Kingdom Principles” including “sowing & reaping”. This is standard Word of Faith jargon for the prosperity gospel. Kids attending this school, then, will do creationism in the morning and learn about giving their money to televangelists in the afternoon. Read the rest of this entry
How American Homeschoolers Enabled and Funded German Child Abuse: The Real Story Behind the Religious Right and the Twelve Tribes
The TL;DR version is that the Homeschool Legal Defence Association’s strategy is to influence European law, not just US law.
By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator
“Without the assistance of American homeschoolers, these advancements would not have been possible.”
~ Homeschool Legal Defense Association, concerning German legal association Schulunterricht zu Hause
Last week, German police raided a monastery and farm belonging to a religious sect in Bavaria. They removed 40 children on allegations of child abuse. While the event was originally portrayed by the sect as well as American right-wing news sources as religious persecution, that portrayal was quickly proven wrong. Video evidence of cruel and systematic abuse of children surfaced.
Some homeschool advocates originally attempted to chalk this up as another example of “German intolerance” of homeschooling. German homeschool advocate Jörg Großelümern, who leads the HSLDA-allied Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit (or Network for Freedom in Education), had brought the situation to the attention of Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA, the U.S.-based homeschool lobbying organization. Großelümern alleged that “the authorities want to create…
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I keep forgetting to let my blog readers know about upcoming talks I’m doing. To fix this, I’ve created a speaking dates page, which I will keep updated with all of the times and places you can come to hear me drone on about fundamentalism, creationism, and ACE.
I’m getting a lot of invitations at the moment so expect more to be added often. Currently in the diary are:
October 15, 2013 Leicester Skeptics in the Pub Details
October 22, 2013 Bristol University AASS Contact the AASS for details
November 4, 2013 Nottingham University Secular Society Contact
November 26, 2013 Plymouth Humanists Details
April 29, 2014 Cambridge Skeptics in the Pub Details
Today I can reveal that children in a Scottish primary school have learned that humans once rode on carts pulled by triceratops.
Trigger warning in this post for rape and victim blaming.
In 1997, a Baptist church deacon, Ernie Willis (38), raped Tina Anderson, then 15. As a result, Anderson became pregnant. The church pastor, Chuck Phelps, covered up this rape, and had Anderson relocated to another state (with a plane ticket paid for by her rapist). She was home schooled, and not allowed contact with her peers until after she had given the baby up for adoption. Willis had even confessed his guilt to the pastor, conceding that he was the “aggressor”. Anderson’s relocation effectively shut down the police investigation into the matter. There is some disagreement as to whether the authorities were informed at the time; roughly, Phelps says they were, and everyone else says they weren’t. Read the rest of this entry
In my first ever blog post, I wrote that the blog existed to expose the activities of Accelerated Christian Education. I now think that “expose” was the wrong verb. It implies that ACE is in some way underhanded about what it does. ACE is actually completely blatant about its educational philosophy, and their leaders’ own writing on the subject of education is far more damning than anything I could write on the subject.
What ACE and other fundamentalist curricula are, however, is mostly invisible to the general public. As Paul F. Parsons explains, there’s a reason for that.
Fundamentalist schools, in particular, operate in secrecy. This is done not only to discourage the prying of government agencies but to avoid the eyeing of a suspicious public.
So here’s what ACE says it exists for in its own words. After I spoke to Reading Skeptics in the Pub about ACE, one teacher came up to me, pointed to an ACE book and said “This has absolutely nothing to do with learning. You need to shine a big spotlight on this.”
Here’s the spotlight. In this excerpt, you’ll see the intense milieu control that ACE deliberately exerts over children. They don’t just intend to inculcate the fundamentalist worldview; they don’t want children to have any idea about any alternatives.
[There’s a chance that I’ll get asked to take this down because it is copyrighted material. The way I see it, it’s all available for free online from ACE, so I’m not costing them any money, and trust me, I have no desire to pass this off as my own work. The following text is an excerpt from The Great Commandment and the Great Commission: God’s mandate for Christian education, (C) 1999 (2013 revision) Accelerated Christian Education, available at http://aceministries.com/aboutus/pdf/Great_Commandment_Commission.pdf]
Christian education is not an alternative. It is not a luxury. It is not even just a good idea. It is the law of God. It is the law that He gave to our forefathers, and it is the same law that He now gives to us. It is the GREAT COMMANDMENT…
Cease to Hear the Instruction . . . !
Notice the phrase in Proverbs 22:6 that states
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
That is inclusive of everything God has considered important enough to put in His Word. It includes all the commandments, statutes, and judgments of the Lord in both the Old and New Testaments. Furthermore, according to Proverbs 19:27, it also excludes anything that is not consistent with God’s Word.
Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
Not only is the child to be taught all the principles of Scripture, but he is to be shielded from anything contrary to the way in which he should go. Does that mean we are to be careful that we do not have him exposed to just a little bit of humanism, just a little bit of evolutionary theory, and just a little bit of all the other multitudes of unscriptural concepts? Not even so our children will understand “what the world is like”? Yes, that is exactly what it means! Notice what the verse does not say. It does not say, “You would be better off not to listen to it,” or “I would not recommend that you listen to it.” It says, very clearly, “Cease to hear it! Read the rest of this entry