Monthly Archives: April 2014

You might be a fundamentalist, but at least you’re not brown

Every time I publish a an article in a major outlet, there’s always a comment near the top that says the same thing: “Why are you picking on the Christians? You’re just doing it because there [sic] a soft target. No one ever criticises the Muslims.”

Now the estimable Hannah Ettinger has published an exposé on her Quiverfull upbringing at Cracked, and the same thing is happening. User LockednLoaded, at 04-28-2014, 2:11pm, writes “Fundy Muslims do far worse but criticize them and liberals lose their s**t and go all hissy fit.”

f.korambayil, 04-28-2014, 10:18 am, says:

Your muslim counterpart would be writing about actual terrors – female genitalia mutilation, forced marriages at 8 years old, not being able to go to school on account of being female, being raped and then being hung because of being an indecent female for having extramarital sex, forced to strap on suicide vests and wage jihad, etc. etc. Quit your bellyaching lemonhead.

These comments are two among dozens in the same vein. “You all — *every one of you* — know damned well why Cracked, along with almost everyone else, is too *chicken* to make fun of Islam.” 

When someone suggests these complaints might be racially motivated, the person immediately points out that Islam is not a race. Which is true. Here are some other things that aren’t races: hip-hop, Rastafarianism, immigrants. Discussion on these subjects is often racist too. The subtext for at least some of these comments is “Muslims do bad stuff too AND THEY’RE BROWN!!!!!1111″

Anyway, the idea that Muslims are given an easy ride in the press is poppycock (and I don’t see anyone deleting these people’s anti-Islam comments). In 2007, research commissioned by the London mayor’s office found that 91% of reports on Muslims were negative, portraying them as a threat to the West. When the Telegraph reported on nursery voucher funding for religious schools last month, it mentioned Islam in the headline, the subtitle, and the first sentence. It then went for a full 13 paragraphs before mentioning that there were some Christian groups getting funded too, and managed all of one sentence about Accelerated Christian Education. And, ridiculously, all it could offer was speculation about the Islamic schools, while we know exactly what ACE teaches.

Iain Duncan Smith

Britain’s most senior ACE fan

And now we hear that ministers have “launched inquiries into extremist schools“. Does this mean Accelerated Christian Education users can expect visits from the inspectors? Of course it doesn’t. This is a Muslims-only investigation. And, as it turns out, senior Conservatives have expressed support for fundamentalist Christian schools. Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith is the patron of one.

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On mind-controlling cults, Fred Phelps, and Ockham Awards

I spent the weekend before last at QEDCon, a convention for people who like science and don’t like pseudoscience. While I was mainly there to speak on a panel, I also ended up winning an award after you, the readers of Leaving Fundamentalism, had managed to get this blog shortlisted. This was the Ockham Award for Best Blog, sponsored by The Skeptic.

Here I am receiving the award from Nate Phelps (Thanks to zooterkin for the photo). Nate is an escapee from Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious cult. Of which more in a moment.


The eagle-eyed among you will notice that the usually-professional Richard Wiseman had in fact furnished me with the wrong award, but I was too busy being pleased to win to notice this:

And then someone pointed it out, which led to this:

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My life in an ACE school

This post by Ian is cross-posted from Bruce Gerencser’s excellent blog, The Way Forward. It’s the first two parts of a series. I’ll be reposting them all here eventually, but if you’re impatient you can read up to part 5 over there. If you’re an ex-ACE student, you’ll also enjoy the discussions happening in the comments over there.

ACE Bible Mind Control

My ACE Experience, Part 1

I am writing a several part series on my ACE school experience. I attended three different ACE schools and was associated with a fourth, so I feel I have had a pretty varied experience with them.

This is my story as I remember it. I had good and bad times, as did anyone attending any type of school. Am I a better or worse person for having an ACE education? I don’t know. I truly believe I did as well as I did because my parents were heavily involved in my schooling, both public and private.

As I tell my story, I will write about the bad things I did. This is not to brag, it is to be as honest as possible.

This has been quite the journey down memory lane, going back over 30 years.  For people who have shared my experience, this will bring back memories. For those who have never attended an ACE school, it my be quite an eye opener.

I hope you enjoy what I have written.

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Take a lesson from the kids

This is a guest post by Tyler Francke, owner of

It’s not typical (though probably far more common in Accelerated Christian Education schools) that your principal is also your church pastor, but such was the case at the small private school in Oregon that my wife attended from preschool through twelfth grade.

Based on her experience, I wouldn’t recommend it. Giving a single man (always a man at ACE schools, of course) such broad and absolute authority over impressionable children’s intellectual, spiritual and moral development just seems like an obviously bad idea.

She could tell you horror stories. One of the pastor/principal’s favorite exercises on Wednesday morning chapel services was to call the students up on stage and “separate the sheep from the goats.”

In the original parable that inspired this grim practice, Jesus spoke about how he would judge the nations at his second coming, separating those who lived righteously and gave to the needy from those who were wicked and ignored the poor and suffering.

In Pastor/Principal’s version, he would separate those whom he deemed to be the “good kids” from the bad ones, and my wife always ended up with the goats (those are the ones destined for the eternal fires, by the way, if you’re unfamiliar with the story).

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To New Bethany and back: One woman’s journey to report the man she says sexually abused her

After years of frustrated attempts, of being ignored by the press, dismissed by law enforcement, and disbelieved by the adults that should have protected them, the heroic women of New Bethany have finally achieved a breakthrough. This week, Louisiana’s Times-Picayune is serialising the story of their journey back to New Bethany to report Mack Ford, New Bethany’s preacher-owner,  for rape.

This story should not have been necessary. The reason it became necessary is because of negligence.

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