Christian Education Europe must be loving all this ‘persecution’

It’s fair to say the last ten days have not been the best for Christian Education Europe. The coverage continued over the weekend, with stories from The Times, Independent (syndicated in the Times of India), Huffington Post, and Yahoo News (although most of these seemed to be largely plagiarised from the Manchester Evening News). There was local coverage in both the Windsor Observer and Express. Following this, the shadow education minister, Tristram Hunt, branded the schools “backward” on Twitter:

He expanded on these comments in an interview with Pink News:

“There is absolutely no place in our schools for these sorts of backward views.

“Labour will not allow these dangerous ideas to go unchallenged. I will be writing to Michael Gove to demand that action is taken.

“If there are schools using these materials in receipt of public funds, then serious questions need to be answered.”

Either Hunt believes, as a matter of principle, that teaching this to children is wrong, or he senses there is political capital to be made from attacking fundamentalist educators at the moment. I have no wish to cast aspersions on him as a politician, so I assume it’s the latter. Either way, the quality of education in private Christian schools finally appears to be on the political agenda.

How will Christian Education Europe be taking all this? Well, if they listen to ACE’s founder, they’ll be loving it.

The opposition is one of the greatest evidences of God’s blessing. The growth of Christian schools is paralleled by the growth of opposition and related growth of defences for the local churches. Adversity always makes the churches stronger, tests the Christians and builds the unity of their faith. Satanic opposition is always evidence that the movement is of God.

Donald Howard, Rebirth of Our Nation, p. 289

But, of course, success is taken as a sign that God is on their side too. Brilliantly, then, every possible outcome confirms that God is behind them.

It’s a reasonable guess that in some of the churches attached to ACE schools, yesterday’s sermons included a mention of Matthew 5:11-12.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

They might also have mentioned II Timothy 3:12 (“all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”) or a multitude of other verses. In particular, increased persecution is taken as a sign that Jesus is coming back soon. Hallelujah.

Of course, asking Christian schools to offer a good education is not the same thing as persecuting Christians, but this is not a distinction I expect to be made by many supporters of ACE.

There’s another possibility though: Maybe all this publicity is doing them good. If you are foolish enough to read the bottom half of the internet, you’ll see comments on all the news stories defending these schools, and it’s those people to whom ACE appeals. The kind of people who are offended by a science curriculum that claims being gay is “a corruption” were never in the market for an ACE education anyway. It’s entirely possible that some people will ‘read between the lines’ and say “Jolly good, a school standing up for proper values”. Which makes CEE’s apparent embarrassment about what it teaches (none of the recent representatives of CEE on TV or radio has been prepared to admit that they personally are young-Earth creationists) all the more bizarre.

You can also listen to me discussing ACE on Radio 2 and Radio Berkshire here:

About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on June 23, 2014, in Accelerated Christian Education, Atheism, Christianity, Education, Faith Schools, Fundamentalism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I just read that the uk has OUTLAWED creationism in effect.

  2. Increased awareness of ACE will not turn fundamentalist Christians away from ACE. They’ve drunk the kool-aid, and like Johnny says, any outrage will be interpreted as persecution of the righteous. However, such awareness can lead to two good things:

    1) Moving the ignorant and undecided away from ACE and the poor education it represents. (“I’d heard of ACE, but I never knew it was that bad!”)

    2) Pressuring politicians (directly or through constituents) into cutting funding for ACE.

    Let the pharisees proclaim their holiness all they want, as this is more about stopping a horrible curriculum that does a great disservice to children.

  3. I listened with interest to both the radio shows and thought most of your points came across very clearly (as usual). I find that describing an ACE Learning Center to someone who’s never seen one is pretty tricky, and you did that really well. The problem comes when someone replies “Oh, no distractions! Sounds ideal!”

    You were asked, Jonny, by the Radio Berks guy, whether you thought all faith schools are a bad idea. I’m not sure I understood your answer completely. Is there any chance you will be writing about that soon?

  4. Maybe I am a cynic but I will bet that Creationism will CONTINUE to be taught in state schools including church schools. Creationists are well-trained in flying under the radar and LEAs , governors and church authorities for church schools are often disinterested

  5. Hence my sharp articles on my own blog

  6. Interesting… the Christian pledge: “Life and Liberty for All Who Believe”… Have you by chance seen the documentary produced by People for the American Way in 1982 of that same title about the political agenda of the American religious right? Probably you have, but for those who haven’t:

    “Life and Liberty for All Who Believe” (Video/Youtube):

    Description: Published on May 2, 2012

    This documentary, produced by People for the American Way in the early 1980’s, chronicles the formation of the Moral Majority. Narrated by Burt Lancaster, the film’s message regarding dominionist politics is more relevant today than ever.

    People for the American Way/Theocracy Watch
    Narrator: Burt Lancaster”

  1. Pingback: This Week in Religion, Nontheism, Politics, and Philosophy | Evangelically Atheist

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