This is the first installment of my series on Christian rock. Read the introduction here.
Carman was where it all began for me. Before my family discovered Carman, Christian music was tedious, church was boring, and there’s an excellent chance I would have looked for entertainment in secular culture. After Carman, being a Christian seemed exciting, like something I wanted to do for myself rather than just something I did because it was my duty as a member of my family.
Compared Michael Jackson, Carman was not fantastic. But, at least in my case, Jackson was not really the competition (although I had heard “Black or White” at school and it was the greatest thing I’d ever heard) (proper school, that is, before I went to the ACE school). Carman’s competition was Graham Kendrick and Don Francisco, and had I known the term and been allowed to use it, I would have told you that those guys sucked balls.
The first Carman song I ever heard was “Radically Saved”.
Today, governments are worried about the radicalisation of young Muslims and the Government spends millions on anti-radicalisation programmes. In 1991, I (aged six) began to think of the term as a badge of honour.
The headline of Friday’s Daily Telegraph screamed “Toddlers at risk from extremists“. The British Education Secretary has announced plans to ban teaching creationism is publicly-funded nurseries.
What it didn’t say is that, although the British Humanist Association (BHA) was the most prominent campaigner against creationism in nurseries, this was originally the subject of a letter-writing campaign by the readers of Leaving Fundamentalism. But I know you wrote the letters, so thank you.
Here’s a brief history of what has happened, and what it means. More importantly, an article in the TES last week may explain why ACE schools have been able to get away with so much.
How many ACE schools are there really? In all the press coverage this week, it’s been a bit confused.
The BBC website went with “about 50”. The Daily Mail said “up to 25”. The Manchester Evening News plumped for “22 UK schools”, while the Bristol Post claimed there were 30. As I write this, the CEE website lists 32 institutions, two of which are called ‘tuition centres’ and one of which is a nursery, leaving 29, the figure given by Jeremy Vine. On Newsnight, Anjana Ahuja told the world it was “at least 30”.
So how many are there really?
The truth is that no one (besides Christian Education Europe, presumably) knows, but the official numbers do not add up. It appears that some ACE schools are operating entirely under the radar.