Kids Are Being Taught Creationism, Courtesy of Your Tax Dollars

You might think fundamentalist Christians would be satisfied with God on our money, God in the Pledge of Allegiance, influence in the Democratic party, and full ownership of the Republican party. But it’s never enough for people on a “mission from God.”

As a part of their ongoing mission to turn the United States into a fundamentalist backwater, they want to ensure that kids become model Christians™. They have done this in part by creating their own parallel Christian Universe, populated by separate TV channels, movies, video games, clothing lines, and, of course, schools.

Private Christian schools are an essential part of ensuring proper indoctrination of children. In these schools, Creationism is taught as science, and people actually use terms like “Flood Geology” with a straight face. However it’s not enough that they can submit their own children to this drivel with their own money. Instead, they would like to do it with your tax dollars, Constitution be damned.

The scary thing is: It’s actually working.

Origin and diversity of life, as taught by some Christian schools. Your tax dollars at work.

Student, activist, and all-around awesome person Zack Kopplin profiles how private Christian schools across the country are using taxpayer-funded vouchers to submit kids to Creationism.

A few frightening tidbits:

Life Christian Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma says their life science class will “lead the student to recognize that God created all living things and that these living things are fearfully and wonderfully made.Evolution is taught only in history class, where students “evaluate the theory of evolution and its flaws.” The school uses the creationist Bob Jones and CSI curriculums.

In an Alice Through the Looking Glass world, Iron Age mythologies are being taught in science class, while the cornerstone of modern biology is being taught in history class. It’s bizarro school.

Here’s another:

Rocky Bayou Christian School, in Niceville, Florida, says in its section on educational philosophy, “God mandates that children be discipled for Christ. They must be trained in the biblical world view which honors Jehovah, the sovereign Creator of the universe. It recognizes that man was created in the image of God” and says “Man is presumed to be an evolutionary being shaped by matter, energy, and chance… God commands His people not to teach their children the way of the heathen.”

I wonder what Florida politicians would say to taxpayer funds being used to teach children to be “servants of Allah and trained in the ways of the Holy Q’uran”? Incidentally, the thing about not teaching their children the “way of the heathen” comes from the book of Jeremiah:

Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

Jeremiah 10:2-10

I wonder if the Rocky Bayou Christian School puts up any Christmas trees…?

Unsuprisingly, Zack’s home state of Louisiana doesn’t fare very well either:

The principal of the Claiborne Christian School, in West Monroe, Louisiana, says in a school newsletter, “Our position at CCS on the age of the Earth and other issues is that any theory that goes against God’s Word is in error.” She also claims that scientists are “sinful men” trying to explain the world “without God” so they don’t have to be “morally accountable to Him.

I’m sure it will take my 80% female lab by surprise tomorrow when I inform them that they are all “sinful men.” As for accountability, we all feel accountability to funding committees who, granted, can feel like gods sometimes. Still, I’ve maintained my bouts of mass genocide limited to the hapless yeast that have the misfortune to end up on the wrong end of my pipette, despite what the principal of Claiborn Christian School sees as my nonexistent moral compass.

Thousands of children are having their scientific education and curiosity stunted by these institutions. That this happens at all is wrong, but that tax dollars are going to subsidize the religious indoctrination of children is an outrage that must be stopped.

(image via Shutterstock)

About Claudia

I'm a lifelong atheist and a molecular biologist with a passion for science and a passionate opposition to its enemies.

  • Rain

    “They deck it with silver and with gold;”

    Wow, those heathens must have been rolling in the dough. Nowadays we use the fake silver and gold.

    “They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go.”

    Gotta love those Bible verses that nobody knows what the hell it means. What the hell does that verse mean? Who the hell knows.

    • Keith Collyer

      Well, let’s try. First off, almost no palm trees actually are upright, they nearly all have bends. I can only guess it means upright as in “an upright citizen”. Not sure what the relevance of this is to speaking, I’ve never heard a palm tree speak. Though of course, that doesn’t prove they cannot. The second part is easy. Palm trees cannot move of their own volition, so they have to be carried.

      • Blacksheep

        Some commentators think the “upright palm tree” might be alluding to a phallic idol, which apparently were used around that time.

    • Blacksheep

      The verse is about idols that people worship. It mentions trees tha tare brought into the home and “worked with an axe”, then adorned with silver and gold.

      Then it says that they are lifeless, (“They must be carried (Borne) because they cannot move, etc). In other words, the heathens make idols that have no power or life, don’t fear them because they can do no good or evil.

      Christ got more esoteric about idols, and more practical, with the idea that anything can be an idol in one’s life, it all depends on the value and importance that it holds. That’s why Christians aren’t concerned if by chance this is referring to Christmas trees, (I don’t think it is because they talk about shaping it with an axe) because they are not worshipping the tree in the way that the verse is warning against.

      • Blacksheep

        …I just looked at the Hebrew, the word that was translated into tree is “ets” which is the same word for wood, firewood, cedar, and “woody flax” (whatever that is).

        • Blacksheep

          This is funny – I certainly don’t mind or care about getting “dislike” votes. But what is there to dislike about the translation of a hebrew word?

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Some people just want a giant circle jerk.

          • amycas

            Not really sure why people would dislike your comments in this thread.

      • Edmond

        Any comment on how this kind of “education” will affect America’s educational and science-competency standards? We’re struggling to compete with the rest of the world in science achievements NOW. How will we look in 20 years, when these kids are adults, and they’ve grown up believing that “scientists are sinful men”?

        While China, India, Russia, et al, are progressing in leaps and bounds in “the way of the heathen”, our kids will be busy being “trained in the biblical world view”, which will provide them with NO educational advantages in an increasing technological world. Worse, it will leave them with a DISDAIN for the very PROCESS of science, and our best methods for REAL learning and discovery.

        • Blacksheep

          Sure, I can comment: I don’t understand rednecks any more than you do. There are plenty of Christians who have no trouble teaching up to date science. I don’t have the time or energy to go down to Louisiana and tell them to change. I’ve chosen to live in a city that’s the exact opposite of all that. I can’t be any more honest than that.

      • Glasofruix

        Then it says that they are lifeless, (“They must be carried (Borne)
        because they cannot move, etc). In other words, the heathens make idols
        that have no power or life, don’t fear them because they can do no good
        or evil.

        Exactly like the christian imaginary god, amirite?

        • Blacksheep

          Not mine!

          • Glasofruix

            You have proof of that? I mean something more credible than “I believe really really hard”?

            • Blacksheep

              Belief without any evidence only goes so far. Belief comes as a result of experience over time, and testing one experience against another. So it’s not believing “really really hard” (condescending, are we?) that makes a difference, it’s about experience, results, and ones inner voice. I don’t need proof that I love my children. It would be true even with no outward expression of my own, even with no response from them. Yet it’s still 100% true that I love them. But there’s no way I could prove it – other than to say, “You know what I mean?” to another parent. And the other parent would say, “Yes!”

              if I were to say, “being in nature gives me great peace of mind” you wouldn’t say “prove it!”

              • Glasofruix

                Well, aside from ramblings, you got nothing, everyone here understands that. You on the other hand seem to have missed the memo.

              • Brian Scott

                “Sometimes truth claims are predictions about states of mind in other people – but even these are tested by observable consequences. If I say “Cathy likes chocolate,” for example, you could check that claim by offering Cathy some and seeing if she smiles.”

                Proof that you love your children is sort of… a bad example. Other people confirm it based on outside appearances or assume it based on charity. You confirm it based on internal experiences.

                Ultimately, however, it’s still about your state of mind. Are your experiences and “inner voice” (i.e. your model of your own mind) explainable by various means?

      • RugSucker

        I took ‘…the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. …’
        to mean that they were taking the work away from a working man, a woodworker of some sort.
        Out of necessity, I may be moving to Louisiana. I already planned to get involved bitching about these things upon arrival.

        • Blacksheep

          Good luck! I’m sure there are some wonderful people down there. (Not being sarcastic)

          You can introduce salad to them!

      • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

        Poor Blacksheep! You get down votes even if you provide useful information.

        But seriously, isn’t there some verse about avoiding the appearance of evil? The whole part about “learn not the way of the heathen” would seem to indicate that Christians should avoid heathen things. Even if they’re not worshipping pagan trees, it sounds to me like the verse is saying that they should avoid them, and not promote or participate in pagan ways.

        • Blacksheep

          I’m not complaining – I actually thought it was pretty funny. I guess it’s not really useful on this topic, but Rain (first post) went down an interesting path…

          I can’t disagree with that at face value.

          But one thing that I love about Jesus are the times that he was ‘flexible” with the old rules (not wanting to put “new wine in old wineskins”) and when he made points about what really matters, and to get people to think in new ways about what it meant to do the right thing. And it always pissed off the ‘religious” leaders of the day. In other words, stick to what really matters, not rules for rules sake. The woman who gave a few pennies to the poor was giving much more than the rich man who gave a fraction of his wealth. It was OK to pick wheat on the sabbath because hey, there’s nothing morally wrong with that. Etc..

        • Blacksheep

          by the way: I would definitely agree with OBVIOUS (how do I do italics?) “heathen” things. Interestingly CS Lewis loved the pagan undertones of Christianity (The blood of Christ, etc).

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            You put a <i> before the italicized part and a <i/> after it. You can do the same thing but with b instead of i for bold.

  • gagging on the force-fed god

    we’ve got sen. dennis kruse here in indiana trying (unsuccessfully last year) to teach ID/creationism in public school science classes. he hasn’t given up either…this year he’s after creationism being “mentioned” as an alternative to evolution and to have teachers, when asked, talk about creationism. i think he’s on the senate education panel too. ugh.

  • Noelle

    Not all Xian schools teach Creationism. I first learned evolution in 9th grade bio in a Lutheran school. But that’s beside the point.

    Regardless if what they teach, a private school is private and there’s reason to have these sort of voucher programs at all. People who send their kids to a private school know they’re going to have to pay tuition. It’s not as if it’s a surprise or anything. If school districts have all this extra money, it makes more sense to use it on the public schools.

    • Noelle

      sigh, hit enter too soon. That should be: there’s no reason

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Is there any other place where we can effectively re-direct our tax dollars? Can I get a voucher for riding my bike instead of driving, thereby requiring much less road infrastructure and parking?

    (ok, there actually are some bike commuting tax credit programs, but not nearly to the same scale)

  • busterggi

    “these living things are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

    Okay, a hagfish is fearful but I wouldn’t call it wonderful and a puppy is wonderful but I wouldn’t call it fearful. Sorry but this makes no sense to me.

    • Stev84

      The human body isn’t that great either. Lots and lots of ridiculous design flaws such as the eye (compare to the cephelapod eye), the appendix or the recurrent laryngeal nerve. Getting a baby through the female pelvis is a nightmare because it’s shaped in a way to allow for upright walking. The spine isn’t well suited for that either, which is why it causes so many problems.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Hence Biomimetics doesn’t intentionally mimic the bad design features.

        Plus the use of evolutionary principles in many areas of engineering such as airfoil design.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I’m not sure where you get your requirements to copy something from nature. It depends on what you’re coping doesn’t it?

          “NONE are needed to make that remarkable life form in the first place?”

          First of all you’re assuming an active verb, ‘make’. Second, what exactly are you trying to make? The result of 3.8 billion years of evolution? Or the result of 1 billion years of evolution?

          The fact that someone doesn’t understand something isn’t evidence that it doesn’t exist. It’s evidence of a lack of understanding. Feel free to say that my ‘not understanding’ God doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist.

          Your lack of understanding of evolution doesn’t mean evolution isn’t true, or that God exists. It just means you don’t understand evolution, nor the evidence that supports it.

      • baal

        Why are you resurrecting topics from 9 months ago? This is usually called “necroing” after necromancy – magic involving the dead.

  • baal

    “these living things are fearfully and wonderfully made”
    Have they every looks at how lizards walk? And then maybe a dog?

    • Blacksheep

      In the original hebrew text, fearfully means: with great reverence and heart-felt interest and respect.

  • jose

    Dear America,

    *blinks*
    *shakes head*
    *repeats*

    Sincerely,
    the rest of the world’s democracies

  • http://www.dregstudios.com Brandt Hardin

    Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

  • roberthughmclean

    We should make more use of biblical “english”. We need more words like “cutteth”. What a beauty! Keep up the good work Iron age goat herders.

  • roberthughmclean

    We should make more use of biblical “english”. We need more words like “cutteth”. What a beauty! Keep up the good work Iron age goat herders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1353603101 Joe Montoto

    Well, at least we know that we won’t go without having people to fill no-skill, low-pay, menial jobs in the future. Thanks Life Christian Academy!

  • JordanT

    I read this blog occasionally and I see the disdain for “Christian” education and specifically any government support. But I want to pose a question/suggestion. An education cannot be given without being packaged within a worldview. Every subject starts with presuppositions – nothing is neutral, not even math or English. Many of you are in favor of a secular worldview, Christians a Christian worldview, etc. It seems to me that what many of you (i.e. atheists) are in favor of is a secular/humanist public school system. Now you act like this is the most neutral way, but in fact it is just a way to push your system. By the way, I don’t think that is bad, for we all push the worldview we think is right. But given impossibility of a neutral education, it seems like we are left with only three options regarding government and schools. (1) We can have the government push one particular type of worldview/education. Most would agree that this is a bad idea. (2) We can have the government get out of the education business since the government is not supposed to push worldviews/religions on people. (3) The government can provide general support for education and the parents can pick the type of education that best suites their family and worldview system. Your thoughts?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      An education cannot be given without being packaged within a worldview. Every subject starts with presuppositions – nothing is neutral, not even math or English.

      You’ve lost me here. I would love to know how you would teach math under a Christian worldview. Or English for that matter. In fact, I’d love to know how any core subject would change under a ‘Christian worldview’. You can certainly add Christianity into any subject, but then it becomes that subject + Christianity. In math class, you could concentrate on calculations based on stories from the Bible, but the math would still be the same. In music you could only sing Hymns, but the mechanics of playing the instruments would be the same. So you can add a worldview to any subject, but absent that, it’s just the subject.

      So no, I disagree. I think you can teach a core subject without a worldview, by simply not adding on a worldview. Since the vast majority of teachers are Christian, I’d really be surprised if any kind of anti-theist worldview were being added on.

      And certainly parents have the right to pick an education system that comes with a worldview. We only disagree on whether that should exempt them from paying some portion of their taxes.

      • JordanT

        Good question. I definitely don’t advocate teaching math from the Bible. LOL. I think there was actually some people that tried to prove mathematical theory using only the Bible. Pretty stupid idea if you ask me.

        The sciences (i.e. math, chemistry, physics, biology, etc.) are more neutral subjects than are the others, so worldview underpinnings and implications are less apparent. No matter what worldview perspective taught these subjects, there would be much similarity. But let me just list a few subjects and briefly mention how neutrality is impossible.

        Biology/Cosmology – Obviously the origins debate is rooted in presuppositions & worldview. Most modern science (including what is usually taught in public schools) is taught from a naturalistic perspective. I’m not debating the merits of Darwin at this point, but just pointing out that naturalism is the core conviction of the science dept.
        English/Writing/Arts – Standards of beauty. Postmodern culture would have different things to say about this than Christians, Muslims, etc.

        Government/Econ – What is the correct economic system? Which is the most virtuous? Purpose/role of government? Role of citizens? The goal of a society?
        Ethics/Values – This one should be obvious.
        Philosophy – Metaphysical views have tremendous implications, e.g. the soul and the abortion debate, mind vs. brain and therapeutic justice, etc.

        I think the biggest difference is the telos or purpose of the education. We don’t educate just to fill heads with facts. We educate with a purpose in mind. What is purpose of math? English? Ethics? The arts? Econ? What is the end goal for the students? John Dewey had a particular goal in mind, and I think we are just naive to think we can educate without producing a particular type of person. I contend that we must be more intentional about the type of person we are trying to produce.

        I think this is an good discussion to have. Everyone seems to try and lay claim on the school system when we should really just each pursue our own preferred alternative.

    • amycas

      Secular and humanist are not the same thing. I’m in favor of a secular public school system, one that doesn’t give special or extra attention to any belief system. The reason I like public schools is because before we had public schools only the very rich could get an education. The reason I don’t want our system to become “privatized” with funding help from the government is because then our school system will be set up so that government funding is being sent to help particular religions–and I could be left with no non-religious options for my own children. There are families in Canada facing this problem. They happen to live in a majority Catholic region, so all the schools are Catholic and there are no secular schools available. Public schools are there to teach all children.

      I’m sorry, but “not getting involved in religion” is not the same thing as teaching the kids “religion is false.” If the government refrains from basing the laws on the Bible, that doesn’t mean the government is anti-Bible.

    • cj

      Whoa did you just reference everyone an “atheiest” are you that blinded by your own relegious beliefs? I choose not to choose a house of worship nor a way I have to show my belief that something greater than me created and rules this planet regardless of how it came to be. There is also true valu to be found in science.

  • Brian Forbes

    “Thousands of children are having their scientific education and curiosity stunted by these institutions.”
    From an atheistic perspective, what does it matter? You might as well start a campaign to train dogs that leashes are evil. If we don’t remember anything after death, nothing matters. If something bad happens while you sleep, it doesn’t matter until you wake up, and it doesn’t matter again when you’re asleep the next night. At least Creationists have a reason behind their campaign.

    And that boat with the animals sticking out… it’s easy to tear down a straw man. It’s a lot harder to argue with the educated scientists and historians (such as David Menton, Jason Lisle, and Ken Johnson).


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X