A Scottish tabloid libels the Churches of Christ

Tabloids will always be with us. Few will admit to taking Jesus-shaped potato chips, astrology, Elvis and UFO sightings and Kardashian stories printed by The National Enquirer, the Star, The Globe, the National Examiner and the Weekly World News seriously — but American Media Inc. does quite well for itself by feeding the guilty pleasures of the American public.

The New York Daily News, the New York Post and similar newspapers are tabloids of a different sort. They are written in a simple and sensational style — compared to the “quality” newspapers or broadsheets like The New York Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal — and give more prominence to celebrities, sports and crime than their staid sisters.

A divide exists also in Britain between quality tabloids like the Daily Express and Daily Mail (some will no doubt choke over the appellation “quality”) and the down market “red tops.” Sharing a common red nameplate, the British red tops like The Sun, the Daily Star, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Record and the Daily Sport are more akin to the Daily News/Post than The National Enquirer in that while they too have horoscopes and celebrity gossip, they also report the news of the day — with naked girls on page 3.

But they also have a well-deserved reputation for bile and have earned the sobriquet the “gutter press.” Take this story in the Glasgow-based Daily Record entitled “Parents’ outrage as extremist US religious cult hand out creationist books and preach to kids at Scottish school.”

From start to finish, this article is junk. Not only is it junk, it sets out to be malicious. Below the over-the-top title appears a disturbing photo with this caption: “Face-painted Jared Blakeman is one of the ‘missionaries’ that has been in classrooms at the school.”

The article opens:

HORRIFIED parents fear an extremist religious sect has been trying to brainwash their kids after it was allowed to infiltrate a Scots primary school.

A head teacher invited the US Church of Christ, which rubbishes evolution and counts homosexuality as a sin, to minister to pupils. The “missionaries” at the school include face-painted Jared Blakeman, pictured in a T-shirt with the slogan AIM — short for “Adventures in Mission”.

Many parents at 400-pupil Kirktonholme Primary in East Kilbride only realised their children were being exposed to the evangelical group’s agenda when kids brought home alarming books they had been handed at assembly. The creationist books, defended by head teacher Sandra MacKenzie, denounce the theory of evolution and warn pupils that, without God, they risk being murdered in a harmful, disgusting world.

Parents have called for emergency talks with education chiefs, where they will demand the sect’s removal from the school.

The story continues in this line for another few hundred words in a style reminiscent of Der Stürmer. Substitute “Jews” for “Church of Christ,” and with this article alleging secretive sects seeking to destroy the pure Scottish race through their pernicious doctrines, you have a story straight out of 1930′s Germany.

Calling the Churches of Christ an “extremist sect” is ludicrous and pejorative. It seeks to denigrate rather than inform. As to the complaints cited by the article, it uses the weasel words of “many” without identifying how many or who. Are one or two parents or “many” parents upset? And what upsets them? We learn:

But the Record can reveal sinister undertones to their eight-year involvement at the school.

The Church of Christ have targeted Kirktonholme as a “mission” and have several members helping with classes and giving lessons in religion.

Church members like Blakeman – photographed as a scary Pirates of the Caribbean character — were allowed in to work as classroom assistants and help with homework and in other mainstream roles.

What utter garbage. Is such conduct illegal? Does it violate Scottish education rules? No, but admitting a church has been conducting outreach to a school with the school principal’s support and under state guidelines for religious education would deflate the story.

There is a cruel tinge  as well. By using the photo of a volunteer with his face painted like Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, it implies this is how the volunteer dressed when helping at the school. Did he? Or is the Daily Record seeking to vilify or caricature a member of this religious group for its own ends?

In Britain, publishers agree to abide to a voluntary code of conduct administered by the Press Complaints Commission.

Article 1 of the code states in part:

1) Accuracy

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published. In cases involving the Commission, prominence should be agreed with the PCC in advance.

Article 12 states in part:

12) Discrimination
i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

Were I the Scottish Church of Christ, I would file a complaint with the commission. Yes, it is only the Daily Record, a disreputable tabloid, but this article is libelous, malicious and evil — it is a disgrace to journalism.

About geoconger
  • Thomas Nichols

    I was curious about the books being given to the students, so I did a little checking on the author, who is perhaps presciently named Kyle Butt. I would have liked to see the actual book titles in the story. A quick Google check revealed that he co-authored this gem: http://www.amazon.com/Dinosaur-Delusion-Eric-Lyons/dp/1600630103/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378731573&sr=1-7

    It is rife with spelling and grammatical errors. But those aren’t the worst of its flaws. Click and see for yourself, and then ask if the tabloid story really gets it wrong.

    • George Conger

      If I understand your argument, you are saying poor copy editing and uncongenial views found in a book, permit a newspaper to propagate religious hatred and malicious libel against a third group (not the author of the book, but the persons giving the book as a present). If that is the case, I do not agree with you.

      • http://outofthedepths.blogspot.com/ steve

        There is much wrong with the article but I would not call it religious hatred and malicious libel. That is my opinion and I can say this even though it refers to my heritage.

      • Thomas Nichols

        You don’t understand my argument, at all. Your characterization of the bizarre views promulgated in that book as “uncongenial” sort of tipped your hand.

        Books like that have no place in public education.

    • n_coast

      One thing the story seems to miss is that the Apologetics Press, according to their website, is far more conservative than the United Churches of Christ. (The website does not mention any affiliation with the UCC.)

      • Lee

        The “United Churches of Christ” and “Churches of Christ” are two completely different groups. The subject of the articles in the Record is the Church of Christ. The United Church of Christ is one of the most liberal religious groups, while the Churches of Christ are much more conservative in nature.

        • n_coast

          Something I didn’t get.

        • TrinainUS

          Thank you, Lee. I’d been looking for exactly this information.

  • http://nathanrein.com Nathan

    I’m not a lawyer, but by publicly alleging libel, aren’t you potentially exposing yourself to libel charges in turn?

    • George Conger

      No. For four reasons. I am offering an opinion. The facts support my belief the Daily Record acted improperly. I am not speaking out of malice or religious bigotry. And it would be difficult to initiate proceedings, if the Daily Record had a case, because of the question of jurisdiction.

      • http://nathanrein.com Nathan

        I’m not trying to be obstreperous, but libel is a crime, right? So aren’t you publicly alleging that the Daily Record violated the law? Honestly, I’m asking out of curiosity. I don’t know how the law works in these situations. Presumably, if a newspaper published an article with the headline that, say, “George Conger embezzles funds from Patheos” and it turned out not to be true, wouldn’t the paper be exposing itself to criminal liability (for libelling you), even if they claimed it were merely an opinion and not malicious in intent?

        • George Conger

          No libel is a tort.

          • http://nathanrein.com Nathan

            Ah, okay, that makes sense. Thanks.

          • Duncan Lundie

            Defamation of Character is a delict. You’re looking at the wrong legal system

  • Sheila Galliart

    The photo is inflammatory as is the word ‘cult’. However, as a 40+ year member of the CoC, the rest sounds EXACTLY like the Church of Christ. Mission trips to Scotland were undertaken as far back as the 1970s in my home congregation. The CoC DOES consider that they are the only true church, they are anti-evoltion and anti-gay and anti-feminist, etc. I find it very amusing that the objections to this story are largely about the headline and the accompanying photograph.

    No matter how sensationalist the article may or may not be, public schools anywhere are not the appropriate place for this sort of sneaky, underhanded, so-called “evangelism.” Nobody is being persecuted here. This is legitimate bad behavior and brings shame and reproach on the CofC. Respect the parents who do not want their children to be taught this way, just as you would not want any other group teaching your children their doctrines.

    • Sheila Galliart

      Here is a less inflammatory article minus the offending photo and the word ‘cult’, since that is all the CoC seems to be worried about. It also lists the titles of the books sent home with the students: http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/sect-s-preacher-spent-8-years-at-primary-school-1-3081113news/politics/top-stories/sect-s-preacher-spent-8-years-at-primary-school-1-3081113

    • morningsdaughter

      What part of their evangelism did you consider underhanded and sneaky? They didn’t tell the school that they were coming just to tutor kids in math and science, rather they are connected to the schools Chaplin. The school has a Chaplin, so I assume the parents know that there will be some religious involvement.
      The kids were also told to take the books home and share them with their parents, so you cannot even accuse them of being secretive.
      Perhaps you won’t mind explaining your point of view?

      • Sheila Galliart

        The books were sent home without any explanation or before asking permission from parents. I assume then, had the books been about Islam, your feeling would be the same? And the particular teacher cited in the article know what these ‘volunteers’ were all about, but there is no sign that school administration did and the parents were completely unaware.

        • morningsdaughter

          Why must schools ask permission before sending materials home from school for the parents to read? Do we also need permission slips for school newspapers?
          If my children were sent home with information from a group that thought differently me, I would welcome it. First, I would see it as a kind gesture that that group cares about me and my soul. They want me to know the truth as they believe it. That is the same reason Christians Evangelize, not just to tell everyone that they are right and everyone else needs to accept them as the greatest, but because they have a concern for those who are not saved. Although I do not believe that Islam says is true, I appreciate the gesture. Besides, what sort of Christian would I be if I grew angry at every opposing view? How would throwing a fit because I didn’t like someone’s beliefs prove to them that my way is the right direction? If I grew angry at the a simple display of their beliefs, would they see the love of people that our Christ commanded of us?

          Also, to say that my children may only be exposed to what I want them to believe is wrong in every form. Some accuse the Christians in this article of trying to “brainwash” children, but they believe that children should be sterilized of anything that they’re parents do not teach. That’s rather hypocritical. I’m sure you have heard it said that we need “bad” so we can understand “good” more fully. The same is true with teaching children in religious ways. I believe that children who never hear opposing ideas when young, will have difficulty discerning when older. There is no reason to hide children from the idea that there are other views out there and that they can be treated with respect, whether they are right or wrong. All this to say, that I would take hypothetical Islam book, and turn it into a teaching opportunity.

          As for the parents not knowing what the “volunteers” were there for, they were part of the Chaplaincy Team. That’s pretty self-explanatory. They obviously were there for religious reasons, just like how the art teacher will teach children about modern art (even if their parents think that modern art is a load of rubbish.)

          • Kristin

            The school expressly states that it will not teach creationism, that is why it is wrong. Yes, this is a religious school, and I realize religious Americans can’t seem to understand this, but many religious schools are *opposed* to teaching creationism. There is not a single school, religious or not, which teaches creationism in Scotland.

            Scots church leader joins row over teaching of creationism in schools: (he’s against it)
            http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/scots-church-leader-joins-row-over-teaching-of-creationism-in-schools-1-486983

            (From the actual article, if you had actually read it.)

            A spokesman said: “We have received complaints from a small number of parents at Kirktonholme Primary after books were given out at assembly.

            “We have investigated, and the head teacher has been advised that the material should not have been distributed through the school.

            “The books were gifted by West Mains Church of Christ, who spoke at an assembly and are part of the school chaplaincy team.

            “The membership of the chaplaincy team is being considered, as is the role church groups play in school life.

            “All our schools acknowledge the Christian tradition and encourage young people to engage with and explore a wide range of beliefs and religions.

            “However, the theories explored in these books do not feature in mainstream teaching. It was not appropriate for them to be given to pupils in this way. Guidance on the distribution of commercial materials will be reviewed.”

          • George Conger

            Please no snide comments … e.g.. “if you had actually read it” — not the sort of thing encouraged here.

      • Duncan Lundie

        I’m a Scottish Secular Society member, and the Daily Record is a rag. The picture they used was obviously designed to make him look weird and dangerous. He was there as a Chaplain.
        However, other members of the church volunteered as classroom assistants, and to teach spanish, and used this access to proselytize to very young children (4-11 year olds)

    • George Conger

      This is not about what the CoC believes or does not believe. It is about shoddy journalism. You forget state schools in Britain teach religion. Banning groups that are anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-evolution would ban Muslim groups from offering religious materials to schools. Do you believe the Daily Record would have run this story if it those helping at the school were Muslims? Would the Daily Record have made the same remarks about the Koran .. Sura 5:6, that Jews are the descendants of Apes and Pigs? This is not about the CoC. This is about a newspaper behaving badly.

      • Kristin

        The paper states that “parents fear an extremist sect.” yet you sum this up as though it is the paper “(c)alling the Churches of Christ an ‘extremist sect’” is ludicrous and pejorative.” The paper is reporting on what these Scottish parents, whom they have interviewed, have told them they fear from an non-British evangelical, strongly anti-evolution group that is teaching something that is not supposed to be taught in this school. That is completely appropriate journalism. It is in no way libelous to report on what a group of people fear or think.

        Perhaps your actual point is that the parents are somehow wrong and the paper should question whether their point of view is accurate? Journalist ethics are currently being hotly debated on this point and I come down on the side of the argument that journalists have a duty to contradict facts that are wrong and to question beliefs that are recklessly inaccurate. After reading what the members of this particular CoC sect said and believe (i.e. there are only 700 Christians out of 5.1M Scots) these characterizations are not recklessly inaccurate in the least, especially not to the Scottish.

        http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/parents-outrage-extremist-religious-cult-2254926

        • Kristin

          Interesting, you block quoted parts of this article but have given no indication that you left lines out, say with an ellipses. THAT is quite unethical because it is misrepresenting their work.

          These people are proselytizing *their own* religious beliefs to *other people’s young children* when the school expressly states it will not teach these specific religious beliefs, such as creationism. And the parents are understandly NOT happy about it. I can’t believe than any American parent would be OK with people secretly teaching their own children religious beliefs that aren’t their own and the school said it would not teach!

          (Excerpt; would be within your first block quote.)
          A head teacher invited the US Church of Christ, which rubbishes evolution and counts homosexuality as a sin, to minister to pupils.

          (Excerpt; should also be in your first block quote.)
          The creationist books, defended by head teacher Sandra MacKenzie, denounce the theory of evolution and warn pupils that, without God, they risk being murdered in a harmful, disgusting world.

          (Excerpt)
          One angry dad, Paul Sanderson, 33, told how his five-year-old son burst into tears when he took the books away.

          He said: “I think it’s fair to call it brainwashing because when I took them from him he started crying.

          “When I asked why he was crying, he said the man who gave them to him told him they were really, really important.”

          (Excerpt)
          Parents were also furious to learn that cash raised by children which they thought was intended for school funds had been given to the sect to build a church nearby.

          One of the church members, Evelyn Galvan Graciano, 22, from Mexico, describes Scotland as “a place full of darkness and emptiness that is in a big need of Jesus”.

          And she has told pals she uses classes to get into the heads of Kirktonholme pupils. She said: “They all are very receptive and willing to listen and learn.

          (Excerpt)
          The Church of Christ, based in the US Deep South, believe the Bible predicts the future and is 100 per cent accurate. They have called Scotland “A Field Ripe for Harvest”.

          Church leaders told their US flock in a video blog about their “work” at the school, and claimed that, out of a population of 5.1million, Scotland has only 700 practising Christians.

          At an assembly at Kirktonholme on Monday, the sect handed each pupil two books, one called Exposing the Myth of Evolution and another titled How Do You Know God is Real?

          Paul told the Record he could not believe their content.

          He said: “They looked fair enough at a glance and one had a dinosaur on the front, but it didn’t take long to see they were spouting crazy, right-wing nonsense about how evolution never happened – real flat earth stuff.

          “The second book talked in such threatening terms about other religions, and compared those who didn’t believe in God to those who carry out abortions.

          “It was really creepy and alarming. I can’t believe these people could be allowed to infiltrate a school to this extent.”

          Paul said he confronted MacKenzie about the books, but she stood her ground. He is refusing to let his children to be involved in any religious observance at the school until the issue is dealt with.

          Other parents have made official complaints to South Lanarkshire Council about the books, and some have threatened to withdraw their children in protest.

          One told us: “I could not believe a head teacher could sanction this crazy stuff. It’s sinister as hell. I don’t want any of these people anywhere near my children.”

          (Excerpt)

          A spokesman said: “We have received complaints from a small number of parents at Kirktonholme Primary after books were given out at assembly.

          “We have investigated, and the head teacher has been advised that the material should not have been distributed through the school.

          “The books were gifted by West Mains Church of Christ, who spoke at an assembly and are part of the school chaplaincy team.

          “The membership of the chaplaincy team is being considered, as is the role church groups play in school life.

          “All our schools acknowledge the Christian tradition and encourage young people to engage with and explore a wide range of beliefs and religions.

          “However, the theories explored in these books do not feature in mainstream teaching. It was not appropriate for them to be given to pupils in this way. Guidance on the distribution of commercial materials will be reviewed.”

          • George Conger

            Kristen. No I did not omit phrases from the block quotes.

            Yes, some parents are unhappy. How many, one, two, many? Do we hear anything from happy parents? Is their balance to this rubbish? No there is not.

            What secret teaching is taking place? Secret from whom? Not the school administration it seems. If we are to believe this mess of a story it has been going on for 8 years. Has no one noticed until now? Are we dealing with a crank? Or a concerned parent. No way tell from this story.

            You are going astray from the focus of this website which is reporting on religion. Not the religion or the issues of a story.

    • Rachelle Boyns

      I live in Scotland and I know Jared and some other members of the
      group, I grew up hosting campaigns and mission groups from America – I
      grew up in the UK CofC world. This group in no way meant to “infiltrate”
      or ‘sneak’ as you put it into the school as the now 3 articles in the
      Daily Record have reported. They were INVITED (pretty much the opposite
      to ‘underhanded’) to volunteer and to do some assemblies which they did.
      The problem is that the parents weren’t informed by the school of the
      goings on but that’s not the fault of the campaigners. Whatever books
      were handed out probably shouldn’t have been as there needs to be a
      different approach to spreading God’s word in the UK than in America,
      but I think that was just a bit of misguidance (if that’s their only
      fault then people really shouldn’t get so worked up about being given
      books).
      What is truly sad about all of this is not only that
      Jared was singled out and made to sounds like a spy trying to
      “brainwash” children (being barely an adult himself), it’s even sad that
      (I think) the picture of him was stolen from his Facebook page from an
      unrelated face painting day (which I’m pretty sure is infringement of
      personal privacy?), but what saddens me is the reaction to all these
      things. People ARE being persecuted, the whole AIM mission and it’s
      associates are being hounded – quite literally over here – and it’s sad
      because, yes, in the 70s it would have been quite acceptable to have
      opinions on the Origins and one’s own beliefs but now – not so much, it
      seems the more ‘traditional’ you are the more wrong you’ve become.

      Whilst SOME CofC members might think that their own denomination are
      the only ‘true’ worshippers of Christ I would bet that’s what every
      other denomination says. Please don’t use the term CofC as if it’s a
      unified group because if you’ve been a member for over 40 years you’ll
      know it’s really not. Especially with the number of congregations there
      are World Wide. Speaking for myself, I believe that God’s the only judge
      on that one and I’m pretty sure statistics don’t mean much to him.

      To answer a latter comment you make, yes, I would be perfectly OK with
      Muslim volunteers going into schools and teaching things and handing out
      things about Islam, because I plan to have influence in my children’s
      lives and plan to teach them about these things myself. The main problem
      today is that a lot of parents send their children to school and they
      think that’s all the education they need so don’t bother having
      involvement with it at home. I don’t want to be a parent that is
      frightened of other religions, because they’re out there and they’re
      followed by people just like us. I want my children to love all people,
      like Christ did, and to be strong enough to follow his example in a
      world that will twist good intentioned works into something ‘sinister’.

      Also, the main reason why the main objections to this publicity are the
      headline and picture is because it’s the main thing that people see,
      and possibly the only thing that people will see – and it is downright
      misleading. The thing that I find funny is that they call us a cult –
      which is actually a running joke within our youth over here as we are so
      radically different from other Christian groups we’ve come across. I
      find that funny, and the way that this whole thing has exploded, but
      please don’t undermine the gravity of the situation over here because if
      you were in it it would be a different story.
      Lastly, if you
      truly believe that no one is being wrongly persecuted then I’d say the
      journalist did a pretty good job. I will also say that yes it is bad
      publicity for the CofC but last time I checked Jesus didn’t say that the
      world would open their arms to hearing His teachings.

      • Richard White

        Are you related to Paddy ? If so’ he is a great man, sadly not seen for a long time.

        • Rachelle Boyns

          Aha yes, he’s my Dad and he is a great man indeed :]

      • RayIngles

        opinions on Origins

        Schools aren’t places to teach opinions about scientific matters, though. The articles make clear that the parents are upset about that.

        • Rachelle Boyns

          If a theory is an opinion then I don’t see why the Theory of Evolution is now being taught as fact. And I actually do believe school to be the place you learn about different opinions on things – especially on things which have such strong opposing arguments and followers of them. Teaching one-sided is something I don’t agree with and I’d argue that that was more like ‘brainwashing’ than telling both sides of the story…

          • RayIngles

            That’s just it. A theory, in the scientific sense, isn’t an opinion. A theory ties together a huge amount of observations, and makes predictions that have survived a great deal of testing..

            To put it in perspective, it’s still called the Germ Theory of Disease. You use the Theory of Relativity every time you use your GPS. There are people with strongly held opinions against both of them, but we don’t teach “Christian” “Science” in biology class, nor do we teach – ahemalternate hypotheses in physics classes.

            So… no, a theory is not an opinion, which kind of undermines the rest of your reply, I’m afraid. In science classes, I still insist – and it seems the parents in question insist – that science be taught.

      • gordonhudsonnu

        I too was concerned by the reporting of this. I have known many people involved with the CoC in Scotland. All were very open, friendly and welcoming to me (when I was an evangelical Christian) and I never got a sense that they thought I was not a Christian because I was a member of a different church. I don;t see them as being any different from the open brethren or many independent evangelical churches.

  • http://outofthedepths.blogspot.com/ steve

    I’m a life long member of the CofC, in my sixties, and I can understand how the author of the article thought they were writing accurately with the exception of the misleading photo. That was deplorable. The CofC is not a cult or extremist sect. But I can see how the views of our conservative wing, that they are the only ones who have the correct view of Christianity can be perceived as coming from a cult. Another odd thing about this church was the acceptance of donations from the kids for the church’s own use. That is not standard. I wouldn’t want Apologetics Press in my kids’ schools, either. Seems to me your reference to Die Stürmer was over the top.

    • Rachelle Boyns

      As I said below I’m in Scotland and know the group, as to the money thing I’m not clear on that but it was mentioned in one of the now 3 articles there are about it that the group raised money and built something for another school they worked with so I would think it would have been the same thing but the reporter getting the wrong idea.
      I agree with your judgement on the Die Stürmer reference as well – I don’t think it’s quite that bad yet, but many believe it’s only a matter of time. As I mentioned in a comment below as well though, I don’t see why we would expect anything else. With our fundamentals being so traditional I think in today’s world we are considered ‘extreme’ but it’s not us who have changed – this, I think, is the saddest thing about it all.

      • http://outofthedepths.blogspot.com/ steve

        Thanks Rachelle, it would seem more likely that they would use the contributed money for something like that rather than keeping it for their own programs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/garry.otton Garry Otton

    So where were the Churches when the Daily Record (under a different editor) was vilifying homosexuals in a £2m campaign to prevent the repeal of Section 28, an act that prevented giving appropriate sex education to gay kids in schools? Why, they were behind the campaign! Thankfully, they lost, and all their lies about classrooms being flooded with ‘homosexual propaganda’ came to nothing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/garry.otton Garry Otton

    I posted another story from the Daily Record today of a poor woman who was ‘shunned’ by her family simply for going to another church on the AIMs Facebook page. It was deleted and I was blocked. If you want to defend yourself, we don’t block you on “Secular Scotland” Facebook group page where many parents are sharing this awful case of shameless religious proselytising. You will stand and fall on your own arguments, but we will at least listen.

  • wlinden

    “counts homosexuality as a sin”, gasp! Apparently, disapproving of homosexuality is now ipso facto “extremist”, or something.

    • Stephen

      Ted Haggard

      • holmegm

        So, it’s not a sin since somebody succumbed to it? Huh?

  • Badjumbly

    One misleading, cynically selected photo does not make a whole article junk. Just as The Daily Record made too much of a man wearing face-paint, geoconger, in the above article, is making too much of their making too much of it. The picture painted by The Daily Record is mostly accurate: The Church of Christ believe they are on a mission to save Scotland, which they see as “a place full of darkness and emptiness” in which the only real Christians are themselves. One of the books they gave to five-year-old children claims that evolution is a lie, the earth is only 6000 years old, and humans co-existed with dinosaurs, and this pretends to be a science book. These people have no business going into a state school to try to entice very young children into accepting their beliefs, and the school heads should be ashamed of their lack of vigilance.

    geoconger accuses The Daily Record of malicious caricature, but what are we to think when he compares their reporting to anti-Jewish Nazi propaganda, and throws in a suggestive picture of his own in the form of that Der Stürmer cover?

  • Geoff

    Well written article. There was much more misleading and libelous information in the tabloid than simply the chosen photograph. Most of us in churches of Christ do not presume to be “the only Christians” at all…we humbly wear the name Christ and know that we have many faults and areas where we may need to grow both in knowledge and maturity. It is, however misguided and cruel to make a young man like this the target of any grievances one might have with religion.

    To “indoctrinate” is to shelter students from various viewpoints, or to guide a student to accept a teaching uncritically. I would want my children to know as much about the theories and science behind evolution as I would want them to know about the strengths and history of creation – Those who would desire to “shelter” students from teaching and information are not guiding them to think critically, but are themselves attempting to indoctrinate these students.

  • Donalbain

    Interesting that you claim it was libellous, but were unable to point out any part of the story that was untrue.

  • Geoff

    The misleading use of a photo together with the statement “The ‘missionaries’ at the school include face-painted Jared Blakeman” certainly led readers to conclude that he went into these schools as a face-painted mad-man when in reality the photo was taken at a costume party and lifted off of his fb page… this is libel.

    The assertion that he represented an “extremist cult,” when in reality he represents a well known mainstream group that was invited by the school and operated under state guidelines … this also would appear to be libel.

    The idea that the “Church of Christ” is based in the US deep South together with the various beliefs and ideologies that the article associates with the group when in reality churches of Christ are diverse, world-wide, locally autonomous, and have no “base.”

  • Mosongo Osong

    interesting story, thanks for sharing it with us. I really enjoying to read this blog. keep posting. if anyone want to join a true church community then go to http://www.1800churches.com and join our community.

  • Stephen

    I’m pleased to report an update on this story; the two teachers that were affiliated with the fairytales-are-real church have been booted out of their posts at the school and a full investigation is under-way by the local authority to find out how on earth this anti-science organisation managed to have anything to do with innocent young children’s minds, and have assured parents no such thing will ever happen again.

    There you see, a happy ending – just like in all the fairy stories :)

    • Geoff

      Wait… There was a big massive ball of stuff… it had essentially always been there… then boom… an apparently endless array of complex systems and … life. So single-celled organisms developed into pterodactyls, tyrannosaurus’, monkeys and humans … and here we are. Perhaps we should lock our children in our modern caves of neon light, convince them that this cool story is “science” and presume that all other teachings are fairy tales. Let’s protect our children from other paradigms and points of view! ;) Wait… what does “indoctrination” mean again??

      • Stephen

        What do you think science is, Geoff? There’s nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. Which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?

        • Geoff

          Science is best understood as study and observation based on what can be perceived and observed through our senses. I would be careful with saying that science is inherently “thorough,” as I would suggest that our senses are quite limited. But we would all agree that science is quite valuable to arriving at truth. It is not those who adhere to the potential of a spiritual world that wish to shelter our children from the study of the natural, observable world in this context… rather it is the reverse. In an effort to be thorough, I would want to expose my child to philosophy, religion, science, and art … trusting them to gather as much information as possible and arriving at their own conclusions. I do not think it is wise to shelter them from any information.

  • Simon Sarmiento
  • Doug Post

    Great article exposing the intolerant left. They preach tolerance in their secular religion, but practice intolerance. Secular Scots have not identity. They are godless, ignorant of Scripture, and certainly haven’t a clue concerning science – true science. Truly a people in the dark ages.


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