The Power Team, or how evangelicals accidentally lie to kids

Power Team member blowing up a hot water bottle. Photo by Stevan Sheets, Flickr.

Over at Vice, there's an excellent article about The Power Team,  a bunch of god-bothering beefcakes who used to break stuff on TBN and then tell people they needed to get Born Again. Most readers will probably focus on the scandalous aspects of the story—a multi-million dollar bankruptcy, and the leader engaging in, as one member put it, "too many naughty behaviours". But for me, that's not the big news. The big news is that members of The Power Team got injured. If I had known that as a Chri … [Read more...]

Jerry Coyne says I am wrong about creationism, misogyny and homophobia

Photo by Emma Rodewald. Creative commons.

Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True (both blog and book) didn’t like my recent posts about the link between creationism, sexism, and homophobia. In a recent post, he argues that I have made a logical fallacy and risk miring the battle against creationism in the 'atheist wars' over feminism.Jerry introduced the post by saying some nice things about me, so I'll return the compliment: I owe Jerry a great deal. Until I read his book, despite having not been to church in eight years I sti … [Read more...]

UKIP selects and then deselects Christian fundamentalist candidate who ran ACE school

George Hargreaves

There was some excitement in the Coventry Telegraph this week and last over the announcement that George Hargreaves—a man who is trying to be England's answer to Sarah Palin—would be UKIP's general election candidate for Coventry. Since not much happens in Coventry, this was clearly a boon for the local paper, and they got multiple articles out of it.George Hargreaves, former leader of the Christian Party, might be Britain's most high-profile Christian extremist. There may be more ridic … [Read more...]

Children are not that gullible, which makes indoctrination even more odious

Sunday school at the Baptist church image by Russell Lee. Public domain.

I recently submitted an article on indoctrination for publication in an academic journal. I was attempting to explain what indoctrination looks like in practice in an educational environment, and along the way I made an assertion that I think most people would accept: "Young children ... in most cases will believe whatever they are told".This is a widely assumed to be true, so I am grateful to my anonymous peer reviewer for pointing out that I was mistaken. The reviewer recommended I read a … [Read more...]

Cool, not, and five other ridiculous words my Christian school tried to ban


My Christian school had a lot of rules. I don't think I ever knew all of them—I'm not sure anyone did. Sometimes you only discovered a rule existed after you got in trouble for breaking it. Like any good bunch of Bible believers, our supervisors knew that life and death was in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), so our language was policed to microscopic levels. It was all part of the school's Orwellian thought control. Here are some things we weren’t allowed to say.1. Cool Whenever … [Read more...]

This week, I screwed up: an apology

Image by bykst. Pixabay.

On Monday, I posted a blog titled Seven words banned by my Christian school. Accompanying this post was a sexualised image of a woman wearing a ball-gag. This was also the default image when the post was shared on Facebook.I am embarrassed that it was not obvious to me why this was a bad idea, but I am grateful to the person who took the time to send me a message calling me out on it. I don't know how many other readers felt the same but didn't say anything, but I'm glad this person gave … [Read more...]

Seven words banned by my Christian school


This post has been moved to here.It was originally posted with an image which, in this context, was poorly chosen (an apology for that is here). Because of the way Facebook works, that image is automatically loaded every time someone shares this link now, even though the image has been removed. The only way I could think to change that was to move the post to a new URL. This page is still here because I didn't want to delete the comment thread below (if someone can tell me how to export t … [Read more...]

Ofsted says Dover School for All Nations inadequate in all areas

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.41.51

This blog doesn't generally pick on individual ACE schools more than any other, but I've been particularly hard on Dover School for All Nations (DSFAN) since it was first planned to open. I pointed out that it boasted links with Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the satellite TV home of televangelist hucksters, faith healers, and money grabbers, and that its founder was a convicted criminal, a conspiracy theorist, and an intellectual property thief.In December, Ofsted, the inspection body … [Read more...]

I am 30. This was not supposed to happen.

It's my birthday today. I realised a few weeks ago that I have now lived longer than I ever expected. I am living on borrowed time. It's a strange sensation.I can't tell you exactly when I thought Jesus was going to come back, because I was always reminding myself of Matthew 24:36: no man knoweth the day or the hour of Christ's coming. So I didn't make overly bold predictions. But my Dad was fond of saying "It says nobody knows the day or the hour. It doesn't say nobody knows the season." We … [Read more...]

Video: Watch Nate Phelps, me, and Eran Segev discuss religious persecution @QEDcon

Check out this panel discussion from the 2014 QEDcon in Manchester.Vocal religious groups in the UK have claimed that equality laws are infringing the right to practice their faith. Yet in other countries dominant religions are undoubtedly persecuting the minority. Blasphemy laws are used to marginalise, criminalise and close down debate. In places like the US, hate speech can go unpunished. Where should the balance lie? How far can you practice your religion before it damages the rights of … [Read more...]