Iowa seeks exemption for Christian school with history of abuse

Last week I reported that Iowa House Study Bill 186 would allow a fundamentalist Christian school to operate with no accreditation and no licensed teachers. This weekend, the bill's sponsor, Tim Kraayenbrink, defended his decision, according to the Fort Dodge Messenger: The Republican from Fort Dodge said the school will close without the exemption.“They deserve to stay open and serve these children,” he said. “I will not change my mind on this.” What Kraayenbrink did not say is that Anchor … [Read more...]

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Out among the stars: Defeating the legacy of religious indoctrination

Guest post by James Ridgers. It’s the nature of revelations, I suppose, to come at unexpected times and in unexpected places. Mine came about four years ago at a Planetary Society event hosted by Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. When Tyson spoke about his oft-quoted position on humankind being composed of stardust, something suddenly made sense to me that I’d been wrestling and grappling with for several years by that point.I should lend some context to this, so you can understand why m … [Read more...]

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How to indoctrinate your kids: A Christian curriculum guide

In yesterday's post, I wrote about a conversation with Cindy, a supervisor in an Accelerated Christian Education school who joined the ACE Exposed Facebook group. We saw how much of the ACE science curriculum in the early grades consists of memorising what God did on each of the six days of creation. Cindy had said that all the information in the early grades of the curriculum was accurate. I dispute this.But actually, I suspect that Cindy is more right than wrong. I think the majority of … [Read more...]

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Two meaningless creationist ‘science’ lessons

This week, a woman who works in an ACE school in Canada joined the Facebook group Accelerated Christian Education Exposed (which you're welcome to join). To her credit, she was genuinely interested to learn why the group's members dislike ACE. Less to her credit, this was because she could not fathom anyone not loving ACE. The group is public, so I'll use her real name, Cindy.The thread she started ended up with more than 100 posts, with dozens of ex-ACE students explaining why they felt … [Read more...]

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The terrifying entry conditions for abusive Christian reform homes

If you've read this blog, you'll be aware of abuses at Christian 'troubled teen' reform homes. These places call themselves educational facilities but are more like prison camps. Some are surrounded by barbed wire.Despite all the evidence that has come forward, despite the dozens of independent testimonies from former detainees, all of which describe similar situations and similar abuses, and despite successful prosecutions for abuse in some of these homes, there are still people who … [Read more...]

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New Christian school whistleblowers speak out about creationism and sexism (UK)

Two former Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) students who have never before spoken publicly have made new allegations about sexist and creationist teaching in the schools.In an article titled "Christian fundamentalist schools teaching girls they must obey men", one of the new whistle-blowers, Cheryl Povey, says: I came across a lot of sexism. I remember as a girl finding it quite shocking. We were taught that if you’re a woman, you should be subservient to men; your husband, your pastor … [Read more...]

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Former student blows the lid off Emmanuel College’s creationist cover-up

In 2015 I was speaking at a geek convention, where I ran into two excellent people (and a lot of other excellent people, actually, but two I'm going to tell you about). One of them went to an ACE school in Oxfordshire, and the other one, who I'll call Esther, went to Emmanuel College, Gateshead. After my talk we all went for a curry, and as we were walking, Esther started talking about how she'd been taught creationism at the school.This is an explosive allegation. There was a minor media … [Read more...]

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Even conservative experts know Christian ‘discipline’ is abuse

Ask any conservative Christian and they'll tell you: Of course we don't abuse children. We're opposed to abuse. We use loving biblical correction, which is quite different. Those interested in ending violence against children have therefore been very interested in the results of a recent study which, after analysing 50 years' worth of data, concluded that 'mild spanking' and physical abuse have basically the same effects: “Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking a … [Read more...]

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Beware the Jelly Creationists

When I was little, my favourite bedtime book was The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure by Gerald Durrell. Mum enjoyed reading it too, but whenever the story mentioned how many millions of years ago the dinosaurs actually lived, she skipped over those words. When I asked her what she wasn't telling me, she said something like "We don't believe that."At the same time, Mum was quite keen on what creationists call "Gap Theory". Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the e … [Read more...]

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When halloween is the enemy

Why do parents choose conservative Christian schools for their children?If you read their own literature on the subject, it turns out that Halloween is a big deal. Obviously parents don't take their kids out of state school just because the schools talk about trick-or-treating in October. But it is a serious concern to the kind of Christian parents who choose ACE or other kinds of evangelical private school.One of my research participants kindly lent me two books by Monica Stringer, … [Read more...]

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