Jesus Camp: Where are they now?

My review of Jesus Camp (a documentary about a Pentecostal youth retreat) gets a steady stream of hits from people searching for "Jesus Camp where are they now". Well, wonder no more, because the Guardian has dug up two of the film's most memorable characters to celebrate its tenth anniversary. I loved the film, even though I hardly needed to watch it having lived through much the same thing, so I was curious about this myself.The first interviewee is Andrew Sommerkamp, the boy whose story af … [Read more...]

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“No sex education, just scorn and disapproval”: Life in Christian school

This is a guest post submitted by a friend of mine to Faith Schoolers Anonymous. I went to a church-run private school in a generic town from the age of eight all the way through to the end of my GCSEs. The school was the result of the idealistic thinking of enthusiastic non-denominational charismatic Christians in the 1980s. It started off with some unqualified volunteer teachers, a classroom converted from a World War II bunker and some sexist rules about women not being able to wear … [Read more...]

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Brexit: Now shall the Antichrist arise!

I had lunch with a friend this week who, like me, grew up expecting the Rapture to happen any day. We talked about the European Union referendum, which quickly led on to the evangelical conspiracy theories about the EU we grew up with.Knowing something about my readers' political views, I'm guessing not many of you are celebrating today's European Union Referendum result. I was foolishly confident Britain would vote to remain in the EU, so I thought you'd enjoy chuckling about what ev … [Read more...]

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Michael: A short story

Guest post by David Waldock. Content note: This story touches on homophobia and suicide.Lofty, the worn toy giraffe Michael had loved since his second birthday, sat above the folded note on Michael’s bed, as though safe-guarding it, daring the world to defile the sanctity of his final words, a plush, ineffectual guardian. Doreen, Michael’s mother, snatched up the note and Lofty was displaced, tipped over on the bed, his role no longer important, and lay there whilst Doreen read the note, and … [Read more...]

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Leaving Fundamentalism now on Facebook Live, Pinterest, Google+ and more

Fans of this most excellent blog will be delighted to learn that you can now have it stuffed in your face in various new ways!First up, Facebook has a cool new feature called Facebook Live, where I can do a live video and answer your questions. Some of you may have tuned in to see Andrew Copson of the British Humanist Association doing a Facebook Live broadcast for The Independent, and my Patheos colleague Dan Arel has done some as well. You can watch the videos after the event, but … [Read more...]

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The sacrifice of reason

I'm always jealous of people who seem to have been born inquisitive. When you talk to some humanists about their religious upbringings, it sounds as though they were constantly following their parents and Sunday school teachers around asking difficult questions. I have images of four-year-olds tugging on their mothers' dresses and going: Mummy, after the Ark landed on Ararat, how did the kangaroos, platypuses, and koalas get to Australia without leaving any evidence of the journey?Mummy, if … [Read more...]

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Like it or not, we need Christian allies

Last year, a friend of mine received a cry for help email from a home schooled child (let's call them Frankie). It was the kind of thing you read over and over again at Homeschoolers Anonymous. Frankie had a physically abusive drunk for a father. They were frequently left alone to study their PACEs (Accelerated Christian Education workbooks), and they were bored out of their mind. They couldn't understand the maths PACEs and had no one to help them. Although an inspector from ACE had visited the … [Read more...]

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Orlando: Muslims are people. LGBT people are people.

It's taken me until today to feel like I can say something about the shooting in Orlando. Actually, I'm still not sure if I can say anything. I mostly want to amplify the voices of LGBT people, Muslims and ex-Muslims, and to remember that some people are members of more than one of those groups. But there are two threads I've pulled out of reading my friends' posts, and they're pretty simple: first, treat people like people, and second, tolerance of homophobia breeds homophobic … [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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Christian Rock Thursdays: Pour Some Sugar on Me, Jesus!

In 1988, Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" dominated rock radio. Well, so I've heard. I don't actually remember this because a) I was three and b) I was mostly listening to Gospel Duck, a pentecostal Donald Duck clone (when you combine evangelicalism with capitalism, there is almost no artistic depth that cannot be plumbed). But people who were there tell me that "Pour Some Sugar On Me" was played on MTV approximately 4000 times a day. And, the Christian industry working as it does, this … [Read more...]

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