So here’s the most horrible thing I’ve found in a while: White Pride Homeschooling. I don’t even want to give their page the extra traffic, so I’m linking to an archived version of their website (from August 2014).
From their website (Warning: you are about to read racist propaganda):
The biggest increase in intermarriage has occurred in recent years, due to the social interaction of children of different races in the school room and subsequently the board room and then bedroom. In the year 2000 – 9 percent of married men and women below age 30 were intermarried, compared with 7 percent of those ages 30 to 44, 5 percent for those ages 45 to 59, and about 3 percent among those age 60 and older. Obviously school busing, the promotion of interracial marriages by “Christian” preachers, visible images in all types of media, and 12 (plus) years of social conditioning in the schools for each and every child has had a devastating effect on the racial integrity of white America.
Gotta love the use of square quotes around “Christian” in the above paragraph, because obviously true Christians are racist Christians.
Yup, this is a Christian organisation. No doubt you are wondering which curriculums they suggest parents can use without polluting the minds of their pure Aryan offspring.
In no particular order:
Alpha Omega (pretty much a clone of ACE, but reputedly more academically challenging)
CLASS (the Christian Liberty Academy School System, which produces a custom curriculum based on a mixture of texts from publishers including A Beka and Bob Jones)
And, of course, Lighthouse Christian Academy, which is the homeschool wing of Accelerated Christian Education.
You may be surprised. You should not be.
Now, I am not saying that Accelerated Christian Education is a white supremacist organisation. I’m sure ACE would prefer to distance itself from such racism (Side note: Dear ACE, if you publicly condemn this organisation, I will write one blog post in which I say nothing but nice things about you). But it is telling that the bigots at White Christian Homeschool find ACE’s materials entirely compatible with their aims.
The fact that ACE’s cartoons depict segregated classrooms means that Mrs White Supremacist Homeschool Mom can rest assured that the materials will reinforce what she is already telling her children: White kids should be separated from the other kids. After all, these white supremacists don’t hate black people. They even link to the National Black Home Educators Resource Association, explaining: “As we encourage a Christian lifestyle for all races and do not believe in integrated classrooms – we are providing this link.” See, they’re thoughtful really.
Bob Jones University’s presence in this company is even less of a surprise, given that organisation’s history of white supremacism. It’s not entirely clear when BJU would have abandoned its discriminatory entrance policy if the political climate had not forced it to do so by 1975.
If all this is shocking you, clearly you need to bone up on your history. Biblical literalism lends itself quite comfortably to racism. “Slaves obey your masters” is a clear-cut instruction. Although my Christian teachers loved to remind me that the British Abolitionist William Wilberforce was a Christian, they tended to gloss over the fact that most of those opposing him were Christians too.
As Mark Noll noted of the US Civil War, and Carolyn Renee Dupont argued about American segregation, racists have always found ammunition in the pages of the Bible. And this is partly because of the way they read it.
Because these fundamentalists believed that the Bible was the inerrant Word of God, this meant that it obviously contained no contradictions. They also believe that the Bible is the eternal Word of God, so it applies equally to all people at all times, and there is little need to consider historical context. This means that if you can find one verse which supports your argument, you have proved your case. Some literalists might be a little more circumspect, referring to the Biblical rule that “every matter must be established by the presence of two or three witnesses”. Some take this to mean that you need three Bible verses to prove your point. But still, three verses and you’re golden.
The Bible is a long book. With enough determination, you can find three verses to prove just about anything. That’s why the prosperity gospel preachers can tell people that the Bible is a get-rich-quick scheme. The method they use for reading the Bible is perfectly adapted to this. It’s what Fred Clark calls the Clobber-Text Hermeneutic.
Early in this blog’s history, I wrote a post called Jesus Jihad: Could there be a Christian Bin Laden? In it, I gathered Bible verses and wrote a mock tract which made out that the Bible encouraged Christians to become terrorists. My point (which I didn’t make very clearly at the time) was that if you read the Bible in this crass way, it can be open to all kinds of abuse.
So today fundamentalists condemn racism (and they find Bible verses to support that, too). But the way they encourage children to read the Bible has not changed. As a non-believer, of course, I don’t hold the Bible sacred at all, but it seems clear to me that if you’re going to study it, you need to pay attention to the context in which things were written. The Bible is a compilation of books by different authors who made different points, so you cannot conclude “what the Bible says about X” from any single passage.
It’s funny, isn’t it, that Christians suddenly started noticing that the Bible was opposed to racism shortly after it became culturally unacceptable to be racist.
I don’t care whether you can find more verses in the Bible to support racism or to condemn it. All that matters is that it’s possible to support both positions quite well from the text. And this proves that the way ACE (and its ilk) teach children to read the Bible in fact does nothing to prepare them for the real world.
I would not have written this post had I not been inspired by the Christian blogger Fred Clark. I’ve linked to several of his posts above. Here are the most important:
- Of clobber-texts and anti-clobber-texts
- Why Young Earth Creationism needs to be killed with fire
- The clobber verses of slavery and the slavery of clobber verses
Related posts from me:
- Jesus Jihad: Could there be a Christian Bin Laden?
- Who cares about atheism?
- How Accelerated Christian Education is racist
Dover is cancelled
I regret to say that my scheduled appearance tonight in Dover has been cancelled. If you were planning to attend, please accept my apologies and let me know—I’ll keep you informed of future appearances in the area.