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Dis-Education – Christian home schooling part 2 – Social Science

Posted by Don McLenaghen on July 28, 2012

We have discussed the anti-science of ACE teaching, now we are going to look at their social science messages.

Now, beyond bad science, the ACE curriculum also portrays history and civics in a less than honest light. Many will know the contention that the USA and Canada were founded by fundamentalist Christians; that the nation itself was intended to be a Christian nation and that proof can be found in our founding documents.

Factually speaking it is true that the people who founded these countries were, in one form or another Christian…in the USA’s case a significant number were deists who largely held there was ‘A’ God who got the universe started then buggered off to watch TV or something. Now, the idea of separation of Church and State is strong (if at times controversial) and well-defended by historical documentation. This was not a toss to secularism or atheism but a genuine fear in the Founding Fathers, that the state would be used to legislate a particular religion; something many emigrated for in the first place although I suspect political and economic freedoms were foremost on the majority of people minds when the declaration of independence was made.

Canada though, is less clear. It is not mentioned in the 1867 constitution but our more recent attempt (1982) has added to the Charter or Rights and Freedoms the line “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God”. That said, it is not so much this case we are talking about but the other misleads.

Our previous example dealt largely with ACE however in this segment a number of the examples I have found are a decade old or more, and many are published in home schooling text books published by “A Beka Book” and “Bob Jones University Press”. Bob Jones University is an accredited ‘private for profit’ Christian university in the USA, which in 2009 ranked 293 in the ‘Forbes’s best US universities’ out of 600 listed. A Beka Book is the largest Christian textbook publisher in the world and is affiliated with Pensacola Christian College an unaccredited fundamentalist, independent Baptist college in Florida.

“Only ten percent of Africans can read or write, because Christian mission schools have been shut down by communists.”

This is not true in any country. The worst recorded nation is Mali which has a literacy rate of 26%. Africa on average has a literacy rate of over 50%, now that is atrocious and we should do what we can to improve this strata but it is not the dire situation portrayed by ACE to these increasingly ignorant children.

I find it interesting that there take is not so much the suffering of Africans but the persecution of the Christian missionaries. They also defended apartheid.

The government must be responsible to the taxpayers who provide the money that the government spends. Since that is true only taxpayers should be given the privilege of voting…The apartheid policy of South Africa is a modern example of this principle. Under the apartheid system, the population of five million Whites controls most of the nation’s wealth. If apartheid were done away with, the twenty million Blacks, who are not taxpayers, would be given the privilege of voting. Within a short period of time they would control the government and the means of taxation. ‘The power to tax is the power to destroy.’ Heavy taxation could become a burden to the property owners who actually finance the government and provide jobs. Economics is the major reason that apartheid exists. Some people want to abolish apartheid immediately. That action would certainly alter the situation in South Africa, but would not improve it.”

There is a strong element to uphold the status quo. Now, this is not really about the status quo of South Africa but an attempt to re-enforce the librarian ethos popular amongst anti-government fundamentalist who see in theory, the purpose of government is to enforce moral law and protect the Church.

Take note they are portraying the concept of voting as a privilege and not a right. Why? Because you have no rights but only privileges you earn by being obedient to the elite…er, I mean god.

The [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross… In some communities it achieved certain respectability as it worked with politicians.” 

There arises in the evangelical movement an uncomfortable, giving them the benefit of the doubt, truth that if you are a scriptural literalist, slavery was not a sin. That actually it is more important in this curriculum to maintain tradition than to ‘right wrongs’…unless they are religious ones.

Many people may not know that the ‘established’ church until late in the battle saw white man’s superiority to be representative of God’s superiority over man. It agreed with the biblical notion that everything was created for a purpose and to change that order would be sacrilegious. Fortunately for slaves and apologist, religion is fiction so one can ‘rewrite’ the narrative to suit shifting purpose and public opinion.

There is also overt racism; most ACE works use white folk for their graphics. Although this is more an American issue, recent issues of the Confederacy flag which sits atop government buildings in South Carolina, the Mississippi state flag incorporated the Dixie flag until 2001 and the on again off again confederate pride.

“God used the ‘Trail of Tears’ to bring many Indians to Christ.”

Now, the aboriginal people did not get Jesus…so to experience the suffering of Christ on the cross, they need their own crucifixion; or so it seems the ‘good’ Christians of the time and fundamentalist do today.

Although most of the ACE material I could access is not as horrific as this, there is still the implied and at times overt superiority of the ‘European’ who were blessed with the word of God. In their praise of early missionaries we are given the impression that their great effort and sacrifice on the part of the white man was given to rescue the ‘savages’ from their primitive Godless condition.

“The Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda.”

“Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created.”

Now these two have links to the racism mentioned earlier because minorities suffer more from inequality than the majority. There are some things that make socialism and unions threatening to fundamentalist.

First, Christianity is fundamentally an authoritarian social structure intended to ensure the power of the religious elites and the social status quo that gives them their power. Socialism encourages equality. This is, strictly speaking, not anathema to protestant teaching. In fact egalitarianism is a strong part of many protestant faiths[1]…but not the biblical literalist. You are encouraged to read the bible on your own…in fact a constant thread in ACE’s curriculum is to memorize Bible passages…but reading and thinking are different things.

Socialism and unions encourage people to stand up for themselves…to not accept the status quo but to demand equality. Both tend to emphasis power through education…that ignorance is a prerequisite to subjugation and exploitation. Again superficially this should not be a major problem for the Church, but once you start to question the ‘right’ of the factory owner to run your life this can quickly lead to asking why should I let the pastor or this old book rule my world.

IN the last segment, we will ask why the ACE curriculum and Christian home schooling in general would actively keep children ignorant and dis-educated?


[1] (it also arise occasionally in the Roman Catholic priesthood/nuns via liberation theology, but these are denounced by the orthodox church)

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