The rights of children worldwide are defined by the United Nations, in their ‘Rights of the Child’ (1). This legislation supposedly safeguards children’s freedom to chose their religion. However, this is a nonsense, in that the United Nations also recognises that what children are brought up to believe is a parental decision. The question becomes: although society imposes limits on the age of consensual sex, marriage, and voting, on the premiss that these should be decisions based on mature judgement,why should the choice of a religion not be similarly prohibited until adulthood?
Is religious indoctrination considered less harmful than, say, allowing marriage at 15? An intollerance of those who do not share the same belief system is often fostered in childhood, which can lead to sectarian division, hatred, and murder. Some religious indoctrinists are also child abusers. Their religion is the evil it is supposed to combat.
In an American context, Karen Armstrong (2) analyses Protestant fundamentalist groups, and their belief that there is a ‘tight relationship between wickedness and poverty’. She states: ‘they have produced a religious version of militant capitalism’. Thus, ‘true Christians’ are necessarily Republicans, and such ‘Christians’ have a duty to elect politicians that will oppose ‘the homosexual agenda’, birth control and abortion rights, interfaith marriage, laws against bullying children, and Darwinism.
There is a ‘fundamentalist church’ on virtually all American streets. They are as common as hot-dog stalls, and their aim is the same: to get people to part with cash, some of which is diverted to politicians’ campaign funds.
The invasion of the fundamentalist mind-snatchers extends to American schools. Rick Nagin (3) reported on Katherine Stewart’s investigation into fundamentalist indoctrination of children: ‘Stewart uncovered a “nationwide effort” to “turn public schools into a base for indoctrinating” … the Child Evangelism Fellowship has set up a rapidly growing national network of the clubs that recruit and train children, aged 5-12, to bully their peers with threats that they will “go to Hell” unless they accept Jesus … ‘Good News Clubs’, under the guise of Bible study groups, infiltrate public schools … She found that 3,500 of the clubs have been established, offering after-hours indoctrination, with their numbers doubling every two to three years. Under a 2001 Supreme Court ruling, under the guise of free speech rights of children, Stewart found that “one-fifth of the public schools in New York City are being used rent-free as churches after school hours and on weekends. This “church-planting” movement is dominated by evangelicals and seeks to turn all 1,200 of the city schools into church venues’.
Stewart attended National conventions in which: ‘leaders of these movements openly declared their intention to transform public schools into “Christ-centered” institutions and turn the U.S. into a “Christian nation.” The Good News Clubs, Stewart said, use their base in the schools for right-wing political campaigns.This concerted campaign is supported by right-wing legal groups dedicated to erasing the separation of church and state and financed by extremist foundations’.
At these conventions, and on televised ‘religious’ programs, often hosted by Sky Network, fundamentalists rant about the parental right to beat their child. They are salesmen who peddle books, such as Train Up a Child (4). This antithesis of human rights encourages parents to beat their children in a ‘Christian way’, but to be wary of neighbours who might contact social workers!
Lee Taylor (5), in an article, the Fifth Column of Child Abuse, tells of his own beating, which was not reported. He tells of his father conducting a ‘family worship’, during which he observes his son playing with marbles in his playsuit. He recalls: ‘I was knocked to the floor, grabbed by the scruff of my neck and dragged past my hysterical mother as I wet my playsuit, terrified and screaming. “See what you’ve done to your mother”? Daddy dragged me into the bathroom, took off my clothes and scrubbed my penis while lecturing on Sodom and Gomorrah and hell fire. He then dragged me down into the basement where I was beaten with a stick until my bottom was bloody. Back up in the kitchen, I was forced to get down on my knees and pray to God for His mercy so I wouldn’t have to burn forever in hell, separated for eternity from my family who loved me and wanted so much for me to be saved through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross of Calvary’.
This account is not a sensational choice that depicts abuse by a tiny minority of fundamentalists. Far more graphic accounts of such abuse could be given, and they are very plentiful in number. Yet, to mention child abuse in the name of religion offers insight into the mentality of those who perpetrate wider abuse under its banner.
This wider abuse relies on ‘bondage techniques’ to control church members, who are exhorted in church, or by their tv or radio ministry, to order books, tapes, and videos, from online (paypal accepted) stores. Their ‘shows’ are peppered with appeals for people to ‘pledge online’, donate to keep the ministry ‘on air’, donate to build a new studio; send in a prayer request (accompanied by money), so you can be cured of disease; join our tour of the Holy land. These are all money making scams perpetrated by hypocrits at the expense of the weak and vulnerable, who are coerced into giving tithes to the ‘church’. These are portrayed as ‘Kingdom Principles’ of ‘sowing and reaping’.
So-called pastors praise ‘tithers’, who are rewarded by being able to sit near the pulpit, and are offered “great blessings” – God will return their offerings ten fold. Many of the celebrity tv evangelists must have donated very generously, as they have been ‘rewarded’ with Rolex watches, mansions, and Cadillacs. Whatsmore, their God is a very forgiving one, for their are numerous accounts of pastors involved in adultery, child sexual abuse, and misappropriation of funds. it is not necessary to purchase books with titles such as ‘The Path to Salvation’, for their contents are easily guessed – donate more money.
This wider abuse infiltrates the UK education system. Jonny Scaramanga’s blog (6) tells of ‘a group of 40 schools where only 10% of pupils accept the theory of evolution and 27% accept that the Earth is billions of years old, while 80% believe in a literal hell and 68% believe homosexuality is wrong. Combined with the approximately 60 (separate) Accelerated Christian Education schools in the UK, that means there are around 100 Creationist schools operating without transparency or critique. They’re not even subject to the same inspection standards as other schools. The CST and the Association of Muslim Schools UK joined forces to form the Bridge Schools’ Inspectorate. This means they don’t have to deal with OFSTED, the UK schools inspectorate, but instead effectively inspect themselves’.
Scaramanga recounts the 2001 case of a ACE homeschooler ‘now 15, (who) was made to live under a strict regime which included fasting to cleanse his body and regular punishment for failing to carry out chores. The court heard that the boy … was made to kill his pet chickens and stand outside for hours in freezing weather with no socks on. They had taught the youngster at home since he was 10 under the “Accelerated Christian Education” system and he had experienced little contact with the outside world’.
ACE schools and their ilk indoctrinate children with the same right-wing propaganda as their American counterparts. The syllabus is based on evangelical textbooks, which give a negative spin to such anti-Christian concepts as liberalism, socialism, and humanism. A typical line in a history book is: ‘Although (JFK’s) New Frontier sounds good, it was as socialistic as the New Deal and the Fair Deal had been’ (7). All forms of argument, all attempts of developing critical thinking, are denied, because, as ACE textbooks proclaim: ‘Man should never trust his own reasoning. His reasoning may be incorrect because man’s reasoning is not God’s reasoning’.
The belief system of all absolute dictators demands absolute obedience, whether that dictator is Pol Pot, or someone invoking God as the ‘ultimate dictator’, who sanctions their dictatorship. When education is given over to such political propaganda, it ceases to be education, and when the UK government does little to regulate the content of ‘alternative curricula’, they become party to promoting it, and they do so in that they share its dogma.
This is the dogma of limited government, anti-welfare, anti-poor, anti-minorities; the dogma of aggressive individualism devoid of social conscience. This is the New World Order in which corporations own all governments, where the obscenely rich live behind high, patrolled walls, as the new breed of aristocrat.
This is the dogma which is spread to all countries. Its invasion is being led by ‘religious’ mind-snatchers in the guise of educationalists.
The ‘sea-wall’ of conscience as been breached, and the tide that sweeps in will seek to transform UK schools into ‘Christ-centered’ institutions, and turn the UK into a ‘Christian nation’. Good News Clubs will use their base in schools for right-wing political campaigns, which will be supported by right-wing ‘think tanks’, financed by the media tycoons and their evangelist pastors.
Planning permission has been sought in 2014 to establish the ‘Dover School for All Nations’. Its sponsors are the Trinity Broadcasting Network, about which Josh Glasstetter (8) reported: ‘A lawsuit filed in California Superior Court against televangelism powerhouse TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) threatens to blow the lid off alleged misconduct and criminal activity at the very highest levels of the organization. TBN, which advertises itself as the “World’s Largest Christian Network,” is home to such luminaries as Rod Parsley, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, John Hagee, Benny Hinn, James Robison and the larger-than-life founders of the network – Paul and Jan Crouch … The suit … alleges that TBN bought residences across the country for its directors under the pretext that they were “guest homes” or “church parsonages.” The properties include mansions used by the Crouch family in Newport Beach; side-by-side mansions in Windermere, Fla.; and homes in Nashville; Miami; and Irving, Texas … The Times glossed over other portions of the suit … For instance, a section entitled “Multiple cover-ups of sexual and criminal scandals” accuses TBN, among other things, of covering up a “bloody sexual assault,” infidelities by Paul and Jan Crouch, and repeated incidents in which Matt Crouch exposed his genitals to cleaning staff’.
The proposed Dover school’s PSHE policy states that students will be taught ‘Kingdom Principles’ of ‘sowing and reaping’- apeing the doctrine of their American counterparts. Students will presumably study creationism and right-wing histories in the morning, before going out in the afternoon to raise money for their ministry, and to bully their peers with threats that they will ‘go to Hell’ unless they accept Jesus.
It will be of no use appealing to ‘The Great Democrat’ known as Obama to help resist the spread of this ‘religious’ virus. Rick Warren led the opening prayers at Obama’s first swearing-in ceremony. As David Walsh (9) commented: ‘He is a religious bigot, who is hostile to gay rights and abortion rights, a believer in creationism. and “free market enterprise for religion, as well as for everything else” and a supporter of American imperialism’s agenda to dominate the globe’.
Any country that denies children the human right to decide on their own belief system when adults, and allows them to be indoctrinated as children (this applying to all so-called ‘faiths’), acts for its own ends in promoting the mind-snatching of children; children who are afraid to put their hands in their playsuits to play with their marbles.
Such countries and their politicians are a disgrace. ‘Educationalists’ engaging in such indoctrination are a disgrace. Those who are aware of this abuse and remain silent are a disgrace.
lenin nightingale 2014
1. United Nations. ‘Rights of the Child’, 1989.
2 Karen Armstrong. ‘The Bible’, p. 74.
3. Rick Nagin. http://www.peoplesworld.org, 2014.
4. Michael and Debbie Pearl,Train Up a Child, 1994.
5. Lee Taylor. The Fifth Column of Child Abuse.
6. Jonny Scaramanga. http://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com/
7. Jonny Scaramanga. TES Newspaper, 2009.
8. Josh Glasstetter, http://www.rightwingwatch.org, 2012.
9. David Walsh, wsws.org, 2008.