10 Frightening Things That Happen at Conservative Christian Schools That May Be Funded With Your Tax Dollars
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Some Christian schools even schedule field trips in which students are transported to an abortion clinic for a protest. Fundamentalist homeschoolers throughout the country have been hosting such field trips for years, but Christian schools have taken up the practice more recently. Pro-Life Wisconsin organizes Christian school field trips that include prayer vigils outside abortion clinics.
3. Christian sex-ed. In the mid- to late-1980s, evangelical Christians began campaigning to promote abstinence-only education in public schools. Though abstinence-only education remains contested in public schools, it has long been the order of the day in Christian schools. Many schools pressure students to take virginity pledges from Passion 2 Purity Pledge or True Love Waits in which they promise never to have sex outside heterosexual marriage.
A South Carolina curriculum called Heritage Keepers teaches that “[s]ex is like fire. Inside the appropriate boundary of marriage, sex is a great thing! Outside of marriage, sex can be dangerous.” Rather than thinking too much about sex, the curriculum encourages students to think about the qualities they desire in a future spouse and to envision what their wedding day might be like. One example, directed at girls: “Your true love stands at the front. This is the man who you have waited for (remained abstinent for) and who has waited for you…This man wants to be strong and courageous for you, to cherish and protect you… You are ready to trust him with all that you have and all that you are, because you have waited (sexually) you have it all to give.”
If that weren’t groan-worthy enough, many abstinence-only programs teach objectively false information. Heritage Keepers notably claims that condom use results in pregnancy one in seven times.
A curriculum called Why kNOw? tells sixth graders, “WARNING! Going on this ride could change your life forever, result in poverty, heartache, disease, and even DEATH.” At the eighth-grade level, students learn that “premature birth, infant pneumonia, and neonatal eye infections may result from transmission of [Chlamydia] during delivery…” and “If [syphilis] treated (sic) is not received, a pregnant woman will usually transmit the disease to the unborn child. Stillbirth and death within the neonatal period occur in 25% of these cases.”
If evangelicals really believe the consequences of sex are usually this dire, it’s no wonder some schools go a step beyond abstinence-only education and encourage students not to date at all. Inspired by a trend in the homeschool movement called “courtship,” a parent-directed, supervised form of dating, some schools use Joshua Harris’ popular book , I Kissed Dating Goodbye, in their curriculum. Harris makes the unsubstantiated claim that dating – and break-ups – in the teenage years encourage young people to forego committed relationships and may set them up for painful divorce later in life. Courtship proponents also argue that dating is too risky for teens since sexual temptation is too much to bear.
4. Intolerance. Since September 11, 2001, Christian schools have become increasingly Islamophobic. In 2010, the Texas State Board of Education ignited a national controversy when it “voted to scrub [public school] textbooks of anything that smacked of a ‘pro-Islam’ or ‘anti-Christian’ bias.” In other words, public schools would now be required to use school curriculums that whitewash Christians and demonize Muslims. Though relatively new to public education, Islamophobia has long run rampant at Christian schools.
Last May, AlterNet reported that Christian elementary and secondary curriculums A Beka Book, Bob Jones University Publishing, and Accelerated Christian Education teach that Islam is a “false religion.” Rethinking Schools reports that Bob Jones curriculum generally provides a surprisingly unbiased look at Islamic history, but sometimes makes wild claims like, “[T]he darkness of Islamic religion keeps the people of Turkey from Jesus Christ as their savior.” At the seventh-grade level, A Beka attempts to bolster its case against Islam by claiming, “[O]ver 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus Christ, no one witnessed Mohammed's supposed encounters with the angels.” Not only this, but the curriculum also casts Islam as a “fanatically anti-Christian.”