English smugness yet again proves deeply unfounded. This time I’m talking “fundamentalists.” A Channel 4 Dispatches programme (probably a repeat of last week’s) presented by David Modell showed some of these people in action using their disturbing political and social influence over the Human Fertility and Embryology bill. Modell claims there are an estimated 2 million of these people in the UK.
Modell summarised what he found in a Telegraph article. There’s also a Youtube link (It has five sections so I’m not turning this blog into a giant Youtube rip off. You can look at it there if you choose.)
Phew, that means I can throw away the notes I made and rant about to a few highlights. Lowlights may be a more accurate word.
For instance, there are 45 “government-approved” “faith schools ” teaching a US curriculum. Here’s Question 5 on their “science” exam paper at Carmel School*. “How many days did it take god to make the world?” In case you are wondering where that comes up on the Science part of the National Curriculum, these schools are “independent”, so they don’t have to stick to the National Curriculum.
The head teacher has a good stab at refusing to be drawn on how old the earth is- claiming that is not his specialism – when pressed by the presenter. But the text book that they use says the earth is 6 to 10 thousand years old.
The head credits Tony Blair for “opening the door” to their sort of school. (Blimey, we are in agreement on something then, because I also attribute the spread of this nonsense to Tony Blair.) He said this created a time for them to “strike while the iron is hot.”
Another illuminating bit is where a sleekly presented – expensive hair and clothes and make up and nails and all that Stepford Wives crap – lawyer reins in the more extreme supporters at their House of Common demo against the HFE Bill – just because of the effect on their image, rather than the content of their message, with whichs he agrees. (Said visibly extreme supporters include members of the BNP, a woman screaming “baby-killer “at a pro-choice woman and a general ranter.) Here is what she says about herself on her site:
Andrea Minichiello Williams is a Barrister and Public Policy Director for the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, an organisation with a membership of over two thousand lawyers. She was called to the Bar in 1988. Initially she specialised in Criminal and Family Law. Her primary focus is now religious liberties, public law, and life issues.
She’s co-founder of Christian Concern For Our Nation (CCFON), which has over 30,000 supporters. CCFON is committed to making Christians aware of the need for a strong Christian voice proclaiming Biblical truth in the public arena.
Andrea has also been closely involved with a number of religious freedom and life cases, many of which were high profile cases where Christians have defended their right to speak biblical truth. She directs the Christian Legal Centre, which refers cases to Christian lawyers who will support individuals throughout each stage of the legal process.
(The sort of “religious freedom” cases they specialise in seem to be ones like the schoolgirl who refused to take off her “promise ring” or the airport worker told not to wear a cross.)
She and her cronies meet Lord Tebbit (of hated Thatcherite memory) and when he shows remotely willing, they pass him a pre-written Motion to present to the House of Lords. Their legal tactics and apparently lobbying skill come direct from the US Alliance of Christian something or other. Oh yes, and their funding. 🙂
(Apologies for not paying attention. I wrote “ACDF” in my scribbled notes. I suspect it might be the Alliance Defence Fund but having read the page about them that I’ve linked here, I sincerely hope not.)
One last gem, a group of middle-aged Stepford wives in Sussex were shown, oddly, praying to satan. 🙂 They start out addressing “god” but the joint prayer turns to satan as they conjure him to back off and give him explicit instructions to keep away.
My head is spinning at the theological implications of this. So they don’t just believe there’s a magic fairy godfather (the abrahamic god) who will grant your wishes when you talk to him sycophantically. They also believe that he has an evil twin goblin godfather (satan) who will will grant your wishes if you talk to him bossily. (Maybe they are confusing how to deal with supernatural entities with the way they address their husbands.)
If these supernatural entities supposedly respond to the demands of their puny human devotees, why do they think satan will obey one of his enemy’s serfs? Shouldn’t he at least demand they accept some faustian deal first?
(Sorry, that is a reference to the myths of medieval believers. Obviously, the medieval mind was a degree of magnitude more sophisticated than the thoughts of these 21st century people.)
* I think that’s the website for the school featured in the programme. I had to trawl through lots of other schools (mainly Catholic ones called Mount Carmel) so I wasn’t sure if it’s the same place but the words “The curriculum is the tried, tested and proven Accelerated Christian Education.” suggest it is…
I downloaded the prospectus 😀 /