In America we are used to having religion-based educational institutions that teach an anti-science, anti-gay, anti-sex, and anti-women curriculum. It is appalling that these schools, because they shelter under the mantle of religion, benefit from tax-exempt status which means that all of us are essentially subsidizing the propagation of odious viewpoints. But apparently there are also schools in Great Britain that have tax-exempt status that promote the most appalling views.
Schools run by a conservative Christian sect called the Exclusive Brethren are under investigation following claims by former teachers that they were required to use science textbooks with pages ripped out, prevent boys and girls from talking to one another outside classrooms, and tolerate bullying, racism and homophobia.
Life at Britain’s 34 Brethren schools is under the microscope following a decision last year to grant them charity status, which allows the group to avoid taxes estimated to be worth millions of pounds every year.
Eight former teachers have spoken to the media and described school buses segregated by gender, classroom racism and textbooks with pages on evolution, fossil fuels and sexual reproduction ripped out.
One teacher told The Times: “Anything that showed the earth as being 4 billion years old was removed or glued together.”
The same thing happened with pages about contraception, while “anything that showed gay relationships as being normal was defaced in that way as well.”
Another former staff member told The Times: ”They don’t see anything wrong in saying that black people are going to hell.”
So we are not alone, unfortunately, in having our government give benefits to terrible people just because they say they are doing things based on their religion.
Who are these Exclusive Brethren? One woman who left the group describes life in what looks like a highly controlling cult, similar to Scientology, led earlier by an American named Jim Taylor Jr.
Growing up in the Exclusive Brethren meant missing out on a lot of things other children took for granted. It meant no TV, radio or recorded music, no pets, parties, school outings, plays or sports, no cinema, novels, magazines, no make-up or haircuts, and strict clothing rules. I was used to living a life different from those of my friends.
The “Ministry” from the latest leader, Jim Taylor Jr in the US, stated Brethren could no longer eat or drink with outsiders.
Meanwhile Jim Taylor Jr’s edicts became increasingly bizarre – Sisters had to wear their hair hanging down their backs, covered in a headscarf; all adult Brethren must be married – and then he started to go to bed with married Sisters, supposedly showing how pure he was. Eventually, in 1970, at a Meeting in Aberdeen, he appeared drunk and stated that his word was of such consequence that the Bible was no longer necessary – a bombshell that caused a number of clearer-sighted Brethren to protest and break away.
In the cult I left behind, Taylor died an alcoholic. Another “Universal Leader” stepped into his shoes, and the Brethren now even run their own schools. My heart bleeds for those children.
These organizations are nothing but money-making rackets, preying on those who seek security by being part of an organization that controls every aspect of their lives. The fact that the government gives them tax benefits to poison the minds of young children shows how much we have let our ‘respect for religion’ mindset get out of control.