A UK Christian school offered ‘exorcism’ to save gay pupil from the Devil
A fundamentalist Christian school in the UK offered to help perform an exorcism-style ritual for a gay pupil, an investigation has alleged.
Dozens of schools in the UK follow the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum, a Christian fundamentalist course of learning that grew up in Texas, before expanding to other countries. ACE currently lists 27 UK schools on its website.
Pupils in ACE schools do not study towards GCSEs or A-Levels, and instead work to attain a International Christian Certificate of Education.
Concerns have been flagged about the use of ACE in British schools in the past, with an investigation in 2014 raising concerns about textbooks teaching that homosexuality is a choice, evolution is a lie, abortion is wrong, and AIDS can be avoided by following the Bible.
One ACE textbook instructs: “Homosexual, adjective: having unnatural sexual feelings towards one of the same sex. Homosexual activity is another of man’s corruptions of God’s plan. The Bible records that God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexual activity. Some people mistakenly believe that an individual is born a homosexual and his attraction to those of the same sex is normal.”
A further investigation published by Vice this week raised more concerns about the network of schools teaching the fundamentalist ACE curriculum.
Posing as a parent with a son who had come out as gay, reporter Martin Williams uncovered shocking practises – with one teacher offering “deliverances” to save pupils from the Devil.
The teacher explained that the practise, akin to an exorcism, had to be kept under-the-rader, adding: “We do [perform them], but we don’t do it here in school (…) We have to be sensitive because obviously we wouldn’t want a deliverance going on in a room and then have Ofsted walk in. That would be a bit awkward to explain.
“Sometimes we’ll have spiritual retreats for youth, for teens. These will be done over a period of three days on the weekend. We do it in a hotel in Bournemouth and all these things are going on there – deliverance and all these kinds of things.”
The teacher also encouraged the family to seek guidance because of the boy’s sexuality.
She said: “I wouldn’t say we wouldn’t take him [as a pupil], but I think our pastors would like to sit down and see where you are as a family. Always, when we have a sensitive case, it’s always best to take it to pastors and they would make the final decision.
“We do have the pastors that offer pastoral care for the children as well when it’s needed… it’s something that you might want to look into.”
The school is not named in the report.
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Labour MP Tristram Hunt, former Shadow Secretary of State for Education, raised issues with anti-gay textbooks in ACE schools previously.
He told PinkNews in 2014: “There is absolutely no place in our schools for these sorts of backward views.
“Labour will not allow these dangerous ideas to go unchallenged. I will be writing to Michael Gove to demand that action is taken.
“If there are schools using these materials in receipt of public funds, then serious questions need to be answered.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said previously: “All schools must promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for different faiths and beliefs. This is a vital part of providing educational excellence everywhere. They must also encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the 2010 Equality Act.”
“ACE schools, like all other independent schools, are inspected against the new, tougher Independent School Standards, and where there are concerns a school is failing to meet these standards we will not hesitate to take action.”