"In God's Name" was the subtitle given to Channel 4's Dispatches offering on Christian fundamentalism last night, and I urge you to see it if you can: it's on again at 9 p.m. on More4 on Wednesday and on Channel 4 again at 3.45 a.m. on Thursday. Get it on tape or disc. Show it to friends on special occasions over beer and crisps when you want to chill out with some comedy.
Stephen Green of Christian Voice was prominent, as you'd expect, sometimes wanting the camera on him, sometimes telling it to piss off, getting bird shit on his shirt and treating it as a message from God. Because he'd had to go off to clean it off, you see, it had providentially prevented him from taking part in one of the interviews he'd decided God didn't want him to partake in after all.
Then there was a seriously disturbed barrister who's given up her law career to try to convince people that homosexuality (among other things) is a heinous sin.
Laugh as you see these people swaying from side to side as they sing tunelessly to their invisible friend. Marvel at just how credulous they can be. Grimace as little children in a classroom are indoctrinated into all kinds of nonsense by a mad teacher. Gloat at how much brighter you are than these freaks, even if you're a lobotomised whelk (my pet whelk thought it was hilarious).
Normally, I'd say why give these people airtime? But full marks to Channel 4 and its reporter David Modell – who also directed and produced it – for revealing what a load of nutters these evangelical types are. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
You can also read Modell's article on it in the Sunday Telegraph. In it he talks about a school he visited for the programme, Carmel, which has the full backing of education authorities and the relevant government departments. Here in the UK. Now in 2008.
The uncompromising creationist curriculum taught in Carmel has been imported from the US. It is called Accelerated Christian Education; the motto of the Florida-based company who produce it is: "Reaching the world for Christ, one child at a time."
With 50 small schools in the UK teaching this curriculum, a total of more than 2,000 children are being "reached for Christ". Yet these schools are not operating outside the education system. Carmel is a government-endorsed faith school, complete with an Ofstead [the education regulator] report that describes the teaching as "satisfactory".
But don't go without clicking on the video below and watching Green get his shitty message from the Almighty.