Friday, 17 October 2008

Freaks Out Now!

There's a petition at I'd encourage anyone sick of evangelical wierdos being allowed to roam around UK schools to sign.
It was put there by a Torbay parent, Alan Urdaibay, after an outfit called the Linx Trust was given unrestricted rights to pester kids at his daughter's secondary school.
In a letter to the school, he said:
"We write with great concern regarding the presence of Nigel Taylor and Linx in the school. Nigel Taylor is not a member of staff. In our view Taylor and other members of his group are undesirables and we want them to have no contact with our daughter. None of them is to address our daughter or communicate personally with her in any way. She is not to be approached at mealtimes, in the corridors, or any other location within or without the school.
Additionally, our daughter will not participate in any aspect of the school mentoring system until such time as its integrity is not compromised by the participation of any Linx member in any way. It is our view that any mentoring system within the school should be entirely secular and the government's 2007 Children's Plan indicates it should be carried out by a member of staff. Religious groups with an agenda of their own, especially those with unacceptable attitudes towards aspects of sexuality, have no place in mentoring in a non-faith school.
Linx describes itself as being associated with the Baptists, a fringe religious group whose representation in the UK is about the same as the Scientologists. Admitting no central authority, and not technically a denomination, they are a fractious grouping holding widely differing beliefs. Linx has no published doctrine or teaching and confines published material to banalities with the occasional attack on witchcraft. What is apparent is that Linx is a fundamentalist group responsible to no-one and which, despite its claims, does not reflect mainstream Christianity. Taylor has effectively created his own religion: a fringe of a fringe, so to speak. It is the case that Torbay school is not a faith school and that nothing about its prospectus or web site suggests that it is anything other than a normal school. It should not give privileged access to any religious group, either mainstream or, in the case of Linx, an extreme minority with no identifiable teachings.
Linx has the admitted purpose of inveigling its way into Torbay schools by offering free services not directly related to religion in order to gain access to other people's children. We consider this Machiavellian 'over the heads of the parents' approach to be unethical and it should be blocked by all schools. Parents' satisfaction with the school in general should not be used as a mechanism for lulling them into accepting input preferentially from any religious group, not least a fundamentalist one. Even the establishment of such a thing as a bible study group needs to be viewed with caution. A long-established bible club held at my daughter's school has been taken over by Linx and is tolerated by the school only because it is nominally independently run by the girls. It is certainly a deceitful attempt to go over the heads of parents. While my daughter was at [this school] I asked to speak to Mr Taylor about his religious views, but was refused.
It is our view that a school should be a place of safety away from sexual predators and no less away from religious predators. The objective of any participation by a Linx member in any class or school activity, is, directly or indirectly, to serve their proselytising agenda. They are certainly being funded with this in mind.
By giving Taylor a privileged platform within the context of assemblies, the classroom, and, shockingly, even in the refectory, he hopes to achieve a moral authority from which he can groom the vulnerable to participate in his religious beliefs and practices. These ways of gaining access to children are deceitful and should be stopped."
That struck a chord with me. Baptists are being allowed to hold services each Sunday at my daughter's infant school, Auldyn, not counting the number of times she's come home saying evangelical con-artists were there begging under the pretence of helping Eastern Europeans or something equally ridiculous. Having been visiting East Europe since she was 18 months old my nipper's more likely to wet herself laughing at such pillocks than fall for their twaddle, but Manx schools put no effort into checking such chancers out.
Almost as soon as I mentioned the petition above, I had a reply from someone who knew of a 15 year old getting pestered by our very own Southern Baptist throwbacks last year. Apparently a Port St. Mary based youth pastor is allowed into Castle Rushen to 'mentor' kids. When one refused to play music at his sad little youthie he started texting her out of school hours (where'd he get the number is another interesting question!). No action has been taken, and Isle of Man College is another place where such evangelical trolling is going on.
Also, interestingly, while our Sexual Offences Act has measures to stop 'grooming' of kids under 18 by adults from numerous community groups, church organisations are quite specifically excluded. This though the worst cases in recent years of underage Manx kids being preyed on sexually by an adult involved pastors and youth workers at other evangelical church youth clubs.
My informant on the Castle Rushen case suggests it might be time concerned folk got up a petition to get these freaks out of our schools. As someone with a lower opinion of evangelicals than drug dealers (seriously - I've lived in inner cities and known drug dealers with way higher moral standards than the average biblebasher) I agree.

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