This article was in the Oct. 3/92 Kitchener Waterloo Record in the Religion section. FUNDA

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

This article was in the Oct. 3/92 Kitchener Waterloo Record in the Religion section. FUNDAMENTALISM Christian Brethren want classrooms without computers By Glenn Cheater The Canadian Press - Winnipeg A small group of Christian fundamentalists is giving educators in this city a devil of a time. They want what might be called a religious version of sovereignty association - separate, computer-free classrooms in public schools. The special treatment is being sought because of the beliefs of the Christian Brethren. Their faith is most easily characterized by what they reject. They don't believe in a formal creed, ordained clergy, the theory of evolution or electronic media. In recent years, that list has been expanded to include computers. But spokesman Don Logan said that doesn't mean they want to be isolated from mainstream society. "We live in ordinary houses on ordinary streets and we work in ordinary offices and do ordinary business," said Logan, 60, who operates a company that sells pneumatic power tools and fasteners. "But we just don't use some of these things that we don't feel free to use in good conscience." The Christian Brethren is a loosely-organized, worldwide group also known as the Plymouth Brethren. Its origins date back to a dispute with the Church of England in the early 1800s. That sect rejects radios, television sets, video and fax machines, said Logan, who readily consented to an interview but refuses to be photographed. Telephones, cars and adding machines are permitted. The device that prompted 275 members of Winnipeg's seven Christian Brethren congregations to demand their own classrooms was the personal computer. "It's the kind of thing that has tremendous potential for evil," said Logan. "We don't have them in our homes, we don't have them in our businesses, we don't want our children working with them in school." The church's opposition to computers isn't easy for those outside the faith to understand. They believe programs run on computers have the ability - as do TV programs or books like Catcher in the Rye - to pass on morally unacceptable ideas, said Logan. But they also believe computers have an innate power of their own and can exert what they describe as mind control. The line between what is acceptable and what is not is a fine one. It's okay to own a tool with a computerized component but a church member would not accept a job repairing that same tool, said Logan. "We don't want our hands on the things," he said. "It gets a bit involved." George Buchholz gets confused about all this too. Buchholz is the director of education of a Winnipeg school division containing about 40 Christian Brethren children. He said he has spent hours trying to fathom the church's precise objections to computers. "I guess they don't want their children exposed. They feel computers have too much power over people," he said. For more than 10 years, the children have been quietly excused from class whenever a computer was used, a video played or an objectionable book taught, he said. But today's computerization of schools has made that solution unworkable. Every school in the division has at least one computer lab and Christian Brethren children were spending more and more time sitting in their library waiting to rejoin their classmates, said Buchholz. School trustees had refused to give the Brethren their own classrooms, but after church members threatened to pull their kids from school, the board compromised. The children are now being sent to two schools instead of being scattered through 26. That allows the older children to help the younger ones with their studies when they're sitting in the library. // End of article All I can say is, "What a bunch of morons". I really feel sorry for the children.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank