This article was in the Oct. 3/92 Kitchener Waterloo Record in the
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
"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
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