A.C.E., or Accelerated Christian Education (opens new window), is a Christian based curriculum used in New Zealand - both in some Christian schools, and by parents who homeschool their children. The curriculum boasts that it covers from kindergarten to year 13, and that it is recognised by New Zealand universities.
The NZARH were contacted recently by some students who are concerned about some of the content of the ACE curriculum. They were good enough to supply me with a set of pictures they’d taken of a section of one book titled "Character Study of the Strange Woman". This chapter focuses on Proverbs 2 from verse 16:
"Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead."
The lesson this school text book gives about this passage is that of the strange, or troubled, woman, and is basically a warning about how dangerous some women can be:
This is a person who has been abused and broken and has a tendency to be immoral… Being a strange woman is an inward condition, not simply an outward activity. A woman might be active in her church, but still have the character qualities of a strange woman… she will be a danger to any man who decides to establish a personal relationship with her.
The lesson then goes on to give a truly appalling analogy between these women and run down houses:
I once bought a little house that I was going to fix up and resell. It was extremely cheap and I soon found out why. Outwardly it was nice looking, but the inside was completely "trashed." The man I hired to clean it out couldn’t stay inside for more than 15 minutes at a time because of its horrible stench. We called in exterminators to eliminate rodents, roaches, and other creatures.
As I studied the Scriptures about the strange woman, I thought back on our experience with that little house. In a similar way, a person can appear attractive on the outside, but be devastated on the inside.
I hate to think that every year hundreds of children in New Zealand are being taught these kinds of demeaning ideas. But that’s not all - a cursory search on google for Accelerated Christian Education brings up horror stories of over the top discipline (opens new window), male dominance and science denial:
- the act of love between two persons of the same gender is tantamount to "murder or stealing"
- Evolution is a "sinking ship"
- "If a scientific theory contradicts the Bible, then the theory is wrong and must be discarded."
I find it hard to fathom just how this curriculum ever managed to get approval in New Zealand.