Protests too much?;Diary

20th August 1999 at 01:00
THE REVEREND Ian Paisley seems an unlikely figure to be seen embracing the future, but embrace it he has with his very own website - with a special education section to boot. Dedicated to spreading the word of the great Nay-sayer of Northern Ireland's Free Presbyterian church, makes a rollicking read.

Readers may recall The TES's visit last year to one of the church's schools, where children are taught that Darwin was wrong, the only sex education is the Seventh Commandment and they take out Lady Macbeth's "unsex me now" when teaching Macbeth for GCSE.

The education syllabus and correspondence courses are a particular highlight, aiming to "promote and defend Biblical Protestantism ... expose the errors of Romanism, unmask the Papacy, and convert Roman Catholics to Christ." Youngsters get their own special Youth and Children pages, packed with "stories, easy-to-read teachings and more", all aimed at exposing the "truth" about Catholicism and the Pope, "head of this dark and pagan religion." Today's bloodthirsty youth will be enthralled by the gruesome tales of martyrs for the Protestant cause, including children burned at the stake for heretical beliefs or for generally being cheeky to the Pope's soldiers.

Keen students can progress to the adult pages, where we learn that seat number 666 in the new European Parliament chamber has been left empty. Paisley warns darkly that it has been reserved for the Antichrist - and "the seat will be occupied". You have been warned.

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