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Twitter users now have a platform to discuss their experiences at Catholic and Christian schools—#ExposeChristianSchools.
In many cases, the tweets tell tales of harassment, intolerance, and restrictive religious rules.
The hashtag started Friday in response to the news that Karen Pence, the Second Lady of the U.S., would be teaching art at a Christian school which asked students, their parents, and teachers to denounce homosexuality. Chris Stroop started the hashtag, specifically calling out Vice President Mike Pence and David French, a conservative writer who defended the school’s policies. Stroop called on others to discuss their experience using the hashtag.
Hey fellow Christian school grads, let’s tell @VP and @DavidAFrench how traumatizing those bastions of bigotry are. Use the hashtag #ExposeChristianSchools @amandablount2 @300ZXNA @TheCheekyGinger @msnbc#ChristianAltFacts #EmptyThePews #Exvangelical #LGBTQ #FaithfullyLGBT— Chris Stroop (@C_Stroop) January 18, 2019
The momentum continued in the wake of a video, which surfaced on Saturday, of a group of boys from Covington Catholic school in Kentucky. In the video, the boys can be seen surrounding Vietnam veteran and Omaha tribe elder Nathan Phillips. They chant and stand uncomfortably close to Phillips, with one boy staring smugly in Phillips’ face.
The behavior of the boys in the video has been condemned by people across the country, including members of Congress and Covington Catholic School representatives.
The rise of the hashtag #ExposeChristianSchools has shed light environments where harmful behaviors, like misogyny and homophobia, are tolerated and fostered.
“I was told my entire time in Catholic middle and high schools BY THE STAFF that being anything but straight was ‘rejecting God’s gift’,” one user wrote. “The only open lesbian couple was bullied relentlessly until one graduated and the other switched schools.”
Of course spanking with a wooden paddle is often *still* practiced in Christian elementary schools, because "spare the rod and spoil the child" and all that.#ExposeChristianSchools #SundayMorning #Exvangelical #EmptyThePews https://t.co/Bot9tJItKe— Chris Stroop (@C_Stroop) January 20, 2019
#ExposeChristianSchools there was a grown man in a relationship with a student who was gunna run away with her. He spent time in prison. And then returned to his ministries at the church.— Caitlin Hitchcock (@capt__cait) January 20, 2019
My all girls school took me to the March for Life rally, told me to yell at protesters and handed me a sign with an aborted baby on it.— jori (it’s like cori, but with a j) (@enterc1evername) January 20, 2019
I was 11. #ExposeChristianSchools
“My all girls school took me to the March for Life rally, told me to yell at protesters and handed me a sign with an aborted baby on it. I was 11,” user @enterc1evername added.
The beginning of the end of Christianity for me was my HS Bible teacher saying it was right that his sister faced life in prison for killing her abusive husband. If only she'd obeyed him as God commanded. #ExposeChristianSchools— Summer Brooks (@summ_brooks) January 20, 2019
Honestly none of the priests from this church were good. The ome there the longest would never thank the mothers of kids for what they did, and always directed compliments at the fathers for their wives work. The pto hated him. Another kept getting into crashes in fancy cars— Karrius (@dragonchild12) January 20, 2019
One user even broke down an annual “slave day” fundraiser that her school held. “My school had a slave day. Each year the jr class was auctioned off in the chapel; the auctioneer – a teacher – held a whip,” she wrote. “Other students would ‘own’ them for a day. Was a fundraiser. Couldn’t have prom/dances, but we had Slave Day.”
My school had Slave Day. Each year the jr class was auctioned off in the chapel; the auctioneer - a teacher - held a whip. Other students would “own” them for a day. Was a fundraiser. Couldn’t have prom/dances, but we had Slave Day. #ExposeChristianSchools @brchastain @C_Stroop— hagen (@laura_hagen) January 19, 2019
my high school teacher said “you came here as a glass of milk, now you’re a glass of mud” because she didn’t like my boyfriend at the time #ExposeChristianSchools— Katie🌻🍉✨ (@kay_tee03) January 20, 2019
Some called out the quality of their education, as well.
#ExposeChristianSchools hot damn it’s my time to shine. Let’s start by saying I hold no ill will to a very few members of the head family of the school, specifically two of them. They always showed me kindness. One of the youngest, I never knew. He’s okay too.— Synergy Starrchild (@Queen_Synergy) January 20, 2019
When I was in (1)
Attendance attendance at liberty Christian Academy (grade school of Liberty University) I was taught MULTIPLE educational fallacies, specifically in science class. I was once screamed at because I wouldn’t agree that the earth was only 6,000 years old. (2)— Synergy Starrchild (@Queen_Synergy) January 20, 2019
I was completely ignored or scolded for asking where dinosaurs fit into the creation theory model because the teachers couldn’t answer that. In world history we started with creation and completely skipped over most of the Native Americans mistreatments (3)— Synergy Starrchild (@Queen_Synergy) January 20, 2019
I don’t know if I can properly address all the ways to #exposechristianschools. But here it goes. History classes never reviewed the American Indians’ cultures or the timeline of the Civil Rights Movemenet. Yay white-washed history. 🤢— Elizabeth Garcia (@dire_blizzard) January 19, 2019
Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s Liberty University is a front for an unregulated, online diploma mill (around 100,000 sold each year!) and most of its revenue comes from taxpayer-funded sources. That’s why Falwell flatters Trump. #ExposeChristianSchools https://t.co/fPg1D08SSL— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) January 19, 2019
Stroop told the Daily Dot via Twitter DM that they plan to launch the hashtag #ExposeChristianHomeschooling as a way to include people who were subject to religious indoctrination via homeschooling.
“It’s all of a piece when it comes to right-wing Christian indoctrination and isolation of children, so they can be mobilized for the culture wars,” they said.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.