If you like the way Mack Ford treated and taught the children at New Bethany Home for Boys and Girls in Arcadia, you’ll love the education reforms being put in place for Louisiana by Gov. Bobby Jindal, Superintendent of Education John White and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) President Chas Roemer.
Though many of the students at New Bethany never received their high school diplomas as promised, Ford employed the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum for whatever teaching that occurred at the facility.
And though the home closed more than a decade ago, students’ claims of beatings and rapes at New Bethany recently resurfaced when it was learned that two former board members—Ford’s son-in-law and grandson, Timothy Johnson and Jonathan Johnson, respectively— were working in the campaign of 5th District congressional candidate State Sen. Neil Riser, the candidate who is Jindal’s personal choice.
On Tuesday, Jonathan Johnson, Ford’s grandson who has worked for retiring 5th District Congressman Rodney Alexander since 2003 and who now works for Riser as an unpaid volunteer, was asked about the propriety of Riser’s allowing two men tainted by the reports of beatings and rapes at New Bethany. “This doesn’t involve him (Riser),” he said.
Jonathan Johnson never denied the beatings and rapes occurred. Instead, he said, “I was twelve when that happened.” He also denied that he ever served on the New Bethany board. But minutes of a board meeting on June 30, 2001, obtained by LouisianaVoice indicate otherwise.
Called for the purpose of “disposing of properties owned and operated by New Bethany Home for Girls, Inc.,” the minutes identify board members “acting on behalf of New Bethany Home for Girls, Inc.” They include Timothy Johnson (Jonathan Johnson’s father and Mack Ford’s son-in-law), Jonathan Johnson, Maxine Ford, Douglas Gilmore and Thelma Ford (Mack Ford’s wife and the board’s vice president and secretary).
As for the manner in which the property of New Bethany Home for Girls, Inc., was disposed of, records on file in the Bienville Parish Courthouse indicate little, if anything was actually liquidated. Instead, records show the home’s property was simply transferred to New Bethany Baptist Church—a paper transaction that kept control of the property in Ford’s name.
New Bethany Baptist Church is in the New Bethany Home for Girls compound, situated inside a chain link fence topped with barbed wire. Former residents of New Bethany said only residents and staff members—no outsiders—ever attended New Bethany Baptist Church.
And while the home officially closed its doors in 1998 (though some claim that a few girls remained there until 2004), LouisianaVoice found several Independent Fundamental Baptist churches across the country (including at least one in Louisiana) that continued providing financial support for Ford’s “ministries” long after the home closed and services at New Bethany Baptist Church were no more.
Among those churches which continued sending financial assistance to Ford:
- Calvary Baptist Church, Sulphur, Louisiana, W.T. Darnell, pastor;
- New Testament Baptist Church, Centralia, Illinois, Don Smith, pastor;
- Faith Baptist Church, Spokane, Missouri, James Mohler, pastor;
- Berean Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Ronnie Baity, pastor;
- Gloryland Baptist Church, Lincolnton, North Carolina, Macon Ballard, pastor.
Baity, asked why his church continues to send money to a “mission” that no longer exists, said, “How this church spends its money is none of your business since you don’t help pay the bills.”
And though this is by no means an indictment of all church-affiliated schools, three traits prominent among many—far too many—fundamental Christian schools, including New Bethany, are child abuse, sexual abuse and fundamental Christian textbooks like the ACE curriculum, A Beka Book, and Bob Jones University (BJU) Press that teach such interesting things as:
- Solar fusion is a myth;
- A Japanese whaling boat found a live dinosaur;
- Humans and dinosaurs co-existed;
- The earth is only 10,000 years old;
- The Ku Klux Klan tried to be a means of reform in some areas of the country;
- God used the “Trail of Tears” as a means to bring many American Indians to Christ;
- It cannot be shown scientifically that man-made pollutants will one day reduce the depth of the atmosphere’s ozone layer;
- God has provided certain checks and balances in creation to prevent many of the global upsets predicted by environmentalists;
- The Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to promote a socialist agenda;
- Only 10 percent of Africans can read or write because Christian mission schools have been shut down by communists;
- Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created.
The list of schools participating in the 2013-2014 Louisiana Scholarship Programs is peppered with church-affiliated schools, some two dozen of which employ one or more of the three curriculums cited earlier. Each was state approved by BESE, White and by virtue of his support of White and Roemer, Jindal.
- Delhi Charter School: Until public opinion (and a threat of a lawsuit by the ACLU), Delhi Charter instituted a policy of forcing a female student to take pregnancy tests if the school suspected she might be pregnant. The policy was adopted after a 17-year-old student became pregnant by a school football player and was asked to leave the school. The boy was subjected to no disciplinary action.
- Claiborne Christian School, West Monroe: Scientists are “sinful men” who exclude God in explaining the world. “Any stories that go against a biblical view of live in this series of books are skipped and are not read in the class.”
- Faith Academy, Gonzales: Employs ACE textbooks. Students “defend creationism through evidence presented by the Bible verses (sic) traditional scientific theory.”
- Northeast Baptist School, West Monroe: Uses A Beka and BJU science textbooks.
- Union Christian Academy, Farmerville: Relies “heavily” on the BJU curriculum, as well as “selected materials that have been approved by the administration.”
- Victory Christian Academy, Metairie: Uses A Beka and BJU curricula.
- Northlake Christian Elementary School, Covington: Teaches from A Beka materials.
- Northlake Christian High School, Covington: Student handbook includes policy against admitting prospective students and staff who do not meet “Biblical standards.”
- Gethsemane Christian Academy, Lafayette: Uses ACE, A Beka and BJU curriculum.
- Jehovah-Jireh Christian Academy, Baton Rouge: Uses A Beka curriculum.
- Greater Mt. Olive Christian Academy, Baton Rouge: Uses A Beka curriculum.
- Faith Christian Academy, Marrero: Uses A Beka curriculum.
- Lafayette Christian Academy, Lafayette: Uses BJU and A Beka curricula.
- Cenla Christian Academy, Pineville: Uses BJU and A Beka curricula.
- Family Worship Christian Academy, Opelousas: employs A Beka curriculum.
- Trinity Christian Academy, Zachary: uses A Beka for high school science.
- Old Bethel Christian Academy, Clark: Uses A Beka curriculum.
- Eternity Christian Academy, Westlake: uses ACE curriculum.
So while Jindal bemoans “government control” of Louisiana’s education system, he apparently has no problem with fundamental church schools gaining control of students’ minds through curricula that conflict with scientific knowledge—and doing it with state funding.
Anyone who has the ability to see through Jindal’s “reform” package has to be asking whatever happened to the doctrine of separation of church and state.
And that doctrine appears to be the only real difference between the Mack Fords and Lester Roloffs of the world, who steadfastly refused state funding to avoid the necessity of state licensing (and state supervision) and those Christian schools who crowd their way to the public trough for a share of state funding to support their curricula that border on mind control.
Can anyone say “Stepford students?”