6th Grade Terrorists (or, What Happens When Heathens Take Control at a Christian School)


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by John Ellis

Spelling is not a forte of mine. As a writer, red squiggly lines are my friend. Words like “Wednesday,” “indubitably,” and “cornucopia” are beyond my ability to remember how to spell correctly. One word I’ll never misspell, though, is obedience. The spelling of that word was drilled into me via multiple performances at church and school of the Patch the Pirate song titled “Obedience.”

The chorus includes a chant of the word’s spelling –  “O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E” – followed by the lyrics, “obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.” Is the song wrong? No. Was it used as part of a larger program of a Christian version of B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism? Sort of. Enough to be problematic, but not so much as to stray into heresy.

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