Election 2024

GOP candidate attacked for lessons that say gay people are the same as “child molesters & rapists”

Darren Bailey is getting attacked for his school's far-right curriculum
Darren Bailey is getting attacked for his school's far-right curriculum Photo: Screenshot

A new scathing ad in Illinois’s gubernatorial race attacks the Republican candidate for allegedly teaching kids to hate at the Christian school he runs.

State Sen. Darren Bailey (R), who is challenging Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), founded Full Armor Christian Academy in 2016, a preschool through 12th-grade school that says it teaches kids “the courage to act upon Christian values and beliefs.”

The school uses a curriculum developed by the far-right Bob Jones University that’s so extreme it teaches that gay people are the moral equivalent of child molesters and that most slaveholders treated slaves well.

The school, according to Pritzker’s new ad, says that Full Armor Christian Academy teaches that “women in the workforce have been harmful to America” and that “evolution isn’t real.”

Hement Mehta at Only Sky notes that the ad is remarkable because it’s from a mainstream Democrat who’s calling out a Republican for religion-based sexism and homophobia.

“I can’t recall ever seeing an ad that bluntly called out a gubernatorial candidate for faith-based sexism and homophobia, evolution denial and promotion of Creationism, and David Barton-esque historical revisionism,” he wrote.

The school’s curriculum, according to the Illinois Times, “is centered on the inerrancy of Christian scripture – even when it may appear to contradict scientific determinations.”

Bailey has made education a central issue in the campaign, touting having founded the 360-student Christian school as something that qualifies him to “advocate for common sense education reforms that put our children first.” Bailey, himself, does not have a four-year degree.

Republicans have made education one of their central issues in this election, focusing on issues that enrage the party’s base like transgender equality in schools, masking and vaccine mandates, and teaching about the history of racism in the U.S.

Bailey doesn’t mention those issues on his campaign website, which may be an attempt to appeal to voters in Illinois, over 57% of whom voted for President Joe Biden in 2020.

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