Exposed: American evangelists peddling creationism and homophobia to state school children

6 September, 2023

A new film has exposed shocking and blatant evangelism inflicted on school children in Bridgend, after an American church group was repeatedly invited to visit state schools in the area in response to mental health tragedies. Most of these schools did not have a religious character. Pupils were taught creationism as fact, and LGBT pupils were made to feel discriminated against due to the visitors’ claims that same-sex marriage is wrong. Wales Humanists, which campaigns for the end of religious proselytising in the state school system, said it was appalled by the evidence presented in the film.

From 2008 to 2018, following a number of young people taking their lives in the town, local Bridgend churches teamed up with American evangelists from Louisiana, to form the ‘Bridgend Louisiana Partnership’. This partnership saw First West Church send teams of visitors to over 20 schools in Bridgend – most without a religious character – ostensibly as a form of cultural exchange, despite it being clear from their website that they held unacceptable views on women’s rights about abortion and ‘the woman’s duty to serve her husband’, and on same-sex marriage. The visits involved music and dancing, as well as weight-lifting demonstrations and tricks. However, at the end of each visit the pupils were led and coerced into American-style prayer and worship rituals. The visits stopped due to the pandemic, but according to the film they are due to restart in 2024.

The film, produced by The News Movement, includes testimony from two former pupils who are LGBT. They explain that it was clear the visitors were setting out to ‘convert’ the children to Christianity, and that they were made to feel marginalised and discriminated against due to their sexual identities. Furthermore, the First West Church was shown to be clearly campaigning against abortion. A science teacher is also interviewed in the film, and explains that the visitors would come into her lessons and tell the pupils that, for example, evolution is a lie.

The curriculum in Wales requires teachers to approach Religion Values and Ethics in an objective, critical, and pluralistic manner, and there is no scope for evangelising. Children are to learn about religions and non-religious philosophical convictions without being encouraged to adopt any one belief. There is still a requirement for daily acts of Christian collective worship but under the law this should not extend into the rest of the school day, and parents must be given the right to withdraw their children from this worship.

Teaching creationism as scientific fact is not against the law in Wales as it is in England. The new curriculum, implemented last year, does not require evolution to be taught in primary school – only during progression step 5 (ages 14-16). This leaves children vulnerable to groups such as the Bridgend Louisiana Partnership.

Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick commented:

‘Schools invite groups in to give children the opportunity to meet people with different beliefs. But this should not be permitted to turn into attempts to convert, nor should they be permitted to spread false information in the appalling manner demonstrated in this film. Such visits would be bad enough in a faith school, but that they took place in schools without a religious character is grounds for serious concern.

‘The Welsh Government now needs to make sure schools have clear guidelines on how to manage visiting speakers, and should act to ban the teaching of creationism as fact. It is also time to address the law requiring daily acts of Christian worship in schools – which is just an open door for more instances of inappropriate and discriminatory groups having access to children in schools.’



For further comment or information, media should contact Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick at or phone 07881 625 378.

Watch the film ‘how tragedy brought US evangelicals to Welsh schools’.

Read more about our work on collective worship.

Read more about our work on faith schools.

Read more about our work on the science curriculum

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