. . . and it is all bad.
The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children is one of the most important books you will read if you care at all about our public school system in America and Jefferson’s wall of separation between church & state. Author Katherine Stewart exposes the Christian Right’s plan to undermine the public education system. This plan is without regard to families and communities. In fact, in an effort to “save” America’s children they are breaking the education systems in place to truly save them. But what do they care? Jesus is coming soon. All hell will break out in the world and they will rejoice. This worldview is as dangerous as Islamic martyrs who give their own lives for 70 virgins in the afterlife. Sure, we see death and destruction quicker with a suicide mission but make no mistake, the assault the Christian Right is taking on our children and education system, in time, will be equally as destructive to our country and is currently as much of a threat.
Last evening I attended an event held by the Freethought Society to hear Katherine Stewart speak. I had just finished reading the book that day and was interested to hear about this issue in a live, group environment. Having read the book prior to the event, I was already aware of the shocking story behind the Good News Club and its mission but she had even more terrible tales to tell outside of the text. For a bit of background, this is the book description from Amazon:
In 2009, the Good News Club came to the public elementary school where journalist Katherine Stewart sent her children. The Club, which is sponsored by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, bills itself as an after-school program of “Bible study.” But Stewart soon discovered that the Club’s real mission is to convert children to fundamentalist Christianity and encourage them to proselytize to their “unchurched” peers, all the while promoting the natural but false impression among the children that its activities are endorsed by the school.
Astonished to discover that the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed this—and other forms of religious activity in public schools—legal, Stewart set off on an investigative journey to dozens of cities and towns across the nation to document the impact. In this book she demonstrates that there is more religion in America’s public schools today than there has been for the past 100 years. The movement driving this agenda is stealthy. It is aggressive. It has our children in its sights. And its ultimate aim is to destroy the system of public education as we know it.
The idea that a group would enter the public school system and proselytize to children as young as 4 years old is obscene enough. But these groups encourage faith-based bullying. Not only are they causing faith-based segregation in the school yard, they aim to tear families apart. And they do it with a smile and joy in their heart. The Christian Right hopes to bring the parents of these children into their church no matter what the consequesnecs. Why should this surprise anyone? This is what Jesus wants. According to Luke 12:49-53, Jesus says:
“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Young children are not able to make the distinction between things that are taught and sanctioned by their school and things that are not sanctioned but taught inside the school. And the Good News Clubs love this. Children run out telling everyone if they don’t believe in Jesus they will burn in Hell! Don’t tell them that’s not true because they learned it in school and things they are taught in school are most certainly true. What are they being taught? Why, the ABCs of course.
A. Admit to God your sins.
B. Believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins.
C. Confess that Jesus is the Lord, and you shall be saved from the punishment that your sin deserves. You’ll get to go to heaven!
This is sick and as far as I am concerned is child abuse.
One of the most troubling stories Katherine told us last night was the lesson of obedience the Christian Right is bringing to 5 and 6 year olds. In their teaching materials, which Kathrine brought with her, the story of 1 Samuel 15 – God Rejects Saul as King is told to the children:
Samuel also said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’
The story goes on to explain that Saul didn’t kill EVERYONE and EVERYTHING so God was pissed off. Saul didn’t OBEY. At this point, Katherine pointed out to us the teacher’s instructions while telling this story.
Have the children shout, “God will help you obey.”
This instruction to the teacher is written in the book at least four times. They children are shown cards with the word OBEY on them. Not surprising, obedience to authority is also what the Good News Club expects from those who join them. At this point my mind went right to John Carpenter’s brilliant movie They Live. In that movie, when you put on special sunglasses you can see that we are all being controlled by subliminal messages. The word OBEY is everywhere around us. But the Good News Clubs are not even trying to be clever about it. They are doing it right in front of us and have been and will continue to do so until we fight back.
These people believe that they are literally battling Satan himself. This is a dangerous belief. It is also absurd. What scares me is that, to them, Satan is real. And when delusions are that deeply imbedded there is no telling how far these Christians will go. Being an atheist, I am without a doubt their enemy and a soldier of Satan. I truly fear for America if these people get what they want.
These are well funded organizations. They have lawyers on their side. They know how to win court cases and find loop holes in the system. They know how to market to children. They study children and how to win them over. This is a real threat. I can not stress the importance of this book. It needs to be on your bookshelf alongside another book I feel is as equally important to read: Attack of the Theocrats! How the Religious Right Harms Us All—and What We Can Do About It. I have children in public school. I also know that the Good News Club is close to my area. Maybe not my school district yet, but I want to be prepared and have the tools needed to fight back. Many people have been complacent about the school system and while we slept, they marched right in and began brainwashing our children. Enough is enough. It stops today. Join us. Read the book.
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