From PoliticusUSA: http://www.politicususa.com/the-good-news-club/
By: Deborah Foster
March 26, 2012
Going door to door, risking that each knock will be met with rejection, right wing evangelical Christians have gotten frustrated with the slow pace of recruitment to their beliefs. They needed a new tactic to fill their pews and the easiest targets for indoctrination are young children who don’t yet have the capacity to question whether they are being manipulated. So, the best place to find impressionable minds is in schools. There are thousands of parochial schools across the country where parents send their children to have an education that blends religion with reading, writing, and arithmetic. But this wasn’t good enough for the Christian Right; they needed to cast a much wider net. This is how the “Good News Club” came into being.
Ostensibly, an after-school club, the organization, sponsored by the international ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship, is actually a foothold into the public schools to begin a base of evangelizing Christian beliefs, particularly fundamentalist beliefs, to youth. What are the beliefs that the “Good News Clubs” want children to adopt? According the author of “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children,” Katherine Stewart, they endorse the Bible as a literal and infallible word of God, teach that conversion to their own version of Christianity is the only path to salvation, while other types of Christians are not actually Christian, and they heavily emphasize the role of Satan in everyday life. One anecdote shared by Katherine Stewart in her book is instructive of how the “Good News Clubs,” treat children of other faiths. A Catholic boy had a brother die, and he told a leader at a club that his brother was an angel in heaven. This women stated, “I had to tell him that no, his brother was not an angel in heaven…I could see the look in this boy’s eyes. He was just devastated.” This was because he wasn’t “saved.”
Public schools are supposed to provide a secular environment where children are free from indoctrination into religious ministry. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that after-school activities must be open to religious groups alongside any other group, and by 2010, there were 3,439 “Good News Clubs” in public schools across the country. This seems reasonable enough for a group of Christian students to do Bible study or Muslim students to meet for discussions of Islam. They even have to have parent permission for children to participate. However, “Good News Clubs” have a coordinated national alliance of religious organizations behind them with more than just a self-contained student club on their agenda. They want their version of Christianity to be spread far and wide to susceptible children. They use all of the tactics one would expect to draw in vulnerable youth including offering candy and cookies. Mathew Staver, a leader of the club initiative and President of Liberty Counsel, has written: “Classrooms are full of unchurched children waiting to hear about a Savior who loves them and forgives sin.” Clearly, the group isn’t limiting its reach to current believers, but instead intends to evangelize to other children who are not believers in their faith. Indeed, the clubs teach the children who attend to go out and recruit other children to their meetings. According to Katherine Stewart, “Parents have reported many instances in which children tell playmates of other faiths that they will go to hell.”
Continue reading at: http://www.politicususa.com/the-good-news-club/