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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book Excerpt: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault On American Children

Book Excerpt: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault On American Children

In 2009, Katherine Stewart learned that the Santa Barbara public elementary school her children attended had added a class called “The Good News Club” to its afterschool program. 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 a fundamentalist form of Christianity and encourage them to proselytize their “unchurched” peers, all the while promoting the false but unavoidable impression among the children that its activities are endorsed by the school.

Astonished to discover that there are 3500 Good News Clubs in public elementary schools around the country – and that the Supreme Court has deemed this and other religious programs in public schools constitutional – Stewart, who had previously written for Newsweek International and Rolling Stone, set out on an investigative journey across dozens of cities and towns to uncover their effects on our schools, children, and communities. In her new book, “The Good News Club,” which comes out today and is excerpted below, she explains how religiously driven initiatives are inserting themselves into public school systems with unprecedented force and unexpected consequences.
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Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • dman2012

    All fundamentalists have been under extremely close scruitiny the last few years with the fastest growing population in the world being Atheists or Anti-Theists. People are now beginning to realize that placing belief in fact rather than fiction is an entirely rational decision, and that hatred for others different than you or your parents based on race, sex, or politics is extremely narrow minded and does nothing for the advancement of our species. The religious groups have always ingrained their “faith” in children as kids are extremely impressionable and end up feeling as though they truly believe such nonsense written in the bible, Qur’an, Torah, etc. Letting people believe in a god of their choice is a totally moral thing. But once those begin pressuring if not forcing our children to do the same is entirely immoral.

  • PatrickHenry

    America WAS founded on Christiam Principles, NOT Altheism, and it is the secularists and statists that are the ones preaching their beliefs to our children while denying Christians to profess their beliefs, which is morally wrong and against our Bill of Rights..

  • Dominick

    This is nothing new, brainwashing has been used for centuries to control the masses. Hitler and Goebbels, the Holy Spanish Inquisition, most religious denomination and politicians have used similar tactics to control, use, and exploit the masses. Having said that, I think it is unfortunate to see it happening in the USA, a country whose founding fathers tried to separate Church from State for reasons that should be apparent to everyone.

  • Nicholas Rudolph

    Tell me again how the differ from the Taliban?


    The current day “Church” and those on the right is what really needs to be feared here, and not some enigmatic “liberal agenda.” For many years now the evangelical community has been attempting through a misguided notion of their own moral superiority to impose it’s version of scriptural edicts upon the U.S. in a thinly veiled attempt to turn this nation into a theocratic state like those in the Middle East. So, if there is an end in sight for America, it is due to the hypocrisy and insidious and divisive nature of what is called “Christianity.” Too much of what goes on in the circles of church communities around the country is woefully anti-Christ. That Christianity’s overly zealous evangelical participants are blind to this fact and that theirs is an unholy spirit identical to the same less-than-divine one embodied in the brutality of the crusades centuries ago, indicates that there may indeed be a spiritual war afoot, but also that there is a very real possibility that its opposing sides are disguised as the other.

  • Richie T

    This country was NOT found on “Christian Principles”.
    Allowing only one would be the government supporting a particular religion. The public schools are run by the government. ………
    Teaching Christianity being allowed in PUBLIC schools, means ANY other religion in the world would have to be allowed to be taught. It’s all, or none. THAT’S what the 1st section of the 1st amendment is about……….

    It’s not “separation of church and state”……..
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”…….
    Search “major religions worldwide” There are TWENTY TWO religions world wide …… How would they react if a person set up after school classes, and taught Islam. They’d freak……..
    THAT’S the way to stop it

  • fishyexcuse

    “If I say it three times, its true”. As PatrickHenry hunts for his snark, not to be found in the actual Constitution, it is well to remember that the country, it’s laws, were founded on principles of natural law, based on the fact that you are human and born. You want to force my child to say prayers before school?; excuse me, who is the statist here? Emjaycoos has hit the nail on the head.

  • EtatsUnis

    Patrick Henry needs to learn that this country was founded on “freedom of religion” — all religion. That means freedom to worship whatever faith tradition one wishes. Thank God for that freedom. As a dedicated Christian, I do not see anyone denying me my beliefs as Patrick Henry suggests. Now is not the time to restrict that freedom out of enthusiasm for Christianity.

  • doc4cd1

    There is nothing “wrong” with the Bible or the Koran or any such text. It is how the misguided and malevolent USE that book that is a reason to worry. What we are seeing is the misguided and malevolent use of the Bible to develop a generation of non-thinking, non-reasoning lemmings. Used the way it is by these “fundamentalists”, the Bible becomes no different from the “Little Red Book” used by Mao to indoctrinate or the aberation of the Koran used by the Radical Islamists in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iran.

    Once again we are faced with a small and, God help us, growing group of radical reactionaries that have virtually NO understanding that the seperation of church and state was to protect BOTH the church and the state. No understanding that the Founders knew of the excesses of State Religion (probably first hand in some cases) led to a limiting of Religious Freedom because of the “my way is the only way” attitude these fanatics adopt. No understanding that seperation of church and state is the phrase commonly used to describe the “establishment” clause of the 1st amendment.

    Finally, it is a sad statement of the reality that far too many Americans do not understand the cornerstone of many, if not all, of our freedoms and that the statement “The price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilence” refers to such machinations as described in the article. Only by having the majority of Americans voting for secular principles will freedom of religious belief continue in the United States. As I have said to my sister (who found and believes in Jesus Christ as her savior), I will stand guard at the doorway to your church or temple to protect your right to freedom of religion, however, please leave me alone to pursue mine

  • Dik

    Obviously these Christian evangelists are terrorists. Theirs is a viewpoint which must not be heard. They should be banned from any use of public facilities. Our children are in great peril from these monsters.

    Dik Thurston
    Colorado Springs

  • Dean May

    If they teach one teach em all – teach some comparative religion classes. If we are going to raise em to fight the Taliban shouldn’t we teach them how the Taliban think – where their ideas & beliefs come from. As a matter of fact teach em where our (Christian)ideas come from.
    They don’t believe in evolution — Christianity evolved – Zorastianism Plato & the other Greek Philosopher on up through Augustine & Aquinas & back long before that. If you teach em one- teach em all LET THEM CHOOSE.

  • LouLou

    What is the difference between our US Religious Right and the Terrorists?
    Answer: nothing
    This is exactly the sort of thing that Germany went through before Nazism took hold and Adolf Hitler took that beautiful nation into Hell. Just think, it is the exact same intolerance for others who are different (non evangelical), other religions (Jewish, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, etc…), brainwashing, they believe in segregation, they do not believe in the Voting Rights Act. They fervently believe in their superiority. All of this points to a distorted and misguided form of Nationalism.
    They misuse the Bible, just as the Terrorists misuse the Koran, to forcefully impose their version of their moral RIGHTS on the majority.
    They are highly organized and dangerous to the human societies of our world. And they are well funded. Remember they were behind Rick Perry. Eventually, with time someone of their choosing will take the presidency….heaven really help us then.
    They and their leaders are wishing for the “End of the World” i.e. The Rapture to come, because they believe that is when they will be taken to Heaven to be with their creator. This sort of thinking is the same sort of thinking as the Terrorists who believe that they will be rewarded by killing “unbelievers” in suicide bombings.
    So just think, a leader who believes/wishes for Salvation will not hesitate to push the Nuclear Button. Heaven help us then…….too damn late for the human race.

  • Epicatastasis

    I was raised in Christian fundamentalism and now see it as a form of child abuse. It does not seek to make people more forgiving or more enlightened etc, but teaches people how to be saved. It teaches a fearful Hell if you do not believe a certain way. It caused me great stress as a child and even though they also taught the loving parts of the Bible—–the fact that this God might torture me for eternity, overshadowed all those teachings in a shocking way. How could I or anyone love such a God or ourselves or anyone—- believing that way. I now consider myself a follower of Christ who interprets the Bible in a historical and metaphysical way. The religious right are like the scribes and pharasees whom Jesus condemned because they had no love in their hearts. Our country was founded on religious freedom and we must keep religion out of schools.

  • Austin00005

    Look, you guys claiming this country was founded on Christian principles just need to stop. I don’t hate God, in fact, I feel the complete opposite. But you guys need to stop. This country was not, I repeat, not founded on religion. It wasn’t true to the forefathers of this country, just as it is not today. Lies are a big disservice to the forefathers of this country. Have you read the constitution? Read it, with referencing Bill Oreilly or some preachers version of it. What would you do if a Muslim parenthood group put together an after school program for your kids? Just think about it.

  • tcprice

    It’s sad that the author thought she didn’t fit in because she is a Jew. True believer Jews and Christians are connected at the hip and believe in God the creator, The Bible as Law, The Ten Commandments as well as the sanctity of life. The main difference between practicing Christians(as opposed to right wing Religious fanatic so-called Christians) and the practicing Jews(as opposed to anything goes left wing pagan Jews)is they are still waiting for the Messiah. As a practicing Christian, I believe Jesus is Messiah and follow the Gospels/teachings of Jesus Christ not Religious fanatics. Shame on the author for implying that ALL Christians take the lead of the so-called “religious right” and are fanatics as dangerous as the Taliban. That’s as anti semetic/rascist/prejudice as saying ALL Moslems are terrorists. Or an example of closed minded fanatical left “brainwashing”. I love to listen to BOTH sides in a discussion. There is much to be learned from the greatest and least of US ALL. However we should ALL be very careful who we choose as our leaders and before we decide to follow should find out what they stand for first. In my life I’ve seen many so called leaders come and go. I choose to take my lead from the Bible, The Gospels and teachings of My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ not from any right or left leaning demi gods. PEACE

  • jimmyags

    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the more “devout” someone is about their beliefs the less likely they are to want to hear about yours?

  • jimackermann

    The left sure does seem terrified of people with faith. To me, it feels like the left would make a belief in God illeagel if they could. Seems like they are trying to make it unpopular to believe anything that does not fit their secular way. Try it with me and I will promise you a really bad day.

  • jlo

    Mr. Ackermann, here are direct quotes from your post: “The left sure does seem terrified of people of faith” and ” … Try it with me and I will promise you a really bad day.” See the connection? The irony? Please use the smart part of your brain when you process information and when trying to communicate. People of faith don’t generally scare me. People like you do.


    same thing, it is all about control.

  • stripey7

    The author doesn’t specify how these clubs are “promoting the false but unavoidable impression among the children that [their] activities are endorsed by the school.” The easiest way to ensure that they don’t is simply to establish atheism, critical thinking, and/or comparative religion clubs, which would be protected by the very same ruling that protects these, in the same schools.

  • stripey7

    The author doesn’t specify how these clubs are “promoting the false but unavoidable impression among the children that [their] activities are endorsed by the school.” The surest way to guarantee that they don’t is simply to establish atheism, critical thinking, and/or comparative religion clubs, which are protected by the very same Supreme Court ruling, in the same schools.

  • stripey7

    Sorry about the duplicate comment. Some technical screw-up made it look as if the first comment hadn’t taken.