OK, for anyone but zealots and sadists, this should be a rhetorical question, but sadly for Portlanders this summer, it wasn’t. The Child Evangelism Fellowship moved in on Portland with their Good News Clubs (sic), partnering with local churches to host summer bible clubs in the hope of establishing themselves as after school programs in local K-12 schools throughout the year.
More details here:
The lessons they teach include the notion that everyone is a sinner and will go to hell if they don’t accept Jesus, etc. etc. blah blah blah, and the clubs are open to children as young as five. They are also taught they have a duty to recruit their friends to the club. Fortunately this is Portland we’re talking about, and a group called Protect Portland’s Children was already 400 strong by mid-July. The article linked above noted that one of the co-founders, Robert Aughenbaugh, “. . . finds calling a population of children a ‘harvest field’ worrisome and creepy.” Ya think??
For anyone interested, journalist Katherine Stewart has written a book about this group, which has been operating for about 75 years and currently has such clubs in 4,300 schools across the nation. The title is The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on American Children.
My personal view is that any religious upbringing beyond pointing out that there are a lot of different religions out there and everyone has a choice ranging from all to none is one of the most heinous forms of child abuse.
Michael - I agree it's pathetic that either of these things is going on in our public schools. TST's response is hopefully at least effective theatre that will make the point with reasonable people that the Good News Club's efforts amount to nothing more than a horrible form of abuse.
Except for Catholics, religionists tend to frown on people raping children's bodies, but they seem to have no qualms about doing essentially the same to their minds.
Thank you, Joan. I have enough free time that if it ever happened here I would do the same thing. It's mind rape.
....We do not have Good News Club at our schools here.......yet. However, the closest chapter office is 14 miles away.....I have no doubt they"ll be coming our way.
What local Christians already have here is this:
Should I be worried?
What a quandary! Children rely on their parents and guardians for safety and guidance. They will get their world views primarily from them. This Fellowship probably is a genuine and heartfelt movement as perceived by it's members. This is their legacy of generational teaching. Chances are this is to be passed down for long after we are gone. The world is flooded with good and bad information now. This is the lifeblood of all religions to control and edit incoming info to tailor it to their views and perpetuate the "cause". That is why I love being an atheist. I was raised as such and therefore i was granted much unfiltered data and unfettered inquiry into all sorts of things,and though I might have been held in sway by this idea or that, fear of retribution has never been a factor in any of my thoughts or actions. And it should never be a recruitment tool for any cause.