A registration form came home from public school with my 4th grader last week. It is called an after school club, all boys and girls in grades 1-5 are invited regardless of religious background. It's free! It's fun! The name itself "Good News Club" is an immediate clue to the religious nature of the group. The list of activities include Bible Science Lessons and Scripture Memorization. Alarm bells and whistles had me running to Google. I need to get some information before I talk with the Superintendent. I will share what I have found so far, I would also appreciate any information or experiences you may have had with them that would help.
In the fine print it is revealed that the club is sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship.They are a worldwide organization that has been around since 1937 according to their website. Digging a little farther things don't look so innocent. I came across an article by Valerie Tarico,PH.D. at the website Away Point Here is a small sample of what she found:
In actual fact, Child Evangelism Fellowship is not in the business of teaching morals. It is an Evangelical organization with a core belief that no amount of morals will get you into heaven. In their fundamentalist theology, all children are born sinful and slated for eternal torture. Only the divine human sacrifice of Jesus and being “born-again” can save them from this fate. To funders and volunteers, Child Evangelism fellowship is very clear about mission: “CEF is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, disciple them in the Word of God and establish them in a Bible-believing church for Christian living.” Your child is their mission field.This article pointed me to a book written by Katherine Stewart, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.
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.I also came across a YouTube video, Sophia investigates the Good News Club(36 minutes).
It appears that one of the best tools that they have for being let into the schools is a Supreme Court decision in 2001 Good News Club v. Milford Central School which forced public schools to let them use the facilities after school hours. It seems using the school building is a big part of their plan, since the children see adults at school as teachers and authority figures.
I want to be clear that that this is not anti-religion or anti-Christian. I am a Christian, I take my girls to Church. I am not opposed to different groups using the facility after hours, though I don't know what the district policy is. It is this group that raises my suspicions. I hope you can add to the information I found. Thanks.