The Good News Club? Evangelical assault: Christian extremists plan to recruit children in Portland’s public schools, using abusive and destructive tactics to indoctrinate children with a message of shame and terror.
The Good News Club is a front for the Missouri-based religious group, the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), a well-funded, highly coordinated effort by Christian extremists to use public schools to advance a fundamentalist agenda.
The group plans to invade Portland’s public elementary schools this fall, according to an announcement released by the Portland, Oregon chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Every year the group targets one U.S. city for invasion. In previous years, they’ve targeted Boston, Denver, Chicago, Little Rock, Salt Lake City, and the Twin Cities. This year they’ve chosen Portland, Oregon.
About The Good News Club:
Every year, thousands of public elementary school children bring flyers and permission slips home to their parents, seeking to take part in an after-school “Good News Club” inside one of over 4000 public elementary schools in America.
The flyers promise an hour or more of fun and Bible-centered character and moral education. Because the club takes place on public school grounds, parents assume their children will be safe and unharmed.But the snacks, games, prizes, songs, and fun activities mask a dark message of shame and fear indoctrination.
The Good News Club curriculum is filled with over 5000 references to sin and thousands more to obedience, punishment, and Hell. It stresses Old Testament narratives of a retributive God who must punish sin, warns children that they will suffer an eternity in Hell if they refuse to believe, and stresses complete obedience as the supreme value. Good News Club tells children as young as preschoolers that they have “dark” and “sinful” hearts, were born that way, and “deserve to die” and “go to Hell.”
The impressionable children attending the club often think the religion of the Good News Club must be true because they learned it in school. The Good News Club promotes belief in creationism, and contempt for science, and warns children that to believe otherwise is sin, which deserves “a terrible place of punishment.”
The CEF plans on sending 175 missionaries to Portland this July. Their goal is to start Good News Clubs in about 30 public elementary schools to evangelize children as young as 4-5 years old.
The aggressive evangelizing and extreme doctrines of the club is becoming a growing concern for Portland parents and other citizens. In response to citizens’ concerns, Robert Aughenbaugh, the Legislative Director of the Secular Coalition for Oregon, will lead a discussion on the current operations of the Good News Club in the Portland area, and what citizens can do to minimize their impact.