The Good News Club is a nationwide evangelical religious program that uses public elementary schools to convert young children to fundamentalist Christianity.
Due to a 2001 Supreme Court decision, Good News Clubs are allowed to meet in public school facilities. They usually meet immediately after regular classes end in order to give young children the misleading but unavoidable impression that Club teachings are sponsored and approved by the school.
Good News Clubs falsely bill themselves as fun, non-denominational programs of songs, games and Bible stories.
Their flyers and permission slips do not mention the Club’s mission of converting children to their extreme version of Christian fundamentalism and using them to evangelize their public school classmates. Nor do Clubs disclose their focus on sin and punishment and use of shame and fear to convert children.
Good News Clubs appear to be hosted by local churches, but they are run by the Missouri-based Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF).
CEF provides the teaching materials that local churches are required to use and trains local Club teachers. CEF operates thousands of Good News Clubs in U.S. public elementary schools and hopes to eventually establish Clubs in all 65,000 U.S. public elementary schools.
Good News Clubs are widely criticized for
- introducing religious proselytizing into public schools
- concealing and misrepresenting their true mission on flyers and permission slips
- a conversion process based on shame and fear that can harm vulnerable young children
- trying to create the impression in children that their teachings and activities are sanctioned by the schools
- using children to recruit their friends and classmates, resulting in religious bullying and conflict in school communities
- working to undermine public education and dismantle the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.