If you don’t have a Good News Club in your school now, you may have one soon.
The Child Evangelism Fellowship’s goal is to plant a Good News Club in every one of our nation’s 65,000 public elementary schools. Good News Clubs operating in public schools are controversial. As often happens when religion intersects with secular public institutions, the potential for conflict is strong. Following are some of the areas where schools can be at risk.
- Parental Concerns: Many parents, including many Christians, resent the Good News Club’s aggressive recruiting of “unsaved” kids. Some are concerned that the Club’s doctrines and conversion strategies can be damaging or abusive to children. Others are upset that the Club misrepresents itself as harmless Bible study when it’s really an attempt to convert very young children to fundamentalist beliefs.
- Religious Bullying: Children who attend the Good News Club are encouraged to recruit their friends. Sometimes these recruiting efforts take the form of bullying and harassment. Club teachers threaten children with Hell if they don’t convert to the Club’s narrow brand of Christianity, and these children, in turn, sometimes threaten their classmates with Hell if they don’t convert as well.
- Division in the School Community: The Good News Club’s evangelical agenda can cause conflict and division between previously harmonious groups of parents, students and school staff. Children and parents get categorized into “saved” and “unsaved” and members of other religious groups start to feel threatened and unfairly treated. Eventually communities can begin to withdraw their support for the schools.
- Disruption to Public Education: School administrators should be alert to organizations that subvert the authority of parents and schools and promote an anti-science agenda. The Good News Club’s sponsor, the Child Evangelism Fellowship, is part of a movement whose goal is to undermine and eventually eliminate secular public education and replace it with fundamentalist Christian academies.