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Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 in Christianity, Missionaries, Religion | 4 comments

Fundamentalists Are Coming For Our Kids

Last night, I got to hear author Katherine Stewart talk about her book, “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.” Before the talk, I was vaguely aware that there were fundy Christian groups pushing afterschool Bible Studies, but I had no idea just how extreme these groups actually are.

I don’t want to give away too much of the talk because I do want people to buy the book. But I do want to talk briefly about some of the highlights of the talk. Also, I will be publishing an interview with Stewart on Examiner within the next few days, so subscribe to my Examiner page.

What these groups are doing is using the cloak of authority that schools have to push their radical beliefs. Stewart told a story about how one little girl thought that since she learns facts in school, that these Bible Studies were teaching actual facts. While it is easy for us as adults to separate school programs from programs that happen to take place on school grounds, kids often are not able to make that distinction. In fact, when one of these groups was given the option for more space at a local church, they declined because they wanted their program to be in the school so that they can cloak their agenda under the authority of the school.

These aren’t just regular Bible Study programs either. I was pretty surprised by just how ridged the curriculum (if you could call it that) of these programs are. It isn’t a “club” as much as it is an indoctrination factory. All the “clubs” use the same text books with complete “lesson” plans that must be followed to the letter. Every “club” uses the exact same plan on the exact same day. There is no deviation and no original thought.

And guess what they preach? Their principle message is obedience to authority and complete and total submission. These groups aren’t just trying to convert atheists, they actually try to deceive Christian parents so that they can indoctrinate kids into a more extreme fundamentalism than parents realize.

But it gets worse. I don’t want to give away too much. Buy the book. Also, check out my interview with Katherine Stewart on Examiner. It will be out soon.

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  • SmilodonsRetreat

    The only after school program my kid goes to is Mad Science, and I’ve talked to their teachers and seen their work.

    I can’t imagine an atheist letting their child go to any Bible study. Kids just don’t have the critical thinking skills and social stature to deal with indoctrination.

    • http://www.skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      Of course atheist kids aren’t going to go to Bible Study. But moderate or even right wing Christians will. But this is not even right wing Bible Study. This is far, far right wing extremist Bible Study. One of the things they do is brainwash kids to evangelize other kids. Even kids whose parents are atheists will have friends that might be slightly religious. Those friends are now going to tell your kid that if he or she doesn’t join the Good News Club, he or she will burn in Hell forever. That is pretty scary for young kids to hear. My son is almost 4 and he has no idea about religion. I can’t imagine one of his school friends trying to convert him to extreme Christianity in that way. This is pretty scary.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Oh, yeah, I totally agree that it’s scary. I wonder if there’s anything that could counter it. What are the odds that a “critical thinking” after school program would be allowed?

        Part of the lessons we used to do in Biology was a study of food labels and examining them critically. Perhaps combine something like that with a study of TV commercials… and for older kids a look at the claims of politicians on the campaign trail and some work on how to evaluate sources, how to perform good google searches.

        Hmm… now you’ve got me thinking.

        • http://www.skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

          There are a few options here. The first is to educate the general public about these Good News Clubs. The second is to help fund the Secular Student Alliance so that they can continue to create and support High School Freethought groups..But neither of those options really solve the problem. They are just the best we can do.