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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 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. Astonished to discover that the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed this -- and other forms of religious activity in public schools -- legal, Stewart set off on an investigative journey to dozens of cities and towns across the nation to document the impact. In this book she demonstrates that there is more religion in America's public schools today than there has been for the past 100 years. The movement driving this agenda is stealthy. It is aggressive. It has our children in its sights. And its ultimate aim is to destroy the system of public education as we know it.


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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 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. Astonished to discover that the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed this -- and other forms of religious activity in public schools -- legal, Stewart set off on an investigative journey to dozens of cities and towns across the nation to document the impact. In this book she demonstrates that there is more religion in America's public schools today than there has been for the past 100 years. The movement driving this agenda is stealthy. It is aggressive. It has our children in its sights. And its ultimate aim is to destroy the system of public education as we know it.

30 review for The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    UPDATE 5/8/13 This book describes the activities of scary people, engaged in an activity I personally find reprehensible. Their goal is to take over the minds of the young children of America and inject their version of a Jesus-based religion. Anyone not part of their group, including most Christians who are not Christian enough, will go to hell. The really frightening thing is that they’re good at what they’re doing, and the U.S. Supreme Court has said it’s legal. The Good News Club, a function o UPDATE 5/8/13 This book describes the activities of scary people, engaged in an activity I personally find reprehensible. Their goal is to take over the minds of the young children of America and inject their version of a Jesus-based religion. Anyone not part of their group, including most Christians who are not Christian enough, will go to hell. The really frightening thing is that they’re good at what they’re doing, and the U.S. Supreme Court has said it’s legal. The Good News Club, a function of the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), already operates in over 3,500 public elementary schools in the U.S. They function ostensibly as an after-school club, hence the legality, but in fact they are ferociously peddling their message in a way that poses a threat to our system of public education and indeed to our concept of America as a secular democracy. CEF maintains that America was founded as a Christian nation and that it is the right and obligation of Christians (some Christians) to take it back, including conversion of public schools into church schools. Their work is intended to create an “us” and “them” mentality among all Americans, totally opposed to the spirit of inclusion and tolerance that I believe most of us support. The rest of us are out there as a harvest to be converted. Now I don’t care what people do in their own churches. Catholics, for instance, including former Pope Ratzinger, have clearly stated that it is the mission of the Catholic Church to convert all the Jews. But it is when these purveyors of a particular faith take aim on our young children in public schools that this becomes a menace that calls out for public attention and aggressive response. One young girl arguing with her Jewish classmate … Jesus is the best, don’t you want to be with Jesus ... If not, you’ll go to hell ... You’re a bad person if you don’t believe in Jesus. This is not supposed to happen in our public secular schools. Most of us think this kind of proselytizing is forbidden by our Constitution. But the Supreme Court has held otherwise, as regards after-school religious clubs. If a Good News Club exists in your child’s elementary school, it is not a local effort arising spontaneously from the community. It is part of a national organization, with Plan Books, manuals, procedures, lawyers, and a substantial budget, and with goals that most of us find about as un-American as it can get. They believe in the literal word of the Bible and they won’t be satisfied until all the rest of us accept their extreme religious beliefs. They could never reach that goal by honestly stating it and trying to argue its merits as they see them. Instead, they have deviously focused on the most impressionable - young children aged 4-14 - in the place where they can most easily be influenced, our public elementary schools. MORE TO COME …

  2. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Allen

    I have been involved in the struggle to expose the Religious Right and its motives for over thirty years. I graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when it was one of thr great theological centers of the world. Religious fundamentalists took over that seminary and reduced it to less than a shell of what it was. Ms. Stewart exposes these groups as well as anyone ever has. I strongly encourage everyone to read this book; then research for yourself her assertions. As an ordained Baptist I have been involved in the struggle to expose the Religious Right and its motives for over thirty years. I graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when it was one of thr great theological centers of the world. Religious fundamentalists took over that seminary and reduced it to less than a shell of what it was. Ms. Stewart exposes these groups as well as anyone ever has. I strongly encourage everyone to read this book; then research for yourself her assertions. As an ordained Baptist minister I want to assure everyone that these groups are still a minority, but they hace acquired enormous power through the political system. Also be assured that what tleaders of these groups do has nothing to do with the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Their goal is power and control and they have found a way to get people to follow them blindly!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marco

    "Warning! What you are about to read may be the most Radical approach to Evangelism in Public Schools you have ever heard of. IS IT LEGAL? No-not for adults. But it is completely legal for students! It is is a God-given loophole! -The Life Book Movement website, a project of The Gideons International, which has distributed nearly 1.5 million religious tracts to high school students since launching in 2009." This quote comes rather deep into The Good News Club. But it doesn't come as a surprise. Re "Warning! What you are about to read may be the most Radical approach to Evangelism in Public Schools you have ever heard of. IS IT LEGAL? No-not for adults. But it is completely legal for students! It is is a God-given loophole! -The Life Book Movement website, a project of The Gideons International, which has distributed nearly 1.5 million religious tracts to high school students since launching in 2009." This quote comes rather deep into The Good News Club. But it doesn't come as a surprise. Readers this far into the work have seen a deviously intentional, systematic agenda being played out by some factions on the religious right. In all honesty I was surprised at how much I reacted to what I read, but what goes on so brazenly in some of our public schools is shocking. Not being christian (or worse, not the right type of christian) is motive for these individuals, many of whom do not have children in the school they work with or in the public school system at all, to go after them in an attempt to "harvest" them for the lord. It's a tough read, but ultimately one which ought to be read, even (especially) by people of faith. As Stewart says at the end of her book what's wanted by those behind this movement is not equality- it's control. Control over a system that they consider rightly theirs. If they can't get it then, according to their view, it ought to be broken. Their admission to the fact that their work can divide communities and throw schools into chaos if they dare to try to limit the GNC access to children whose parents don't want them is appalling. Not to mention incredibly hypocritical. For these people religious freedom only exists to allow them access to those they wish to "harvest," not to those people themselves. Scary stuff...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I spent the entire summer seeped in First Amendment rights within the religious liberties context. My boss recommended this one as a way to understand how the other side thinks. I am glad I read it, yet...I found it sad. A good part of this book is incredibly valid. I particularly appreciated where Stewart recognizes the common goals between 'secular' organizations and 'religious' organizations and the communication gulf that separates the two. Yet as someone seeped in this world, I think Stewar I spent the entire summer seeped in First Amendment rights within the religious liberties context. My boss recommended this one as a way to understand how the other side thinks. I am glad I read it, yet...I found it sad. A good part of this book is incredibly valid. I particularly appreciated where Stewart recognizes the common goals between 'secular' organizations and 'religious' organizations and the communication gulf that separates the two. Yet as someone seeped in this world, I think Stewart goes for the low hanging fruits. Yes, the religious right has crazies. Every group does. Shoving the crazies forward and then denying religious groups equal, neutral access because of crazies, however, defeats the entire purpose of the free speech clause. And I realize I simplify the entire book by summarizing it that way. This is a much larger discussion and problem. I just wish books like this did not feel the need to heap fuel on the fire. Perhaps some day I will write a more thorough, thought-out review. My initial reaction is one of sadness, however, that well meaning people cannot overcome anger and preconceived notions to have a real conversation. This book does more to paint 'us' against 'them' than actually open that communication.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro Mujica

    Stewart concludes her book with a point, that we are more inclined to watch out for political and religious groups with special agendas "when they run for office," but not so much when they visit our communities. Unfortunately part of the problem is that groups like Good News Clubs introduce themselves under false pretenses (as "non-denominational bible-study groups") and have the legal and financial support system to undermine the separation of church and state--a necessary separation, Stewart Stewart concludes her book with a point, that we are more inclined to watch out for political and religious groups with special agendas "when they run for office," but not so much when they visit our communities. Unfortunately part of the problem is that groups like Good News Clubs introduce themselves under false pretenses (as "non-denominational bible-study groups") and have the legal and financial support system to undermine the separation of church and state--a necessary separation, Stewart states, for the betterment of sectarian and secular balance. This is a well-organized text set up much like a thesis: key points summarized in an introduction, defined with quotable references in each chapter, an ending paragraph to wrap up her examples, and copious end notes. It is unfortunate that a book with so much careful consideration and heart has so many typos, though. As the book starts, Stewart paints a very bleak picture of how pervasive Christian Nationalists, Dominionists, and Evangelical conservatives can be with their goals to develop their narrow-minded courses, events, and clubs on public property. Now I say "narrow-minded" because the goal is not just to present the Bible and Christian principles to young students, but to proselytize to them, convert them to a very strict, "Bible-believing" version of Christianity, promote student-to-student proselytizing in their stead, and demand that their way should be the only way to salvation. The students they're out to reach are not just in high school, though; the target demographic is students from four to fourteen (Google the "4/14 window"). Those converted children are also given incentives to reach out to their parents and other children, causing difficulties in the home and rifts between families who support or condemn the GNC's practices. If these clubs are denied further business in schools, the hurt and mistrust between families is what remains, along with a fatigued educational staff and financial resources wasted on legal battles. This bleak picture is fleshed out, chapter to chapter, in such detail and with such damning evidence (cited resources from texts and interviews) that the introductory paragraph is validated. This is horribly scary news. While Stewart's journalistic scrutiny adds a sense of integrity, her personal experiences with CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) staff, evangelical-education conventions, and Good News Club educators provides a sincere point of view. She interviews GNC instructors that also have personal stakes on their volunteering: one mother is worried that her gay son will lose himself in a life of sin and another mother is enraged that her grandchildren are growing up without believing in the devil. She mingles with them in an effort to provide a human face to this machine and let the boots on the ground speak for themselves, not provide gotcha moments. While legal organizations and religious leaders work to infiltrate positions in public education and help bend the definitions of church-and-state separation, Stewart's interviewees are sweet and vibrant people with sincere devotion in what they think is best for their communities, however misguided their perspectives on public education and its role may be. She even acknowledges these folks after her conclusion. This book is written from the perspective of a concerned mother. It all began as a news article about a GNC opening up in her own community, and, as her research continued, so did her story. If you are concerned about your child's education and want them to gain a public education free of coercion and deceit, give this book a try. If a GNC comes to your child's school be very cautious; this book will show you what to expect.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    This was a very well researched and presented thesis. I'm more worried and more hopeful for our public education system all at once. One of my favorite passages is a warning. "I always believed that because we all want the best for our kids, and would recognize the link between education and national excellence, public education would progress and improve. Our kids would be smarter and better informed than we were. Now I wonder if it's just that I was lucky enough to have been born in a generatio This was a very well researched and presented thesis. I'm more worried and more hopeful for our public education system all at once. One of my favorite passages is a warning. "I always believed that because we all want the best for our kids, and would recognize the link between education and national excellence, public education would progress and improve. Our kids would be smarter and better informed than we were. Now I wonder if it's just that I was lucky enough to have been born in a generation that put less stock in the anxious need to indoctrinate than in the hope that open minds will find the truth. Maybe my generation got the best years of American education after all. Maybe my kids will have to deal with something compromised and inferior, a place where the aspiration to teach children takes a back seat to the desire to recruit them." I hope that the best of American education is not past us and that we can still be inspired to teach our children well... to think and reason and continue learning. But I consider myself warned and wary.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Jane

    This is the best book I’ve read yet this year... because it is so scary. Churches in school buildings? Textbook contents determined by a group of non-academic Texans? Public school communities ripped apart over an after-school program that excludes everyone but THE right kind of christians? An end-times worldview that doesn’t care about any of the here and now issues... Reminders about all of those great Dubya faith-based initiatives. Your tax dollars at work, in ways I’d rather not think about. This is the best book I’ve read yet this year... because it is so scary. Churches in school buildings? Textbook contents determined by a group of non-academic Texans? Public school communities ripped apart over an after-school program that excludes everyone but THE right kind of christians? An end-times worldview that doesn’t care about any of the here and now issues... Reminders about all of those great Dubya faith-based initiatives. Your tax dollars at work, in ways I’d rather not think about. But I guess I’m going to have to think about it a little bit more.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jed Sorokin-Altmann

    Well researched, an easy read on an important topic, but it was frustrating that Katherine Stewart only covers the Good News Club and their movement and not any of the forces hopefully marshalled against them, and whether there is any hope of reversing some of the damage Good News Clubs is causing. Without any glimmers of hope in Stewart's book, it remains a valuable read, but also a frustrating and infuriating one. Well researched, an easy read on an important topic, but it was frustrating that Katherine Stewart only covers the Good News Club and their movement and not any of the forces hopefully marshalled against them, and whether there is any hope of reversing some of the damage Good News Clubs is causing. Without any glimmers of hope in Stewart's book, it remains a valuable read, but also a frustrating and infuriating one.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David Niose

    This excellent book is full of well-researched information about the religious right's assault on education in America. Stewart researched her subject thoroughly, and she reports the alarming facts in a sober, level-headed way. This is not a polemic, but it is a clear wake-up call filled with troubling information on the Christian right's effort to dismantle American public education and tear down the wall of separation. This excellent book is full of well-researched information about the religious right's assault on education in America. Stewart researched her subject thoroughly, and she reports the alarming facts in a sober, level-headed way. This is not a polemic, but it is a clear wake-up call filled with troubling information on the Christian right's effort to dismantle American public education and tear down the wall of separation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Harris

    This book was scary. Katherine Stewart did a phenomenal job of opening my eyes to the true goals of the Good News Club. What you may think is an innocuous after school bible study group for kids may not be just that. Stewart exposes the facts that the Child Evangelist Fellowship who runs the Good News Club in public schools all over the United States is out to target not only the non-Christians but also the "wrong kind of Christians." The "wrong kind of Christians" was news to me. So you think y This book was scary. Katherine Stewart did a phenomenal job of opening my eyes to the true goals of the Good News Club. What you may think is an innocuous after school bible study group for kids may not be just that. Stewart exposes the facts that the Child Evangelist Fellowship who runs the Good News Club in public schools all over the United States is out to target not only the non-Christians but also the "wrong kind of Christians." The "wrong kind of Christians" was news to me. So you think you are okay if you are a Catholic or an Episcopalian... nope. The GNC is reeling in these kids presenting themselves as a simple bible club, only to let these types of Christians know that they are on a path straight to Hell due to the fact that they are not "bible-believing" Christians. Stewart also points out that many of these large Christian organizations have a strategy to infiltrate and change the public school system to base the curriculum on Christianity. These people have such a blatant disregard for the separation of church and state that it is absolutely frightening. My stomach actually turned when I read the chapter about the Texas school board approving items for new textbooks, rewriting history in order to appease themselves. I do not have children yet. Perhaps I will in the future, and I am very happy that Katherine Stewart has so graciously pointed out the things to be aware of in the schools. Something that seems rather benign may not be.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    I'm glad someone wrote this. Well-written and researched. And very scary how Christian fundamentalists view anyone not "born again" as the harvest to be converted. It terrifies me (especially since humans now have the technological ability to destroy the earth) that they actually look forward to the "end times." I'm glad someone wrote this. Well-written and researched. And very scary how Christian fundamentalists view anyone not "born again" as the harvest to be converted. It terrifies me (especially since humans now have the technological ability to destroy the earth) that they actually look forward to the "end times."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jasond

    Everyone should read. These people lack all ethics and disgust me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    Comprehensively researched, well-written, and truly terrifying.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erin Derr

    I read this book after the Good News Club showed up on my son's public charter school campus last year. I was concerned about their presence and I wanted to learn more and it was frightening to me how much what has gone on at my son's school over the last year or so parallels what she describes happening at the school in Seattle. These people really are following a script and they are turning children against each other and ruining friendships when they send small children that do not understand I read this book after the Good News Club showed up on my son's public charter school campus last year. I was concerned about their presence and I wanted to learn more and it was frightening to me how much what has gone on at my son's school over the last year or so parallels what she describes happening at the school in Seattle. These people really are following a script and they are turning children against each other and ruining friendships when they send small children that do not understand what they are repeating out to proselytize to their friends. My son and many other children have been approached on the play ground and been told they are bad people because they do not go to this club and that they are going to hell because they do not believe what this club is pushing. It is religious bullying and it is now alive and well and a part of my sons life in that school. My son has a friend that is Christian and she originally allowed her sons to attend thinking as so many assume that is is just a bible study group...it is not. Her sons came home to her and told her that it was a not a godly place and she removed them from the class. She said she teaches her children love and acceptance above all and that was definitely not was those people were about. I most likely will remove my son from that school at the end of his second grade year, which is sad because as any parent with their first child entering school we had high hopes and were enthusiastic about his education and being a part of it, now it's not the same school there is hostility and friendships are fractured all because these people think it's ok to push their fundamentalist religion on everyone else and have the nerve to use children to do their dirty work because they know they cannot legally do it themselves. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach so consider yourselves warned we have complained to the board and the administrators and if they show up on your doorstep it will only be more of the same until there is a major lawsuit and somehow the Supreme Court decides to uphold the constitution again....maybe one day.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    "The Good News Club" is a good starting point for further research, but not a terribly great read on its own. I've been reading a lot of heavier investigative writing lately, so my opinion of her writing style may be a bit skewed by the reading that preceded it. Her style came off as a little chatty and casual. This can be a very good way to lighten up a book that may otherwise be too heavy with stats and facts, however "The Good News Club" doesn't exactly have an overload of stats weighing it "The Good News Club" is a good starting point for further research, but not a terribly great read on its own. I've been reading a lot of heavier investigative writing lately, so my opinion of her writing style may be a bit skewed by the reading that preceded it. Her style came off as a little chatty and casual. This can be a very good way to lighten up a book that may otherwise be too heavy with stats and facts, however "The Good News Club" doesn't exactly have an overload of stats weighing it down. The information on the GNC is shared via anecdotes, so it's very easy to look at the cases Ms Stewart presents as isolated and think that she's just being a paranoid kook. Several of the anecdotes are very similar, and I think she did that to say "Look! The exact things are happening in all these places and everyone's following the same script!" but it was just repetitive. Based on the reading experience alone, I would only give it two stars. However, the book got much better after I closed its cover and returned it to the library. I started wondering how much was real and how much was paranoid partisan bitching. How much did she exagerate? I couldn't get it out of my head and started researching the things she's observed. Wow! Scary stuff! It also inspired some awesome conversations. Following Ms. Stewart's research trail was actually really fun and informative - and all thanks to her book. So "The Good News Club" gets a bonus star for being a great catalyst.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ayman Fadel

    Katherine Stewart claims that Christian Nationalist groups have used misguided court decisions which transformed religious practice into protected speech, culminating in the 2001 Good News Club v. Milford Central, to use public schools for evangelism. Christian Nationalists and others perpetuate the fiction that God "has been kicked out of the schools," and they attribute every social ill to this removal. They see their efforts in public school as a last-ditch attempt to redeem public education, Katherine Stewart claims that Christian Nationalist groups have used misguided court decisions which transformed religious practice into protected speech, culminating in the 2001 Good News Club v. Milford Central, to use public schools for evangelism. Christian Nationalists and others perpetuate the fiction that God "has been kicked out of the schools," and they attribute every social ill to this removal. They see their efforts in public school as a last-ditch attempt to redeem public education, and, if that fails, then to destroy the public's desire to maintain the public school system. My complete review is at http://bit.ly/RWd5Hm.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    The Child Evangelism Fellowship is a sprawling, national, Christian Right movement to indoctrinate members into their sect. They have the power and the money to gain public offices, even at the national level. The Good News Clubs were established to infiltrate our public schools, brainwash our children, ages 5 through 12, and reformat our system of education to their standards. One of these over 3500 after school groups has arrived in our town. This book was written based upon the author's perso The Child Evangelism Fellowship is a sprawling, national, Christian Right movement to indoctrinate members into their sect. They have the power and the money to gain public offices, even at the national level. The Good News Clubs were established to infiltrate our public schools, brainwash our children, ages 5 through 12, and reformat our system of education to their standards. One of these over 3500 after school groups has arrived in our town. This book was written based upon the author's personal experience. It is chilling.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rjhoyle

    This was a very interesting book and a good read, and it would have gotten five stars from me if the author hadn't simply thrown up her hands in the air and said "the sky is falling!" I would have loved a bit of research into how people are fighting against this, and whether or not there is hope. It is definitely a must-read for parents who are considering sending their children to public school. This was a very interesting book and a good read, and it would have gotten five stars from me if the author hadn't simply thrown up her hands in the air and said "the sky is falling!" I would have loved a bit of research into how people are fighting against this, and whether or not there is hope. It is definitely a must-read for parents who are considering sending their children to public school.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    I'm in my forties and don't have children, so the state of schools today, public or otherwise, is something I'm only vaguely aware of from the news. This was a really eye-opening read, and honestly some of this stuff is just bonkers to think about. I went to Christian school from sixth through twelfth grade, pretty conservative Christian schools, too. Yet comparing my experience to the stuff described in this book, I'd say there was actually less Christianity in my day to day school life than in I'm in my forties and don't have children, so the state of schools today, public or otherwise, is something I'm only vaguely aware of from the news. This was a really eye-opening read, and honestly some of this stuff is just bonkers to think about. I went to Christian school from sixth through twelfth grade, pretty conservative Christian schools, too. Yet comparing my experience to the stuff described in this book, I'd say there was actually less Christianity in my day to day school life than in many of today's public schools. I played sports all through junior high and high school, and we never prayed before games!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

    Didn't finish, was getting too annoyed that this could happen in the U.S. A lot annoys me about politics and religion in the U.S. lately... Didn't finish, was getting too annoyed that this could happen in the U.S. A lot annoys me about politics and religion in the U.S. lately...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Really, it's 3.5 stars. It's dated now, pre-Trump, but a lot of information beyond just the Good News Clubs. Basically, infiltrate the schools, sow discord, cause school systems to expend energy and resources on said discord, thus undermining the educational outcomes of schools, creating poorly educated students, who grow up and vote Republican. Really, it's 3.5 stars. It's dated now, pre-Trump, but a lot of information beyond just the Good News Clubs. Basically, infiltrate the schools, sow discord, cause school systems to expend energy and resources on said discord, thus undermining the educational outcomes of schools, creating poorly educated students, who grow up and vote Republican.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Blane

    How many times have we seen a politician irrationally scream & rail against pornography, sex, homosexuality, etc. only to be exposed at some later time as a hypocrite who, in fact, really REALLY enjoys whatever it is they rail so loudly against? Many involved in the fundamentalist Christian Right loudly scream and rail against gays as "attempting to recruit our children" into that "lifestyle". The same people who claim that their "Good News Club" is a harmless after school activity akin to socce How many times have we seen a politician irrationally scream & rail against pornography, sex, homosexuality, etc. only to be exposed at some later time as a hypocrite who, in fact, really REALLY enjoys whatever it is they rail so loudly against? Many involved in the fundamentalist Christian Right loudly scream and rail against gays as "attempting to recruit our children" into that "lifestyle". The same people who claim that their "Good News Club" is a harmless after school activity akin to soccer or yearbook are exactly the same ones denying any possibility of a gay-straight alliance or perhaps a humanist club in their school (and don't even think about the possibility of an Islamic club!). As Katherine Stewart so vividly explains in 'The Good News Club', it is, in fact, the fundamentalist Christian Right who are attempting to recruit our children into their lifestyle. Again, a case of protesting just a little too much in order to mask their true intent. Although I do not have any children, nor do I ever intend to have children, I do pay taxes and understand the importance of a strong public school system free of (any) religious indoctrination to the future of our country. From the Good News Clubs in the schools to abstinence-only sex education to the teaching of "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution to the whitewashing of American history, a specific hardcore brand of fundamentalist Christianity, though a minority, is pushing hard to take over our schools...and if that does not work, dismantle them completely. If you think all of this is simply alarmist propaganda, one need only look at the attempts of a certain political party to dismantle the Department of Education and promote school "choice", code for voucher schemes where taxpayers subsidize religious schools, funneling money from public schools. As Stewart points out, we ignore this threat at our own peril; I found this to be a very disturbing book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Linnaea

    When I was a child, I went to a Good News Club and my taught at it for a few years. Thankfully my parents are liberal enough (which shows how terrifying conservative religion is if you would meet my dad) that my leaving a Baptist church as a teen and returning to the faith by attending an Episcopalian church is seen as a prodigal daughter returns. I say all this for you to understand where my review comes from. HOLY SH*T this book is a terrifying look into the movement to get a absolutely horrib When I was a child, I went to a Good News Club and my taught at it for a few years. Thankfully my parents are liberal enough (which shows how terrifying conservative religion is if you would meet my dad) that my leaving a Baptist church as a teen and returning to the faith by attending an Episcopalian church is seen as a prodigal daughter returns. I say all this for you to understand where my review comes from. HOLY SH*T this book is a terrifying look into the movement to get a absolutely horrible and almost evil form of Neo-Calvin Christianity into our public schools and it should make every person who falls outside of that circle angry: angry enough to march, angry enough to cut all after school clubs, angry enough to promise death. Sadly, the wonderfulness and kindness of many individual Christians is lost in the anger and power grab of a political leadership. This book does an excellent job of going through some of the bigger religion in schools issues (and some of the dangerous silent ones) and the joy that Christians get from destroying a community. It is a joy, a belief that if a school cannot force Neo-Calvinist Christianity on the students, then the public school needs to be destroyed. The writing style is very easy to follow, which makes it an easy book to finish but it is sickening and heartbreaking at the same time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    The title comes off as a bit alarmist, but there are some things worth being alarmed about and I think this is one of them. Much of what was in this book I'd come across in one form or another, but hadn't put it all together before. Made me a bit nervous about sending my kid to Kindergarten next year (our school is in the book), but was a little relieved when a Google search turned up information that parents have successfully diminished the influence (to the extent they can when not backed by t The title comes off as a bit alarmist, but there are some things worth being alarmed about and I think this is one of them. Much of what was in this book I'd come across in one form or another, but hadn't put it all together before. Made me a bit nervous about sending my kid to Kindergarten next year (our school is in the book), but was a little relieved when a Google search turned up information that parents have successfully diminished the influence (to the extent they can when not backed by the courts) of the GNC in our school. I'm of the type that would typically think we should ignore the far-right nutters, but after reading this book I have to agree with Stewart's conclusion that we don't need to be worried that they'll succeed in their goals (turning the schools into religious institutions, totally re-writing American history to make the US look perfect and as though it was founded as a Christian nation), because they won't. But the damage they will cause to the communities and schools in the process is something to be concerned about.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Upsetting and fascinating. This is a book that should probably be read by most moderate Christians. As an atheist who feels strongly about it, my starting position is that there should be no religious content in schools. But moderate people of faith are often given to assume that it's pretty harmless to allow religious groups access to schools. This book fills in a lot of the blanks, showing the real intentions behind the "Biblical" Christian invasion of our public schools: to find loopholes to Upsetting and fascinating. This is a book that should probably be read by most moderate Christians. As an atheist who feels strongly about it, my starting position is that there should be no religious content in schools. But moderate people of faith are often given to assume that it's pretty harmless to allow religious groups access to schools. This book fills in a lot of the blanks, showing the real intentions behind the "Biblical" Christian invasion of our public schools: to find loopholes to circumvent the laws regarding church and state; to preach to young children while giving them the impression that the school's authority is behind the church's method; to undermine the authority of parents who do not agree with the truly extreme views of these evangelistic and Christian Nationalist churches; and finally, to irrevocably break, defund, and destroy the entire public school system in this country. The chapter on the development of the Texas curriculum is particularly rage-inducing. A real eye-opener.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jed Lamprey

    An utterly terrifying book that chronicles the way evangelists do end runs around the Constitution to push religion into public schools, turning little kids too young to know what's going on into proselytizers, dividing communities when they resist, and encouraging bullying and ostracism against other kids who don't go along with them. A must read for anyone with kids in elementary school, middle school, or early high school. An utterly terrifying book that chronicles the way evangelists do end runs around the Constitution to push religion into public schools, turning little kids too young to know what's going on into proselytizers, dividing communities when they resist, and encouraging bullying and ostracism against other kids who don't go along with them. A must read for anyone with kids in elementary school, middle school, or early high school.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Good investigative journalism, combined with useful but limited personal experience related by both the author and similarly situated parents of a variety of religious viewpoints. Fairly well-organized. The admonition to start paying attention to quiet misrepresentation going on in a school-by-school and district-by-district basis can apply in other realms of our social and political life with the organization of active Evangelicals and Dominionists.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rodney Hinds

    Great book makes me realize the extreme level that the zealots will go to in order to spread their message. My message to the religious fanatics - Your god is so incompetent that he must use the resources of the public school system and his message so weak the marketing strategy is mainly directed at preadolescent children.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Discostu

    The depth and organization of the Christian right and their attempts to infiltrate the American public school system is a wake up call for all those who want to keep sense and science in the classroom and mysticism and religion out.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    An absolutely terrifying look at the way in which some branches of evangelical Christianity insidiously infiltrate and undermine public education in the United States of America. A warning that one cannot help but hope comes in time . . .

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