Good News Club Busts in on Summer School Classes to Evangelize Kids

gnc-logoLast week, we published a warning to Wisconsin parents that Child Evangelism Fellowship, the parent company of liars for Jesus — also known as the Good News Club — is targeting Milwaukee-area schools in order to solicit children to attend their clubs.  Because of a 2001 Supreme Court case, the Good News Club is allowed to operate on school property, but only during non-school hours just like any other organization unaffiliated with the school. As we know from dozens of previous SecularVoices posts, the Good News Club isn’t big on operating within the rules… because Jesus.

Their latest violation occurred at Schulte Elementary School in Sturtevant, Wisconsin.  According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation (also based in WI), who is tracking the GNC’s current infiltration, volunteers from the Good News Club entered summer school classes at Schulte to proselytize to kids and invite them to their club. That’s a clear violation of the First Amendment, not to mention a pretty creepy thing for adults to do.  But since they claim to be guided by an invisible absentee father in the sky, they think it’s ok to break the law.  According to FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover:

Because the 5-Day Club at Schulte Elementary operated at the same time as the summer program, club organizers were essentially asking students to abandon their summer school and join an evangelical mission. This behavior is reprehensible and raises constitutional issues for the school district.

Yeah, I’d say.  I think it’s grounds to kick the Good News Club off campus permanently.  If I were a parent of one of those kids, you’d better believe I wouldn’t rest until that happened.  All I can hope is that a parent of one of these kids reads this and calls a lawyer. I’m wondering if a parent could get a restraining order against the GNC based on this unapproved contact with their child, forcing them off the school’s campus. Just thinking out loud as I write this…

The FFRF informs us that the school district did their best to comply with the law, but that the GNC volunteers went rogue due to poor attendance:

Racine Unified School District took steps to ensure that advertisements by the 5-Day Club included a disclaimer of school endorsement. But because club organizers were mistakenly allowed into classrooms to advertise their evangelical agenda during the school day, no disclaimer can overcome the appearance that the district endorses the club’s religious message.

For its part, the Racine school district appears to have done its best to abide by its constitutional obligations, notes Grover. The district acknowledged the concerns raised in FFRF’s letter, but relied on assurances from 5-Day Club organizers that summer school students would not be exposed to the 5-Day Club and its evangelical message. The district was told that the 5-Day Club would meet exclusively on the playground, start after students were already inside for summer school, and conclude before students were let out. The club’s low attendance numbers the past Monday may have prompted organizers to circumvent district administrators and enter summer school classrooms to evangelize.

Chalk it up as just one more example of how underhanded and deceitful the Good News Club is.  Their staff and volunteers feel they answer to an authority greater than the law, which makes them above it.  We need to be vigilant and provide a reality check to those who have ignored reality altogether.  It takes work, but the rewards outweigh the labor.

 

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Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

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20 thoughts on “Good News Club Busts in on Summer School Classes to Evangelize Kids

  1. What do they call that, when someone enters a building without permission for the purpose of breaking the law? Isn’t that, um, trespassing? If I did that, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’d call it. So, we’ll see some prosecutions? Maybe not.

  2. “The club’s low attendance numbers the past Monday may have prompted organizers to circumvent district administrators and enter summer school classrooms to evangelize.”

    Christianity is growing more desperate by the day to fix their shrinking attendance numbers of young people I see.

    What’s next?
    They’ll kidnap young foreign kids and make them slaves/brides for Christ?

    1. It’s the overwhelming stench from the rotting corpse of christianity that makes them unable to control themselves, or maybe it was just the devil that made them do it.

      1. I think Duane was being facetious since it is pretty common knowledge now that some of the more virulent Christian fundy groups engage in EXACTLY that kind of behavior. That, and they’re also turning to giving up on the US of A (and other modern, Western countries) and instead pushing their unnecessary, malevolent medieval superstition on people they figure will be more credulous (nevermind the racist assumptions underlying that belief, they just assume that once the locals know how godly they are, their evangelism will be welcomed with open arms). It is well known, for example, that Scott Lively has been a major force in certain African countries trying to turn homosexuality into a capital crime.

        I differentiate these new efforts from ordinary mission work, which, though misguided and wrong, can be done in a spirit of actually helping people who need it without requiring any religious interest or committment. No, people like Lively are taking their failing (in America) hyper-regressive campaigns overseas and hiding amongst all of the regular missionaries, abusing people’s trust and spreading ideas that have proven too toxic even for the rural South. They are the scummiest of the scummy and are supported only by the most deranged Christian fundamentalists (regular fundies have mostly disavowed them, even if some of them privately share their beliefs – they’re learning that we can hear them, and are not averse to shaming them, when they discuss their beliefs in public forums).

        The death knell of American Christianity is a-ringin’. And the more people find themselves unable to support the most regressive forms of Christianity, the louder the remaining regressives get, driving yet more people to more moderate congregations, or out of the faith entirely. It is reasonable to expect this process to speed up exponentially, especially now that they feel they’ve got a bit of a reprieve in the support of the President. Go on! Spread your filth! Kill your own religion! We’ll just watch and pass the popcorn amongst ourselves. Try not to hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it!

        1. ‘…(mission work) can be done in a spirit of actually helping
          people who need it without requiring any religious interest or
          committment’
          Mmm, not sure I can actually think of any christian mission I’ve ever been associated with, be it medical, agricultural, educational etc etc that didn’t basically have conversion as its aim. Yes their missionaries worked to ameliorate their hearers’ lives, but tracts and bible studies were never far away.
          Compassion has been thrown out of India – OK so a Hindu government is cracking down on other religions – because they say its ultimate aim was proselytising. Sadly many many kids will be worse off but gone are the days when christians could sneak their gospel messages into countries or local schools under the guise of humanitarian projects.

  3. Kevin and I have first hand experience of the GNC’s willingness to lie to School Administrators and parents. No one should accept their assurances at face value.

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