Unless you’ve been living off the grid for the past month, you’ve heard about the Satanic Temple’s plans to create an after-school club for kids in direct opposition to the Good News Club. While I’ve made it clear that I’m not super thrilled about the ST’s approach on this one due to kids being in the crossfire, I’ve stocked up on some Orville Redenbacher to watch this one play out.
As I’m vehemently opposed to the abusive practices of the Good News Club, I regularly scan social media to see what they’re up to. Today I came across some posts from GNC’s parent organization, Child Evangelism Fellowship (I get the chills every time my inner voice says their name), asking their faithful to sign a petition on their website.
The intro to the petition reads:
God has used after-school Good News Clubs to do a great deal of good in the lives of children and families as well as for the schools and communities involved. Not surprisingly, groups of atheists continually oppose Good News Clubs in hopes of removing them from public schools. Would you express your support of after-school Good News Clubs in public schools by taking a few moments to sign our petition?
My first thought — who the hell are you petitioning? It doesn’t say on their website or anywhere on their posts. Since the operation of GNCs in public schools are legal and currently unchallenged, why is CEF collecting signatures on a petition? Is someone telling them they can’t do something? I sent them messages on Facebook and Twitter to find out (and yes I was polite). They have not responded. I’m less than shocked.
After clicking on the link to sign, I see things I’ve never seen on any other petition, which tells me that this, like the Good News Club’s permission slips, is intentionally not at all what it purports to be.
It starts with name, email, and location. No big deal. Then there’s a check-box question about how you heard of the GNC. Ok, sure. After that, there are two free-form text boxes asking why you support the GNC and then what impact has the GNC had on your life. On a petition? Sorry, no. This is not a petition at all. This is a request for testimonials so that the GNC can say, “Hey look everyone, we’re doing a good thing here and people shouldn’t be picking on us.” I can only assume they’re proactively creating a case to stay in schools, predicting that districts may move to kick them out in order to keep the Satanic Temple out too, under equal access statutes. As I’ve said before, if that happens, expect low-budget school districts to be bullied and dragged through the court system by CEF, a very well-funded and well-lawyered organization.
One day it would be great if CEF/GNC would just be transparent about something instead of trying to trick everyone into giving them what they want. This is just another example of what an underhanded organization this is. Something tells me that if someone filled this out explaining the negative impact the GNC has had on his/her life, being subjected to threats and intimidation, and subsequently seeking therapy to right the wrongs of their indoctrination, CEF would toss that testimonial right into the trash. Feel free to test that out.
Because honesty is just an obstacle to the success of Child Evangelism Fellowship.