Christian Fascism Is Coming to a Public School Near You January 24, 2012

Christian Fascism Is Coming to a Public School Near You

Katherine Stewart heard about a Christian group forming at her daughter’s school, and instead of closing her eyes and wishing it would go away, she dove in. She researched and researched and researched. She talked to people, went to symposia, delved into a world that wasn’t hers and where she very much did not want to be. Then she wrote a book.

The book (which comes out today) is called The Good News Club, and as innocuous as that sounds, it is the scariest story I have read in a long time. Coming from a horror story fanatic, that is saying something.

The Good News Club — the organization, not the book — insinuates itself into public schools posing as an innocent after school Bible study group. They are backed by the CEF, the Child Evangelism Fellowship, an organization hell-bent — if you’ll excuse the pun — on breaking the public school system and bringing education back to homes and churches. They are Bible-believing Christians who believe America was founded on Christianity and it is their holy mission to bring the American people back to Christ.

Stewart explains how the Good News Clubs come into our communities unnoticed and how they “harvest” children for their cause. “Harvest” is actually the word the CEF uses for this. Children need permission from their parents to attend the meetings, which is part of how they are allowed to have these Bible study groups in public schools in the first place. The solution seems to be to just not let your child attend, but there are many moderate Christians who will. The children are indoctrinated to believe that only Bible-believing Christians will go to heaven and that you are only good if you believe in Jesus. What is almost worse, is that the children are left with the natural-but-false impression that these teachings are endorsed by their school. This indoctrination breaks up schoolyard friendships, which breaks up communities, but it also penetrates the homes and breaks up families. The CEF makes no excuses; this is exactly their goal. Through the children they want to bring more families to their church and anybody who is not convinced simply isn’t saved.

The book gives many examples of the frightening methods these people use to infiltrate public schools. The author calls these people Christian Nationalists based on their view that Christianity is the foundation of modern day America. At one point, when speaking to Rich Lang, the pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church, there’s an even more sinister comparison:

… In Lang’s view, the American public remains inexcusably ignorant about the new religion in its midst. The new fundamentalism, he insists, is not “historic Christianity.” In fact, it’s not uniquely Christian, nor is it uniquely American. “Fundamentalism is a global phenomenon, and it has come back on steroids since the 1970s and 1980s. Whether you’re talking Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, all forms of fundamentalism are on the rise,” he says.

“And they all want the kids,” he adds, looking at me meaningfully. “Kids are so, so vulnerable at that age, just like little sponges. They don’t talk back to adults, they are not in dialogue. So it’s clear why the children are being targeted. It’s no different than the Lord’s Army in Africa. It’s no different than the Nazis wanting to start with the Hitler Youth. That is where you’d want to start if you were trying to build a fascist movement.”

He pauses to make sure I’ve heard him correctly. “That’s the word, ‘fascism,’” he repeats. “Nobody likes to use it in this country. But I believe that in this country, underneath the appearances, that is exactly the great temptation of our time. The CEF is part of a movement, and you have to call it what it is — ‘Christian Fascism.’” (p. 32-33)

Normally, that comparison would disappoint me. Godwin’s Law states that any discussion, if taken far enough, will eventually lead to one party comparing the other to the Nazis. Using this comparison usually means you lose the argument by default. In this book, however, Stewart has a point. There is hardly a more persuasive way of showing how horrifying this all is than having a pastor compare the CEF’s tactics to those of Hitler and his cronies.

Moreover, Pastor Lang has a point. The Good News Club is like the Hitler Youth, with their indoctrinations, their separatist ideals, their “we are so much better than they are”-style of teaching, and their creepily friendly way in which they instill themselves in the community. German parents in the early 1920s did not know either what they were doing when they allowed their children to join the Hitler Youth. Like any other youth group, it seemed like a good way to instill some discipline and morals into your child. But twenty years later, when the group became mandatory, it was too late. This book serves as a warning to us not to let the Good News Clubs get that far.

Stewart is not an atheist. She doesn’t go into this story telling the reader how awful religion is. She shows us how awful abuse of religious power is. She shows us how moderate Christians will be fooled into allowing this to happen. She makes it believable that such a thing could happen to us. The book does not read like a report of a fact-finding mission, but more like the story your neighbor will tell you over a cup of tea. She will tell you how this happened at the school of the child of a friend of her cousin’s hairdresser’s sister. And you’ll tut and nod and shake your head at all the right places. But when she leaves, the story niggles. You wonder if this could happen at your child’s school. But you would never stand for that, would you?

You need to read this book. Then you need to have all your friends read this book. Especially all your religious friends and all your religious and non-religious family and extended family members.

The book does not give a solution to this frightening phenomenon of religious indoctrination coming to public schools, but forewarned is forearmed. The main weapon of the Good News Club is their innocent façade. The more people know the truth, the sooner this façade is broken and maybe, just maybe, they can be stopped. Read the book. And be prepared to lose some sleep.

(An interview with the author will be posted later today is here.)

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  • Marguerite

    This looks fascinating. I immediately zipped off to buy it, but alas, it’s available only in a hardback edition, not in Kindle format.  Hopefully it’ll be released in ebook format soon, because it sounds like the sort of thing I’d love to read.

  • Anonymous

    This club was in my son’s elementary school and he lost a few friends over their attendance.  It is definitely *not* good news.

  • Ubi Dubium

    This club was also in my daughters’ elementary school.  At school information nights, we’d always be approached by adults pushing this, and they did try to make it sound like an inoffensive “fun club for christian kids”.  Wish I’d known more about them then, I might have been able to raise a stink about it.  My kids are older now, so I don’t think we have standing anymore.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    For a comparison of how the nazi’s indoctrinated children I just came across an article about an exhibition in the Wiener Library in London. This article is 3rd page from the end in the current ASLE&F Journal (the train drivers union here in the UK).
    This is a pdf document and I’m not sure how to isolate just this one page so I’m giving the link to the whole journal and then copying/pasting the article. 
    TheWienerLibrary: A isfor AdolfNAZI Germany’s propaganda machinehas been examined and dissectedregularly over the decades, but thesmall exhibition in London’sWiener Library isparticularly chilling asitshowsthe effortsthatwere made to plant bigotry and prejudice inyoung German children. It is evidence of themost crude and raw attempts at brainwashing, hiding evil messagesin bright andcolourful images.The process began even before childrencould read, with innocent colouring books andsimple tales disguising maliciousintentions.Children were invited to colour-in images ofsandcastles and cartoon animals, just like anyother young person: except in each wastheimage of the swastika. The intention was, inthese formative years, to implant thesesymbols as part of their German education: tohave them grow used to it: to make it part oftheir culture.The Nazisymbol wasintroduced in storybooks and imagesside by side with oldGerman traditions, to make it appear that ithad somehow always been part of theirhistory – which of course it never had been.PLAYINGWITH HATEThen there were games, like the one that tookshapes cut from the name‘Hitler’and could berearranged to make up the form of theswastika. The logo was everywhere, and itsassociations with militarism and a bizarrespiritualism became part of young people’senvironment. One of the most disturbingexhibitsforms a centre-piece of the one-roomexhibition. It is a child’s play-thing with ahateful intention: a game rather like Ludo,except that throws of the dice move figuresaround the board collecting Jewsfrom theirshops and synagogues.But for all their apparentsophistication,Nazi propaganda was often very crude. Onebook peddled by the fascistsfeatured amongrel dog, clearly supposed to representso-called ethnic‘degeneration’. Children mayhave sympathised with thislonely being,driven from its home and itsfriends, but thiswas clearly not the author’sintention.Older children were given school exercisesto test‘Jewishness’according to the Nazi’sNuremburg Laws. It isshocking to see childrenworking on templatesto calculate whetherthey (or their classmates) could be classified asGerman or Jewish . This was no emptyexercise:sex was banned between Jews andGermans, and Jews were banned from civiclife.TARNISHEDYOUTHSport was equally tainted by the Nazipropagandists: facilities were exclusively forchildren who joined the Hitler Youth, ameasure introduced to associate Nazis withentertainment and healthy pursuits. Thisfascist organisation then reached back into theschools: its members were allowed to weartheir uniformsin class, which in turnintimidated those paid to teach them. YoungGermans were taught about power – andmilitarism.The exhibition is only part of what theLibrary hasto offer. It conductstours of itsthree floors on week-days and haslateopening on Tuesdays, and will happily leadgroups around its collections. It has amagnificent library that is open to everyone toUntil now theWiener Library has been,unfortunately, a well-kept secret.Tucked away in the northern corner ofEuston’s Russell Square, it has anastonishing amount of material on Naziatrocities and antisemitic propaganda.Until March itis hosting a small but verypowerful exhibition – called A is forAdolf- about how the Nazis soughttoindoctrinate German children. It’s wellworth a visit, as Chris Proctor reports…use, with most of its booksin English; andhouses personal material, mostly donated bythe generation that lived through the Naziyears. My generous host opened one box toreveal the concentration camp diaries of onePhilipp Manes. He died in Auschwitz, but as weare able to behold the account he wrotetoday, itsomehow ensures he remains awitnessto both human dignity – and depravity.That is what theWiener Library does, too.So if you are around Euston with half an hourto spare, why not call in and pay them a visit -or think about organising a visit as a branchevent.Whatever you want, the helpfulstaff willbe only too pleased to help.Despite the tragic reasonsfor its existence,it is a place of deep enlightenment.TheWiener Library forthe Study ofthe Holocaust & Genocide is theworld’s oldest Holocaust memorialinstitution,tracing its history back to1933.The registered charity is located at29 Russell Square, LondonWC1B5DP. It can be contacted by phone at020 7636 7247 or via its website

  • TiltedHorizon

    I just sent a request to the publisher asking they to release this in Kindle format. As a former boy scout, I believe in being prepared, and this book will be instrumental in identifying the tactics use by those whose true intentions are masked by sheep’s clothing.

  • Alice

    Seems a bit sensational. Excuse me if I don’t faint in shock when you tell me Christians want to indoctrinate children. They’ve been doing it forever.

  • AtheistMom

    This is the first I’ve heard of this club. I looked at the Michigan chapters of this organization and found that it’s not just an after-school club–at some schools, children are released from class early to attend. Please tell me these early releases are happening at public schools. I am appalled that our government would allow this evangelizing to take place at elementary schools. The government doesn’t think there’s a duty to our youth to protect them from brainwashing that promotes divisiveness?

  • AtheistMom

    oops, should be “…are NOT happening…”

  • Rebecca Sparks

    My son’s elementary school has a half day every Wednesday, for budget trouble I believe.  A local church group comes on campus and does classes and activities till the normal dismissal time.  It’s voluntary, but it’s free so many children are enrolled. I don’t think that they’re part of this Good News group, but they did find an need/opportunity and filled it.   

  • Anonymous

    It’s not that fundamentalists want to indoctrinate children that’s shocking to most of us (though it may have been to the author, who is not an atheist) but that a group is actively doing it in public schools. And even if this is a pattern you’re familiar with, it’s useful to learn specifics. 

    For example, I’ve never heard of a group that, as the reviewer claims, seems to want to drive wedges between children of moderate Christians and their parents, or to use the children to influence their parents. I’ve certainly heard of that happening with fundies and non-believers, but when I was a child in a moderate family, the kids I hung out with whose parents were more extreme were never encouraged to contradict what I had learned from my parents, and I was never encouraged to influence my parents into being more “Bible-believing.” I can see how this fits the pattern, so it doesn’t cause me to “faint in shock,” but it’s useful knowledge still.

  • The Children’s Evangelical Fellowship and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are the two groups that I have targeted this year for special attention.

  • Mike Molloy

    To me it is equally scary that CEF has a Supreme Court victory.

    Hard to believe.

  • Anne

    This club exists in my town, however it is held in a church after school on Fridays rather than at one of the schools.  That fact alone will keep a lot of kids away from it, because transportation is an issue for many families.  Here’s their flyer on the school district community bulletin board:

  • Jean-Paul Marat

    Symposia? I love symposia.

  • Red Faey Lady

    Just found out that my children has one of theses types of clubs at their school.  How can they allow this when it is clearly not a student lead club?  I thought religious club had to be student lead to be considered constitutional.  Why would they pass a law protecting a pro gram that says on their own youtube video that they are extending Sunday school into the school through this program?  That statement just made it the same as having a church service for children.  It is obvious that they are using the school grounds for evangelistic purposes. 

    Here is the youtube link:

  • Anonymous

    The government doesn’t see it as divisiveness. Politicians think that religion is a good thing for everyone and the the country would be better if everyone were a Christian zealot

  • Anonymous

    It’s absolutely in line with a string of other Supreme Court cases that expanded religious freedom to ridiculous extremes

  • Anonymous

    I too am appalled at the trends of these fundamentalist groups, but I have a harsh word here to parents…. I’m an atheist now… but as a kid I was “saved” in a very Charismatic church and looking back on it all now I can see that  YES I was indoctrinated.. very much so…I was encouraged to “share” with my parents and eventually my parents did end up going to church with me and at the time I considered it a victory for Jesus… looking back on it all now, and as a parent myself I have to say THAT is where this all stops, at the involvement of parents. If my parents had not been “sucked in” themselves then I doubt very seriously I would have gone as far down the rabbit trail of fundamentalism that I did… as mentioned I’m an atheist, and ironically my mother now is re-married and although still Christian she is much more liberal Presbyterian.

    If parents are involved with what their kids are being taught at school, if they ask questions of their kids and correct any of these crap views that are being poured into their minds then the problem would not be as big as it is… sorry, I have very littler sympathy for a liberal christian who sign a permission form for these kids to participate and then can not correct the dogma that their kids are fed. Think about it, what does it say if a kid trusts some radical preacher more than his own parents? And again, their parents signed the permission slip for them to participate in the first place.

    I have two kids, and I am fully aware of what they are exposed to at school and from their friends… parents need to be involved, period.  Even as an atheist I’ve allowed my son to participate in Boy Scouts… but I’ve talked with him about some of the things he will be exposed to because of their strong Christian backing and he understands, it’s called communication with your kids… fix that and these groups would not have so much power. Okay I’ll get off my soap box now but close with this.. I’m glad a book like this has been written because maybe it’ll be a wake up call to more liberal Christian parents that they need to be involved with what is going on in their kids lives.

  • Nordog

    Me too, but the hangovers are a pain.

  • David Keeffe

    “I don’t think they’re part of … ”

    I suggest you take the proper step to become certain .. attend one of the classes.

  • David Keeffe

    Mandatory reading for those who want to be in the know regarding the Calvinist/Evangelical Jihad in this country:

    This book.

    And … “The Family” , by Jeff Sharlet.

  • Anonymous

    As a former Boy Scout, hopefully you also now recognize the irony of your statement as it also pertains to the Boy Scouts of America. 😉

  • I had a look at the site, and it is indeed frughtening. Targeting children, children, children. I don’t think the word ‘family’ is ever mentioned. A very bad sign, as the article points out.

  • TiltedHorizon

    It dawned on me after I posted my thoughts that someone would point out the irony of my statement. LOL.

    I’ll point out, in return, there is also irony in the fact that their own lesson is being used as defense against further indoctrination.

  • Waybeyondsoccermom

    We need some folks to rally at’s forum for this book.  All of the current posts are against the author & book, and for Good News.

  • Marcel

    How about you put down the computer and buy an actual fucking book for once.

  • Anonymous

    I agree whole heartedly that if parents were more involved in what their kids are doing and learning at school (and church or synagogue, etc.) then stuff like this wouldn’t be so easy to do.  Unfortunately, not that many parents are *that* involved and that’s why groups like this can be so successful.

  • Anonymous

    Because it is easier to actually read from a non-lit screen. First, people bitched about people not reading enough books. Now, it’s “buy the actual books.” No, fuck off. It is easier for me to read these books by this device. I read faster and I enjoy them more and want to read more. So what’s the problem?

  • Marguerite

    *Smiles* I have approximately seven thousand books in my house, despite having weeded out lots of them when we moved a couple of years ago.  I have an entire room with wall-to-wall shelving on three walls designated “the library,” where my kids spend much of their free time reading.  All my children have bookshelves loaded with books in their rooms, and so do I.  We simply have no more space for paper books, and my middle-aged eyes have trouble with small fonts even with bifocals, so I buy ebooks now.  And ebooks are in fact actual books:-).

  • Marguerite

    It’s funny how some people will assume that because you prefer ebook editions, you don’t read.  In fact, most people get ebook readers *because* they read rabidly. That’s certainly true in my case. My teenaged daughters use Kindles too, because they read so quickly that it’s better for them to carry a Kindle in their backpacks than three or four big books.

  • Marguerite

    At least they mentioned it was Christian (and the word “Christian” always set off my internal alarms, even when I was Lutheran, because it’s so often code for “fundamentalist”). I remember when I was a teenager, a bunch of kids in my high school tried to get me to come to Young Life meetings at night, calling it a social night. They actually danced around the whole issue of what the club actually was, and never actually mentioned it was religious in nature. Whether that was a standard obfuscation on the part of Young Life, or whether my peers knew I wasn’t a believer (at the time I was agnostic) and were thus trying to trick me into attending something they knew I wouldn’t have wanted to go to, I still don’t know. Fortunately, nowadays it’s easier to find out what a club actually is and what it does, thanks to the internet.

  • Can’t wait to read the book! I’ve heard about this organization for years, so I’m glad someone thought to write an exposé on it.

  • Bart Mitchell

    These guys are in my daughters elementary school.  They come at lunch, and the kids who sign up for it are excused from a half hour of regular class time to study the bible. How can I get them out of my school?  

  • AlsoInCincy

    This comment made me laugh loud enough to get a “What??” out of my wife in the next room. Well done, neighbor.

  • AlsoInCincy

    Yes! I, too, hate trees!!

  • JJ

    Wow.   How about you mind your own business?  I am also a real book reader, but your comment is pretty rude and ridiculous.

  • The more I see what is happening in the US, the more I’m relieved that I live in a liberal, secular country, the more I fear for the future of my liberal, secular country if the Christian Nationalists… “Christianists” to coin a phrase… ever achieve their goal of a Christianist government for a Christianist nation.

    Watch out world, here comes the rapture and this time it’s nuclear…

  • Anonymous

    I just spent about an hour perusing the CEF site and completely agree with you, it is indeed frightening, as well as irritating. If it is true that kids who join the ‘Good News Club’ are being released from classes to do so, that is just wrong. Bad enough that this organization is on public school grounds at all (and by a Supreme Court decision, no less) but kids being allowed to partially miss classes to attend their club is absurd.
    The “get ’em while they’re young” aspect of this just sickens me.
    Parents of elementary-aged children in public schools need to be on their toes to keep their children out of this mind-altering mess. It seems we all better be on our toes lest this country truly becomes “a Christian nation” as so many of the crazed religious already claim it is.

  • When I was seven I went to a good news club meeting.  I learned that “god” sent kids to hell who didn’t believe in Jesus even if they weren’t allowed too hear the “good news”  I walked away from Christianity that day.   I’m now a liberal christian and work hard to help people get over that crap…thanks for this

  • Plbowman

    GNC met regularly at our community center where I work. Over time, the allure of free candy, cookies, & cupcakes from “Jesus” was steadily overcome by the horrific tales of damnation/sin. Over time, the kids from our neighborhood slowly stopped attending until finally, one day, the sweet old lady (Good News Club hostess) came to us to announce, “We are no longer coming to your center because these kids are possessed of the devil!” (paraphrased). Religious belief leads otherwise reasonable ppl to do & say terrible things.

  • Indigo

    I can see getting information about this through my kid in a way that makes it look like it’s from the school and letting him/her do it because then at least they aren’t out with those other kids that I am sure are bad news. Besides, blaming parents gets us nowhere fast. We need each other’s help and support.
    Or, ya’ know what? If you want to insist on blaming parents, then consider it your duty to step up and do what you know needs doing. There are lots of kids that could use positive attention from someone with your experience and passion for appropriate communicaiton.

  • Anonymous

    You seem to have taken offense to what I’ve said and I would ask why? Do you understand this program does not simply work with your kids giving you “information” that makes it look like it’s from the school and you letting them go… you must sign a permission form… so yes it is the parents responsibility to actually understand what they are signing their kids up for.
     Or, as you so eloquently put it… “ya’ know what?”…  if you think it’s other people’s responsibility to raise your kids and give your kids that “positive attention” you mention without your full understanding, go ahead and blindly sign permission forms willy nilly and deal with the consequences after the fact… if that’s your method of parenting, hey who am I to question you.

  • Don’t forget to check your public library! If it’s not in their system, you can request one for purchase and/or borrow a copy through interlibrary loan.

  • Anonymous

    I would contact Freedom from Religion Foundation and just ask if this practice of letting the kids out of “normal classroom time” is allowed constitutionally.

  • Anonymous

    The reason is clear (and they even acknowledge it) .. .if the church does not catch a kid for Jesus (fishers of men analogy) before he or she is 15 years of age.. the odds of them ever becoming a Christian goes Way Down Dramatically… so the mission is clear, get them while they are young… I became a Christian when I was 14years of age and lived it wholeheartedly for over 20 years. Thankfully I’ve seen the light before I ended up passing the delusion on to my own children.

  • The comparison to Nazis is just over the top and unneeded. Lots of people and groups can be relatively compared to Nazis if you try hard enough. But rarely have any of those groups or people done the horrendous injustices the Nazis did. It’s just done for effect to indirectly associate people we disapprove of to the outrageously despicable acts performed by Nazis.

  • Marco Conti

    It would be nice if the book was available on Kindle. I would read it overnight and post a review (good or bad) ASAP. Unfortunately, I already have too many books and not enough bookshelves and I no longer can purchase real books.

    Author, if you read this, please help kindle readers out. Alternatively, if anyone is done reading, please pass your copy over and I’ll do likewise. If the author is so inclined, I’ll be happy to make a donation on the author site, as I am sure will the others.

  • Marco Conti

    @Marcel, what was in your coffee this morning? A dash of antifreeze? I have been buying actual fucking books for 40 years. I no longer have the space and many others are in my situation. Plus an e-book requires no paper, no transportation  no USPS shipping, it gets here faster and it doesn’t end up in the recycle bin when I am done. 
     If I am not mistaken, you didn’t write this rude and condescending post using a quill, did you?   So why the attitude? Nostalgia? Hopefully there are no ancient Egyptian readers here or they’ll be chastising us for not using papyrus scrolls.

  • Demonhype

    This is a perfectly apt comparison and has been shown above to be so–repeatedly–with plenty of evidence cited.  It is only over-the-top and unneeded when you just say “you’re a NAZI!!!!1!!!” to excite emotions and either make up your own ‘facts’ or just leave it at the emotional manipulation, which this is not.

    Yes, the Nazis did atrocities, and no one is accusing this group of that (yet).  However, the Nazis did use many indoctrination methods that this group is also engaging in, and that is documented fact.  The Nazis held extremist views with little to no tolerance of others and a clearly delineated in and out group with the out group being an evil that “must” be eradicated, and intentionally used children to further their regime under a illusory veil of supposed patriotism and morality, and so does this group.  It is not entirely unfeasible that they could, if not challenged, follow the same path toward atrocity and pointing out the undeniable resemblance between their intentions and methods and the Nazis intentions and methods is not out of line.

    And just because two things are not exactly alike in every detail does not erase similarities.  The fact that the GNC is  not committing genocide or actively enslaving others in concentration camps is not an argument against the similarity to the Nazis of their extremism, indoctrination methods, and intentions regarding using children as a bludgeon to subvert a culture and forcibly shape it to their own liking.

  • Anonymous

    The comparison isn’t to the atrocities they committed. Its to their indoctrination of children. They made membership in the Hitler Youth mandatory early on. The Hitler Youth offered many seemingly harmless and fun activities. Some of it wasn’t too different from the Scouting movement. Camping trips, nature, sports, etc. So it wasn’t necessarily unpopular for everyone. But the real goal was to instill the kids with nationalist values and give them paramilitary training for the upcoming war.

  • Falconer33

    Well, if the Nazi comparison turns you off then lets look at the Communist equivalent. The Little Octobrists, Young Pioneers and Komsomol were all aimed at indoctrinating children in Communist ideals. My wife was in the Young Pioneers but the Soviet Union fell before she had to join the Komsomol

  • Marguerite

    Some publishers are still using a “window,” where the book is available in paper format only for a few months, and then becomes available in e-format. Hopefully that’s the case here. I just hope I won’t forget to keep an eye out for the book and buy it when it becomes available for Kindle.

  • Don’t pretend like Nazi comparisons don’t insinuate the negative stigma associated with Nazis. They do. The Nazis did a lot of things. And as I said, anything and anyone can be related to the Nazis if you try hard enough. You don’t even need to twist the truth. There’s lots of small things the Nazis did that can be shared in common with just about any other group in the world. Oh, you’re anti smoking? So were the Nazis. Major anti-tobacco campaigns were widely broadcast by the Nazis.

    It’s just a ridiculous comparison to make, and to act like doing so doesn’t excite emotion for manipulation is bullshit. And you know it is. Adding “yet” in brackets to make an open ended implication that The Good News Club may start taking slaves and committing genocide is evidence of that you know it’s manipulative.

  • absent sway

    “The Nazis held extremist views with little to no tolerance of others and a clearly delineated in and out group with the out group being an evil that ‘must’ be eradicated, and intentionally used children to further their regime under a illusory veil of supposed patriotism and morality, and so does this group.”

    First of all, I agree with you on most of this sentence, particularly the patriotism and morality part, and I also agree that we should be allowed to raise the specter of Hitler Youth’s indoctrination methods, at least within the context of historical precedent for child indoctrination. The “out group being an evil that ‘must’ be eradicated,” however, seems to me to be an unsubstantiated leap from the rest of the point. I have not read this book yet, but plan to, and I went back to re-read Tessa’s post to see if there was any evidence of this assertion given there, and saw none. Have you read the book? Have you any evidence that CEF is promoting “eradicat[ing]” unbelievers? This is a serious accusation which implies Nazi-like behavior beyond indoctrination.

    “And just because two things are not exactly alike in every detail does not erase similarities.” True! But there is such a thing as loaded language. The overriding connotation of “Nazis” is genocide through concentration camps, and rightly so. In this case, I argue that in order to make a successful comparison, the details being compared should be the most relevant details, and CEF exhibiting no signs of the genocidal violence we associate with Nazis becomes an unnecessary distraction from an otherwise solid point.

  • walkamungus

    Is there positive stigma associated with the Nazis, as opposed to  negative?

    You’re dodging the point made by the pastor quoted in the book, which is that indoctrinating the young has historically been a very effective method of inculcating fascism (or totalitarianism, I would add) in a population. The Lord’s Army, the Nazis, the Komsomol and others (thanks Falconer33) have all used these, and encouraged children to inform on their parents.

  • walkamungus

    Is there positive stigma associated with the Nazis, as opposed to  negative?
    You’re dodging the point made by the pastor quoted in the book, which is that indoctrinating the young has historically been a very effective method of inculcating fascism (or any type of totalitarianism, I would add) in a population. The Lord’s Army, the Nazis, and the Komsomol and others (thanks Falconer33) have all used this approach and encouraged children to inform on their parents.

  • and as I said, the Nazis also ran major anti-tobacco campaigns. So would it be sensible to associate all anti-smoking campaigns with the Nazis?

    No. It’s not. It’s just melodramatic crap designed to demonize your opponent.

  • Ay_dee

    Atheist fundamentalism – the next thing ….

    Tell me, is atheist bigotry any different from any other type of bigotry. Get a grip, parents allow their kids to sign up for these classes. What they learn there is no different from what they learn at Sunday school. These classes do not infringe on your rights, nor your children’s rights. I do not sign my kids up for these classes, nor do I worry too much about young life. I have taught my kids to think for themselves, and we have open philosophical and theological discussions at home. It is very interesting to hear what they have to say, and share what their friends think too. From what I have found is that these kids work it out for themselves. Do your work at home as a parent. People who are secure in their convictions and beliefs, whatever they may be, deal with this, like water off a ducks back.

  • Ay_dee

    Atheist fundamentalism – the next thing …. or is it  Atheist Fascism

    Tell me, is atheist bigotry any different from any other type of
    bigotry. Get a grip, parents allow their kids to sign up for these
    classes. What they learn there is no different from what they learn at
    Sunday school. These classes do not infringe on your rights, nor your
    children’s rights. I do not sign my kids up for these classes, nor do I
    worry too much about young life. I have taught my kids to think for
    themselves, and we have open philosophical and theological discussions
    at home. It is very interesting to hear what they have to say, and share
    what their friends think too. From what I have found is that these kids
    work it out for themselves. Do your work at home as a parent. People
    who are secure in their convictions and beliefs, whatever they may be,
    deal with this, like water off a ducks back.

    My previous post was deleted/censured – do we have Stalinist atheist types running this site?

  • Ay_dee

    oops – please delete/ignore above – no, I just missed my earlier comment – not deleted or censured. My apologies.

  • Dearprudence4now

    Larry how despicable is it when a fundie goes out of his way to recruit a catholic into marriage, insists on conversion, impregnates her, and insist she get an abortion or he’d divorce her?  How despicable is it that she went insane and walked in front a train at 9 months pregnant?  Do you really believe Andrea Yates was a fluke?  These people aren’t going to jail for their malevolence but they can smile wide at the funeral with impunity.

    You have no idea the damage done through spiritual abuse through these radical religious interpretations that are operating as a cult.  Pentecostals have a recovery website.  I’m not atheist, I respect all rights to exist, but I cannot respect any group who uses it’s citizenship or religion as a means to prey on my countrymen, my fellow Christians, or even atheists.  The fatal error deleting the operating system of supremacist thinking, like anarchy, is that it renders them unfit for civilization and citizenship alike.

  • Rien

    Just out of curiosity; how’d a (fellow) Dutch person get to write about a topic addressing mostly American concerns on a website targeted mainly towards Americans?
    I follow quite a few blogs like this one but never actually considered doing the research and taking the time required to contribute, as I consider atheism in the states to be more of a spectator sport. 

  •  It is happening at the here at my children’s school in Pennsylvania. Once a week, children who are signed up for it get released early to go to “Release Time” for bible studies and stuff.

  • Groups like the Good News Club are a greater threat to children than any pedophile.

    Evangelicals molest childrens’ minds.

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