Christian fundamentalist “Good News Club” promotes genocide of nonbelievers in public schools

As if fighting tooth and nail for the right to teach creation myths as scientific fact weren’t bad enough, evangelical Christians are now promoting the genocide of nonbelievers as their god’s will. And teaching it to elementary school kids.

Christian jihad, anyone?

The so-called “Good News Club” is a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship. They aren’t shy about their position of promoting evangelical Christianity. From CEF’s own website:

Each week the teacher presents an exciting Bible lesson using colorful materials from CEF Press®. This action-packed time also includes songs, Scripture memory, a missions story and review games or other activities focused on the lesson’s theme.

As with all CEF ministries, the purpose of Good News Club is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.

These “clubs” meet in public schools all over the country–possibly even yours. In Salem, Oregon, the state capital, they meet in public schools in the Salem-Keizer school district.

This particular district also graciously hosts the New Life Community Church, an aggressively evangelical organization, at its Bush Elementary School.

What does the Good News Club teach? One of the stories is that of Saul and the Amalekites, and it comes early–the second week of the curriculum.

It’s not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don’t intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:

"Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys."

Saul dutifully exterminated the women, the children, the babies and all of the men – but then he spared the king. He also saved some of the tastier looking calves and lambs. God was furious with him for his failure to finish the job.

The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. "In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul’s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors," writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses.

This fall, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, are scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly "Bible study" course, will come from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.

‘Come now,’ you say, ‘They’re just teaching a Bible story. Nothing wrong with that. It’s not like they’re teaching Numbers 31, the slaughter of the Midianites for the same reason, where God told Moses to let the men “keep as wives” (that is, rape) all the virgin girls. This is a horrible story, sure, but they’re not teaching children that God wants all nonbelievers slaughtered!’

Sure about that, are you?

In the most recent version of the curriculum, however, the group is quite eager to drive the message home to its elementary school students. The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one:

You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.

“That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?” the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.

Even more important, the Good News Club wants the children to know, the Amalakites were targeted for destruction on account of their religion, or lack of it. The instruction manual reads:

The Amalekites had heard about Israel’s true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment.

What lesson is this teaching children? Two things, actually.

First, complete and unquestioning obedience to authority is a virtue. Specifically, obedience to their god who, of course, can only be “heard” through religious leaders who, naturally, would only say things their god told them . . . so they must be obeyed.

Second, that anyone who doesn’t believe in their god is worthy of death, and that’s what their god wants. Lots of killing.

I seem to recall all manner of outcry from folks about a religion that says exactly this. Which one was it? I can’t quite put my finger on it . . .

Muhammad said, “If anyone changes his religion, kill him,” and the death penalty for apostasy is still part of Islamic law. Those who choose to leave Islam have to live with a death sentence over the heads for the rest of their lives — even if they live in the U.S. But Muslim “civil rights” organizations whine about “Islamophobia” and never say a word about the human rights of apostates from Islam. -Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch.org

If I may paraphrase Robert Spencer, plenty of folks are calling out the atrocities of Islam; why aren’t those same people shrieking about Christianity’s pro-genocide bent?

And slaughter of those they don’t like is becoming increasingly popular a message among the Christian right.

A couple of weeks ago, North Carolina Baptist pastor Charles Worley told his congregation that all gays and lesbians should be rounded up and kept behind an electrified fence until they die out . . . yes, he advocated for concentration camps.

His congregation was not horrified. In fact, they were supportive.

Just days later, another Baptist pastor shared his thoughts on the idea. Curtis Knapp of New Hope Baptist in Seneca, Kansas, instead promoted government execution of all homosexuals:

They should be put to death … Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them, no?’ — I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.

You say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you, you’re horrible. You’re a backwards neanderthal of a person’. Is that what you’re calling scripture? Is God a neanderthal, backwards in his morality? Is it His word or not? If it’s His word, he commanded it. It’s His idea, not mine. And I’m not ashamed of it.

He continued:

He said put them to death. Shall the church drag them in? No, I’m not say that. The church has not been given the power of the sort; the government has. But the government ought to [kill them]. You got a better idea? A better idea than God?

Meanwhile, in a more typical stance of the Christian Right, Truth in Action Ministries is blaming all of America’s ills on the IRS and homosexuality, and demanding that homosexuality be made illegal. Faux historian David Barton, who shaped Texan’s social studies textbooks with his warped “christian nation” nonsense, is in agreement.

This is what the Christian Right wants: The removal of anyone who doesn’t obey their leaders. And they’re after your children.

Are they in your child’s school?

Katherine Stewart has written a book about the Good News Club, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children. She also has a website which features stories about the Religious Right in America.

20 Responses to Christian fundamentalist “Good News Club” promotes genocide of nonbelievers in public schools

  1. Ms. Stewart’s book is an outstanding expose of this hellish assault on children in public schools who are presumed safe from proselytizing predators. They are not safe.

  2. The Good News Club is in the schools in my area and they’ve had teachers handing out their brochures IN THE CLASSROOM. One parent contacted the FFRF who corresponded with the school board and was told the district leaves such decisions up to the individual principles. The practice was supposed to have been stopped, but we’ll see what this next fall brings.

  3. I guess murder isn’t murder if it’s done in the name of Jesus.

  4. My first suggestion to everyone would be “Don’t believe everything you read.” And second, do the research yourself and don’t take just anyone’s word for it. Find out what the journalist or organization believes, because in the majority of cases, he is reporting with bias. Time and time again, it has been shown that journalists who are against organized religion and “God” are predisposed to twisting, even lying about the goings-on or intentions of those who are affiliated with a religion or belief in God. Their own personal bias and lack of tolerance for religion clouds their ablility to report honestly and without judgement. This is the case with this particular (self-professed, secular) article. If you are able to read the actual lesson in it’s context without bias, you would clearly see that the only lesson being taught by this religious organization is complete obedience to God’s commands. They are in no way suggesting or promoting genocide, which, if you were to give The Good News Club a fair and honest interview I’m sure they would attest to the fact that the story selected had nothing to do with teaching genocide, and everything to do with simply obeying your Creator’s commands in their entirety. There are many situations recorded throughout history, whether collected in the bible or other “religious” writings, that show how man suffered when he was tempted to do things his own way apart from the Creator. This particular excerpt of the history of King Saul is just one of them. Do not be fooled, atheists and other “God/religion haters” have their own agenda. They preach tolerance, but have none for anyone who doesn’t believe in their god-less ideals. When is the world going to wake up and realise that most people preaching tolerance only have tolerance for those who are like-minded. People who follow “religious” beliefs, live their lives, not by their own imagined rules or standards, but by the laws given to them by their god. We wouldn’t judge a child for following his parent’s instructions, but would rather acknowledge that he is simply being obedient to them when he does so. Why is it then when a Christian, for instance, says he cannot condone homosexuality because his God condemns it in His word as a sexual perversion, that we say the Christian is being intolerant or hateful toward homosexuals? Why would you assume that not condoning someone’s actions means that you have a hatred for that person? You have been fed that lie by the secular media. I do not condone my children screaming at each other, hitting one another, and various other behaviors, but my children would be wrong to assume that that means I hate them or am intolerant of them. It is their actions that I cannot condone. My intervention in their lives is a sign of my love for them. If I didn’t love them, I wouldn’t care what they did, and would allow them to do whatever they wanted regardless of the consequences. Unfortunately, those who don’t agree with certain “religious” values, have wrongfully (even maliciously) taught that those who do adhere to such values are acting in hatred, when, in the majority of cases, that could not be further from the truth. My children aren’t always aware that their behavior is inappropriate, hurtful or dangerous….”There is a way that seems right unto man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.” They have to be taught right from wrong. Do not make the dangerous assumption that because someone doesn’t agree with you, or what you’re doing, they hate you. Do not believe the media’s lies that are driven by a One World Order agenda, and require us all to be divided and hate each other to obtain that goal. I am not affiliated with The Good News Club, nor was I even aware of them prior to receiving an email concerning this article today. But I decided to do some unbiased research into the matter which resulted in my posting this comment because I was compelled to know the truth. Don’t allow your own beliefs, whatever they might be, to cloud your judgement or lead you to believe everything you read because it suits you. You’d be surprised how much the media lies. Don’t be a victim any longer. Search out the TRUTH.

    • Esther writes: Time and time again, it has been shown that journalists who are against organized religion and “God” are predisposed to twisting, even lying about the goings-on or intentions of those who are affiliated with a religion or belief in God. So..that describes all the evangelical Christian “journalists” and well…all of right wing Christianity. They hate God and are predisposed to twisting and lying about the goings on of Christianity and of God.

    • My first suggestion to everyone would be “Don’t believe everything you read.” And second, do the research yourself and don’t take just anyone’s word for it. Find out what the journalist or organization believes, because in the majority of cases, he is reporting with bias. Time and time again, it has been shown that journalists who are against organized religion and “God” are predisposed to twisting, even lying about the goings-on or intentions of those who are affiliated with a religion or belief in God. Their own personal bias and lack of tolerance for religion clouds their ablility to report honestly and without judgement. This is the case with this particular (self-professed, secular) article.

      Thanks for the accusations of “twisting” and “lying”, Esther. Could you show me what, specifically, is inaccurate? I’d be happy to correct anything that is inaccurate.

    • Yes, the lesson in that passage of the OT is total, unquestioning obedience to God. But something happened later that Christians are supposed to remember: Jesus. Remember how when he died the Temple curtain was ripped from the top down? Everything changed. No more blood sacrifices, no more intricate food laws, no more justification for killing anyone. ‘Love your enemies, pray for those who would persecute you…’ Remember? Jesus was the game changer. He brought a message of love and forgiveness and leaving ALL judgment to God. If you’d rather place your faith in the angry words of the OT, then you’d be better off joining a radical branch of Judaism and leaving Christianity. Christ was the embodiment of love and compassion. He never, ever taught anyone to do harm to another human being for any reason.

      • No more blood sacrifices, no more intricate food laws, no more justification for killing anyone.

        Can you quote the Scripture which states this? Then reconcile it with Matthew 5:17-18.

        17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

        Last time I checked, heaven and earth have not passed. But maybe I missed it?

      • The man we know as Jesus was a fanatic who accepted the barbarities of the Hebrew / Aramaic ‘bible’ (the “Old Testament”) in their entirety and without question. He offered “peace and brotherhood,” but only to the in-group who accepted his vision – to those who did not, he came “not to bring peace but a sword.” His aim was to establish a jewish theocracy, encompassing the execution of “witches,” the murder of gays, the stoning of adulterers, and the expulsion of people who eat shellfish, of men who don’t wear peyyot (locks of hair hanging down in front of their ears) and of those refuse to beat their disobedient children – he said so in Matthew 5:18 (“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law (of Moses – all 613 ‘commandments’), till all be fulfilled.” ) His frist step to achieving this, like his namesake Joshua before him – yes, that’s right, Jesus and Joshua are both Anglicizations of the Hebrew name Y’hoshu‘ – was to cleanse the “Holy Land” by expelling or annihilating those whom he felt didn’t ‘belong’ there, in this case the Romans and those jews who collaborated with them (whom history knows as the “Sadducees” < Heb. “tsadiq,” plural “ts’deqim = the just ones”). The Romans, who were nothing if not astute politicians, quickly pegged him as a *terrorist* and executed him in the manner they reserved for rebels against their authority (Spartacus and 6000 of his followers had suffered the same fate a century earlier). You can have your “gentle Jesus,” the purely spiritual jihadi who loved all and forgave all, if you wish, but you have to ignore large parts of your “holy book” – including the frankly bizarre ‘Revelations / Apocalypse,’ where Jesus leads the faithful through oceans of his enemies’ blood while waving a sword *with his tongue*!!! – to do so.

    • How can one hate something (‘god’) that doesn’t exist. What I hate is the psychopathic ideology of the abrahamic ‘religions.’

  5. Esther, pay attention: God does not condemn homosexuality. Homosexuality appears in every animal species with a male/female gender on the planet. It’s kind of hard to honestly condemn homosexuality as a “perversion” when it is part of God’s creation. God did not write the Bible..humans did. As such the Bible at times says very stupid things. Some of the very same passages that you use to condemn homosexuality condemn people to death for planting two different crops side by side. Are you going to enforce that rule too? Secondly…it’s because hatred of gays is wait for it..intolerant and bigotry. Considering that at least five separate so called Christian preachers have called for genocide against homosexuality in the last week and no conservative Christian has uttered a peep in condemnation, Esther, the attacks on homosexuality is nothing more then hatred, fear, intolerance and discrimination being waged by a bunch of morally depraved jackasses hiding behind Christianity. You said “You’d be surprised how much the media lies. Don’t be a victim any longer.” Well I say that to you. You’d be surprised at how much the right wing of Christianity lies. And by following them you are nothing but a victim of their depravity. Thirdly, don’t delude yourself into thinking that “secular” means “anti-God” or “anti-Christian.” It’s perfectly possible for one to be religious and secular. Kind of like how the United States is a country of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and every other religion on the planet and yet the United States is a secular country. All secular means is “religious neutral.”

  6. Oh and by the way, Esther, I’m a lifelong Christian. So don’t be silly enough to accuse me of hating God or Christianity. My problem is with people who use my faith to justify their hatred and fear of others.

  7. avatar annette williams

    Esther, I am from Australia where I am a member of the Secular Party, a registered political party. Our subtitle is “Freedom FROM Religion and Freedom OF Religion”. Separation of church and state, the only just situation for all, is our agenda, even though many of us are nontheistic. It doesn’t have to be either/or. With regard to scripturally justified genocide, I recently read on a website belonging to a Scott Webster Ministries, evidently one of those Kingdom Now/Dominionist/New Apostolic Reformation “ministries”, a piece about the deliverance of the Hebrews from captivity in Egypt. He casually tossed off a statement that the smiting of the firstborn of Egypt was “strategic genocide”. Strategic genocide! You see the perverse mentality that can develop in these people when they are so driven by biblical literalism that they forget their humanity? This Webster is connected, as far as I can follow on the internet, with Steve Schultz, and also Congress-WBN’s Noel Woodroffe, with tentacles globally, both also figures in the Pentecostalist type movements traceable to Cornelius van Til, Rousas Rushdoony and others who teach that biblical law is still applicable (veil of the temple rent in twain notwithstanding!) with its corollary that even the young and innocent may be sacrificed. Whatever it takes. Giving the benefit of the doubt, of course, that these people really are believing biblical literalists and not just power and money seeking frauds and empire builders. I wonder if Good News Club has any connection with the New Apostolic Reformation.

  8. It’s high time that “The Good news Club” and all the human excrement associated with it was flushed into the Sewer of History.

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