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People's World: Christian nationalists recruiting “child evangelists” in public schools

-by Rick Nagin

February 6, 2012- CLEVELAND - At a crowded forum Feb. 1 investigative reporter Katherine Stewart presented the results of a three-year study exposing a nationwide effort, operating "under the radar," to turn public schools into a base for indoctrinating children in Christian fundamentalism. The event was sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Stewart is on a speaking tour about her new book, "The Good News Club," the name given to the afterschool programs of the Child Evangelism Fellowship, a Christian nationalist group.

With a 2001 Supreme Court decision that the free speech rights of children allow use of public schools as venues for religious indoctrination, the Child Evangelism Fellowship has set up a rapidly growing national network of the clubs that recruit and train children, aged 5-12, to bully their peers with threats that they will "go to Hell" unless they accept Jesus.

While the Good News Clubs present themselves as innocuous non-denominational "Bible study groups," they use the appearance of official school sanctioning to direct their recruited "child evangelists" to target children belonging to mainstream Christian religions, as well as non-Christians and non-believers. 

The clubs have created serious tensions and disrupted already besieged public schools in many areas, Stewart charged. She reported that some 3,500 of the clubs have been established, including in major school districts like Boston and Seattle, and their numbers are doubling every two to three years. 



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