Sketches on Atheism

Something wicked this way comes

good news clubThis logo looks fun. It’s bright and it’s cheerful. It looks tasty and conjures images of summer and water park smiles. It’s innocuous, upbeat and playful, and it’s just what any five year old American kid needs to learn that genocide is not only A-OK, it’s damn well required by the Christian god. Now in 3,200 public elementary schools the Good News Club is a filthy tentacle of the Child Evangelism Fellowship; a violent Christian hate group whose stated aim is to “Knock down all doors to all 65,000 public elementary schools in America and take the Gospel to this open mission field now! Not later, now!” (CEF’s national convention in 2010). Now, using the public schools system to convert children to fundamentalist (radically evangelical) Christianity sounds an implausible objective in a secular society, but after a 2000 High Court ruling (Good News Club v. Milford Central School) entirely possible. Through the guise of supplementary after school classes US elementary schools are open fields for the Child Evangelism Fellowship’s 750 fulltime employees and reported 40,000 vultures volunteers to march into tax payer funded classrooms and teach the groups favourite moral biblical story: Saul and the Amalekites.

It’s a beautiful tale of childhood innocence retold in 1 Samuel (15:3) where god said to Saul on his bloody rampage to unite the more stubborn northwestern-Semitic speaking Canaanite tribes under the banner, Children of YHWH:

“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.”

rwanda0group0f04Obeying his god Saul set about and dutifully butchered the babies, the children, the women, the elderly and the men, the camels and the donkeys, but apparently not all of the Amalekites cattle and sheep. Some of the younger ones we hear looked plump and tasty and were spared presumably for a later BBQ. This act of leniency enraged Saul’s god. He’d said kill everything and leave nothing, and this little upstart deliberately disobeyed a pretty straightforward command. KILL EVERYTHING. Alas, Saul’s failure to fulfil this ordered holocaust peeved this god so much that he threw a tantrum and turned his favour to a truer, more ghastly psychopath: the onetime shepherd boy come military commander turned traitor and insurgent, David. And with that so began the next bloody chapter of Israelite history.

To the Child Evangelism Fellowship and their insidious hooked claw, the Good News Club, this is a wonderful story for elementary school children and the first thing the curriculum’s Teacher Instruction Manual  says is that if god gives instructions to kill an entire population, you must go out and slaughter every last one. The material reads:  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?” This particular story is used (starting in week 2 of the curriculum) to emphasise to five year olds the importance of obedience to this Old Testament god. It’s a simple message: Obey and you can be King, like David. Disobey, and god’s going to get medieval on your ass… and that goes doubly for ignoring this tyrant. Here the instruction manual points out that the Amalakites were targeted for destruction “on account of their religion,” or lack of it. “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.” The moral here for the children is people of other faiths are evil and shall be killed if god tells you to kill. In all reality its even worse than that. This god really wants you to kill them all, no questions asked, and just to nail this point home the instruction manual poses the question:  Would Saul “pass the test” of obedience? The answer in the eyes of the Good News Club is a definitive, No, but they guide their teachers to approach their classes in a more circular manner, offering a rhetorical response instead: “If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, ‘I did it!’?” The lesson plan goes on to read, “King Saul should have been willing to seek God for strength to obey completely,” and in three separate places it instructs teachers, “Have children shout ‘God will help you obey!’”

In her book, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, Katherine Stewart rightly concludes with this question: “when does a religious group qualify as a ‘hate group’? Surely any answer must begin and end when  that group sanctions school children to slaughter infants and other children for the glory of their particular sky being.


DrennPostscript
: The always excellent, always on the money Drenn at Freethinkers corner has three brilliant articles (links below) on the insidious nature of the Good News Club. These go deeper into the nature and methods of the group and what their larger goals are for the United States. Spoiler Alert: It’s not pretty.

http://drenn1077.com/2012/07/28/resisting-fascism-in-your-home-town/

http://drenn1077.com/2012/07/31/american-fascism-is-alive-and-well/

http://drenn1077.com/2012/08/04/the-fascist-agenda/

Here’s a 30 minute YouTube video, Sophia Investigates The Good News Club.

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78 thoughts on “Something wicked this way comes

  1. Someone took the trouble to add up all of those either killed by or killed at the order of God in the Bible. Some estimates were required but the total came to about 3 million people. And that did not include all the animals, etc. It also didn’t include that little episode referred to as the “Flood” in which the entire world’s population, save eight(8) were slaughtered. I can see why the bastards think obidience is in order but love for Yahweh? I don’t think so. He thinks we are his to slaughter.

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  2. Ever wonder why the God in the second testament doesn’t sound anything like the God in the first testament? Man made religion. Not God. That of course is only my opinion.

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  3. Nauseating. Deplorable. Manipulative. These are the words my 12 yr old daughter said when I showed her this post. And my family wonders why I am not a christian. I hesitate to teach blind obedience, I want my child to question, seek and find answers to the questions SHE has, not blindly eat the pablum that is spoon-fed to the masses. Poor kids ! Good post.

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      • That’s a fair point… but they are an insidious cancer actively seeking to interfere in our secular societies, and for that they draw my attention. Their target: children, and that’s sick. I’d hope other Christians, rational Christians, would rise up and demand they stop this effort to pollute kids minds. This is not a secular/religious thing. This is the mental health of children we’re talking about here, and i’d wish Christians would take that seriously.

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      • I did not say I am not a christian because of this group… merely reiterating my choice, and that fact that my family does not understand that I choose a different path.

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    • 🙂 I was dragged along to a Boy Scouts meeting once…. it sucked. The kid who invited me poohed himself (although i didn’t know it at the time). he was gone for ages, leaving me alone in the hall with all these uniformed little brats doing stuff i thought was pretty dumb. Kid slipped quietly back in a while later, sat next to me, then this godawful smell started wafting up. My nose followed the stench… the pooh had fallen on his shoe and it being nighttime he had no idea it was still just sitting there. I informed him he had a turd on his foot and that it was probably time for me to leave. I imagine the Good News Club to be something like this.

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  4. That’s what they taught in my sunday school – and that Saul deserved to die for consulting a medium. When you are a Christian, you can’t help but think of death; it all becomes so normal, blood and war and sacrifice and death.
    Father Abraham was an even worse role model, and the story of Abraham and Isaac is just a depressing version of the flying ram and his Golden Fleece. Maybe there should be an after school program that teaches mythology, to counter this?

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    • Hi Tabitha! Even better, all religion should be taught under the subject header, “Mythology” 🙂 I was raised and schooled catholic and the nuns and priests who taught me never even touched the Old Testament. Literally, it was never mentioned. Genesis was presented but taught as a story. Seems its only evangelicals who pay any attention to it. Even Jews treat it as nothing but a collection of fables. How on earth evangelicals actually believe that BS is beyond me. It’s really quite shocking to learn my fellow men and women can be so utterly gullible. It doesn’t ring well for our species.

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  5. “God” is the product of psychopaths. Is it any wonder that “he” is one himself?

    Religion was the first pathocracy and the earliest form of mass indoctrination / brainwashing.

    Just my opinion.

    “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction”
    Pascal

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    • That’s not an opinion, Richard, what you said is fact, although i’d say personality cults emerged earlier and religion with sky daddy’s grew from those. You’re up with your paleolithic history, i know, have you ever also researched Lascaux and Altamira? Anthropologist John E. pfeiffer wrote some outstanding books on the caves and detailed possible initiation ceremonies carried out deep inside. drugged, disorientated, eyes like eight balls in the pitch black, then torches lit and placed in strategic spots around the galleries. He has a marvelous way with words and described how the images on the walls (almost 3D using the natural bulges and depressions in the rock face) would’ve quite literally jumped out. He was correct when he concluded the experience would have “burnt” itself into the child’s mind.

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    • I think religion emerged as a way for big-brained primates to begin making sense of their world, just my opinion. I also think it’s a little dangerous to demonize the religious so. You might find yourself in the same old trap of the overly indignant; that is, repeating the mistakes of those you abhor.

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  6. Call me naïve but my first thought is – America was supposedly built on the principals of “freedom of religion” and” separation of church and state”. Americans vehemently defend their constitutional “right to bear arms”, yet look the other way when their sacred constitution is muddied in the name of God. Rather than debate the message taught to impressionable children, raise hell that this nonsense is allowed to take place.
    As a Canadian I can guarantee you a program like this would not be tolerated, or allowed to even get off the ground. In Canada it would be viewed as criminal.
    Organized religion was the stroke of genius to which all other businesses should aspire. Poor sales reflect the bottom line; that said – we wouldn’t allow un- Godly corporations manipulate our children in attempts to create brand loyalty.
    America is one messed up country.

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    • Same in Australia, and in here in deeply religious Brazil. it wouldn’t be tolerated. In all reality it wouldn’t even be attempted. I agree with you on the “unique” way some Americans view their constitution. Leaves my head spinning sometimes… but then again that’s also precisely the way the evangelicals approach the bible. They pick and choose and then throw all rationality out the window.

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    • Also, that sanctimonious bullshit never has gotten any traction down here. We know how hypocritical Canadians are. We got your number, so just give it up dude. The only time we think of Canada, in fact, is when an annoying cold wind comes from the north.

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      • Do tell – how hypocritical are Canadians? A serious question; please enlighten this sanctimonious heathen. For the record – and this might just be the frozen wind talking – you really need to chill “dude”

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  7. The bible is full of nonsense and violence. The stories about the Amalekites are full of some of the most ridiculous. Joshua is fighting the A’s and his victory is dependent totally on if Moses has his hands up or not (Exodus 17). God himself says he’ll totally obliterate the A’s and their name so Moses better right it down. In Deut 25, we have “Don’t Forget!” to do the genocide! Then we have Saul and David supposedly annihilating them but golly, in 1 Chronicles 4, there are still Amalekites still around. Rather like the nonsense about God totally destroying Tyre and it never ever being found again, we have completely untrue claims in the bible, propaganda that doesn’t match reality.

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  8. The fact that the fundies have chosen to use that exact story from the Bible kind of proves how beyond decensy they allready are. I hope it will raise the US citizens to fight against religious extremism, or at least that more and more kids will come to question the morals we are offered.

    Children are such, that if religious crazies get them early enough age, they may become very vulnerable to become godbots in their adulthood. However, most kids learn some practical (though often enough just intuitive) form of ethics from their parents, and when those contradict the ones lectured in school usually the model of the parents wins. Most religious people in this world are members of their religions, because they do not even know about the questionable side of their gods. The fundies are actively informing the common Christians of the nasty sides of the Bible, because they themselves do not see anything bad about massacres as long as such things are ordered by their beloved and much feared god.

    I am pessimistic in the sense that religious organizations are very effective in spreading propaganda and that secular people are not as well organized or prepared to take on such assaults. For example how it went down for emperor Julianus Apostata. However, I am optimistic in the sense that the amount of information awailable is growing, so it is harder and harder to convince people with the suggestions about the supernatural and that , freedom and democracy (as in opposition to theocracy) are stuff that people who have tasted them are not so prone to give up on.

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    • Raut, these fundamentalist whackjobs are America’s Taliban, and you’re right, secular groups aren’t as well organised to meet the challenges presented. For starters, this 2000 High Court ruling must be challenged. These nutters should have no access at all to children. Secondly they should be declared a hate group and filed away with other right wing extremists like Neo Nazis. This crap is perverted, and that’s putting it lightly.

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      • @John Zande, Yeah, the Taliban means just students of a religion. It would be interresting, if the Taliban tried to advance their childrens club to the US schoolsystem. By what morals would they be denied? By secular ethics, or by religious bigotry against a “foreign” religion? If it would be determined that the Taliban teaches questionable religious propaganda by contemporary secular ethics, then the Christian fundies with their just as wild crap, would have to apply to that same ruling.

        It is sad though, if this parallel would be the only thing for common US citizens to realize what madmen the fundies are.

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      • The problem i’ve found with mad men is they can’t recognise that they have lost their minds. I heard once a dying man is numb to his stench. Seems apt in this instance.

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      • @ John Zande. Indeed. That is the case with delusions. The delusional do not have a sense of sickness. However, that is what might work as a healing process to the society, in the sense that the less delusional, like moderate Christians, may reflect upon their milder form of delusions to the barking mad fundies, when these come out with their batshit crazy forms of delusion, like the fundies in your post with their tribal moralism from the “good book”.

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      • The analogy is just plain silly John, and you know it. The Taliban tried to kill a little girl who was speaking out against them. These people, whatever you and I think of them, would not go out and kill people who disagree with them. If you imply otherwise, give evidence of one of their murders.

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  9. I don’t understand why would an assassin like God want inferior creatures to kill others for his own sake and own name. This God is so lazy that he relies on human beings to achieve something he could have done in less than 2 seconds. If there is a God and if that was God’s will, then why did he abuse humans to do his own job? I’m sure some of Yahwe’s followers got killed or injured in those battles, so why would you want to go that way if only a “word” that you say will kill your enemies on the spot?

    The only thing that comes to my mind (if God really exists) is that either he is not omnipotent as people claim and he needs our help, or he is so bored and have nothing to do in heaven or wherever he might be and he is playing with us like muppets and marionettes…

    What dumb human asses would obey such a horrible assassin warrior nazi God?

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  10. I did a post on this some months ago. Katherine Stewart’s book is quite good. Many claim it is just another conspiracy theory, yet, here in my little town, there are two schools that have these people holding meetings after hours. They are working from the bottom up. Taking little children and proselytizing them. The children are encouraged to seek out other children and bring them into the fold. Tiny children are going about warning their peers that unless they submit they will go to hell.

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  11. A wunch of bankers, the lot of them. You guys should get together and have a bible burning party outside the first school these idiots approach.

    And who, pray tell is this Prayson Danial? Geez, Did his parents truly give him this name? What a plonker.
    Have you ever noticed how reborns and their ilk seem to look as if they have ‘odeed’ on Seratonin?

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  12. Quite amusing to see the Christians using the same ol’ excuses. I do love Prayson’s excuse that John doen’t “explain” his questions. I suspect that this really means that the theist doesn’t want to admit his “good reasons” and answers to questions are rather pitiful. Someone doing their homework is exactly what he doesn’t want.

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  13. Thank you for all those links. To take little people and to teach them such disgusting stories sicken me – and to send them out proselytising too. Do the parents not realise what is being taught or are they in agreement with it all?
    I once worked with a Catholic who, when she had had a bad lesson, would sit in the staffroom, hitting her forehead and saying over and over again, ‘Mea culpa.’ She and I had many ‘interesting’ discussions and she truly believed that she would burn in hell for marrying a divorced man. Her ‘loving’ Church would no longer allow her to take communion after her marriage either.
    Indoctrination is so wicked.
    🙂

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    • This is really sick, isn’t it? Drenn at Freethinkers Corner has even better, more detailed posts on the GNC. From what i can gather the pitch sold to parents (and the school) is quite innocuous. “Bible studies and a morality course.” Morals? Bah humbug! Chatting to Drenn the other day she (or he?) said there are 2 GNC clubs in her (or his?) small town and parents there are getting extremely upset. Apparently children (who attend the meetings) are telling their peers they’re going to burn in hell. I consider this child abuse. How it passed the US Supreme Court i cannot say. It’s insidious. America’s Taliban.

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  14. Tell me this is a joke, John! If it isn’t, so help me! How do these nut cases keep sneaking things by my beloved First Amendment!!!!!!!

    They just landed on my shit list.

    By the way, thank you for the links. I’ll check them out and I definitely want to get involved in this organization’s collapse.

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  15. They’re not going anywhere, calm down. This is America. We tolerate idiots, and then the mass of people with common sense tends to smother them. Also, the kids wouldn’t be there if the parents didn’t want them to be, and far be it from any of us to dictate how a parent should raise their child. Besides, the child eventually becomes an adult and gets to decide what in her childhood was b.s. and what was helpful. Having worked with kids, I have a bit more trust in them than you guys do. What was the word, religibots? Something like that. Get real!

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    • So I take it you would have no problem then with those same children being handed literature on homosexuality, or how about the Book of Mormon? After all – Romney is a good Mormon, let the kids sort through the bs and decide which lost tribe of Israel to follow.Get real you say; put your money where your mouth is.

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    • With due respect, I think your blasé opinion on this is shockingly misplaced. Because you accept it doesn’t make it right. If Pakistani’s accept the Taliban’s activities does that then make poisoning school girls acceptable? Of course not. If you looked a little deeper into this you’d learn that in the towns where these “programs” are being run there is great concern. Parents of children not enrolled in these sick classes are complaining that their kids are being threatened with “going to hell” by attendees whose heads have been filled with this dangerous religious bull shit. These GNC “teachers” (I use that word very loosely) are encouraging these young kids to proselytize and actively recruit their peers. If you agree with that then you and I have found a topic where we will surely clash heads.

      Now you said above that using the Taliban here is a silly analogy. Is it? In the 80’s when the Taliban were just emerging in their Madrassers were they killing people then, or just “educating” students? The killings started later when those brainwashed kids became adults. My analogy stands: the US has its own Taliban forming inside and you’d be doing yourself and your country a favour if you dealt with it now and exercised some secular rationality.

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  16. Pingback: The bad news club | The God Extinguisher

  17. Pingback: Just how confident are Yahwehists in the Durability of their Religion? | the superstitious naked ape

  18. YOUNG LIFE INC. is the new driving force penetrating our public education and targeting children almost exclusively. They have taken over school administrations, put their own people into the schools as teachers, even as science teachers. They are in the business of stealing children from their families and have kids working for them on school campuses as well. YL as it is commonly referred to as, is the largest,. wealthiest and most powerful force ever created for this purpose and has expanded into many countries. Parents beware! Do not allow your children to join this organization regardless of what your family beliefs are. You may not even know that they are established at your kids school and will need to find out for yourself! -MD

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  19. Hi Nan- I have been observing this organization since 2008. They have been removing content on the web at an accelerated rate for the last couple years. One person over at younglifewatch.wordpress.com says that new privacy agreements are being signed by members making YL a “secret organization” operating on public school campuses as “individual volunteers”! Young Life club websites used to be easy to find now you have to write the school name as well for search engines to even pick them up. Many of them now are restricted access. Their basic answer for everything is “We just want to show kids that Jesus loves them”. This is a deception and a lie. It is the worst kind of evangelism and is toxic to children and families. They are on a mission from God to convert the children of non-believers behind the parents backs and are using our public schools to do just that. -MD

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