NEW WEBSITE INFORMS PARENTS AND PUBLIC SCHOOL OFFICIALS ABOUT GOOD NEWS CLUBS
Portland, Oregon (September 30, 2015) – The Portland-based nonprofit Protect Oregon Children is pleased to announce its new website providing comprehensive information about evangelical Good News Clubs, which meet in public elementary schools throughout Oregon and the U.S., but which are controversial, widely criticized and generally not well understood. The new website is intended as a helpful resource for parents, school officials and concerned citizens who are dealing with Good News Clubs in their schools. Most of the information is not state specific and applies anywhere in the country. (See http://protectoregonchildren.com)
The Good News Club is the primary ministry of the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), a large fundamentalist religious organization based in Warrenton, Missouri. Their mission statement reads: “CEF is a Bible- centered, worldwide organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, disciple them in the Word of God and establish them in a Bible- believing church for Christian living.”
The mission of Good News Clubs meeting in public schools is to convert children ages 4-14 to fundamentalist Christianity. However, Club flyers and permission slips sent home to parents invariably fail to mention this mission, instead marketing the Clubs as character-building programs offering snacks, songs, games, “nondenominational” Bible study, and free after-school childcare.
In addition to concealing their true mission, Good News Clubs are also criticized nationwide for introducing religious proselytizing into public schools, using children to evangelize their friends and classmates (which can lead to conflicts and bullying), employing shame- and fear-based conversion techniques that can harm vulnerable children, and working to undermine public education and the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. (See http://protectoregonchildren.com/resources)
Protect Oregon Children’s new website provides comprehensive information about Good News Clubs for those who need it most. It helps parents understand what Good News Clubs actually teach and the potential consequences for children who attend. It offers school administrators information about their rights and responsibilities regarding these Clubs, including legal guidelines and policy suggestions. And it provides concerned citizens with tools to help protect their school communities from predatory proselytizing.
Good News Clubs have roots going back to the 1920s, when they met primarily in churches and private homes. In 2001, they won a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing them to operate in public school facilities. Since then, they have installed over 4,000 Clubs in public elementary schools across the U.S. Their stated goal is to install Clubs in all U.S. public elementary schools.
ABOUT PROTECT OREGON CHILDREN
Protect Oregon Children, Inc. is a Portland-based nonprofit and grassroots coalition of concerned parents, grandparents and citizens whose primary goal is to raise awareness that Good News Clubs are operated by a national evangelical organization that uses public elementary schools to convert young children to fundamentalist Christianity. They accomplish this chiefly by providing helpful information and resources for parents, school administrators and concerned citizens.
Protect Oregon Children first began as “Protect Portland Children” in 2014 when the Child Evangelism Fellowship chose Portland for its annual summer recruiting campaign.