@Don Sherman: I would add to what Kevin said by pointing out that as concerned community members and parents, when we have on separate occasions tried to observe the proceedings, we were barred completely; barred from large portions of the meeting; and had the police called by the GNC in an attempt to keep us out. And what did the Police conclude? "...there was no evidence that [the observers were] performing any criminal actions or that [their] actions were contrary to district policy."
These attempts to cloak the behavior of the club came after the club deceived both me and the school district about the actual lessons being provided. Fortunately Kevin and several other concerned citizens were willing to stand up to the GNC's deception and intimidation, and we can tell you with absolute conviction that the GNC is engaged in psychological abuse of children. Whether you choose to believe it is up to you.
It's regrettable that this article dismisses the abusive nature of the Good News Club in the very first sentence without, apparently, having investigated the content of the Good News Club lessons. Had Ms. Carrie Fien dug below the deceptive marketing of the club she would have found lessons that overwhelming emphasize a child's depraved nature and include lessons directed at children as young as 5 years old which state, "You have earned death – separation from God forever in a terrible place of punishment."
This is why mental health professionals that are familiar with the Good News Club's materials have declared their methods of emphasizing the child's deficiency as "very traumatic" and "incompatible with mental health."
No, the most dangerous aspect of these meetings isn't the dodge ball. The most dangerous aspect of these meetings is that many of these defenseless children will endure lives of guilt, shame and fear as a result of the psychological abuse of the Good News Club.
"America is fast on its way to becoming a secular, Godless society." This may be the one factually accurate statement in the entire letter. The percentage of our population that are non-believers is about 20% and growing fast. There are at least two reasons this is a good thing:
1. Non-believers generally defend the rights of citizens to worship without letting one denomination impose doctrine or dominate others. This makes the public square neutral ground where all citizens, whether from a majority religion, a minority religion, or no religion at all, can participate equally.
2. In most religious traditions, notions of morality are static with no self-correction mechanism. Thus when certain positions become untenable (slavery for example, which is specifically endorsed in Exodus 21), the correction is difficult and contentious. By de-coupling morality to ancient myths, non-believers are able to rationally and objectively advance our moral understanding.
The fact that more Americans are becoming non-believers definitely has me giving thanks this coming holiday season.
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