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.
There are now over 3,200 clubs in public elementary schools, up more than sevenfold since the 2001 supreme court decision, Good News Club v Milford Central School, effectively required schools to include such clubs in their after-school programing.
The CEF has been teaching the story of the Amalekites at least since 1973. In its earlier curriculum materials, CEF was euphemistic about the bloodshed, saying simply that "the Amalekites were completely defeated." 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."
The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.
Asking if Saul would "pass the test" of obedience, the text points to Saul's failure to annihilate every last Amalekite, posing the rhetorical question:
"If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, 'I did it!'?"
"If only Saul had been willing to seek God for strength to obey!" the lesson concludes.
Child Evangelism Fellowship, The Guardian 64 Comments
[6/20/2012 3:28:32 AM]
Fundie Index: 79
Submitted By: Brendan Rizzo
1 2 3
...and this is where the people who "obey" the voices in their heads come from.
6/20/2012 3:44:54 AM
Filin De Blanc
So, what exactly is the difference between these clubs and Al Qaeda training camps?
6/20/2012 3:55:01 AM
"That was pretty clear, wasn't it?" the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids
Does the course include instruction in how to construct a suicide backpack bomb for use in the inner-city?
6/20/2012 3:58:11 AM
Sickening and out of touch.
When I had the old testament in school 15 years ago, these parts never appeared. With good reason.
6/20/2012 4:01:03 AM
I feel like Gahd is telling me to turn an AK47 on the adults who run the Good News Club- all of them.
6/20/2012 4:03:48 AM
Is that like Abenakiite or Anthracite?
6/20/2012 4:05:51 AM
In my day, that story would have us hoping Astro Boy would fly in and save the day!
Who's the modern equivalent?
6/20/2012 4:15:57 AM
"The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed."
"Christian" Al-Quaeda? This is just sick.
6/20/2012 4:20:39 AM
Percy Q. Shunn
Ahh, christianity; America's home-grown Al Qaeda!
6/20/2012 4:33:30 AM
Remind me how trying to turn children into braindead killers for Jesus is legal.
6/20/2012 4:58:30 AM
Oh man. I can suddenly see why Brendan Rizzo is so worried for his country.
6/20/2012 5:07:54 AM
Raised by Horses
Genocide for Jeebus. Still want to try claiming that religion betters people, pastor?
6/20/2012 5:14:25 AM
Ahh, good. Teaching genocide in the name of god.
6/20/2012 5:33:07 AM
Filin De Blanc
If I were a prosecutor, I'd be sorely tempted to try and nail these nutjobs on incitement to murder charges.
6/20/2012 5:35:03 AM
"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:
"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." "
You've heard about Allah many years before, and you refused to believe. You and all your family and your dog will be killed.
6/20/2012 5:35:34 AM
1. There is a time and a place for religious instruction. Public schools are neither the time, nor the place.
2. Advocating genocide is BAD. (Note: The following is not a Godwin.) This is exactly the same sort of rhetoric that was behind the Nazi Holocaust--Jews were treated as monsters, and marginalizing them (eventually to the point of monstrous death camps) was described as a holy Christian duty. This sort of lesson can, and has, caused genocide. It has done so repeatedly throughout history.
3. Most elementary-school kids aren't ready for war stories of any kind. And for a four-year-old?! Large-scale violence and atrocities are guaranteed nightmare fuel!
4. If I were a parent of one of these kids, I would change districts faster than you could say Jack Robinson, AND I'd sue the school district. I would consider both of these things to be my duty as a parent, a certified educator, and a human being.
6/20/2012 5:48:39 AM
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
That's absolutely the most fucked up thing I've ever heard. Why the hell would genocide be the very first thing your group teaches to a 4 year old?!? These fucking lunatics are trying raise an army of dogmatic killers! And then people ask me "what's the harm in religion"? This. This is the harm in religion.
6/20/2012 6:12:33 AM
No, Quantum. Amalekite is a beautiful green semiprecious stone, deeper and more brilliant than jade, which frequently has black bands and takes a high polish.
6/20/2012 6:14:01 AM
Somebody's gotta counteract THIS!
* This is in a public school.
* This is a religious course.
* They're teaching violence & genocide...not the usual nice Sunday school stuff like Jesus doing his thing or God's love.
* This crap's being taught to 4-YEAR-OLDS!
SOMEBODY CALL THE ACLU OR SOMETHING!
6/20/2012 6:18:48 AM
@Filin De Blanc
"So, what exactly is the difference between these clubs and Al Qaeda training camps?"
One uses AK-47s, the other uses AR-15s?
6/20/2012 6:25:21 AM
I have a slight suspicion that gentle Jesus, meek and mild, might not put his wholehearted support behind this.
Nevertheless, it fits in well with my plan for the 'Even Better News Club' in which we'll be training 3 year olds to burn down churches and take a shit on any car bearing the christian fish symbol. Donations anyone?
6/20/2012 6:41:04 AM
This is why the US is doomed. The dominionists are raising schoolchildren to be ultrafanatical killers, in public schools no less, and the Supreme Court has basically allowed it. I know I was going to stop all the doom-and-gloom predictions, but I have a sinking feeling that once these kids grow up they will still think genocide is acceptable. This clubs exist in thousands of schools nationwide. The fundies are indoctrinating children, and no one is permitted to stop them. The Supreme Court has already made its decision. A century hence, people outside the country will point to this as what ultimately led to the decline of America. The Establishment Clause is no longer being enforced. The American people will never praise secularism in the way that other Western countries do. I fear the absolute worst.
6/20/2012 7:11:27 AM
Brainwashing children to listen to the voices in their heads, raising a new generation of psychotic Christians. Yep, they're doing the Lord's work.
6/20/2012 7:11:44 AM
Teaching 4-year-olds about their body = evil
Teaching 4-year-olds about genocide = good
6/20/2012 7:42:06 AM
Voice of Humanity
Given that certain polls show that the rest of America is just as disgusted with this as we are, I don't think this is the time to despair. As Brendan Rizzo said however, while a case allowing them to do this was brought before the Supreme Court, their joke of a ruling took place June 2001. This isn't the time to get discouraged. The ruling is old news, but after all the Gabrielle Giffords incident, the more oblivious among us have become more aware that there's a problem with the GOP using incredibly heinous and disgusting rhetoric that leads to stuff like this. The Republican freebirths are losing this.
6/20/2012 7:45:47 AM
1 2 3