Slowly but surely, whether or not you approve, it is happening: a theocratic United States is swiftly becoming a reality. The legality of so many abhorrent practices in our society are due to the occasional but monumentally wicked and iniquitous Supreme Court decision. What’s so appalling is this case in particular rivals Dred Scott and Citizens United and the decision went quietly under the radar as that year was not remembered for much other than the September 11th attacks.
Originally heard on February 2001, SCOTUS rendered its decision on June 11, 2001 regarding the prohibition of religious clubs meeting on public school grounds. In the case The Good News Club v Milford Central School, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff 6-3 that the Child Evangelism Fellowship Organization had the freedom of speech right to set up evangelical clubs in public elementary schools. Separating Church and State, basically over a technicality, had been effectively nullified.
The curriculum of The Good News Club is standardized to indoctrinate children. The strategy is based on the premise that what a child learns at school must be true, so a teacher instructing a class on mathematics and next class the same children are told “they are born sinners and must repent to the gospel of Jesus Christ” as if they are factual equivalents. The universally taught text of the Good News Club (GNC) has over 5,000 references to sin, 1,000 references to obedience, 1,000 references to punishment and more allusions to hell than Boticelli’s rendition of Dante’s terrifying underworld.
This is accomplished through books that, for those unable to yet read, are furnished with pictures to indoctrinate as young as possible. The Biblical tale of Saul and the Amalekites is used as an example of the compulsory obedience to “God’s decrees” no matter how outlandish or horrific they may be.
Many have used this story from Deuteronomy 29:16-18 (as well as other mentions of Saul throughout the Old Testament) to justify committing genocide based on a book of fiction. A sin is a sin, so they equate this mass slaughter with a “sin” such as failing to clean one’s room. The most essential quality of the GNC is absolute obedience and compliance. Even the smallest of sins require complete obedience to their interpretation of the gospel and some children literally terrify their disbelieving peers with tales of fire and brimstone.
The shocking video below shows the lengths these fundamentalists will go to convert and brainwash children. I liken it to a child predator offering treats from a fake ice cream truck to lure children for far more insidious intentions.
It has been well established that indoctrination into any belief system occurs largely during primary school years. The Supreme Court’s majority opinion was based on the rejection of the argument that young children are particularly vulnerable to mistaking equal access for official endorsement and the rules should thus be different for elementary school. The dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens seems to be the most thought provoking as he believes this will (and already has) erode(d) the separation of church and state. With the premise that free speech can also include politically motivated clubs like the KKK, there’s no limit to what is tolerable at public elementary schools if one subscribes to the case’s majority rule author, Clarence Thomas (and the five other Conservatives on the Bench). The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has been eviscerated.
Justice Stevens separated the “religious purposes” mentioned in his policy statement into three possible types of religious speech. He stipulates that 1. some religious speech is “simply speech about a particular topic” 2. Implications of Good News (Club’s agenda) from a religious point of view that some religious speech amounts to worship “or its equivalent” and 3. that some religious speech proselytizes by nature or inculcates belief in a particular faith, while the First Amendment potentially protects all of these forms of speech against action by the state.
Stevens compares the Good News Club and its proselytizing meetings to a political organization trying to recruit members. He concludes that Milford may exclude these kinds of meetings because “such recruiting meetings may introduce divisiveness and tend to separate young children into cliques that undermine the schools’ educational mission.” Justices Souter and Ginsberg agreed with Stevens as they all, justifiably, felt this case clearly violated the separation of church and state.
One of the proponents of the movement of the SSA (The Secular Students Association) is author Katharine Stewart, who in the video posted above has explained why this is a very slippery slope to the erosion of religious freedom for America’s non-Christians. She is the author of The Good News Club: The Religious Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children. Stewart explains how children, as young as five years of age, are encouraged to recruit others into the Children’s Evangelical movement while mocking, shaming and shunning anyone who is a non-believer. They are wrought with fear and intimidation that Hell is inevitable if you “don’t accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”
If there’s any question of where this is coming from, those interviewed in the documentary happily admitted they learned of these Spectaculars for Christ at Chik-Fil-A and McDonalds to name a few. Corporate America is very interested in maintaining a population that is pliable and easily hooked on believing what they are told while ignoring harmful consequences caused by their right-wing, anti-labor and pro-pollution policies. Using Christian theology masked as factual curriculum on the children of our public schools is a fantastic way to keep the sheep buying in to their mantra. While they cry out about some imagined threats to the Second Amendment as the evisceration of our Constitution, they are effectively eroding the most precious freedoms of the First Amendment. Nobody seems to notice. The media has not deemed this a problem because the media has been deregulated to reflect corporate America’s will as absolute fact. These are very scary times for America indeed.