The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children

Katherine Stewart, Author
Katherine Stewart. PublicAffairs, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-58648-843-7
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
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Open Ebook - 306 pages - 978-1-280-58801-3
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Journalist Stewart (Class Mothers) examines how Christian right groups infiltrate public schools with supposedly innocuous extracurricular Bible study clubs and other groups that have a fundamentalist approach, and whose leaders engage in proselytizing. Focusing on the Good News Club—a group sponsored by the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF)—she shows how its leaders see themselves as fighting for children’s souls and against the secular humanist forces of “Satan.” Currently in thousands of schools, the groups are protected under the mantle of “free speech” thanks to a 2001 Supreme Court decision. While evangelical proponents claim communities often welcome their entry into schools, Stewart argues that such activities are “the handiwork of well-funded and very well-connected Christian legal groups, and is imposed rather than demanded by communities.” Stewart introduces readers to CEF and other groups’ leaders, as well as volunteers, many of whom are proudly antigay, antichoice, and opposed to sex before marriage. While the research is thoughtful, the claims can seem hyperbolic, such as when Stewart writes, “the CEF moves with industrial precision over great swaths of the country like a multinational corporation homing in on a new market opportunity.” (Jan.)
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