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← 9pm and 11pm ET - The Big Picture - Katherine Stewart interviewed

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Richard Dawkins

Please read this book, talk about it, tweet about it, recommend it to friends, review it on Amazon, name and shame the culprits, do everything possible to bring Katherine Stewart's shocking message to the attention of everyone in America. Truly, religion poisons everything, and when the poison infects elementary schools it's time to get seriously angry. These odious people, legions of zealous, born-again volunteers, descend on innocent schoolchildren, take over their school buildings (officially after school hours: I must have missed the explanation for why they pay no rent) even enlist the children themselves to infect other children. Here's a typical passage:

At the Vieja Valley Elementary School in Hope Ranch, California, parents reported an incident that began on the playground, when Ashley, a sprightly six-year-old, approached her first-grade classmate Chloe, near the swing sets and delivered the bad news: "You can't go to heaven."

Ashley had already figured out that Chloe, the only Jewish girl in her class, did not believe in Jesus.

Chloe protested, but Ashley persisted. "If you don't believe in Jesus, you are going to hell."

Their teacher overheard the increasingly heated exchange. When class resumed, she asked everyone to pay attention. People from different religious backgrounds, she explained, have very different perspectives on certain kinds of issues and beliefs.

Chloe, feeling good that she had stood her ground, seemed content with the result. But Ashley was crushed.

"You mean they lied to me right here in school?" she began to cry. "Because that's what they taught me here! How can they teach me things that aren't true?"

And there are lots more stories where that came from.

The point, for an American steeped in the Constitution, is that technically Ashley was not taught the lies in school. She was taught them by a completely separate organisation which was allowed, because of a legal technicality, to use school premises after school to run a 'club'. But these little children have no obvious way to distinguish the real teachers who properly belong to their school from the evangelists who swarm in, bearing tempting treats, the moment school officially finishes for the day. I understand the constitutional issue, but what matters more for me is the despicably loathsome tactic of setting child against child, corrupting young minds to go on and corrupt other young minds, indeed terrify them with threats of hell. Not only do these 'Good News Clubs' set child against child, they poison the whole atmosphere of a school, dividing parent from parent and teacher from teacher, causing friction and distress where previously there had been educationally productive harmony.

I can't help thinking of Luke 17, 2: "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones."

The organisation behind the 'Good News Clubs' is immensely powerful, rich, influential, backed by Supreme Court judges, and revoltingly smug with it. Let's help Katherine Stewart wipe the smile off their stupid, born-again face.

Richard

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 10:05:40 UTC | #926872