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

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  368 ratings  ·  74 reviews
In 2009, the Good News Club came to the public elementary school where journalist Katherine Stewart sent her children. The Club, which is sponsored by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, bills itself as an after-school program of "Bible study." But Stewart soon discovered that the Club's real mission is to convert children to fundamentalist Christianity and encourage them to ...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by PublicAffairs (first published January 1st 2012)
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Lewis Weinstein
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
UPDATE 5/8/13

This book describes the activities of scary people, engaged in an activity I personally find reprehensible. Their goal is to take over the minds of the young children of America and inject their version of a Jesus-based religion. Anyone not part of their group, including most Christians who are not Christian enough, will go to hell. The really frightening thing is that they’re good at what they’re doing, and the U.S. Supreme Court has said it’s legal.

The Good News Club, a function o
Phillip Allen
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have been involved in the struggle to expose the Religious Right and its motives for over thirty years. I graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when it was one of thr great theological centers of the world. Religious fundamentalists took over that seminary and reduced it to less than a shell of what it was.

Ms. Stewart exposes these groups as well as anyone ever has. I strongly encourage everyone to read this book; then research for yourself her assertions.

As an ordained Baptist
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Warning! What you are about to read may be the most Radical approach to Evangelism in Public Schools you have ever heard of. IS IT LEGAL? No-not for adults. But it is completely legal for students! It is is a God-given loophole!

-The Life Book Movement website, a project of The Gideons International, which has distributed nearly 1.5 million religious tracts to high school students since launching in 2009."

This quote comes rather deep into The Good News Club. But it doesn't come as a surprise. Re
Alejandro Mujica
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Stewart concludes her book with a point, that we are more inclined to watch out for political and religious groups with special agendas "when they run for office," but not so much when they visit our communities. Unfortunately part of the problem is that groups like Good News Clubs introduce themselves under false pretenses (as "non-denominational bible-study groups") and have the legal and financial support system to undermine the separation of church and state--a necessary separation, Stewart ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I spent the entire summer seeped in First Amendment rights within the religious liberties context. My boss recommended this one as a way to understand how the other side thinks. I am glad I read it, yet...I found it sad.
A good part of this book is incredibly valid. I particularly appreciated where Stewart recognizes the common goals between 'secular' organizations and 'religious' organizations and the communication gulf that separates the two.
Yet as someone seeped in this world, I think Stewar
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a very well researched and presented thesis. I'm more worried and more hopeful for our public education system all at once. One of my favorite passages is a warning.

"I always believed that because we all want the best for our kids, and would recognize the link between education and national excellence, public education would progress and improve. Our kids would be smarter and better informed than we were. Now I wonder if it's just that I was lucky enough to have been born in a generatio
Sarah Jane
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I’ve read yet this year... because it is so scary. Churches in school buildings? Textbook contents determined by a group of non-academic Texans? Public school communities ripped apart over an after-school program that excludes everyone but THE right kind of christians? An end-times worldview that doesn’t care about any of the here and now issues... Reminders about all of those great Dubya faith-based initiatives. Your tax dollars at work, in ways I’d rather not think about. ...more
Jed Sorokin-Altmann
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Well researched, an easy read on an important topic, but it was frustrating that Katherine Stewart only covers the Good News Club and their movement and not any of the forces hopefully marshalled against them, and whether there is any hope of reversing some of the damage Good News Clubs is causing. Without any glimmers of hope in Stewart's book, it remains a valuable read, but also a frustrating and infuriating one. ...more
David Niose
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This excellent book is full of well-researched information about the religious right's assault on education in America. Stewart researched her subject thoroughly, and she reports the alarming facts in a sober, level-headed way. This is not a polemic, but it is a clear wake-up call filled with troubling information on the Christian right's effort to dismantle American public education and tear down the wall of separation. ...more
Nicole Harris
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, atheist
This book was scary. Katherine Stewart did a phenomenal job of opening my eyes to the true goals of the Good News Club. What you may think is an innocuous after school bible study group for kids may not be just that. Stewart exposes the facts that the Child Evangelist Fellowship who runs the Good News Club in public schools all over the United States is out to target not only the non-Christians but also the "wrong kind of Christians."

The "wrong kind of Christians" was news to me. So you think y
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm glad someone wrote this. Well-written and researched. And very scary how Christian fundamentalists view anyone not "born again" as the harvest to be converted. It terrifies me (especially since humans now have the technological ability to destroy the earth) that they actually look forward to the "end times." ...more
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read. These people lack all ethics and disgust me.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Comprehensively researched, well-written, and truly terrifying.
Erin Derr
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book after the Good News Club showed up on my son's public charter school campus last year. I was concerned about their presence and I wanted to learn more and it was frightening to me how much what has gone on at my son's school over the last year or so parallels what she describes happening at the school in Seattle. These people really are following a script and they are turning children against each other and ruining friendships when they send small children that do not understand ...more
Apr 03, 2012 rated it liked it
"The Good News Club" is a good starting point for further research, but not a terribly great read on its own.
I've been reading a lot of heavier investigative writing lately, so my opinion of her writing style may be a bit skewed by the reading that preceded it. Her style came off as a little chatty and casual. This can be a very good way to lighten up a book that may otherwise be too heavy with stats and facts, however "The Good News Club" doesn't exactly have an overload of stats weighing it
Ayman Fadel
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Educators, Parents with Children
Shelves: history-us, education
Katherine Stewart claims that Christian Nationalist groups have used misguided court decisions which transformed religious practice into protected speech, culminating in the 2001 Good News Club v. Milford Central, to use public schools for evangelism.

Christian Nationalists and others perpetuate the fiction that God "has been kicked out of the schools," and they attribute every social ill to this removal. They see their efforts in public school as a last-ditch attempt to redeem public education,
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Child Evangelism Fellowship is a sprawling, national, Christian Right movement to indoctrinate members into their sect. They have the power and the money to gain public offices, even at the national level. The Good News Clubs were established to infiltrate our public schools, brainwash our children, ages 5 through 12, and reformat our system of education to their standards. One of these over 3500 after school groups has arrived in our town. This book was written based upon the author's perso ...more
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book and a good read, and it would have gotten five stars from me if the author hadn't simply thrown up her hands in the air and said "the sky is falling!" I would have loved a bit of research into how people are fighting against this, and whether or not there is hope.

It is definitely a must-read for parents who are considering sending their children to public school.
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
I'm in my forties and don't have children, so the state of schools today, public or otherwise, is something I'm only vaguely aware of from the news. This was a really eye-opening read, and honestly some of this stuff is just bonkers to think about. I went to Christian school from sixth through twelfth grade, pretty conservative Christian schools, too. Yet comparing my experience to the stuff described in this book, I'd say there was actually less Christianity in my day to day school life than in ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: gave-up
Didn't finish, was getting too annoyed that this could happen in the U.S. A lot annoys me about politics and religion in the U.S. lately... ...more
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Really, it's 3.5 stars. It's dated now, pre-Trump, but a lot of information beyond just the Good News Clubs. Basically, infiltrate the schools, sow discord, cause school systems to expend energy and resources on said discord, thus undermining the educational outcomes of schools, creating poorly educated students, who grow up and vote Republican.

Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
How many times have we seen a politician irrationally scream & rail against pornography, sex, homosexuality, etc. only to be exposed at some later time as a hypocrite who, in fact, really REALLY enjoys whatever it is they rail so loudly against? Many involved in the fundamentalist Christian Right loudly scream and rail against gays as "attempting to recruit our children" into that "lifestyle". The same people who claim that their "Good News Club" is a harmless after school activity akin to socce ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
When I was a child, I went to a Good News Club and my taught at it for a few years. Thankfully my parents are liberal enough (which shows how terrifying conservative religion is if you would meet my dad) that my leaving a Baptist church as a teen and returning to the faith by attending an Episcopalian church is seen as a prodigal daughter returns. I say all this for you to understand where my review comes from.

HOLY SH*T this book is a terrifying look into the movement to get a absolutely horrib
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
The title comes off as a bit alarmist, but there are some things worth being alarmed about and I think this is one of them. Much of what was in this book I'd come across in one form or another, but hadn't put it all together before. Made me a bit nervous about sending my kid to Kindergarten next year (our school is in the book), but was a little relieved when a Google search turned up information that parents have successfully diminished the influence (to the extent they can when not backed by t ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Upsetting and fascinating. This is a book that should probably be read by most moderate Christians. As an atheist who feels strongly about it, my starting position is that there should be no religious content in schools. But moderate people of faith are often given to assume that it's pretty harmless to allow religious groups access to schools. This book fills in a lot of the blanks, showing the real intentions behind the "Biblical" Christian invasion of our public schools: to find loopholes to ...more
Jed Lamprey
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An utterly terrifying book that chronicles the way evangelists do end runs around the Constitution to push religion into public schools, turning little kids too young to know what's going on into proselytizers, dividing communities when they resist, and encouraging bullying and ostracism against other kids who don't go along with them. A must read for anyone with kids in elementary school, middle school, or early high school. ...more
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Good investigative journalism, combined with useful but limited personal experience related by both the author and similarly situated parents of a variety of religious viewpoints. Fairly well-organized. The admonition to start paying attention to quiet misrepresentation going on in a school-by-school and district-by-district basis can apply in other realms of our social and political life with the organization of active Evangelicals and Dominionists.
Rodney Hinds
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great book makes me realize the extreme level that the zealots will go to in order to spread their message. My message to the religious fanatics - Your god is so incompetent that he must use the resources of the public school system and his message so weak the marketing strategy is mainly directed at preadolescent children.

Aug 14, 2012 rated it liked it
The depth and organization of the Christian right and their attempts to infiltrate the American public school system is a wake up call for all those who want to keep sense and science in the classroom and mysticism and religion out.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scholarly-works
An absolutely terrifying look at the way in which some branches of evangelical Christianity insidiously infiltrate and undermine public education in the United States of America. A warning that one cannot help but hope comes in time . . .
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“Listening to the debates about public schools on the Christian Right, one hears plenty of opposing opinions and a great deal of confusion. Some want to change the schools, others want to leave them. But the smart money seems to know what it is doing. It provides support for programs like the Good News Club, which slowly erode the support for public education in the country at large and in their own constituency in particular. And then it lays the groundwork for dismantling public education in favor of a private system of religious education funded by the state.” 1 likes
“The judicial strategists of the Christian Right claim that all they want is “equal access” and “toleration.” But that isn’t in fact all they want. They don’t want equality; they want control. They don’t want toleration; they want the opportunity to practice their intolerance. They don’t want their religion to be included in the schools; they want the schools to be absorbed within their religion.” 0 likes
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