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Back December 16th, 2004 Forward
dogemperor [userpic]
"Good News Clubs" fight for inclusion in elementary schools


The Fly Trap has an interesting post about the attempts of a "child evangelism project" to get "Good News Clubs" established in every elementary school in the US.

The fur, of course, is flying...

The conservatives' agenda to stack the federal courts with religious extremists is paying off for them. Yes, I said it. They’re winning, and you should be very, very afraid for the future of the separation of church and state. And unless you want to have proselytizers tugging on your kids' sleeves in the hallways of their public elementary school, it's time for progressives to get serious about three things: opposing Bush's judicial nominees, funding more progressive legal groups to challenge state-imposed religion, and educating the public about the real meaning of the separation of church and state. Because the religious extremists are way ahead of us on all three counts.

Here's just one example, which alone should be enough to get progressives busy. In 2001, the United States Supreme Court, in a split decision, decided a First Amendment case that has fired up religious conservatives to bring a proselytizing bible club to every elementary school in the country. In Good News Club v. Milford Central School District, the Court, in an opinion written by Clarence Thomas, held that a New York elementary school violated the free speech rights of a proselytizing bible club when it barred it from using school property for its meetings, when the school allowed other, non-religious clubs to use the property.

If the shoe had been on the other foot, religious conservatives would have been screaming their heads off about "activist judges." But when Clarence Thomas distorts Supreme Court precedent to serve a political agenda, it’s a "clear and well reasoned" opinion that "honors our traditions of religious freedom and pluralism."

Good News Clubs are sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship. In the Supreme Court case, one of these clubs challenged an upstate New York elementary school that barred the club from using school facilities for its after-school meetings, because the school had a policy of not allowing religious activities on its property. The Good News Club sued on the ground that the school’s exclusion of it constituted "viewpoint discrimination." This legal strategy fit nicely with the agenda of conservative Christian extremists who like to portray themselves as victims of discrimination by church-state-separating-secularists. And, as if answering their prayers, Justice Thomas handed them the legal precedent they were looking for.

Read the rest at the site.

Back December 16th, 2004 Forward