Sunday, 17 February 2013

Predatory Evangelicals in New Zealand

The CEF website
The Child Evengelism Fellowship, the bain of secular parents and public schools in the US has reached across the pacific to New Zealand. While the website appears innocuous the reality on the ground is often radically different, featuring division and intolerance on the play ground and disrespect for the views of the community.
The CEC website
They operate trainings in Levin so that Church Education Commission (CEC) members elected to school boards and invite people in to New Zealand public schools to proselytize a hellfire brand fundamentalist protestant Christianity to children. CEC members are encouraged to put themselves up for nomination to school boards.
It does not matter if you are a person of faith or not, this should alarm you, this group has a record of disregard for the wishes school communities and intolerance for diverse minorities and other religious and non-religious groups. and their clear intent is to capture the minds of your children and imprison them with though the outwardly the describe themselves thus on their website:

While parents may be able to opt their child out of these teachings, they divide the play ground and set children against each other and worst still children opted out may be set menial tasks while teaching takes place.
For those attending these lessons, no declaimer is given leaving the child with the impression the "preacher" is giving a school endorsed lesson.

This story comes from a mother in Christchurch:
Our children currently attend Harewood School in Christchurch, our oldest is in year 3. We were aware that the school had RI from the beginning and opted out. Though concerned that valuable curriculum time was being handed over for religious instruction we felt confident enough that opting out would not be problematic. However, since then there have been continual and increasing incidences of discrimination. In the early days there were times when our children were kept in the same classroom during RI, which we put a stop to. Then our son was put to washing dishes in the staffroom, which we also put a stop to. The last two years has seen more and more comments and bullying by other students for example asking my children why they don’t believe in god and saying that they will go to hell. There is teasing and ostracism which may seem mild to adults but is very hurtful and confusing for young children.
My husband and I have recently approached the school as we noticed behavioural changes and anxiety in our son. We had previously not wanted to make a fuss as we felt it would emphasise a difference between the children and make things worse. The school has responded reasonably and I must emphasise that my letter is not about condemning the schools conduct. My intention is to illustrate the impact of allowing religious groups access to our state schools and argue for legislation change that protects a religiously neutral school environment.

Other lessons teach that childrens' friends and family will be forever punished if they do not convert to the hell fire brand of Christianity that they promoted in the Good News Clubs.
US school district boards have tried and failed to prevent to Good News clubs from injected themselves into the school environment. The Good News clubs have the backing of the CEF a US$100m organization that offers free legal support to Good News clubs. Also a 2001 supreme court decision gave groups the free speech right to do this in US public schools, despite it being a violation of free exercise and separation clauses of the first amendment.
These Good News clubs insist on reaching children in schools even to the point of refusing free accommodation in a next door church.

One lesson uses the biblical genocide of the Amalakite as a lesson in obediance noting God killing Saul because did not complete the genocide. This lesson is aimed at five year olds in the US.
The Director for Policy and Strategy at the Richard Dawkins Foundation for reason and Science US will be visiting New Zealand to speak and offer advice to help combat this and other assaults on our proudly secular nation in April with his last engagement on the 12th in Wellington.

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