The Good News Club, which aims to bring the “Gospel“ to “every child,” is accused of promoting genocide.
Under scrutiny is the Club’s use of public schools to promote its agenda and focus on the Old Testament (not part of the “Gospel”) to teach unquestioning obedience to God. One lesson, provided by the non-profit sponsor/publisher Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), says King Saul disobeyed God’s instructions by not completely annihilating the Amalekites and all their animals.
CEF instructs children to ask for strength to obey God completely, pointing out how Saul’s failure to do so angered God. The lesson offers nothing that supports CEF’s defense - that it “would never teach children that God would instruct them, or anyone today, to commit genocide.”
This brainwashing of school children to support such violent behavior should not be tolerated by any civilized society.
Tell CEF to stop teaching genocide to school children.
We, the undersigned, object to your use of the Bible and schools to condone violent action that could only be described as genocide.
We agree with reports that your group is teaching children that genocide is ok, at least under some circumstances, and that it can be the will of God.
And we do not accept Tom Levanos' denial, because clearly the literature leaves the impression that Saul’s failure to completely annihilate all the Amaleks displeased God. Furthermore children are susceptible to impressions and are unable to distinguish between them and actual or direct suggestions.
Furthermore the lesson repeatedly instructs children that they should ask for strength to obey God completely, unlike Saul, who didn’t wipe out ALL the Amalekites and their animals. And it isn't unclear at all about the extent of violence being condoned.
To quote from CEF's lesson, directly, it says:
Some time later Samuel went to visit King Saul to tell the king what God had told him. Samuel was careful to explain exactly what God wanted Saul to do. “You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites)—people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left,” Samuel instructed him. That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?
This passage, says Penn State professor Philip Jenkins, has been used throughout history by nations to justify mass murdering of men, women and children. He says the Puritans used it to condone killing Native American tribes, and Catholics used it against Protestants and vice versa. "'In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul's memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors,' writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses (HarperCollins).”
More recently, Netanyahu’s description of Iran as Amalek, should raise questions as to why a fundamental Christian group would continue to use the Amalek example for teaching obedience to God’s will. Some would interpret this as supporting war against Iran and killing of Iranians.
We request that you stop using this kind of literature to teach children the “Gospels,” not only because it condones violence and genocide, but also because it is not part of the Gospels or the group’s stated goal in the first place.
Thank you for taking these concerns seriously.
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