I’ve often written about my interactions with, and observances of, the predatory organization who runs Good News Clubs. In my opinion (and others who aren’t brainwashed into thinking threatening children with hell is virtuous), Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) has posted some really cringy and tone-deaf articles on their website in the past. However, this one… this one is creepy as hell.
Yup, thats the actual title, “Children Have Beautiful Feet.”
I would imagine choosing a title like this will get CEF some web traffic they’re not used to getting, likely from visitors who don’t exactly share CEF’s mission, but are certainly predatory in their own right. You get where I’m going.
I went ahead and listened to the episode to spare you from the trauma and rage that you might experience if you were to hit the play button (ok you’ll probably still have it anyway if you keep reading). Here’s what I learned.
The reference to children’s feet is a twist on Romans 10:15, where it’s mentioned, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” CEF is using this passage to say that kids who proselytize to their family and friends can also be included in this tantalizing tootsie troop. Weird. Of all the things to choose from when discussing the supposed benefits of sharing the gospel, this is the thing CEF picks.
While yes, this should be bad enough, the actual message of the weekly “Teach Kids Article” is even more suspect, and like the Bible, is fiction presented as fact. The story is focused around four poorly-written “testimonies” that anyone with any semblance of critical thinking skills would realize are entirely made-up. And as an added bonus, they have racist undertones.
Story 1: A 4-year-old girl named Hope (yeah, sure) attends a 5-day evangelism club, then goes home to ask her mom if she’s familiar with Jesus and explains he died for her sins. Hope asks her mom, “Mom, have you ever been forgiven of your sin?” Her mother’s response is “No!” Then the mother tells the staff of the club that evening that her kid has been preaching to her. That’s it—end of the story. There’s not even a mention if that was a good or bad thing or if the mother was affected by what Hope shared.
Story 2: An 8-year-old girl named Meg* (CEF added the apostrophe but never explains why) lives in an unspecified Muslim nation. Sure she does. Anyway, apparently her friends know she’s Christian and always tease her to say “Islamic statements.” One day, she says some Christian things instead. As a result, her teacher told her to “shut up” and the kids beat her. But don’t worry, they apologized. The moral of the story? It’s more important to preach and get beaten for it (“or far worse”) than to avoid pleasing God. Notice the insinuation that kids in Muslim countries are inherently violent.
Everybody still with me? Remember, we’re using these as a teaching tool for little kids all over the world. Let’s keep going.
Story 3: A 6-year-old girl named Valeria lives with her mom but is left alone with her sister often. Her dad is in jail—of course he is. Her grandmother, Maria, takes her to Good News Club on Sundays. Valeria prays that her dad will get out of jail. Because of this, her dad somehow finds Jesus and gets saved. There’s no mention of whether or not he got out of jail though, so we have no idea if Valeria got what she prayed for. The grandmother also gets saved, due to the testimony of Valeria. I’m not sure why she was taking Valeria to Good News Club in the first place, if she wasn’t a believer. Call me crazy, but if I was looking for activities to bring kids to, I wouldn’t be starting at churches unless I was a member of the church.
Ok, one more. You’re doing great.
Story 4: This one is the most disjointed of them all, so pay attention. Sai* (again no explanation of the asterisk), of an unspecified age, lives in a village in an unspecified nation that has no churches. Sai attended a special training for kids to learn how to proselytize to other children. I don’t know why he did this, or even how he became a Christian if there are no churches. I digress. When the training was complete, he returned to his village and somehow gathered up 27 other kids. He preached to them and was wildly successful—like at a better rate than Jesus Christ himself. He was able to convince all 27 kids to accept Jesus on the spot. All 27! What did he do next? I’m glad you asked. He broke open his piggy bank and bought them all cookies. Then, he called his pastor (in a place with no churches around) and asked him to come help. There’s no mention of what he needed help with or what the pastor did when he got there, except that he was amazed by the 27 new brainwashings. The pastor then contacted CEF to send a missionary and start a Good News Club.
The article closes with another mention of teaching kids they can have beautiful feet and that pleasing God is more important than avoiding trouble. Remember, the “trouble” they refer to is a beat-down by a Muslim mob of minors. If that’s not endangering their welfare, I don’t know what is.
This is what Child Evangelism Fellowship, who recruits very young children internationally through missionary groups and holds after-school clubs in over 3500 public elementary schools in the US, feels is a great message for kids. They’re communicating bigoted generalizations like violent Muslims and jailed Hispanics, and even suggesting that kids put themselves in danger in order to spread the gospel. This is just the tip of the iceberg for an organization known far and wide for predatory behavior, deceiving parents, and threatening adults and children.