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Report on ‘Good News Clubs’ Sparks Online Debate


Last week, we brought you a story about the Good News Clubs, a religious group that operates near many Central Oregon schools. What came next? A firestorm of comments online.

A few that caught our attention on our Facebook page:

?If an atheist did the same thing the “Good News Club” is doing, people would flip out. A horrible double standard,? wrote Mandi Scarr Hogue.

?It’s your choice not to send your child to Good News, please don’t infringe on my rights to send my children to the club.? wrote Shannon Denny Lemke.

?School and Religion MUST be kept separate.? wrote Kim Staack Read.

Some of the 19 clubs are held in trailers like one parked across the street from the playground at Ponderosa Elementary. That prompted mythoughts99 to write, ??waving it in front of them during recess and advertising to their classmates on the school bus with incentives of candy is unacceptable.”

We went to the missionary co-director to ask if kids are encouraged to bring their peers.

“To say they are rewarded, it depends on the club. This particular club, we don’t really use candy much, there may be some other gifts that are involved. But to say that we would use gifts to get them to do that really isn’t true,” said Missionary Co-Director Terry Edwards. He is adamant that the club does not recruit kids.

The online debate has ranged from an entire cut and paste of the First Amendment, to support for promoting Christian values. On both sides, in favor of the clubs and against, people have cited the separation of church and state to support their argument.

Clearly, the topic has hit a nerve. But there also is common ground.

Everyone seems to agree first and foremost the schools are institutions of learning. Secondly, whether in the form of permission slip or concerns about peer pressure, everyone seems to agree the first stop when it comes to questions of faith for the students should be the parents.

Article Topic Follows: News

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KTVZ News Team


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