As the "news" show for the church of the constantly persecuted Christians, Fox & Friends never wastes an opportunity to promote the now standard "Fight for Faith" script: Individual atheists and atheist groups are evil people who are "attacking" good Christians whose attempts to impose Christianity into the public square are just "tradition." This morning, on Jesus very own morning show, Anna Kooiman and Clayton Morris followed the script even to the point of claiming that a parent, who opposes an after school fundamentalist Christian kids club, is an atheist despite their being no evidence, in local press accounts of the latest Christian outrage, that she is!
The "Fight for Faith" segment opened with a smiling Anna Kooiman who informed us that there are 4,000 "Good News" Clubs across Jesus' favorite country. That these clubs are of a certain, uh, religious bent was evident in the graphic which showed the number and the source for the number - Child Evangelism Fellowship. She described the clubs' mission as "promoting good values" when, in reality the clubs, an arm of the Child Evangelism Fellowship, targets children "for conversion to their brand of biblical fundamentalism." The clubs provide after school activities that mix snacks with dark, fundamentalist Christian teaching. It is also connected to creationist Ken Ham and is the subject of a scathing expose, "The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children."
In using the popular Fox News "battle" motif, so popular in stories about persecuted Christians Clayton Morris said that one club "has been attacked" after an "atheist parent complained" about a pamphlet, advertising the after school club, which was distributed to students in a Maine school. He introduced his guest, no not the parent nor somebody from the atheist group, but Moises Esteves, the vice-president of "USA Ministries" which, natch, supports the clubs. As Morris spoke, the chyron framed the patented message of Christians under a state of siege: "Faith Under Fire, Atheist Attacks Christian After-School Club."
In following the patented Fox & Friend script about how, in many cases, it's just one person who is hating on the Christians, Morris asked Esteves to explain why the parent complained about this pamphlet. (Doocy would have summed it all up!) Esteves explained that that the club teaches what the Bible teaches; i.e "Jesus loves the little children..." While the criticism of the club centers on its emphasis on sin, Esteves claimed that it teaches kids to respect other and asked why anybody would oppose that.
Anna Kooiman, not surprisingly, agreed and added that it's not mandatory. She asked "what's the argument" from the parents." She snarked "are they upset that their children are going to be respecting them..." (If Anna had bothered to google this she would know the answer - the parent believes that the flyers are a form of proselytizing) Esteves said that the opposition is stirred up by - drum roll please - atheists who are upset that the Bible is being taught in the public schools. He added that SCOTUS has upheld the right of the clubs to be in school and that children and parents think the clubs are awesome.
Morris stressed that a permission slip is needed to join the club as the chyron reinforced the message about that evil atheist parent: "Provoked by Pamphlets, Parent Complains Over Religious Material." He referenced a study showing "the detrimental effects on latchkey kids" and then promoted the club as an "opportunity to learn" and "have empathy." Esteves said that the club teaches kids to "love God" and claimed, again, that school personnel think it's awesome. To Kooiman's question of whether the club could convey moral messages without Jesus, Esteves said no. In keeping with the Fox & Friends script that ignores the legal aspects of these cases, Morris repeated that the kids need permission slips, "so you can complain all you want."
What wasn't said on Fox & Friends:
- The flyer includes the statement that "Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again the third day. All who recognize their sin and believe in Him as their Savior will be saved"- a statement of "fact" that might be offensive to a non-Christian child who receives the flyer.
- Parents, from other school districts, have complained. Also, there was organized resistance to the club in Portland, Oregon.
- In the one article about this issue, the parent, also a teacher, is NOT identified as an atheist but portraying her as such does fit so well with the patented Fox evil atheist meme, ya think!
Wonder how Fox & Friends would react to Muslim club flyers being distributed in public schoool?
Even better, how do you suppose F&F would react to ATHEIST club flyers being distributed in public schools? Especially as F&F are apparently misleading viewers into believing it was an atheist parent who’s protesting the club.
Just curious, Priscilla, but did something get dropped from that parenthetical? In the section at “(. . . a form of proselytizing and thus, a.),” something seems to be missing after the “thus, a” part.