"Americans United has successfully foiled plans by a county council in Washington state to hand over thousands of taxpayer dollars to a Christian fundamentalist group that targets young children for conversion.
Americans United sent a letter Monday to officials on the Pierce County Council warning them that their proposal to give $7,000 to Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) could result in legal action.
According to KING-TV 5 News in Seattle, the grant, which would have given CEF funds to be used for space rentals at local fairs, was added to the county’s proposed 2014 budget at the last minute. Council member Jim McCune seemed to believe that CEF’s services could somehow help “at-risk” youth, the news station reported.
Just what services does CEF provide, you may wonder? Nothing of a secular nature, that’s for sure.
On its website, CEF describes itself as a “Bible-centered worldwide organization that is dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, discipled and established in a local church.”
The group runs several ministries both nationwide and internationally that are targeted at children; it also trains ministers and distributes Bibles.
Based in Warrenton, Mo., CEF is controversial because of programs it runs in many public schools after hours. Critics say the organization zeroes in on young children and seeks to lure them into an extremely conservative form of fundamentalist Christianity. CEF is so intent on converting youngsters to fundamentalism that it has produced “wordless books” aimed at children who don’t yet know how to read. (For more on CEF, see Katherine Stewart’s expose The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children.)"