CEF-RI ‘Good News Clubs’ Not Welcome

Providence, Roger Williams City of Religious and Political Freedom

 By Fred Comella

I’ve always believed that this “culture war”, if you will, would be fought in our classrooms, and in the hearts and minds of our children. Thus, I’ve made it a point to read the writings of freedom’s enemies, and that text is undeniable. Folks like Marx and Zizek emphasize the indoctrination of our posterity as the surest way to destroy a free nation from within. They even explain the time component as a lengthy and sometimes arduous journey, the end of which they themselves wouldn’t likely see. Of course, they didn’t write a whole lot about the inevitable body count along the way. But that’s a discussion for another time…

It makes perfect sense that our schools, from kindergarten to “higher education”, are the perfect petri-dishes to plant and grow the seed for this type of discontent, or in the case of the Left’s efforts, disinformation. Now for those of us who understand salvation, and how Jesus Christ is the true master of our destiny, the battle is even more tedious and consequential. You see, Christianity is accountability, and accountability has no place in the socialist/fascist/communist doctrine, except of course, your accountability to “the state”, and ultimately, your human keepers.

So goes the battle between good and evil, with The United States of America, hanging in the balance, as the last best hope for mankind in the world, and in a more precarious posture than many of us can remember. Behold the constant drum beat of “equity and inclusion”, framed by a complicit modern media, and designed to shame anyone or any entity into compliance at the expense of being labeled a racist/bigot/homophobe etc… You know the drill, (name-calling is all they have). Regrettably however, things have begun to descend into a confrontational quasi-war on Christianity, as the preachers of the state feared/fear the Holy Trinity and it’s power to bring about change for the better in people of all ages, and give them hope beyond what government can or should provide. And the epicenter of this new and dangerous “war” is now our schools.

Well, the battle lines have clearly been drawn, and parents and grass roots organizations are now pushing back, and hard. The same evil media that has promoted the lies of a socialist utopia and carried the water of the leftist movement in America for more than a generation, has now inadvertently exposed a “woke” double standard. And decent folks across America are engaging in a big way on behalf of our greatest asset, our kids…

If you’re looking for a way to get involved in this critical and pivotal fight for the soul of a nation, and quite frankly, for the souls of our children, then look no further than their classrooms and school activities.

In my former home state of Rhode Island, there’s an organization that represents, in my eyes, what our young folks should be learning. It’s called CEF-RI, Child Evangelism Fellowship of Rhode Island. From their website:

“At Child Evangelism Fellowship of Rhode Island, we bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the children. We disciple them in God’s Word and establish them in local churches where they can continue to grow in their Christian lives.” They also have a parent organization, which espouses the same philosophy, with the motto, “Every Child, Every Nation, Every Day.” Wow, sounds like a plan.

This past week I had the good fortune to speak with Alan Snow, the State Director for Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) of Connecticut and Rhode Island, and he provided me some insight into CEF’s efforts at the local level in Rhode Island.

Allen explained the primary focus of the organization is to bring the Word of God to young folks across the state, and get them involved with like-minded area churches, so they may benefit from the Gospel as they mature and navigate this changing world with a Christian mindset. He noted however, that those efforts, by way of CEF’s after school clubs called, “Good News Clubs” are being thwarted and shut out of schools in Rhode Island’s capital city of Providence.

Statue of R.I’s founder, Roger Williams, atop College Hill in Providence, R.I.

I’m not going to get into a history lesson here, on how foolish and contrary to the founding of the City of Providence a policy like this actually is. But on its face, it smacks of the double standard which permeates many schools across the country. And this affects the very youngest, to those so-called “future leaders” coming out of the cesspool which has become the majority of American universities today. A little homework and a google search tells us, organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the YMCA, continue to promote and fund after school programs in the city of Providence, evidently with the school boards/districts approval. So why is it that the “Good News” of the Gospel is not welcome in the schools of the city, purchased by Roger Williams from the Narragansett Indians and on which he started a new settlement with a policy of religious and political freedom, naming it “Providence” – in “thanks to God” for protecting him during his exile from Massachusetts. Hmmm… “Facts are stubborn things”.

Once again, that same responsibility/accountability we try and instill on our children every day should be embraced and promoted at school, should it not? (It was when I was a kid). Or at least, shouldn’t they allow for the “diversity, equity and inclusion” they’re always screaming about these days? Oh, I see. That only applies to those who embrace a particular political narrative…

Ok, so truth be told, what we’re actually seeing in the education system nationally, and more and more at the local level, is a trend away from the true Christian origins of our country, in favor of things like “CRT” and after school clubs/organizations representing viewpoints completely contrary to a walk of faith and accountability, and with any sort of Christian organization or club being summarily excluded. So basically, you can start a LBGTQ club or “Trans” group in a middle school, even an After School Satan Club, but don’t even mention the notion of a Christian group at your local school board. And God forbid you aspire to promoting a silent prayer at the start of the school day. You’ll be run right out of the classroom.

This is where we are as a nation today, celebrating a 13 year-old child being allowed to “transition”, even filming him performing in a “drag” show on YouTube, complete with a crowd of perverted adults cheering him on. But a Christian book club at a school, a portrayal of the Christmas/Easter Stories in the city square, or a prayer before a sporting event or a city council meeting?? No, they are smeared as some fascist plot, and usually challenged all the way to the Supreme Court.

Now I could go on and on about the teacher’s unions, and the politicians in their pockets, as part and party to this hypocritical and obviously biased application of public, (and yes, some private) school systems, but time and space prohibit my political bloviating. Nevertheless, children of all ages today, are learning of this hypocrisy and the indoctrination that goes along with it. Sadly, we are losing many young minds to the enemy as a result.

CEF headquarters in Missouri

But as always with the blood of our Savior, there is a way forward. There is hope. The ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship, or CEF was founded by Jesse Irvin Overholtzer in 1937, headquartered in Warrenton Missouri. Growing up in a religious family, Jesse at the age of 12 was convicted of his own sin and sought counsel from his mother. He was told, “Son, you are too young.” It wasn’t until Overholtzer was in college that he heard the Gospel and trusted Christ as his Savior.

Later, as a pastor, Mr. Overholtzer read one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons which stated, “A child of five, if properly instructed can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult.” The Lord used this statement in Mr. O’s life to lead him to begin the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship when he was 60 years old. The ministry has since grown into the largest evangelistic outreach to children in the world.

At Child Evangelism Fellowship of Rhode Island (CEF-RI) they continue the CEF outreach mission by bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the children of Rhode Island, discipling them in God’s Word, and establishing them in local churches. CEF-RI develops partnerships with local churches to conduct Good News Clubs and J-You Connection Clubs in area schools. They also train their youth to lead 5-Day Clubs in neighborhood communities and reach out to the lost at local county fairs.

These ministries share the common goal of being a voice, other than one of the secular or anti-Christian groups, chirping in our kids ears every day. Let’s face it, kids are sponges, and they’re most certainly listening. So if the only message they’re hearing is one which is the antithesis of their faith, and everything we as parents want and hope for them, then that is the path they are likely to follow. (I believe with every ounce of my being, that the faith efforts of my wife, and ultimately myself when I was saved, helped keep the voice my son was hearing, that of the Word of God, and are the reason he is on a fruitful journey with Christ, and one that he will pass to my granddaughter, I pray).

Allen and I shared some additional thoughts on events of the day and how important ministries like CEF are affected in these troubling times. I also expressed my concerns to him about the anti-Christian trajectory of my beloved “Ocean State”, and my firm belief that organizations like CEF are an integral part of any solution.

The Connecticut native went on to explain that God was on his heart when he accepted his current leadership role at CEF for CT and RI, and how it has fulfilled his desire to do even more as the organization grows and they are able to reach more children and families. Alan informed me that CEF has 400 offices in the US and is organized in most nations of the worl

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver

d, with over 3,500 paid staff and hundreds of thousands of volunteers. In its last ministry year, CEF ministered to over 16 million children in its face-to-face teaching ministries. There are currently more than 4,800 Good News Clubs in public, elementary and middle schools across the United States, including in other Rhode Island school districts.

In the end, if we lose this battle for our children’s souls, and they are overtaken by the work of the evil one, by way of the very institutions we trust to provide them with a morally sound education, then all is for naught.

Thankfully, Liberty Counsel, which represents CEF nationally and has never lost a case for them, has gotten involved. Liberty Counsel has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island against Providence Public School District and its superintendent, Dr. Javier Montanez, for discriminating against Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) by not allowing its Good News Clubs on campuses while allowing other clubs to meet. Liberty Counsel seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions against the school district’s enforcement of the unconstitutional policies that prohibit the Good News Clubs to meet on equal terms as secular clubs.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The law is clear that public schools cannot discriminate against the Christian viewpoint of Good News Clubs. Equal access means equal treatment in terms of use of the facilities, including fee waivers, time of meetings, and announcements. The Good News Club must be given equal treatment as the non-religious groups.” You can read more about CEF’s legal action at: lc.org/newsroom/details/031023-ri-school-district-sued.

So once again, if you are looking for a way to join the battle, I can think of no more vital role than to support the ministries of CEF as a means to that end. Make no mistake my Christian friends, this is a war. They know it, and we had better know it. They are counting on our complacency…

God Bless you all, and God Bless and keep our children. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

     Get involved today by going to the CEF website at cefri.org.


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