An outreach event by devoted Christians in a public park in the Myrtle Beach-area would generate a collective yawn, for the sheer normalcy of such a thing.
But do it in one of the least religious states in the union, it is cause for concern, at least for some groups.
That’s what’s happening in Oregon as a group of Evangelical Christians do what they believe they are called to do, tell people “the truth,” warn them about Hell and convince them of the need to follow the teachings of Jesus.
They've banded together in recent weeks to warn parents about the Child Evangelism Fellowship's Good News Club, buying a full-page ad in the local alternative weekly to highlight the group's tactics.
"They pretend to be a mainstream Christian Bible study when in fact they're a very old school fundamentalist sect," said Kaye Schmitt, an organizer with Protect Portland Children, which takes issue with the group's message and the way it's delivering it.
CEF says Protect Portland Children is a shadow group run by atheists who seek to dismantle Christian outreach. The group said its methods are above reproach.
Read more here.
It seems like there is a simple solution to this: Let those who want to convert people try to convert people, and those who don’t want to be converted move on, or protest if you feel so compelled to convene that version of “the truth.”
I’m not moved by the “we must protect the children” from this supposed religious extremism. One man’s religious extremism is another man’s guiding light to becoming a better, more compassionate person.
While the groups in opposition to this church group are declaring that kids should not be coerced into religion, why must they be coerced into avoiding it?