Is Your Church Teaching Pagan Earth Worship In Sunday School?

January 17, 2005

By Tom DeWeese

Many parents have sought to protect their children from the behavior-modification programs that have taken the place of academic education in public schools. To escape the assault of Outcome-Based Education (OBE), multi-culturalism, and workforce training programs, parents in ever-increasing numbers are placing their children in private schools or are home-schooling.

Public schools, and even some private schools, spend valuable classroom time engaged in “cooperative” learning (group learning) encounter sessions and discussion groups that employ pop psychology that teachers are simply not qualified to apply. These programs are designed for a very specific purpose—to change the attitudes, values and beliefs of your children in order to prepare them to be proper environmental citizens in the “sustainable” global village. Such behavior-modification programs are the very root of the destruction of America’s public education system.

In spite of the “school wars,” parents have felt safe taking their children to Sunday School to help build a solid moral foundation. But, have you looked at your church’s Sunday School curriculum lately? You may be shocked to find tree-hugging, earth-worshipping paganism intermixed in the Christian lessons.

Many churches are now using a Sunday School curriculum created by an organization in Colorado called “Group.” There is nothing in Group’s publications that tells who they are, what they believe in, or anything about the backgrounds of the creators of the materials. But Group curriculum is now sold in most Christian bookstores. The Group material offers “Hands-on Bible curriculum” and advocates a “new approach to learning.”

However a close inspection of Group’s materials and teaching methods shows it bears a close resemblance to the behavior-modification techniques of OBE. For example, under the sub-head “Successful Teaching: You can do it!” the teacher’s manual asks the question – “What does active learning mean to you as a teacher? It takes a lot of pressure off because the spotlight shifts from you to the students. Instead of being the principle player, you become a guide and FACILITATOR.” This is basic OBE classroom organization where students are not taught by a teacher, but are guided to learn on their own, as the class FACILITATOR simply suggests and gently directs toward a pre-programmed, psychology-driven lesson plan.

Just as in OBE behavior-modification exercises, the Group curriculum provides “Problem Cards” for student discussion of personal and family issues. Some examples from the workbook for fifth and sixth grade Sunday School classes:

    1. PROBLEM CARD: “It seems like my parents fight all the time. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m afraid they’re going to split up.”

2. PROBLEM CARD: “The cool kids at school treat me like a total nothing. It’s like I don’t even exist.”

3. PROBLEM CARD: “My dad is afraid he’s going to lose his job, so we don’t get to go anywhere on vacation this summer.”

4. PROBLEM CARD: “I got in trouble for not cleaning up my room. Now I’m grounded for the weekend and can’t go to my friend’s birthday party. Doesn’t that stink?”

Each of these examples are designed for group discussions in which the entire class takes on one child’s personal problem. Personal family business is disclosed, parental authority is questioned and student “self-esteem” becomes the central concern. This is Outcome-Based Education at work in the Sunday School class—led by a volunteer teacher (facilitator) with no qualifications to do so. Worse, all of it is done under the authority of the church.

And how about that pagan earth-worshipping? In a Group lesson entitled “hug a tree” students are led outside to an area with trees. A child is blindfolded and led to a tree where he/she is to hug it, and then feel the tree very carefully. “Try to learn everything about the tree that you can without looking at it.” The student is led back to the group, spun around three times and the blindfold is removed.

The Group tree-hugging lesson goes on to instruct the facilitator “after everyone has hugged a tree, been spun around and sat down, remove the blindfolds and find out how many kids can identify the trees they hugged. If it’s a nice day, sit down on the grass and discuss the experience.”

Questions for the “facilitator” to ask:

* How did it feel to hug a tree?

* How did you feel when you recognized the tree you hugged?

* What do you like about trees?

Here’s another part of the lesson called “Life Applications.” Children are to be taken on a walk around the outdoor area of the church. Once back inside “ask about the natural surroundings and human-made sounds. Talk about natural beauty and human-made pollution. If you want, have the kids go back outside and pick up any trash they saw on the walk.”

Question to ask: “How do you think God feels when he sees how people have messed up the beautiful world he created?” Children are then given a game to play to simulate pollution.

In a Group Workbook entitled: “Sunday School Specials” a chapter tells students that “real conservation means remembering to turn off lights, hiking or biking instead of hitching a car ride, and cooling off in the shade instead of in the air conditioning. Kids are often tempted to do things the easy way instead of the ‘green’ way. They need lots of encouragement and affirmation to develop and stick to an environment-conscious lifestyle…” That one line demonstrates an important key to the purpose of Group’s Sunday School curriculum—to promote a political agenda based on pagan earth worship rather than Christian values.

Are your children safe from pre-programmed, behavior-modification processes at your church? Will they gain the solid moral Christian values that you intend for them to receive from a Sunday School lesson? Not if Group is in your Sunday School.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.