Q & A with 'God'

Education | Scholastic book club targets Christian-school market with extrabiblical, anti-biblical Conversations with God

Issue: "House hunting," May 11, 2002

Micah Harvey, a freshman at the University of Alabama, sent WORLD a letter noting that "Abercrombie and Fitch, record companies, and Pepsi are producing commercials, magazines, and catalogs that portray sexuality as the norm for teenage girls." He's right, and those companies are beginning to receive the criticism they deserve. But something even worse is passing under the radar: books marketed to schoolkids by long-trusted companies that push amorality as the norm for everyone.

Here's one example from Scholastic, Inc., which reports that its mail-order book service for children had sales of $2 billion last year, largely obtained through monthly catalogs that teachers distribute to children. Scholastic is now targeting Christian schools and Christian parents with a new "Inspiring Words" catalog of books designed to "inspire and build faith." Included among the offerings are The Prayer of Jabez for Kids and a Max Lucado set, but in prime position on the cover of the new catalog is Conversations with God for Teens.

The book, published under Scholatic's imprint, features several hundred questions a thoughtful teenager might pose to God-along with the author's altogether too imaginative version of what he claims God would say in response. So, for example, one teenager asks, "Some of the kids are cheating in class, and on tests. They want me to join them. But I know that cheating is wrong ..." Scholastic's "God" responds: "There is no such thing as 'right' and 'wrong,' as we discussed earlier. There is only what 'works' and what 'doesn't work,' given what you are trying to do."

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Here are other Qs and As: "How can we change our schools?" asks one student. "God" suggests abolishing "tests, and scores, and marks, and measures, letting the joy in each child be the measure ..." Jenny, a 16-year-old from Miami, asks, "Why am I a lesbian?" Scholastic's "God" replies, "Go now, out into the world, and celebrate who you are."

Parents and teachers who believe in the real God should fight such gift-wrapped garbage.


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