Skip to comments.Atheist Group Threatens to Sue Public Schools Over Participation in Operation Christmas Child
Posted on 11/17/2013 11:39:55 AM PST by SeekAndFind
A humanist organization is threatening lawsuits against two public schools for their participation in Operation Christmas Child, a project of evangelist Franklin Graham's international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse that seeks to deliver Christmas toys to needy children throughout the world.
The American Humanist Association recently sent letters to two public elementary schools, one in South Carolina and one in Colorado, threatening legal action if they continue participating in Operation Christmas Child, which delivers thousands of shoe boxes stuffed with gifts to needy children throughout the world every year during the holidays. Along with containing small gifts, the shoe boxes also include a small note inviting recipients to join in Christianity. The American Humanist Organization argues that Operation Christmas Child's commitment to "[sharing] the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ" means that public schools in the U.S. should not participate in the program.
In its letter sent to East Point Academy in West Columbia, S.C., the humanist association accuses the school of "promoting student participation" in the Operation Christmas Child program by encouraging students to assemble shoeboxes and donate money. According to the humanist organization, East Point Academy has been involved with Operation Christmas Child since 2011.
"Because the purpose and effect of Operation Christmas Child is to induce impoverished children to convert to Christianity, the school's promotion of this program violates the Constitution. The school must immediately suspend its unconstitutional participation in Operation Christmas Child," the letter states.
"The boxes of toys are essentially a bribe, expressly used to pressure desperately poor children living in developing countries to convert to Christianity, and are delivered with prayers, sermons, evangelical tracts and pressure to convert. While a private religious group is free to pursue such a goal, even through such questionable means, a public school cannot affiliate itself with, endorse, promote or support such a group's program without violating the Establishment Clause," the letter adds.
A similar letter was sent to SkyView Academy in Highlands Ranch, Colo., stating the atheist group's claim that the school's participation with Operation Christmas Child was unconstitutional. That elementary school has reportedly been involved with the program for several years in efforts to help needy children.
In response to the humanist association's letter, East Point Academy has already announced that it will cut ties with Operation Christmas Child to avoid any legal proceedings. Renee Mathews, school director at the South Carolina school, said in a letter to parents earlier this week that "in an abundance of caution because we do not want to expend school financial resources defending a lawsuit, we are not going to accept Operation Christmas Child boxes. If you and your child had planned to donate a shoebox of supplies, you are encouraged to find a charity of your choice for the gift."
The school in Colorado has yet to respond to the humanist association's letter.
Operation Christmas Child said in a statement to The Christian Post that it stands by its mission to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ.
"Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. As our name indicates, and as is communicated in all of our promotional materials and website, we are a project that aims to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas the birth of Jesus. Our purpose is to show God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world. We do this by distributing millions of shoebox gifts to hurting kids to let them know that they are not forgotten. Operation Christmas Child is open to anyone who chooses to participate in this Christmas project," the statement read.
The atheists have been feeling pretty GAY lately. They are now out for the total destruction of religion in America and turn everyone into a sleazebag like they are. IN YOUR FACE, AMERICA!
If they don’t believe that God exists, why do they care?
Could it be that there’s money to be made and societal fabric to tear?
humanist organization......nothing human about it.
No, it quite plainly does not; no law is being made.
Quite the contrary, actually; banning the activity is unconstitutional. But, in progland, up is down and right is wrong.
Well, the atheists are welcomed to send a box full of nothing, to nobody, for no reason at all.
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The best way for public institutions to handle these idiot malcontents is to refuse to answer the law suite and then refuse to comply with the rulings. They can call themselves Obama and no one would do anything to stop them.
These people are ten times more annoying than the in your face religious any day of the week and twice on Sunday!
They hate and want everyone else to also.
They simply cannot stand the thought of unconditional love, never having known it themselves.
Who’d want someone to be happy anyway?
Something about the freedom of religion ... if taxpayers are paying for the school then .....
Wish your friends a “Gay Kwanzaa”
then anyone better be able to exercise their religion (and all freedoms) there (public land). Now, a private school would be different...
Home Schooling is not going to solve the problem. The problem remains and your taxes help to enforce this tyranny of the minority malcontent.
I am not attacking you. I just simply believe that we are seeing the destruction of society both directly through the actions of these groups and indirectly through the response of withdrawal by so many of those on our side.
Once they have gotten this accomplished, it will not end. Something else will ‘offend’ them and require mediation by big government until a complete societal collapse or until they are put in their place. They are malcontents and they will never be satisfied.
Just look at the Homosexual malcontents. They wanted to be left alone. they then wanted to be accepted. Now they want to be championed and underwritten by society through ‘marriage’. Once they have Homosexual Marriage as the norm, they will not be contented. They will want more because malcontents are malcontents always.
I have made dozens of “show boxes” and not once put a note in the box telling kids to come to Christ.
It also never occurred to me (I always pick older boys) that t-shits, socks, solar flashlight, paper and pencils, maybe some hard candies to be a bribe.
(Oh, yea I always by the hard plastic boxes from Target to put the stuff in, it just seems kids always need a box.)
This is one of the worst, most distasteful things these people have done. This is an operation that helps children whose Christmas’ are miserable otherwise.
A disgrace, these people should be ashamed of themselves.
Do any atheist groups do such charitable work as this????
If so, I could at least give them some credit, for doing parallel work of religious oriented organizations.
But if not, it seems that all they are doing is interfering with good works done by organizations which they don’t belong to. As is their right, of course, as atheists. But what right do they have to interfere with the work of such organizations??
And how do these nebulous “church/state” debates get interpreted to mean that public schools are not allowed to participate in such a charitable effort???
We can debate meanings of Christmas and all that, but there is also a very secular side to Christmas, part of which is expressed through programs to help the needy at Christmas time.
Why do we have to bend over backwards because some small group is offended by what religious themed organizations are doing?????
Why do these atheist groups find it offensive in the first place???
And even if they are offended, why do we have to cater to their offense??? I am offended every day by what liberal groups do, yet I don’t have the legal right to interfere with their activities. If being offended is the key criterion, then groups such as this Humanist organization have to cease and desist what they are doing.
The school backed down.
Yes, I realize that this is not necessarily the school’s fault. The action is being taken by a humanist organization, and it IS good to see that some schools still allow for Christian influence.
But anyone who is homeschooling does not have to deal with this crap.