Author Topic: School cancels Operation Christmas Child over lawsuit threats By Todd Starnes  (Read 1295 times)

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http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/11/15/school-cancels-operation-christmas-child-over-lawsuit-threats/print

School cancels Operation Christmas Child over lawsuit threats

By Todd Starnes

Published November 15, 2013

| FoxNews.com

A South Carolina charter school has canceled its annual Christmas toy drive after a group of self-described humanists complained that the project violated the U.S. Constitution and accused them of bribing children to convert to Christianity.

Renee Mathews, the principal of East Point Academy in West Columbia, S.C., said the annual Operation Christmas Child project was halted because the American Humanist Association threatened to sue the school.

“We received a letter saying we had to cease and desist immediately or they would take legal action against us,” Mathews told me.

"This letter serves as notice to policymaking school officials of the East Point Academy’s
unconstitutional conduct and as a demand that the school terminate all promotion, sponsorship, endorsement or affiliation with Operation Christmas Child immediately,” read the letter from the American Humanist Association.

Mathews said their small school had no choice.

“We have a very small budget and very small legal budget. We felt that we could not risk using our school funding for classrooms and teachers to fight a court case.”

The small charter school had been participating in Operation Christmas Child for the past two years without any controversy. The program is associated with Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization.

For the past several weeks, students had been working with their parents to decorate shoe boxes and fill them with toys. They were supposed to deliver the boxes to the school Friday morning.

Even though Operation Christmas Child is connected to an evangelical Christian ministry, Mathews said there were no religious materials included in the boxes. She also pointed out the project was voluntary, non-religious, and not tied to any graded assignments.

Nevertheless, the American Humanist Association decided to intervene on behalf of a perturbed parent.

“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,” read a letter the AHA sent to Mathews.

The AHA said a public school cannot affiliate itself with a group like Operation Christmas Child without violating the Establishment Clause.

“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,” read a letter the AHA sent to Mathews.

Kelly Wells, a spokesperson for the ministry, said they don’t hide the religious aspect of the project.

“We are a project that aims to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas -- the birth of Jesus,” Wells said in a statement. “Our purpose is to show God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world.”

The AHA’s Appginani Humanist Legal Center said that’s why public schools cannot participate in the program.

“It is a clear constitutional violation for administrators of a public school to push students to participate in a proselytizing religious program,” attorney Monica Miller said. “Students at East Point Academy should not be used like this.”

Mathews said the entire school was invited to fill shoe boxes -- from boys and girls in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. Since many of the boxes had already been completed, she suggested to parents they donate the gifts to charity.

“Parents are understanding,” she said. “There are some parents who are disappointed. They enjoyed doing the project in the past but they understood and they were sympathetic to the school’s position.”

The school also had to inform boys and girls that their good deeds would not be allowed because of a bunch of intolerant non-believers.

“We let them know that because of things beyond our control, we’re not going to be able to do the shoe box collection,” Mathews said.

So, thanks to a bunch of godless, heartless "humanist" bullies, dozens of poor children will wake up on Christmas morning without a single toy.

How inhumane of the humanists.

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Screw that. Anyone know a biker? The clubs do the Toys for Tots run every single year without fail.
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Offline flowers

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decided to intervene on behalf of a perturbed parent. Once again the minority is ruling the majority


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decided to intervene on behalf of a perturbed parent. Once again the minority is ruling the majority

School couldn't do anything about it - when it comes to the choice between books and lawsuits, books can and should win out every time.

Having said that, it would give me great pleasure to perturb this parent further.
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Offline Chieftain

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Silly Christians.  They should have said they were raising money for the families of martyred Freedom Fighters in Palestine.....nobody would have bothered them.....




Offline mountaineer

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Quote
“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,” read a letter the AHA sent to Mathews.
This is absolutely false.  SP never "induces" anyone to convert, they only try to meet a person's needs. The OCC boxes simply bring a little joy to an impoverished child, so I guess joy is something the stupid freakin' loser atheists would deny the rest of the world.

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This is absolutely false.  SP never "induces" anyone to convert, they only try to meet a person's needs. The OCC boxes simply bring a little joy to an impoverished child, so I guess joy is something the stupid freakin' loser atheists would deny the rest of the world.

That is why i think a lot of atheists are miserable.
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

"We must continue to go into space for humanity.” - Dr. Stephen Hawking

Offline happyg

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That is why i think a lot of atheists are miserable.

Of course, you are right. Atheists don't have the joys of celebrating Christmas or Easter. They also don't have the comfort of prayer to soothe them in time of distress. All they have is themselves, and they fall short. They want to take us down with them because of jealousy, and nothing more, no matter how many ways they deny it.

Offline Lipstick on a Hillary

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They don't have the comfort of a church family, either.  Something I don't know how I could have lived without, the last 3 years.

Offline LambChop

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decided to intervene on behalf of a perturbed parent. Once again the minority is ruling the majority

We don't know what the parent was upset about. Maybe they didn't like the fact that those gifts would be going halfway around the world to areas that hate us and want to see us dead, rather than children in our own country who are in need.  You can attack me all you like, but there are plenty of kids in my area that need a Christmas more than some kid who's taught to hate me and try to kill me when they grow up.

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That is why i think a lot of atheists are miserable.

Many atheists, and I would venture to say ALL atheist activists are filled with anger and hatred.

And this time their hatred is taking its toll on kids in dire need.

These people are despicable.
Character still matters.  It always matters.

May 3, 2016 - the day the Republican party left ME.  I am now without a Party, and quite possibly without a country.  May God have mercy!

Offline mountaineer

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If there are any children in the USA who don't get a Christmas present, I'd be surprised. Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army, untold numbers of local charities all pitch in to make sure of it.

 If, on the other hand, a child in some hellhole Third World nation gets a shoebox with some candy, a toy and a few hygiene essentials, and as a result thinks maybe Americans aren't so bad, that's fine with me. I've prepared my shoebox for OCC and will drop if off next week. Maybe a little boy will like it. Maybe it will give him a little happiness. Tomorrow at church I hope to get the name of a local child and will buy him or her a present, too.

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We don't know what the parent was upset about. Maybe they didn't like the fact that those gifts would be going halfway around the world to areas that hate us and want to see us dead, rather than children in our own country who are in need.  You can attack me all you like, but there are plenty of kids in my area that need a Christmas more than some kid who's taught to hate me and try to kill me when they grow up.

Where do you see that the gifts were going to areas that "hate us and want to see us dead?"

Samaritan's Purse ministers to people in all parts of the world, and is one of the most honorable and trustworthy ministries out there.  And in many parts of the world children are not taught to hate or try to kill Americans.

btw, if you think any American poverty is comparable to the poverty most of the world's children experience, I think you might need to do some research.
Character still matters.  It always matters.

May 3, 2016 - the day the Republican party left ME.  I am now without a Party, and quite possibly without a country.  May God have mercy!

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If there are any children in the USA who don't get a Christmas present, I'd be surprised. Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army, untold numbers of local charities all pitch in to make sure of it.

 If, on the other hand, a child in some hellhole Third World nation gets a shoebox with some candy, a toy and a few hygiene essentials, and as a result thinks maybe Americans aren't so bad, that's fine with me. I've prepared my shoebox for OCC and will drop if off next week. Maybe a little boy will like it. Maybe it will give him a little happiness. Tomorrow at church I hope to get the name of a local child and will buy him or her a present, too.

 :amen:
Character still matters.  It always matters.

May 3, 2016 - the day the Republican party left ME.  I am now without a Party, and quite possibly without a country.  May God have mercy!

Offline LambChop

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btw, if you think any American poverty is comparable to the poverty most of the world's children experience, I think you might need to do some research.
[/quote]

And maybe you need to look beyond your block.  I've traveled this country extensively and have seen areas so impoverished it was shocking.
I feel for children no matter where they are but as we all know, charity starts at home.

I'm not knocking the work this charity does, but as I said earlier we don't know what the objections of the parents were.  Maybe those parents were wondering what the school was going to do for the children of South Carolina who suffer. 

I often wonder when people say "they're not at poor as people in (fill in the blank).  Why do we feel our impoverished need to be living in mud huts in order to be worthy of a title of "impoverished"?

From the website: "The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ."

Question is, are not American children worthy of the same?  At a time when this country is in a downward spiral of faith shouldn't we be spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ here?

Offline mountaineer

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Question is, are not American children worthy of the same?  At a time when this country is in a downward spiral of faith shouldn't we be spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ here?
Samaritan's Purse  does that, too.

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And maybe you need to look beyond your block.  I've traveled this country extensively and have seen areas so impoverished it was shocking.
I feel for children no matter where they are but as we all know, charity starts at home.

With respect - I have traveled the world to some of the poorest, most desperate shit holes you can't even imagine. Places where giving a kid a cheapass hotel pad and pen is like a gift from God himself. Spend half an hour whittling an animal of an evening? You got about a dozen pairs of eyes on you, coveting it. Take a chunk of broken tow cable and a blown tire and make a tire swing - it's not a gift from God. You are god as far as these kids are concerned.

Did a gift distribution once - not Samaritans Purse, which sounds like a wonderful organization, but a random. McDonalds (UK) give all their remaining kids meal toys to various charities at the end of a promotion, to be distributed pretty much anywhere across the globe. We got a case full, still in their packaging. The look on the kids faces - it's amazing.

Now some "perturbed parent" has stopped both the joy of receiving and the joy of giving. I say screw that.
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btw, if you think any American poverty is comparable to the poverty most of the world's children experience, I think you might need to do some research.


And maybe you need to look beyond your block.  I've traveled this country extensively and have seen areas so impoverished it was shocking.
I feel for children no matter where they are but as we all know, charity starts at home.

I'm not knocking the work this charity does, but as I said earlier we don't know what the objections of the parents were.  Maybe those parents were wondering what the school was going to do for the children of South Carolina who suffer. 

I often wonder when people say "they're not at poor as people in (fill in the blank).  Why do we feel our impoverished need to be living in mud huts in order to be worthy of a title of "impoverished"?

From the website: "The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ."

Question is, are not American children worthy of the same?  At a time when this country is in a downward spiral of faith shouldn't we be spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ here?

My children have lived in Uganda, Tanzania, India, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is NO one in this country living  in the kind of desperate poverty they experience.

There is clean water here.  There is food here.  There is shelter here.  There are multiple organizations who take care of the needy here.

No one is saying that people can't be poor in America, but relative to the rest of the world..........not even close.

And mountaineer is right.  Samaritan's Purse shares the Gospel throughout the world, and here at home.

Just as Jesus commanded that we do.
Character still matters.  It always matters.

May 3, 2016 - the day the Republican party left ME.  I am now without a Party, and quite possibly without a country.  May God have mercy!

Online kevindavis

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Many atheists, and I would venture to say ALL atheist activists are filled with anger and hatred.

And this time their hatred is taking its toll on kids in dire need.

These people are despicable.

They are and one of these days they are going to go to far....
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

"We must continue to go into space for humanity.” - Dr. Stephen Hawking

Offline NavyCanDo

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My children have lived in Uganda, Tanzania, India, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is NO one in this country living  in the kind of desperate poverty they experience.

There is clean water here.  There is food here.  There is shelter here.  There are multiple organizations who take care of the needy here.

No one is saying that people can't be poor in America, but relative to the rest of the world..........not even close.

And mountaineer is right.  Samaritan's Purse shares the Gospel throughout the world, and here at home.

Just as Jesus commanded that we do.

I have a Operation Christmas Child box right in front of me (a project from my son's Sunday School). Here is the Gift Suggestions:
• School Supplies - pens, pencils, crayons, solar calculators, paper etc.
• Hygiene Items - toothbrush, tooth paste, soap, comb, washcloth
• Toys - that children will immediately embrace, dolls, toy trucks, stuffed animals, harmonicas, Yo-Yos, Jump Ropes, balls
• Other - T-shirt, socks, ball caps, hair clips, flashlights

In the desperately poor  countries these are going to, this simple box may be the highlight of some little boy or girls entire year.  That same box given to a child in the lowest income neighborhoods America would probably be tossed to the side or totally forgotten where it came from within hours. In fact through my Father-In-Laws Kiwanis club we hold a charity event each December where each member is assigned a poor child to purchase a gift for, and these are far better and more expensive toys than what kids get in the OCC boxes. Though many kids do appreciate their gifts, I've seen first hand kids throwing tantrums because they wanted what another kid got. And rarely do you here a honest "thank you" until the end when the counselor ask the kids to say it together.    I really would rather see the kids faces in places like Uzbekistan as they open up the simple OCC box, than watching a child from Detroit, Chicago,  or LA open up a $50 toy.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 10:56:57 AM by NavyCanDo »
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Offline NavyCanDo

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Question is, are not American children worthy of the same?  At a time when this country is in a downward spiral of faith shouldn't we be spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ here?

There are multitudes of charities that serve within America, as well as Churches. I would ask anyone to find another Church if their Church is not reaching out to their community, helping those in need. Being Jesus to the World.    My church not only fills about 600 of these Operation Christmas Child boxes every year for other countries, we also provide free oil changes to single moms, fill  two large trucks with over 500 frozen turkeys and bags of every thing a family needs for Thanksgiving, and each November we invite several local charities to set up booths in our entrance hall. Charity does begin at home, but it does not end at home.
A nation that turns away from prayer will ultimately find itself in desperate need of it. :Jonathan Cahn

Online kevindavis

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There are multitudes of charities that serve within America, as well as Churches. I would ask anyone to find another Church if their Church is not reaching out to their community, helping those in need. Being Jesus to the World.    My church not only fills about 600 of these Operation Christmas Child boxes every year for other countries, we also provide free oil changes to single moms, fill  two large trucks with over 500 frozen turkeys and bags of every thing a family needs for Thanksgiving, and each November we invite several local charities to set up booths in our entrance hall. Charity does begin at home, but it does not end at home.

That is what being a Christian is all about...
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

"We must continue to go into space for humanity.” - Dr. Stephen Hawking

Offline happyg

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My sister and her husband are Baptists, who go to a small church in a small town. My b-I-l, is also a deacon of the church. One day, a woman, who's husband had died, mentioned how hard it was without his support, that she had to get food stamps. He told her that it is the Church's job to take care of widows, that she doesn't need food stamps. The church then made sure she had all the food she needs, plus other help. That is how it's supposed to be done, and I hope all the churches and Christians get back to that concept. The world will be a better place for it, as well as bringing more people into the fold.

Online kevindavis

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My sister and her husband are Baptists, who go to a small church in a small town. My b-I-l, is also a deacon of the church. One day, a woman, who's husband had died, mentioned how hard it was without his support, that she had to get food stamps. He told her that it is the Church's job to take care of widows, that she doesn't need food stamps. The church then made sure she had all the food she needs, plus other help. That is how it's supposed to be done, and I hope all the churches and Christians get back to that concept. The world will be a better place for it, as well as bringing more people into the fold.

I think if a lot of Christians spend less time worrying about other people going to hell and spend more time helping people I think the world will be a better place and you right it will bring more people back and more people into the fold.
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

"We must continue to go into space for humanity.” - Dr. Stephen Hawking

Online musiclady

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I have a Operation Christmas Child box right in front of me (a project from my son's Sunday School). Here is the Gift Suggestions:
• School Supplies - pens, pencils, crayons, solar calculators, paper etc.
• Hygiene Items - toothbrush, tooth paste, soap, comb, washcloth
• Toys - that children will immediately embrace, dolls, toy trucks, stuffed animals, harmonicas, Yo-Yos, Jump Ropes, balls
• Other - T-shirt, socks, ball caps, hair clips, flashlights

In the desperately poor  countries these are going to, this simple box may be the highlight of some little boy or girls entire year.  That same box given to a child in the lowest income neighborhoods America would probably be tossed to the side or totally forgotten where it came from within hours. In fact through my Father-In-Laws Kiwanis club we hold a charity event each December where each member is assigned a poor child to purchase a gift for, and these are far better and more expensive toys than what kids get in the OCC boxes. Though many kids do appreciate their gifts, I've seen first hand kids throwing tantrums because they wanted what another kid got. And rarely do you here a honest "thank you" until the end when the counselor ask the kids to say it together.    I really would rather see the kids faces in places like Uzbekistan as they open up the simple OCC box, than watching a child from Detroit, Chicago,  or LA open up a $50 toy.

 goopo

And AMEN!
Character still matters.  It always matters.

May 3, 2016 - the day the Republican party left ME.  I am now without a Party, and quite possibly without a country.  May God have mercy!


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