Atheist group forces Christmas charity to cancel gift drive for impoverished children

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Radical atheists are taking hints from the Grinch this year, stealing Christmas by snatching away gifts given to children in need by Operation Christmas Child. 

Why? Because the annual Advent shoebox program is rooted in Christianity. 

A Kansas elementary school has ended its involvement in Operation Christmas Child after atheists complained to the school district about the origins of the program.

Liberty Middle School in Kansas ceased their participation in Operation Christmas Child’s (OCC) annual shoebox program after the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) made a formal complaint to the Pratt Kansas school district about what FFRF identified as "multiple constitutional violations."

According to the Christian news site, Disrn:

“Regarding our students' participation in ‘Operation Christmas Child,’ we are discontinuing that effort upon learning that its mission is more sectarian in nature than we realized,” said Pratt School District Superintendent Tony Helfrich in a response letter to FFRF.

FFRF's letter to Helfrich asked that the school “cease participation in Operation Christmas Child or taking any other action promoting Christianity like including religious references over morning announcements.”

The group also called Samaritan's Purse, which organizes Operation Christmas Child, “a pervasively sectarian religious organization.”

Discern reports it was a Liberty Middle School employee who tattled on the Christmas program that sees school children stuffing shoeboxes with small gifts, toiletries, and school supplies meant to be delivered to children in impoverished, famine-stricken and war-torn parts of the world. 

FFRF said they were alerted of “many egregious constitutional violations” from a “concerned staff member” at Liberty Middle School, including “See You at the Pole,” and the school's vice principal's use of “religious messages and bible quotes in his official District communications.”

“A lot of these groups rely on school authorities being ignorant about their mission," FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “We appreciate how swiftly the district discontinued the fundraising after our alert.”

However, Operation Christmas Child, an annual Advent project that delivers gifts to children in 160 countries, doesn’t hide its Christian motives. The about section of the charity’s website explains: 

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. Our mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We ship these simple gifts outside the United States to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease; and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.

According to OCC, “even amid a global pandemic” they want to collect more shoeboxes than ever before, “because now more than ever, children need hope!”

In 2017, the Newfoundland English School District voted to cut ties with OCC because the organization is explicitly Christian, albeit non-denominational. 

“This organization is on record with its statement of beliefs that it requires its co-ordinating volunteers to sign statements of faith that are in direct conflict with our inclusive philosophy, particularly as it pertains to the LGBT community,” said director of education Tony Stack to CBC

In a statement to CBC News in 2017, OCC said it asks volunteers to sign a “statement of faith,” confirming their beliefs are in line with the “infallible word of God.”

The ideas the Newfoundland English School District found so offensive were that “human sexuality is to be expressed only within the contexts of marriage,” and that “real marriage” is only between a “genetic male and genetic female.”

What a bunch of grinchy bureaucrats.

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