Franklin Graham said he is disappointed after the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation pressured a Kansas middle school to suspend donations to Operation Christmas Child. Graham expressed his disappointment over the decision on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle,’ saying that he doubted “our country will ever come together.”
“I think we’re so divided now and it’s only going to get worse and the hatred that we see from many… in the public square toward Christians is incredible.,” he said, according to “Christian Headlines.” “I’m not going to back down. I’m just going to keep telling people that God loves them and he cares for them, and Christ died for their sins.”.
Operation Christmas Child delivers Christmas presents in shoeboxes to underserved children around the world. The atheist group argued the donations made by students from Liberty Middle School in Pratt, Kan., promoted and endorsed Christianity in its schools.
“The purpose of the shoeboxes is to attract children in the developing world to convert to Christianity,” staff attorney Christopher Line said. “Organizing a donation drive that for all intents and purposes employs school staff and resources to convert people to Christianity violates constitutional principles.”
Graham encouraged students at the middle school to still send in donations directly to the ministry. “We don’t solicit necessarily from schools,” he said. “Anybody can participate and what this is, this is just children there at the school that did this on their own and got their school involved.”
In 2013, another atheist group complained about a public school’s involvement with OCC. The American Humanist Association told schools in West Columbia, South Carolina, and Colorado to withhold donations or face legal action from the group. The schools complied with the demands.