Students at Liberty Middle School in Pratt, Kan., will not be participating in Operation Christmas Child this holiday season after an atheist group complained.
The school must “cease participation in Operation Christmas Child or taking any other actions promoting Christianity, like including religious references over morning announcements,” Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote to Superintendent Tony Helfrich.
“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,” Helfrich responded.
Samaritan’s Purse is led by the Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham. When children worldwide receive the shoeboxes filled with toys, they also hear the gospel message and receive a booklet that teaches them about Jesus Christ.
Billy Graham’s grandson, Edward Graham, said shoeboxes filled with gifts were reaching more children and unreached people with the gospel than the massive global evangelistic events his grandfather held over decades.
“More kids have heard about Christ through these shoebox distributions than ever heard about Christ in stadiums with my grandfather,” said Graham, vice president of programs and government relations at Operation Christmas Child.
Samaritan’s Purse said that for 40 years, it has “done our utmost to follow Christ’s command by going to the aid of the world’s poor, sick and suffering. We are an effective means of reaching hurting people in countries around the world with food, medicine and other assistance in the name of Jesus Christ. This, in turn, earns us a hearing for the gospel, the good news of eternal life through Jesus Christ.”
For information on the OCC effort, visit Samaritan’s Purse.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice