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In Theory: Should schools be a party to religious charities?

November 29, 2013

Two schools have decided to pull out of a charity toy drive after being challenged by the American Humanist Assn. over separation of church and state issues.

East Point Academy in West Columbia, S.C., and SkyView Academy in Highlands Ranch, Colo., have withdrawn from the annual Operation Christmas Child project, run by Samaritan's Purse, an organization describing itself as a “nondenominational evangelical Christian International Relief organization.” The drive involves students filling boxes with toys, which are then sent to poor children in the developing world.

The American Humanist Assn. contacted the schools via letter, part of which said, “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.”

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Renee Matthews, principal of East Point Academy, said, “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.”

Q: Is the AHA right to take such a stance in this situation?

I expect that the members of the American Humanist Assn. will all be visited by three ghosts this coming Christmas! It always astounds me how the squeaky wheels gather together to spend their time thwarting the good efforts of the majority population wishing to ease suffering in the name of God. And how jaded and negative a view they take. The AHA asserts that “the purpose and effect of Operation Christmas Child is to induce impoverished children to convert.” This makes the charity look evil. Instead of blessing kids at Christmas, the effort is condemned as duress, as though children who don't convert won't get presents. That's ridiculous.

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