‘Notorious Grinches’ Pressure School District To ‘Swiftly Discontinue’ Participating In Christian Outreach Making Kids Happy Every Christmas

Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child
A girl from Togo is delighted to find a teddy bear inside her shoebox gift. |

An atheist group is pressuring a school district to "swiftly discontinue" participating in a Christian outreach known to make kids happy every Christmas and give them the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Faithwire said Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) published a statement dated October 21 regarding a "concerned district community member" from Texas complaining about the North Short Elementary School's participation in an annual Christian fundraising.

The FFRF pinpointed Operation Christmas Child, which is an annual fundraiser of Samaritan's Purse where shoeboxes full of goodies are given out to children. The shoeboxes contain a variety of items such as gifts, toys, personal care items, and school supplies annually packed by churches, families, individuals, and community groups. The boxes also include "the gospel message for children around the globe."

Collected funds are then used to create and fill-in the shoeboxes with their goodies before they are shipped to various children from across the nation and the world. The operation has already given joy to more than 188 million kids from more than 170 nations since 1993.

The FFRF raised that the North Shore Elementary School, being a Galena Park Independent School District public school, violated the First Amendment by participating in Operation Christmas Child. They stressed that the district had other fundraisers held by charitable institutions to choose from that were not of a religious nature.

In the statement, FFRF particularly pointed out "don't fundraise for Rev. Graham's group", which they described as "pervasively sectarian" and a "proselytizing Christian group." FFRF explained their personal contradiction against Graham was based on his stand against the LGBTQ communities, as well as, the COVID-19 vaccines.

"The Freedom From Religion Foundation has asked a Texas school district not to collect money for a proselytizing Christian group that is headed by none other than Rev. Franklin Graham," the statement read.

"Franklin Graham, the one who runs Samaritan's Purse, is an outspoken evangelist who has made several harmful comments over the years about the LGBTQ community and Covid vaccines," it stressed.

As per FFRF, the school also promoted the fundraiser in their various online platforms, such as their website and Facebook page. The organization claims that this is against the Establishment Clause since North Shore Elementary is a public school.

FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line said in the letter sent to Galena Park Independent School District Superintendent John Moore that what the school did in having employees raise funds for Operation Christmas Child was unconstitutional.

"'Organizing a donation drive that employs school staff and resources to collect donations and advance the mission of a religious ministry violates basic constitutional principles," Line stressed.

While FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor expressed distrust in Operation Christmas Child's true intentions and said it was but only a deception for converting people into Christianity.

"A lot of these groups rely on school authorities being ignorant about their mission. The school district must swiftly discontinue this proselytization camouflaged as fundraising," Gaylor remarked in a statement.

FFRF did point out that they do honor the "charitable intent" of North Shore Elementary and requested that the school district stop its support of Samaritan's Purse by preventing employees and resources to be used for Operation Christmas Child.

"Notorious grinches"

The FFRF was able to successfully halt an Operation Christmas Child program in Kansas last year, allowing nonprofit law firm Becket to award the atheist group with the "2020 Ebenezer Award."

Far from being real praise or salutation, however, Faithwire noted that the Ebenezer Award is actually more of a "dishonorable mention" than an accolade.

"As if things weren't bad enough this holiday season, America's most notorious grinches, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), a noted anti-Christmas activist group, has found a way to steal presents from children," the description for the 2020 Ebenezer Award read. "FFRF intimidated a Kansas school district into canceling its annual charity drive that sends Christmas gifts and necessities to underprivileged children abroad."

"The reason: the drive was sponsored by Samaritan's Purse, a Christian international disaster relief organization - and FFRF can't abide the thought of a religious organization helping school children spread Christmas cheer," the description continued.