To impoverished children all over the world: Wipe those smiles off your faces. Some of you won’t be getting shoeboxes this year! No teddies, toys or toothbrushes for you.
Reported in the Christian Post, “The American Humanist Association recently sent letters to two public elementary schools, one in South Carolina and one in Colorado, threatening legal action if they continue participating in Operation Christmas Child, which delivers thousands of shoe boxes stuffed with gifts to needy children throughout the world every year during the holidays.”(Katherine Weber) http://www.christianpost.com/news/atheist-group-threatens-to-sue-public-schools-over-participation-in-franklin-grahams-operation-christmas-child-108900/
For years, Operation Christmas Child has made it easy to give a small, but meaningful gift to children whose circumstances are impoverished. I liked to pack these when my children were small because it was a tangible way to give. My children helped choose the items that went into the boxes and we did them for similar aged kids, so they could relate to the recipient.
I was pleased when our public school Parent Advisory Council also promoted the idea. It was optional, families could choose to participate or not, but the information was in the parent newsletter and for convenience you could pick up the empty box at the school. One mom made it her business to collect the filled boxes and get them sent off. Response was enthusiastic for a few years and then….
One evening, at a meeting, I briefly explained the shoeboxes and the Samaritan’s Purse organization for those who weren’t familiar. I fully expected we would move on to the next item in the agenda, when one of the other parents raised an objection, the same objection that the Humanist association is raising.
I remember a sinking feeling, as she threatened to take the matter to the school district. It was the death knell for the shoeboxes at the school. The momentum for Christmas charity that year was squashed. Sure someone else could have put them together without the offending tract, or we could have used another organization, but as far as I recall it was too late to happen that year.
While there are good “non-religious” charities- the Red Cross for instance, and many motivations to give, one must understand the basis for Christian charity is just that. An integral part of the Christian faith. Jesus asks us to love others and tell others of His love. The two go hand in hand.
According to Samaritan’s Purse, “Every child then receives a shoe box as an unconditional gift regardless of race, religion, or gender. A child is not required to accept anything or make a confession of faith to receive a shoebox. http://www.samaritanspurse.ca/media/37699/journey_of_a_shoe_box.pdf
No-one is forced to do anything. Conversion of faith is a matter of the heart.
And so is giving. If you want to make sure there is not the slightest whiff of religious sentiment in public school, give to the American Humanists. If, on the other hand, you want to make a child smile, pack a shoebox.
Image: By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Elizabeth A. Edwards [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons