The Samaritan’s Purse, a non-denominational Christian organization, annually promotes and administers a wonderful program called “Operation Christmas Child.” It recruits groups to fill shoe boxes with toys, hygiene items, candy and school supplies and then the organization ships the boxes to children in countries around the world where there is such basic need. You may have recently learned about the group and their program as an atheist group threatened SkyView Academy, a Douglas County charter school, which was collecting boxes for the program. American Humanist Association threatened legal action if the school did not stop their efforts given the gospel message which is included. The school acquiesced, but parents and students of the charter school have continued the shoebox collections off campus to avoid a lawsuit.
My wife Ann and I are quite familiar with “Operation Christmas Child” as we have participated for the past several years as our church is a collection point for the shoeboxes. We find it to be a wonderful program. The joy of giving these boxes to underprivileged children and in turn their joy in receiving the gifts is hard to describe. Since 1993, more than 100 Million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of a simple shoebox filled with little gifts.
WHERE IS THE BALANCE IN POLICY?
Should a charter school or for that matter any school be prohibited from participating in such a caring and beneficial program on a voluntary basis? It is a humanitarian endeavor in the same vein as The Salvation Army providing food to indigent or homeless families. Hey, I get it about the “church and state” thing, but isn’t that “throwing the baby out with the bath water?” Haven’t we gone too far ignoring the common good? Our society has created far too many rules, laws and policies which deter or prohibit “good causes” by well-intended people. Does the American Humanist Association provide humanitarian relief to people in need around the world or even here in the United States? No, I don’t think so.
HUMANISM — WHAT IS IT?
Their website states “humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.” I recognize and respect that there are people of different faiths who believe in a higher being and there are people who do not believe. While I respect a person or group to believe in what they desire, they should not take away from what others believe. The American Humanist Association purports to “lead ethical lives……” and “aspire to the greater good of humanity”, but yet would deprive indigent children in the Philippines, Kenya or Bolivia from receiving these shoeboxes. It just doesn’t add up in my simple mind.
PLEASING ALL PARTIES
If we have to (which is ridiculous), the school or other public institution could set up several tables to promote, collect and send these shoeboxes to under privileged children or other similar projects with or without a religious message. We would have Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Humanists and 20 other tables of other persuasions. Then each group would be represented in a common cause. Is that what it takes to be “in compliance”? I hope not.