AHA News |  

South Carolina Elementary School Asked to Cut Ties With Evangelical “Samaritan’s Purse” Program

Update: School administrators end participation in evangelical program. Read letter from the school's principal, Renee Mathews, here.

Appginani Humanist Legal Center takes action after complaint by parents

Contact:
Maggie Ardiente, mardiente@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 x116
Monica Miller, mmiller@americanhumanist.org. 202-238-9088 x120

For immediate release

(Washington, DC – Nov. 13, 2013) – The American Humanist Association is asking administrators of a South Carolina public elementary school to stop promoting student participation in Operation Christmas Child, a program run by the evangelical Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse. A letter was sent by the American Humanist Association’s Appginani Humanist Legal Center following a complaint from a parent of a student at East Point Academy in West Columbia, SC about the school’s push for student participation.

“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,” the letter states.

Operation Christmas Child sends toys to impoverished children overseas expressly as a means to deliver proselytizing messages. The stated mission is to “demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.” The school has participated in the program since 2011, which has not only included the use of children to assemble the boxes of toys but asks them to donate money to Samaritan’s Purse.

“It is a clear constitutional violation for administrators of a public school to push students to participate in a proselytizing religious program,” said Monica Miller, an attorney and legal consultant for the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “Students at East Point Academy should not be used like this.”

“The boxes of toys are essentially a bribe, expressly used to pressure desperately poor children living in developing countries to convert to Christianity,” the letter states, “and are delivered with prayers, sermons, evangelical tracts and pressure to convert.”

The Appignani Humanist Legal Center is waiting for a response from school administrators. A copy of the letter can be found here.

#  #  #

Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

American Humanist Association

Carroll County: A Small Maryland Community Gets Big Attention for All the Wrong...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Matthew Bulger, the AHA's legislative associate, reports on our first congressio...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're happy to welcome a new chapter, Washington DC, Atheists, Humanists and Agn...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out some photos from yesterday's congressional briefing on humanist celebr...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Our first congressional briefing was a success! The room was completely packed w...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Wonder Works Day Camp in Moscow, Idaho has begun! The first day was a huge succe...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The briefing on military chaplaincy has begun.

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today, the American Humanist Association will be hosting our first Congressional...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is a video from Harvard's Making Caring Common Project. 5 Ways to Raise M...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why the Way We Live is More Important. Get TheHumanist.com by email once a week...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hey, have a laugh! http://hmn.st/1sFRZ33 Get TheHumanist.com by email once a we...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

No matter how right or how wrong, religion can not establish morality for the ma...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

I have come across this many times. While this topic may not be important to all...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Jesus Cones! A new way to violate church-state separation, in Gwinnett County, G...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Well this is rad! AHA Board Member Herb Silverman is featured in this short (10...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

It may seem silly, maybe even a blatant mockery, but if you really think about i...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

A Blessing in Disguise for Atheists? Check out AHA Legal Director David Niose's...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

This is a very interesting interactive chart explaining bible contradictions, sh...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Have you seen the new FYI Network show Married At First Sight? Tell us what you...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Vaccination Exception; God doesn't want me to receive vaccines... Luis Gran...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

With Corporations becoming "people", they will obviously be exploring religion.....

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

An Invocation for Everyone: What the Secular Invocation in Greece, N.Y., Means f...

9 days ago