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

Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, the new b...

38 minutes ago

American Humanist Association

Perhaps this kid will go just one step further? #skeptic #humanist

15 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday everyone!

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The number of "churchless" Americans is rising! It is now estimated that 38% of...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

On this day in 1946, the first images of Earth from outer space were captured!

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA staffer Matthew Bulger talks about Gamergate. "It’s extremely important th...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Throwback Thursday's Name that Humanist! Can you name the humanist on the Nove...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hey! Don't be a.... What's the problem with Dick's Sporting Goods? Deborah Goem...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week's Humanist Hour Podcast features George Eighmey on Death with Dignity.

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

WOW! These numbers are wonderful! Thanks for all of the support everyone!

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA Victory in Texas! Schools agree to stop making religious announcements.

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Jason Heap reviews the new British comedy, Pride! Have you seen this film? Tell...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Gore Vidal’s former assistant, Fabian Bouthillette, has written Part I of his me...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Nov/Dec issue of The Humanist is out now, featuring some great interviews wi...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Amy Poehler is creating a show about an agnostic woman who inherits a church. An...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Please welcome the newest addition to the American Humanist Association staff, P...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Woo Hoo! 32 states down, plus DC!

6 days ago