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

Happy Halloween everyone! Look both ways. Don't Drive Drunk. Stay in Character....

1 hours ago

American Humanist Association

The Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, an AHA chapter in Charleston, SC, creat...

3 hours ago

American Humanist Association

I think this might be more scary than the haunted houses I'm used to...

4 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Check out the AHA staff's favorite scary films! http://thehumanist.com/arts_ente...

7 hours ago

American Humanist Association

In recent years, debates have grown over the place of atheists, agnostics, and n...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Did you know about the new social media site, Ello? Neither did we. But hey, we...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Prisoners dodging the rules because of religious exception?

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Secular Americans are showing their political side!

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Humanist Celebrant Dan Moran had the honor of performing the first humanist bab...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

DC Metro area humanists! Join us this Wednesday for happy hour at Mai Thai in NW...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA's David Niose in AlterNet today, explaining why rational public policy will...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

This full-page advertisement ran in the Denver Post newspaper this week in respo...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who caught the latest episode of The Good Wife? The most recent episode of the n...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with the saturation of religion in everyday life...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week, an apology to a student in southern California will be delivered afte...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

School is a place where students should feel safe regardless of race, religion,...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

There are several volunteer regional grassroots coordinator positions available...

4 days ago