A humanist organization is threatening lawsuits against two public schools for their participation in Operation Christmas Child, a project of evangelist Franklin Graham’s international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse that seeks to deliver Christmas toys to needy children throughout the world.
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. Along with containing small gifts, the shoe boxes also include a small note inviting recipients to join in Christianity. The American Humanist Organization argues that Operation Christmas Child’s commitment to “[sharing] the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ” means that public schools in the U.S. should not participate in the program.
In its letter sent to East Point Academy in West Columbia, S.C., the humanist association accuses the school of “promoting student participation” in the Operation Christmas Child program by encouraging students to assemble shoeboxes and donate money. According to the humanist organization, East Point Academy has been involved with Operation Christmas Child since 2011.
“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 school must immediately suspend its unconstitutional participation in Operation Christmas Child,” the letter states. FULL STORY
“Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas – and that certainly includes a 5th-grader’s Christmas party invitations,” ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman said. “America’s public schools should recognize the constitutionally protected freedom of religious students who wish to hand out these kinds of fliers. The district court was right to stop this unconstitutional ban on Christmas party invitations. Numerous courts have upheld similar fliers around the country.”
A political action group in one Massachusetts town is calling for schools to stop the practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom. The group claims that reciting the Pledge has no educational value and that it puts unnecessary pressure on students who don’t want to say it.
“The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to make constitutional limits and define what would be considered hostile comments about religion in a classroom. They specifically did not want to address this issue because they did not want to rule in favor of Chad Farnan. Even more specifically, they did not want to set precedent as to defining what hostility toward religion is in the classroom.” – Robert Taylor, Advocates for Faith & Freedom
CHRISTIAN POST – A massive 80 percent of pilots from an aircraft advertising company have refused to fly banners by an atheist group reading “God-LESS America” and “Atheism is Patriotic” on Fourth of July… FULL STORY
In too many instances, public school teachers tell Christian students they cannot include their faith in their homework assignments or classroom discussions. However, the U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines explaining students’ religious liberties. Students can pray, read their Bibles, and talk about their faith at school during school hours. They can organize prayer groups and Bible studies and announce their meetings. They can express their faith in their class work and homework. — Gateways to Better Education
LA CHURCH & STATE EXAMINER
In an effort to increase awareness for Religious Freedom Day (Jan. 16), two advocacy groups have launched Religious Freedom Sunday planned for next week.
Gateways to Better Education and the Alliance Defense Fund are calling for Religious Freedom Sunday to be a national event in which churches honor the educators within their congregations and inform their members about the freedom of religious expression for students from kindergarten through 12th grade have at school… read more