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Humanists warn public schools about OCC comment (0)

December 5, 2013

WASHINGTON — An organization of nonbelievers is threatening legal action against public schools that participate in an evangelical Christian charity that delivers Christmas toys to poor children. The American Humanist Association (AHA), a national advocacy organization with 20,000 members nationwide, sent letters in late November to two public elementary schools after parents complained their children were being asked to collect toys and money for Operation Christmas Child (OCC).

OCC is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical relief organization founded by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham. Its stated mission is “to follow the example of Christ by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the gospel.” The toys collected by OCC come with an invitation for recipients to accept Christianity. Since its founding in 1993, OCC has sent 100 million boxes of toys to poor children.

Both schools received letters from the AHA informing them their actions are unconstitutional. The same day it received the letter, East Point Academy in West Columbia, S.C., said it would cut its ties with the charity out of “an abundance of caution because we do not want to expend school financial resources defending a lawsuit.”

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