by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A middle school in Kansas has stopped participating in Operation Christmas Child (OCC), a Christian project which involves packing shoeboxes with toys and supplies for children in need, following a complaint from an atheist group that such participation is unconstitutional, Christian Headlines reports.
A project of the Samaritan’s Purse ministry, OCC states its aim is to “provide God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.” The project has sent filled shoeboxes to 178 million children around the world.
Liberty Middle School in Pratt, Kan., discontinued its involvement with Christmas Child when a staff member contacted the Freedom from Religion Foundation to complain the school was participating in an overtly Christian project, Christian Headlines reports.
In turn, the FFRF wrote to the local superintendent on November 3, requesting that he put an end to the school’s participation. In their letter to Tony Helfrich, the FFRF said: “While it is laudable for a public school to promote student involvement in the community by volunteering and donating to charitable organizations, the school cannot use that goal as an avenue to fund a religious organization with a religious mission.”
“We request that the District investigate these serious violations and take immediate action to ensure that all of its staff understand and respect their constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion while acting in their official capacity,” the FFRF said.
Helfrich wrote back to FFRF on November 7, explaining that the district was “discontinuing” participation in OCC when officials learned that “its mission is more sectarian in nature” than they had realized, Christian Headlines said.
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