Say no to Operation Christmas Child

Every November, Operation Christmas Child asks parents and families to fill shoeboxes with toys and gifts to deliver to children in the developing world. While seemingly well-intentioned, these gifts are not freely given and are instead a tool to proselytize to a captive audience.

The BC Humanist Association calls on all BC public schools to refuse to participate in this program and has asked the Minister of Education to direct schools to not take part.

Operation Christmas Child is run by Samaritan’s Purse. It describes itself as a “way for Canadians to bless struggling children” and its boxes are explicitly distributed “in the name of Jesus Christ.” Rather than simple gifts to some of the world’s poorest children, these boxes are a tool to evangelize a specific worldview. This is well documented by Humanists UK and Operation Christmas Child Alert.

Samartian's Purse requires staff and volunteers to sign a "statement of faith" which includes that "human sexuality is to be expressed only within the contexts of marriage" between a "genetic male and genetic female."

Further, Samaritan’s Purse founder Franklin Graham has actively campaigned against same sex marriage and supported anti-homosexual laws in Russia, spread anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and argued against the recognition of trans rights. These views are incompatible with BC school’s commitment to be welcoming and inclusive spaces for students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, religious and nonreligious beliefs and backgrounds.

Section 76 of the BC School Act requires all schools “be conducted on strictly secular and non-sectarian principles.” Supporting Operation Christmas Child contravenes the spirit of this requirement.

Instead of Operation Christmas Child, there are a number of highly rated secular charities that exist to assist children in developing countries, including Plan Canada, Save the Children and Oxfam.

If your child's school is participating in Operation Christmas Child, consider writing the principal. Feel free to use this letter as a template.

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