Christmas is for (Saving) Children

Smiles, School Supplies and Salvation

I think it’s wonderful when a holiday season brings out the best in us, when we feel good giving to those nearby or far away.  Seeing the joy of children is a gift in itself.  And we hope the smiles of joy are not the result of adults using them for their own agenda.

Even before I left Christianity (and faith) I was disturbed by the deception of some believers who use holidays and ancient stories to save souls around the world.  It’s especially troubling when children receive “fake love” in the name of faith.

Christmas is probably the best (worst) time of year for this kind of Bait-and-Switch sales.

Franklin Graham is a leader in this dishonest endeavor to make more little Christians by sneaking the gospel into their cute and colorful shoeboxes:  Operation Christmas Child

Here’s what I wrote to a local newspaper that reported on this gift drive for children without mentioning the true intent of the boxes:

“As worthy as a program like this can seem on the surface, people should remember this is organized by an evangelistic organization (Samaritan’s Purse, CEO-Franklin Graham).
We might note that the article does not mention what else is included in these boxes. Here is what one child says about the box he received (from the Samaritan’s Purse website):
“He boasted about a flashlight, a teddy bear, a scarf, and gloves. He also got The Greatest Gift Gospel booklet and prayed the prayer of repentance he found inside. He really enjoyed the Operation Christmas Child event, especially the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, coming to this world.”
The ultimate goal is not to help children with school–it is to lead them to Christ.
“Good news” is fine to share, but so is honesty.”

As the National Secular Society (UK) reports, the American Humanist Association has filed a lawsuit since some public schools have been involved in these salvation shoeboxes.

“David Niose, the legal director of the American Humanist Association (AHA) said: “As taxpaying citizens with children in the school district, these families object to their schools supporting the efforts of Christian missions to convert children in developing countries.
“Pressuring students to participate in religious programs in their public schools flies in the face of the separation of church and state that the Establishment Clause demands.”

It’s easy to be duped by these deceptive programs.  And even when there isn’t conscious deception, using the story of a poor, palestinian jewish family to “sneak preach” to children is unethical to say the least.

In this consumer-crazed season, let’s not buy this cheap God Toy, and find better ways to help children to live healthier lives.

Let’s save children in this world from those who are out to save them for another world.


3 thoughts on “Christmas is for (Saving) Children

  1. I absolutely disagree with you.. and I pray that many children will be saved by the gospel message in these shoeboxes. I made one this year and have done so before, and will do again.. I pray the Lord will open your eyes, and save your soul.

  2. Thank you, Vicki, but my eyes are already open (and my mind) and, while I don’t have a “soul” to save, I do have compassion and thoughtfulness. I understand why you would not appreciate my post, but respecting others and telling the truth are important values for me–I’m a little surprised these are not apparently as important to you, or Samaritan’s Purse.

    Do you not remember the words of the one you believe in: “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God,” or, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” These words do not have footnotes with qualifications. Does it say the poor or the children need to be “saved” before they can be included in their kingdom? Where does it say they must become Christians or Evangelical Christians or read the Bible or go to Church before the poor or the children are accepted by your God? Where does Jesus say to them, “pray the prayer of repentance” and then you will be blessed or inherit the kingdom that already belongs to you?

    I understand evangelism, I used to do that. All I cared about was saving the lost souls, quoting bible verses to everyone, praying for the world to believe in Jesus the way I did. Then, my eyes were indeed opened. . .by learning to respect others enough to listen to them, by working for others rather than merely praying for them, by reading more and finding wisdom in more than just one book, and by appreciating the wonderful gift of a child’s smile, and supporting their health and happiness here and now, without thinking only of their eternal salvation.

    Giving to children is wonderful. I’m sure many of the gifts in the shoeboxes are useful. But wouldn’t it be a great “blessing” for you and all those who pack the boxes to learn about the lives of children who live in poverty (even in our own communities), and work to end that poverty, rather than focus on them as “poor souls” to be saved? How could all the time, money and good intentions be used to make a difference in the daily lives of those kids and their future this side of the grave?

    I wish you well in this season of sharing. I too think of all the children and their need for food, clothing, adequate shelter, health, education and security. I trust we can agree that we can never neatly package kindness and the goodness of humanity in a shoebox. As you might say, no box is big enough for God. Or, as I would say, no box is big enough for Good!

    For all the children.

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