Franklin Graham recently shared how he felt about a Kansas school’s decision to cut ties with the Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child project. The middle school ceased promoting the charity project after an atheist group wrote a complaint letter to the school superintendent.
During Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Nov. 20, Rev. Graham said he doubts that “our country will ever come together.” This was after Liberty Middle School, based in Pratt, Kansas, decided to pull out of the Operation Christmas Child Project.
Graham, the president of Samaritan’s Purse, the organization behind Operation Christmas Child, clarified that the the project does not solicit from schools. Children participate in it on their own, but since they did it they merely got their school involved.
He later encouraged the Liberty Middle School students who still want to support the charity project to send their gifts directly to the ministry.
“I want every child that gets a box to know that God loves them and that he cares for them,” the president said. “We don’t hide the fact that we’re Christians. … It’s on our website, we’re very upfront about our … position and our faith.”
The evangelist added that “if we would just turn from our sins, that God would forgive our sins and heal our sins.”
On Nov. 3, School Superintendent Tony Helfrich received a complaint letter from Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group. The group urged the district to take immediate action and prevent “promoting and endorsing Christianity” in schools.
FFRF mentioned how the Liberty Middle School referenced Jesus in its morning announcements and promoted the Operation Christmas Child project.
FFRF Staff Attorney Christopher Line emphasized in the letter that according to Samaritan’s Purse, the shoe boxes are meant to “attract children from the developing world to convert to Christianity.” By “organizing a donation drive” around this cause, Line said, the school uses school resources in a way that “violates constitutional principles.”
The district immediately halted the collaboration with the Operation Christmas Child in response to the letter complaint and informed the FFRF of its decision through writing. In the letter, Helfrich said the district came with the decision “upon learning that the project’s mission is more sectarian in nature than they realized.”
This is the second time that an atheist group urged an institution to cut its ties from the Operation Christmas Child. Back in 2013, the American Humanist Association threatened public schools in West Columbia, South Carolina, and Douglas County, Colorado with legal action if they continue ties with the organization.
Rev. Graham said he shared Pastor John MacArthur’s sentiment that America is in a moral free-fall. Yet he added that there is hope and he believes that the only hope is God.
Graham stressed out that the country is so divided. It’s getting worse and he describes the hatred towards Christians as incredible yet he said, “I’m not going to back down. I’m just going to keep telling people that God loves them and He cares for them and Christ died for their sins,” Graham said, the Christian Post reported.