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Spike in recent UK donations to Operation Christmas Child prompts new warning

A spike in recent UK donations to an evangelical US Christian charity which uses donors’ money to convert children to Christianity under the guise of charitable gift-giving has prompted a new warning to the public from Humanists UK.

Humanists UK is urging the public to reconsider donating to Operation Christmas Child, a scheme run by evangelical US Christian charity, Samaritan’s Purse, which has used donations from the public to promote religious literature and convert children to Christianity.

In past years, the scheme has attracted increasing support from UK donors including schools and parents and major UK sporting teams have been publicising their donations to the cause.

On average, nearly one million shoeboxes full of toys, books, and other presents are packed-up annually from Operation Christmas Child and sent off to vulnerable children in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe along with the religious literature.

The head of the charity, Reverend William Franklin Graham III, has also gone on the record as being extremely homophobic and racist, once adding that Muslims ‘should be barred from immigrating to America’ and called on Christians to convert Muslims.

Commenting on the scheme, Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson said:  

‘It is absolutely appalling to target vulnerable children in the way this scheme does especially when, in many cases, these children have already suffered poverty, war, and other terrible tragedies.

‘It is surprising that people in the UK are still donating to this scheme. While those who donate are well-intentioned and want to make an altruistic contribution, donors should be aware of the nature of Operation Christmas Child’s activities, and instead find a reputable and inclusive charity which has no ulterior motives and only has children’s best interests at heart.

‘We have drafted a template letter which people can sign informing schools about what their donations are contributing to and urging schools to reconsider their support for the scheme.’

The letter can be downloaded at humanists.uk/ethical-appeals . Humanists UK has also made a list of suggestions for alternative causes which people can support instead. Read more at https://humanism.org.uk/humanism/humanism-today/humanists-doing/good-causes-and-charities/samaritans-purse/

Notes

For more information, contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanism.org.uk or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393344293.

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

For more information about Humanists UK’s campaigning on Operation Christmas Child, visit:

https://humanism.org.uk/2017/10/19/humanists-uk-warns-schools-and-parents-about-evangelical-christmas-shoebox-appeal/

https://humanism.org.uk/humanism/humanism-today/humanists-doing/good-causes-and-charities/samaritans-purse/

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