2/12/13

Operation Christmas Child: Harmless Charity or Harmful Evangelism?

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes ready for ...
Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes ready for shipping. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A post from tduck, a new contributor who resides in northeast Mississippi:

Operation Christmas Child is a “global Christmas gift exchange” project created in, 1990, by Dave Cook and operated by Samaritan’s Purse. Those who Participate in Operation Christmas Child are asked to pack a shoe box with a variety of useful items (toys, school supplies, hygiene items, hard candy, clothes, and the like) and then the box is wrapped up and sent to needy children overseas.

I was in high school when I first learned of the organization and I thought, “That’s so nice, I’ll have to be sure to participate.” I soon started thinking of what gifts I should put in my box, so I went online and found a video about the organization and how I should pack my box. After watching the video, I was shocked by what they put in after you have packed it. Inside the box, they put a Christian leaflet (in the country’s native language) designed to indoctrinate the young and na├»ve into the Christian faith. “Officially” the leaflet is four pages long and tells the story of the life of Jesus Christ. However, the dropping off of boxes is often accompanied by the distribution of bibles as well as a bible lesson and the signing of a religious "pledge card."

Since the introduction of the program, Operation Christmas Child has distributed more than 70 million shoeboxes in more than 130 different countries, almost all of which are traditionally non-Christian. After the “kindness” given by Jesus and his followers, these children are almost certain to convert. I personally question the harm that such a project is doing, not only to foreign affairs but to the children themselves, who are likely to be persecuted for their new beliefs. How would Christians feel if their children were given a Quran? They would be furious.

Furthermore, the chief executive officer of Operation Christmas Child is right wing fundamentalist Franklin Graham (son of evangelist Billy Graham). In regards to Operation Christmas Child, Franklin Graham was quoted as saying,
[Operation Christmas Child] is about introducing children and their families to god’s greatest gift - His son, Jesus Christ. As long as evangelism is the focus, God will continue to bless it.
I have not yet participated in Operation Christmas child, nor will I. Even though children all over the world need help, evangelism is not the way.

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