The Christmas Shoebox Appeal Is A Manipulative Indoctrination Campaign.
Christmas is coming, which means it’s almost time to dig out that awful sweater, retrieve the decorative tat from the attic and pay tribute to everyone’s favourite magical zombie Jew-God. This has something to do with sprouts too, for reasons unknown.
However, unlike Jesus, one thing guaranteed to return is the Christmas Shoebox charity appeal (AKA ‘Operation Christmas Child’). This appeal usually makes itself known via your offspring’s school, your place of employment or various other local establishments such as pubs or supermarkets.
‘Operation Christmas Child’ is a seemingly commendable endeavour whereby the general public are asked to fill up empty shoe boxes with unwanted toys, which the charity then transports to children in less privileged regions.
For anyone in possession of a pulse – this will understandably feel like a worthy cause. But are you aware of the charity’s robust ideological goals and troubling behaviour?
- The charity behind the ‘Operation Christmas Child’ shoebox appeal is The Samaritan’s Purse. They are an evangelical Christian organisation. Here is part of their mission statement2 from their website (emphasis mine): ‘Samaritan’s Purse is a non-profit, Christian organisation providing emergency relief and development assistance to suffering people around the world. Samaritan’s Purse is meeting the physical needs of victims of war, famine, natural disaster, poverty and disease with the aim of demonstrating God’s love and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ’.
- If there were any doubts as to how much indoctrination plays a role in their work, see this video of them spreading the ‘word of the lord’ whilst handing out these gifts:
- Children are often sent home from School with ad-hoc letters to present to their parents which make no mention of the religious nature of this appeal. Similarly, employees are often invited by their colleagues via email to join in on the appeal. The handful I have personally seen make no mention of the religious nature of the charity.
- Your shoebox contributions are handed to children with an evangelical Christian pamphlet entitled: ‘The Most Important Story Ever Told’. You may view it in full here.
- These pamphlets encourage children to essentially sign themselves over to Jesus and accept troubling ideas such as sin:.
Of course there are many religious charities and religious individuals that do fantastic work, and I would not wish to denigrate them for it. However, I do think it’s incredibly important to differentiate from self-serving evangelism and a genuine desire to do good for its own sake.
Personally, I’m a staunch advocate of secular charities, as I strongly believe charity should not be used as a pretext for indoctrination or furthering harmful ideologies. This is why I always try to confirm whether or not an organisation is secular before I contribute to or endorse it.
I launched a charitable fundraising initiative – Team Good For Good’s Sake – in 2013. Since then, it has raised over £23,000 for secular causes including Comic Relief and WaterAid. This was made possible because a group of like-minded people decided to do something good, for its own sake – without a desire to further an ideology or their own interests.
Team #GFGS continues this tradition of supporting great secular charities in its current appeal for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (Doctors Without Borders). The charities involved do not push an ideological narrative in return for their help. Read about Team #GFGS here and please consider supporting.
Please let me know in the comments, or on Twitter whether you have been approached to take part in the Operation Christmas Child appeal, and whether or not you were made aware of their religious ethos.
Update 1 (20/11/14): Concerned parent, James Carroll contacted his childrens’ school to object to their support of Samaritan’s purse. He has kindly provided a template of a letter he sent to them, which resulted in the school withdrawing support. Feel free to use and amend as appropriate should you wish to take similar action. Download/view it here
- ‘Operation Christmas Child Alert UK’ – https://sites.google.com/site/occalert/ ↩
- ‘Statement Of Faith’ ,http://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/who-we-are/mission-and-faith-statement/ ↩