Samaritan's Purse dissed again
Parents in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, want the Samaritan's Purse program Operation Christmas Child banned from public schools, reports the CBC. The program, which is in 1,100 Canadian schools and thousands of other sites in the U.S., U.K., Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, and Finland, asks students to pack a shoebox full of gifts for kids in developing countries. But some parents say it's all just a ploy for proselytizing.
"They're not just flying into a country and dropping boxes to whatever little child is standing there wanting this box," Rita Sirignano told the radio network (audio). They're really pressuring the children into conversion. "If I wanted my child to be proselytizing … I would send him to a Christian school," she said.
Samaritan's Purse spokesman Ivan Giesbrecht says Sirignano is missing the point. "In countries that we have been given permission to do so, we do tell these children we are Christians and that we are compelled by the love of God to do this and we want to bless these children," he said. About 6 million shoeboxes will be distributed in 100 countries on six continents.
We've been here before. In March 2001, The New York Timesinaccurately criticized Samaritan's Purse, saying that while workers aided earthquake victims in El Salvador with government funds, they found time to "preach, pray, and seek converts among people desperate for help."
Call the hate crime police. Between this and the coverage of slain missionary Bonnie Penner Witherall, it's clear that many people see aid and relief work motivated by Christian mission as a force for evil, not good.
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