It's a tradition!
Ah, Christmas in mid-November. A time when stores are pushing aisles of decorations and Bing Crosby CDs but haven't yet started playing the yuletide tunes over the PA system. A time when forward-thinking Midwesterners string up the lights while they clean out the gutters. And a time when Samaritan's Purse again faces criticism for its popular Operation Christmas Child. Actually, criticism of Samaritan's Purse is becoming like Christmas at Hallmark stores: It's not just a seasonal thing anymore.

Frankin Graham's organization already saw some backlash last month, when the South Wales Fire Service dropped its support, saying the program was too religious.

Now, from merry olde England, come complaints that up the ante: the problem with Operation Christmas Child isn't that it's religious, critics say, it's the particular kind of religion that Samaritan's Purse promotes.

"A particularly toxic version of Christianity it is," Giles Fraser, a Church of England vicar and Oxford philosophy lecturer, wrote in Monday's edition of The Guardian. "This is the same outfit that targeted eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall and was widely condemned for following US troops into Iraq to claim Muslims for Christ … Across the U.K., children in multicultural schools are being encouraged to support a scheme that is, quite understandably, deeply offensive to Muslims." The relief effort, he says, amounts to nothing more than " promoting Christian fundamentalism through toys."

Elsewhere in England, Unitarian minister Vernon Marshall called Graham's beliefs "an intolerant and racist form of Christianity" and similarly called for a boycott of Operation Christmas Child.

Samaritan's Purse has faced this kind of thing before. Last ...

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