Samaritan’s Purse: evangelizing children

Oct 5, 2012


Discussion by: AliceShortcake
Some of you may remember the controversy surrounding this evangelical outfit’s campaign to send shoeboxes of toys as Christmas presents to needy children overseas.  The catch was that the toys couldn’t be collected until the child attended a Sunday School-type meeting (previously religious material was included in the shoebox itself – this was dropped after adverse publicity in the press).

I hadn’t heard of Samaritan’s Purse for years, but earlier today I saw a small poster in a local shop asking for volunteers to help pack the shoeboxes.  Apparently it doesn’t matter “if you are Christian or Jedi, male or female…”  I wonder how many people realize that the apparently altruistic gift-giving is in fact an attempt to evangelize children?

6 comments on “Samaritan’s Purse: evangelizing children

  • 1
    Neodarwinian says:

    Always a catch with the religious. Seems their ” product ” would sell itself!
     It is so much like dope that one would think the pews would be groaning under the load of believers. Instead we see poor intimations of a Madison Avenue sales assault!



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  • 2
    DocWebster says:

     Damn right, same with soup kitchens run by churches. Can’t eat till you get preached at,  seems like any God worth his salt would flush those characters for being morons.



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  • 3
    Jos Gibbons says:

    When I was in secondary school we annually contributed to the Shoebox Appeal, a similar project which nonetheless staunchly maintains religious neutrality by banning religious texts from the boxes’ contents and giving boxes to those children who need it regardless of religious affiliations. So here we have an example of two charities, one of which does its job properly while the other does the exact same job badly. The choice of which to serve couldn’t be easier, and we therefore also have an example of a charity which it is provably wrong to supply resources to. You’d think charitable status could be revoked over that, but no.



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  • When I was a child living on a British military base in Germany the summer play scheme was run by a Christian group I remember having to memorise short bible verses (I can’t remember which ones) to get a prize. I horrified them by announcing that I didn’t think we had a bible at home.



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  • 5
    scottishgeologist says:

    There is an organisation based in the Scottish Highlands who do a shoebox appeal. They are called Blythswood (named after the infamous red light area on Glasgow where they used to do work among prostitutes) According to their website, the filled shoeboxes get books or calendars of a religious nature added to them by Blythswood staff before they are sent out. 

    I dont think there is any direct “proselytising” per se, apart from the enclosed literature, which TBH, sounds like lightweight stuff.

    The Blythswood annual appeal is extremely popular, even among non church goers. And it brings a lot of joy to a lot of kids who would otherwise have very little.

    As far as reacting to it, it would all depend on how “evangelistic” it is. I suspect it is probably no big deal, compared to the direct proselytising of Samaritans purse. ASAIK, there are no “conditions” attached like having to attend a prayer meeting before you get your stuff. 

    SP is headed up by Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham. Thoroughly unsavoury character.  Avoid!



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  • 6
    musketeer says:

    The Samaritan’s Purse was a Christmas “project” in my (public!) elementary school. It saddens me to see the same thing repeating itself under the benevolent guise of charity. As a committed young activist for social justice and human rights, I admire those who do good in the world, even if it is religion that motivates them. But when they force their fallacious beliefs on well-meaning children, it becomes sickening. The only thing that makes Sunday School worse is when it deceives in its advertising as well as its message.



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