There was once a stream of thinking in this country that the best way to defeat an idea you disagree with was to beat it with a better idea. Now, the paradigm has shifted and the new rule is, if you hear something you disagree with, silence it. Stories of atheistic animosity seem to be dominating the news lately. Take, for example, this story from South Carolina.
Each year, around the holidays, Samaritan's Purse invites people to show compassion to needy children throughout the world through a project know as Operation Christmas Child. The International Christian relief organization asks people to fill shoeboxes with basic items like tooth brushes, small toys, books, socks and a personal note.
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ – and therein lays the news story.
The American Humanist Association is now threatening to sue two public schools for their participation in the shoebox project. East Point Academy, a charter school, has participated with Samaritan's Purse since 2011 but after being threatened by the humanist organization and having a very small legal budget, the school has decided to no longer participate. It should be noted that NO religious materials were placed in the boxes by the students, the activity was voluntary and no grade hinged on participation. That made no difference to the humanists.
In a letter to the school, the group stated, "The boxes of toys are essentially a bribe, expressly used to pressure desperately poor children living in developing countries to convert to Christianity, and are delivered with prayers, sermons, evangelical tracts and pressure to convert."
The AHA has gone after another school in Colorado who has participated with Operation Christmas Child for several years, but that school has yet to respond to the legal threat.
But humanists have their own message they want to deliver. The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants to take back Christmas so they have started their own project. According to Dan Barker, FFRF co-president "Most people think December is strictly for Christians and view the solstice as an intrusion, when actually it's the other way around. People have been celebrating the winter solstice long before Christmas. We see Christianity as the intruder, trying to steal the natural holiday from all of us humans."
FFRF has created their own seasonal cards with messages like "Heathen's Greetings," "Yes Virginia...there is no god" and "Reason's Greetings." Their website proudly proclaims that it's time to "fire up the 'war on Christmas' again." The most troublesome aspect of the humanist's worldview is not the tendency toward aggressive litigation. Lawsuits garner publicity, publicity gains attention, and attention grows financial support.
The deeper sadness comes from the reality that either the non-believer is right and 'there is no god' – or the Christ-follower is right and God is very real. In the end, the world will be divided into those two camps – and all the lawsuits in the world won't silence that truth.