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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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November 20, 2013 - 9:25 am

WLTX reports that East Point Academy in West Columbia, SC has canceled its holiday toy drive after atheists threatened to sue the charter school.

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The atheists’ objection comes down to who ultimately operates the annual toy drive: Franklin Graham. He’s a Christian, and therefore must be driven from the public square. More on that later.

For the past three years, the school has participated in “Operation Christmas Child,” which is affiliated with Samaritan’s Purse.

Under the program, kids collect toys, pencils and other small items, pack them into shoe boxes, and donate to needy children.

That has now stopped after the school received a letter last Monday from the American Humanist Association, a national nonprofit organization with over 20,000 members and 125,000 supporters across the country, according to the letter.

The mission of American Humanist Association’s legal center, according to the letter, is “to protect one of the most fundamental principles of (American) democracy: the Constitutional mandate requiring separation of church and state.”

And they threatened to drag the school to court if their demands were not met. If that feels like blackmail, it’s because it is blackmail. The only thing it lacked was one of those threat notes made from letters cut out from magazines and newspapers.

It’s cute how they twist a phrase in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson into a “Constitutional mandate.” The Constitution says “Congress shall make no law establishing religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It doesn’t say kids can’t gather up toys for needy kids in connection with a religious holiday, or work with a known Christian in the process. The Constitution does allow us all the freedom to be jerks, and far too many avail themselves of the opportunity. The school should have stood its ground and taken this threat to court if the atheists made good on it. Someone has to take a stand. This would have been an excellent opportunity to teach what the Constitution actually says.

Back to the Franklin Graham angle. You may have thought I was making up the idea that the atheists objected because he is involved. Nope.

[The atheists' blackmail letter] points to the fact that Operation Christmas Child is part of “Samaritan’s Purse,” an international Christian based organization led by Franklin Graham, son of Evangelist Billy Graham.

“There’s no religious literature tied with it,” Mathews said. “There’s no speakers who come. There’s no religious affiliation at all.”

The toy drive causes kids to think about other kids who are less fortunate, gather up toys for those kids, and then send those toys off to the less fortunate kids. The atheists with their intolerant lawfare blackmail have just taught those kids not to love, not to care, not to give a damn about anyone else but themselves at all.

Merry X-Mas!

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

To me, that's pretty easy to understand.

If the charter school in question said you have to participate in order to receive a passing grade then yeah, I'd say that would run afoul of the clear intent of the Amendment. But based on what I'm reading here participation is voluntary and extracurricular. I don't see how any reasonable person can see interpret this as compulsory or legally mandated "religion".

Also, the Christmas holiday itself has been largely secularized and become more a commercial occasion than a religious one to the public at large. So, again, voluntary participation in a Christmas related charity can't reasonably be seen as religious compulsion.

I agree that it's about time some of these cases were taken to court so we could hash this out. The guarantee against a state sponsored religion was never intended to be a guarantee that you not have to see any kind of religious expression anywhere.

And yes, I am an atheist myself. But I'm an intellectually honest one who knows mean-spirited, intolerant BS when I see it.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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Cancel Christmas, jackasses...... yeesh.....
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
i wonder how many of the commenters here would feel differently if The Red Crescent was trying to become active in the school rather than atheists wanting Christians to not be active. how the changed position would be rationalized could be fun to watch.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I find your post to be stupid.

I bet most here would protect the right of moon god worshipers to give toys to needy children. As well as atheists.

The problem appears to be anything Christian. The world system loves it's own.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Atheists only threaten Christians, because they tend to turn the other cheek rather than blow up their cars.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
My analysis is this...the toy drive does not establish a religion by the state, but the targeting of an individual for being a practitioner...is malicious prosecution if ANY state actor assists in this effort.

A good lawyer who believes in protecting Constitutional rights and individual freedoms should take up the case for free and a barrage of suits should be filed in "friendly" forums against the atheists for conspiring with state actors in leftist administrations that harass individuals and groups as a hate crime against faith-based Bible followers.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
CAIR, and the IRS does the same dam thing. You are welcome to the freedom the Constitution allows whether it is speech, giving money to political parties, or toys to needy children, but it is going to cost you in lawyer fees to do so.

America, where you are free, but not to free because lawyers cost to much.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

To me, that's pretty easy to understand.

If the charter school in question said you have to participate in order to receive a passing grade then yeah, I'd say that would run afoul of the clear intent of the Amendment. But based on what I'm reading here participation is voluntary and extracurricular. I don't see how any reasonable person can see interpret this as compulsory or legally mandated "religion".

Also, the Christmas holiday itself has been largely secularized and become more a commercial occasion than a religious one to the public at large. So, again, voluntary participation in a Christmas related charity can't reasonably be seen as religious compulsion.

I agree that it's about time some of these cases were taken to court so we could hash this out. The guarantee against a state sponsored religion was never intended to be a guarantee that you not have to see any kind of religious expression anywhere.

And yes, I am an atheist myself. But I'm an intellectually honest one who knows mean-spirited, intolerant BS when I see it.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm an atheist too, and I'm not sure what the stink is about. Kinda early to tell. This article is kinda biased in calling this "blackmail" so it doesn't exactly inspire my trust. I don't see any proof of "give us money or else " it's more like "stop doing what we think is bad or we are going to sue to protect our rights". I don't know if they have a valid argument or not though. I'm not convinced and they may just be the bad guys in this. I need more details and I learned a long time ago not to trust newspapers, and blogs.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm wondering how their rights are being violated by the toy drive. I can't see how the threatened suit wouldn't be thrown out for lack of standing. But regardless, it will cost the school money they can't afford to waste.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
" Someone has to take a stand."

the atheists did. you may not agree with it, but they took a stand.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Merry X-mas!" Indeed, if it were not for the First Amendment the American Humanist Association would try to ban that expression from all public speech. As Lincoln so memorably said, "It is better to be though a fool and remain silent than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's actually nothing anti-Christ about saying "X-mas". "X" is an abbreviation for Christ. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xmas
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
In fact I believe the "X" represents the cross itself.
The First Amendment is intended to protect religion and government from each other and individuals in their exercise (or not) of conscience. It would be clearly wrong for a public school to command recitation of the Lord's Prayer; it would be just as wrong to prohibit a student praying silently. Those two should be easy.
That students should choose to meet and pray on school grounds seems clearly to be protected under the "free exercise" clause. Mind that the atheists would be entitled to ask for some space to meet as well.
That the students would choose to work with a private agency for charity, even a religious one, seems highly acceptable. But the charity work should be exactly that, with no tie-in to grades.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, atheists are entitled to meet and do whatever it is they do, but I would lodge a protest if what they did was slam Christians in their meetings with signs and bullhorns, which is usually the case. The Christians don't get together to slam atheists. The two groups usually do opposite things.

We seem to have two reasonable atheists posting here and it is a relief to read something with thought behind it that doesn't insult God or Jesus or me for my belief in them, which is the usual.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
nope, not the cross itself:
" Actually, this usage is nearly as old as Christianity itself, and its origins lie in the fact that the first letter in the Greek word for 'Christ' is 'chi,' and the Greek letter 'chi' is represented by a symbol similar to the letter 'X' in the modern Roman alphabet. Hence 'Xmas' is indeed perfectly legitimate abbreviation for the word 'Christmas' (just as 'Xian' is also sometimes used as an abbreviation of the word 'Christian').
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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