Recently the American Humanist Association filed a suit against a school for promoting Christianity.
This article explains,
The American Humanist Association filed a legal complaint against at least three public schools for participating in a nonprofit project called Operation Christmas Child, which is run by the evangelical Christian group Samaritan's Purse.
Right - because the State or Federal governments cannot show partiality, favoritism for preference for any religion, or religious belief. A neutral government is the best government for maximizing freedom for everyone.
Public schools are a branch of State governments, therefore, they must follow these rules.
Samaritan's Purse says the goal of its care package program, "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."
The care packages are loaded with things like stuffed animals and other toys, school supplies and basic hygiene products. They are also packed with Christian-themed materials, like Bible story coloring books.
That's fine for this group to do, on their own.
This is the typical story of local governments stepping beyond reasonable bounds, and engaging in inappropriate activities. It's not unusual. Like having to be constantly vigilant against shoplifting or burglary, we're constantly having to put out these fires of school districts breaking the law.
The atheist group's legal filing also said of one of one of its plaintiffs, an anonymous John Doe who is also a member of the AHA, that he, "is injured and aggrieved by the acts and practices complained of herein because his two children, Doechild-1 and Doechild-2, also Plaintiffs in this action, have been exposed to and influenced by Defendants' promotion and endorsement of religion."
Exactly. The school should not be endorsing religious positions, or religion over irreligion. If this were the promotion of Islam, the author would likely be completely and utterly losing his/her mind right now. I'm sorry, but Christianity is not above the law.
Then why am I commenting? The title of the article was - emphasis mine:
Really? Atheist group files complaint over religious-themed care packages
I read through, looking for some kind of argument as to why this activity was legitimate. What exactly is the problem, article author?
What I found was some name-calling (from the accused):
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which specializes in defending religious rights, criticized the AHA's lawsuit, and dubbed the atheist group a bunch of "Scrooges."
Okay, so nothing of value there...
Ah, here's the argument, I think.
"These boxes are filled with school supplies and basic hygiene items," said Becket's executive director Kristina Arriaga. "It's heartbreaking enough that there are children who will receive nothing but a toothbrush for Christmas. The American Humanist Association would deny them even that?"
Really? Are all the non-toothbrush items somehow irrevocably fused to religious stuff? Can they not be separated? Have you tried a cutting torch?
I just had a Christmas get together with family, some of who are explicitly Christian. Not a single religious gift was exchanged that day. It seems like a possible thing to do. It was neither a Bible-only exchange, nor was it a toothbrush-only exchange.
No, the AHA is not denying the children anything. This nonprofit group is free to do this all they want... without co-opting government resources to promote their religion. They can either:
- Remove the religious elements and create a secular version, to do in public school.
- Do it without government resources.
Why is this so difficult to grasp?
If the Christian group cannot do #1 because they won't be able to proselytize, then they are despicable. Charity is a fine goal... but if they're actually inclusive and secular, they might actually do it better, because they'll receive more help.
So I ask again, author, what do you mean by "Really?"
Suppose someone embezzles money to give to charity. Sure, the charity aspect is laudable, but that doesn't mean the person is somehow waived from any considerations of law enforcement. The person is still breaking the law.
The path to hell is paved with good intentions. We can't let people violate whatever laws them want because they think they're doing good deeds. Secularism is enforced for extremely good reasons, not limited to keeping religious people from murdering each other, once the majority faction gains control over the Government. It's something we have to nip in the bud.
So really, what do you mean by "really"? Wait... that's it. The author is on my side! The defendants are so unambiguously in the wrong, and the AHA is so unambiguously in the right, that the author is saying, "Really? Why do we keep having to enforce the law on such basic topics?"
Oh, okay. I agree, author. I agree.