Samaritan's Purse, a charity linked to a particularly unpleasant fundamentalist Christian Group headed by US Evangelist Franklin Graham, is once again running its Christmas Shoe Box appeal.
To quote from its Website: "Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God's love. This program of Samaritan's Purse provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands-on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas-Jesus Christ, God's greatest gift. Along with shoe box gifts, millions of children are given Gospel booklets in their own language."
"Evangelism is at the heart of everything we do. Our most important mission is to provide spiritual help by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. We accomplish this by demonstrating God's love through our relief projects, building churches, providing evangelism training and materials, and by supporting local ministries engaged in this vital work."
Whilst it now acknowledges on its pamphlets that it is "meeting critical needs of victims of war, poverty, famine, disease, and natural disaster while sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ" many schools and donors are unaware of the true nature of its "mission".
Following the links below provide some further information about this organisation:
Every year schools, colleges, voluntary organisations and businesses unwittingly support the Shoebox Appeal thinking that they are supporting humanitarian relief, or helping to spread friendship around the globe, or just to bring some happiness to a child who might be living is distressing circumstances. Such genuine motives are cynically exploited by Samaritans Purse to aid their world-wide mission to convert non-Christians to their particularly fundamentalist form of Christianity.
Within all religions (and also secular society as well!) there are fundamentalist organisations who seek to exploit the naivety of others in pursuit of their narrow sectarian agendas. Increasingly we need to be vigilant, on our guard and prepared to expose their activities.
Currently there is a tendency to see the danger in so-called "Islamic Fundamentalism". This would be a mistake. Fundamentalisms of all kinds are potentially dangerous. They all feed off each other - often in very imaginative but ultimately destructive ways.