Atheists, Your Values Are Showing
by Lenny Esposito
The news report was startling. A group of children at Oakbrook Elementary School in wanted to do some good for those in their community who had little to nothing. So they raised some money to buy some groceries, planning on delivering them to the local food pantry, which is run by that giving food to the local food pantry, which happens to be run by Old Fort Baptist Church.
That’s when the atheist group stepped in and put a halt to the whole thing.1 Representatives from the American Humanist Association (AHA) claim that the project is unconstitutional since the school is raising funds that will “the proceeds of which will go directly to an evangelical Christian Church” according to the letter AHA attorneys sent to the school district (emphasis in the original).2 They halted the project and the accompanying food drive by threatening legal action. The school is holding both the food and the funds for fear of litigation, so the local poor get nothing.
What’s the real story here? Are the atheists so heartless that they would quash an attempt by school children to do good because it conflicts with their agenda? It seems so on the face of it. However, the AHA claims that they are not seeking to squash individual children from doing good, but that “there are innumerable ways in which the school can assist those in need that do not involve using public resources to promote a specifically religious agenda.” They also claim “the fundraisers serve no secular purpose and constitute state-sponsorship of religion.”3
Feeding the Poor Serves No Secular Purpose?
How is it that providing food for those struggling in the local community “serves no secular purpose”? While the church runs the food pantry under the larger umbrella of its missions budget, it is the only pantry in the area and the only one serving the poor of that community. There is no atheist food pantry in the area. In fact, I know of no atheist food pantry anywhere…
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