The American Humanist Association (AHA), which is a nonprofit educational group working toward the advancement of secular humanism, recently criticized an elementary school in South Carolina for raising funds to assist a food pantry that is associated with a Christian organization. The AHA alleged that it is unconstitutional for a public school to support a religious organization monetarily, after The Blaze reported students at Oakbrook Elementary were raising funds to help support a food pantry that works in tandem with Old Fort Baptist Church.
Reportedly, students from Oakbrook were raising funds by selling thank you cards that can be given to teachers, parents or students if one wishes to thank them during the holiday season. Each of the thank you cards cost $1.
Upon reading the report, the AHA threatened to file a lawsuit against the school if it did not stop supporting the church immediately. In a letter to Dorchester School District, the AHA cited the school’s illegal fundraising efforts.
“The mission of AHA's legal center is to protect one of the most fundamental principles of our democracy: the constitutional mandate requiring separation of church and state,” read a part of the letter, which also accused the fundraising efforts of supporting “mission trips to proselytize Christianity.”
However, pastor Eric Lethco, clarified that the school and church have shared an understanding for years, whereby students raise funds solely for the distribution of backpacks to needy children during Christmas.
“Of course everything we do as a church is connected to Jesus. But they're just taking food out of the mouths of children,” Lethco said.
The school district has still not responded to the AHA’s letter threatening to sue them.
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