St. Lawrence College in Ramsgate, a boarding school in the U.K., has suspended its Operation Christmas Child program after one complaint from a parent over Franklin Graham’s views on Biblical marriage. The school claims that after reviewing the Samaritan’s Purse website, it told parents that the organization didn’t align with their values, despite St. Lawrence College being a Christian school.
In a statement regarding its decision, the school explained: “The College chose to support Operation Christmas Child–a charitable scheme which involves filling shoe boxes with gifts and sending them abroad to benefit disadvantaged children.
“The College carried out due diligence on Samaritan’s Purse … and believed its values were in line with the College’s Christian ethos. We now accept our research, which was conducted in good faith, did not give sufficient consideration of the wider potential impact that supporting Operation Christmas Child may have on the existing College community, or a proper assessment of the charitable purposes of Samaritan’s Purse. We have therefore decided not to support this charity in future.”
The parental complaint was originally made on a now deleted website, before being submitted as a formal complaint and backed up by Humanists UK, a group that has been described as dedicated to “eradicating faith schools.”
At least one parent has expressed frustration at the decision, sharing anonymously with Christian Concern: “I feel very let down as the school has failed to stand with Christian children and parents on this issue. It is a betrayal of the purpose for which the College was founded. …
“The school is trying to have a foot in both the secular and Christian world, which just won’t work.
“If the school does not reverse its decision, it will embolden the complainants and the governors who support them to go further.”
Christian Concern, one of the most prominent evangelical organizations in the U.K., also reported that several other parents have complained about the “betrayal of Christian children and parents at the school.”
Former Tory Education Ministry Sir John Hayes agreed, stating: “It’s deeply disappointing that what must be the extremely fragile and broken management of St Lawrence College should have allowed their resolve to be broken by the militant ramblings of a single Bolshevik parent.”
The school began working with Operation Christmas Child in 2021. The ministry provides a shoebox filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene supplies and other items to help needy children. Recently, Samaritan’s Purse has been working with “3,200 churches to deliver 660,000 gift-filled shoeboxes to Ukraine.”
In a statement, Franklin shared: “Samaritan’s Purse is a decidedly Christian organization, and it’s our faith in Jesus Christ that leads us to love everyone and help those who are in need, without making distinctions about sexual orientation, race, religion or economic status.
“This isn’t the first time that our beliefs have been targeted, and it certainly won’t be the last. Ultimately, it seems events like these actually inspire people to pray and do even more to support the work that Samaritan’s Purse is doing to let people know that God loves them.”
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, echoed his sentiments, stating: “This school has an amazing history linked to its Christian roots and has sadly bowed the knee to pressure from a small minority pressure group.
“Franklin Graham is a man whose faith drives him to serve the poorest and most in need across the globe. What he has achieved through Samaritan’s Purse is nothing short of miraculous. He’s a faith hero just like his father, Billy.
“This is another in a long line of cancel culture stories where the pressure of an ideological LBGT lobby has forced people in charge into submission because they are scared to resist. This has to stop.”
At this point, The Mail on Sunday reports that the school is standing by its statement to parents and its decision to suspend the relationship.
Above: In Manilla, Philippines, children receive Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Photo: Earl Davidson/©2019 BGEA