Franklin Graham Fixes Bosnian Children with Shoe Boxes

Franklin Graham, dilute progeny of Billy Graham and head dude of Samaritan’s Purse,  fixes Bosnian Children with his Operation Christmas Child. Otherwise known as, shoe boxes filled with miracles. My kindergartner brought this very religious book home from his his public school library. I might have shrieked at him, poor kid.

Deep breaths, censorship is bad, no wonder he was in such a foul mood yesterday, mumbling about being depressed and stuff.

Then I read it. Next I searched out the gritty details about these boxes– because I’ve yet to meet a Christian organization that giveth without some strings. Like the Christianity agreement that these kids get before getting their gift. Scroll to the end, I’ll wait. Doesn’t it feel, I don’t know, wrong, to hand a refugee child a book that basically tells them their lives are filled with blood and terror because they don’t pray to the JC. Take away the orphaned refugee part and your still left with the bright, shiny magical thinking of  children. American children believe a giant bunny delivers eggs and that a fairy collects teeth in exchange for cash. The kids, they are easy to fool with their hopefulness.

Franklin Graham

Just to summarize this uplifting holiday tale, a mother lives with her two kids, 9 and 3, in the cellar of a bombed out building.The 9 year old forages for food in the streets at night, while hop-scotching his way past flying bullets. He sleeps on a chair. His 3 year old sister used to have a doll, but she lost it in the street while running from sniper fire.

The above text is not hyperbole, but actually the text of this feel-good children’s story.

Where is the Dad? you ask.

What a great question, I’m glad you mentioned it. The family assumes Dad is still alive, but since he’s in jail they just can’t be sure. The fear for Dad’s safety makes Mondays really suck. No worries though– part of the end-story miracle includes busloads of prisoners being delivered back home just in time to receive their own shoe box.

In the meantime, poor mom has certainly been forced into prostitution to make some sort of cash, but Graham leaves those details out; the only real miracle in this shoe box of craptastic.

Thanks to this stupid book, I spent a long chunk of my evening trying to explain the Bosnian war’s traumatic effect on women and children (and the busloads of male prisoners) to a 6 year old. You’d be correct in your assumption that it is difficult to find an age-appropriate way to describe the trauma of a family torn apart by raging war.

My distaste for Franklin Graham continues to grow. In fact, I’d call Franklin Graham a giant douchebag, but that insults the occasional usefulness of a good douche. Perhaps a simple charlatan.

It’s not like FG’s raking in the boxes of cash being the CEO of this charitable organization.

Beyond my personal feelings about Mini Graham Cracker, will I always knee jerk about the religious stuff available in public, government-supported schools?


Hey, at least my state doesn’t sneak religion (Christianity only, please) into schools through sponsored legislation. Aw, dammit; never-mind.

The Bosnian sniper fire book did provide a brilliant segue into Zach’s next question about black history month and “how exactly were they able to purchase, um, people? And why only the brown-skinned people? And, while we’re at it, why didn’t they pay them for doing the work?”

Technically because the bible told ’em it was their right to do so, but that’s hard to pack into a 6-year old’s brain box. Maybe I should draw a little information booklet.

Playground Theology

Did you know that kids discuss religion at the playground? I had heard this before from another like-minded mom, yet it still caught me off-guard.

We had an early release day last Friday, so we met friends at the park. I chatted with my friend, while half-watching my kids play with other park-dwelling children, impressed with the affable interactions.

Until I overheard a conversation between Zach and an unknown child– we’ll call him Sunglasses.

About 10 minutes later, Sunglasses gathers his people, never once noticing two adults sitting 5 feet from his grouping.

Let’s get ’em!

I intervened with the mom-stink-eye before the angry mob could take their playground torches after my unsuspecting heathenlets.

“I find playground discussions of religion and politics rude. And none of you needs to go after my children. In America we get to make our own choices about whether we do, or do not, believe.”

Disgruntled, the mob slunk off to another part of the playground, though never out of my complete line of sight. Sunglasses, having elected himself town crier, continued to inform other playground attendees of our non-theism; I assume to protect the unsuspecting from the atheist cooties.

Okay, that’s probably unfair. In all honesty, the horror that continually crept into Sunglasses’ tone and expression seemed to result more from astonishment than disgust.

As if the child had never before met an atheist, let alone an atheist child.

Because I was curious (and worried) the car ride home was a question/answer period between Zach and I:

How did y’all end up talking about religion? He asked me where we went to church and I said we don’t go to church.

Um, do you actually pray to Santa? [Rolling his eyes] No.

And finally:

Do you have questions or concerns about what happened today. Well, yeah. The kid (Sunglasses) asked why we don’t believe in god. I just told him that we believe in polar bears because we can see them, and they are the only real things living in the north pole, but if the ice melts they won’t be able to live there anymore.

I stop listening for a minute while I consider how his rejection of the santa myth has gotten mixed up with global warming.

But mom? Why don’t we believe god is real?

Exactly the sort of off-the-cuff question I want to answer while trapped in a car with a 5 and 3 year old on a late Friday afternoon.

Now, since I’m totally proud of all the things I didn’t say:

  • Um, because I don’t believe in Zeus?
  • Every major religion has some sort of creation story. If you line all the religious text in a row by date, you can literally see the overlap.
  • Because if Adam and Eve beget all of earth’s population as the bible said, it means lots of incest, and that makes me feel icky.
  • Of course, anthropologists have found human remains in multiple places, and the whole no-plane/car thing made travel pretty tricky. Thus it’s logical that Adam and Eve didn’t parent everyone.
  • Also, paleontologists find and catalog fossils, but in no religious text does can one find mention of really massive lizard-type animals with big teeth and small arms. You know– dinosaurs. And– NO– dinosaurs and people weren’t hanging out together; the Ook and Gluk book is fiction.

Instead, I answered, “Well, did you ask sunglasses boy why he DID believe in god?” Well, no. I’ll do that next time.

I mean really, at 5 isn’t the honest answer always going to be something like because my parents told me so.