Monday, August 29, 2011

Sauce for the Gander

Should Groups That Proselytize Receive Charitable Funds
by Tom King

ADRA Disaster Worker
Google has decided to cut charitable funding through grants to churches that "proselytize". Erwin DeLeon, the article's author says churches and religious organizations shouldn't be surprised because after all, "Aren’t churches the first ones to exclude those who disagree or challenge their beliefs and those with lifestyles they judge sinful?"

Well, no, Erwin. They aren't.

Erwin goes on to excuse Google, saying the company simply desires to "employ its technology for the greater good. And that includes disadvantaged populations and those that are discriminated against by exclusionary groups such as some faith-based organizations."  

DeLeon, seems to be saying that faith-based organizations routinely discriminate against and exclude disadvantaged populations.  Like most reporters these days, Mr. DeLeon demonstrates a staggering ignorance of the vast scope of Christian charity work. Whenever there is a disaster, it's religious-based groups like Salvation Army, Adventist Disaster and Relief Agency, Mercy Ships and the Red Cross (where do you think the cross came from) that typically show up on the scene ahead of FEMA. Christian Americans give more to worldwide relief work than the federal government and such help more often goes to the actual people who need it rather than to warlords and corrupt third world politicians as so much of US government largesse.

Christians may view some behaviors as sin, but that does not prevent us from offering aid and comfort to all people regardless of their age, race, religion, sexual preference, cultural or ethnic background. Sure we still call a sin a sin, but that doesn't mean we don't offer help to folk who need it. Our exclusion of those who differ from us is primarily self-exclusion. Why would anyone want to belong to a group that doesn't believe the way they do and which views their behavior as "sinful" unless, of course, they want to change that behavior. It's like my relationship with Greenpeace. While I may share some values with them, I don't support their organization and would not belong even though I get mail from them all the time asking me to join up and donate money.

Isn't that proselytizing of the worst sort?

And if proselytizing is a bad thing, then what about Sierra Club, The World Wildlife Federation and Greenpeace? Are you going to exclude them from receiving funds too. They do, after all, openly proselytize people to join their cause. They display bumper stickers, hold revival meetings and chant slogans in support of ideas taken largely on faith (given the recent troubles the global warming folk have had with their data lately).

Seems to me that what's sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for the gander.

(c) 2011 by Tom King