Charity With Strings Attached

After expressing my concerns yesterday about charities with religious affiliations, I followed a trail in the blogosphere to some other sources, where I found I was neither alone nor unjustified.

Religious charities often invite aid recipients to partake in religious rituals or services.  It may be optional but those on the receiving end may feel obliged, even if they don’t want to accept.  Sometimes, the supposed do-gooders are even more crass and insidious.  In those cases, charity is conditional.  This doesn’t surprise me.  It only confirms what I already know, based on personal experience.

About ten or fifteen years ago, when I was living in London, I’d just picked up some Fair Trade coffee near Waterloo Station, wanting to help the peasants who actually worked the land in Latin America.  The staff had reassured me they had no religious agenda.  Then, down the street, I encountered a charity worker associated with the Anglican Church, I believe.   He said they feed hungry people overseas.  I asked if the hungry people had to pray to get the food.  Initially evasive,  he then said, “I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they pray, if we’re going to feed them.”  The words were etched in my mind.

It’s comforting to know the good people of the church are on the same ethical level as Robert Mugabe.  You’re starving and need food?  I’ve got food.  But, you have to support my cause…

If charity isn’t truly selfless, it isn’t charity.  It’s marketing.  A free gift for signing up.  A loss leader to get you in the store.  It isn’t charity if there is an expectation, or even a hope, of something in return.

Religious charity is an elaborate recruitment campaign.  They don’t pray for so much as prey on.  This isn’t just overseas.  The twelve step program of AA and other addiction groups requires acceptance of god as one of the steps.  They effectively replace substance addiction with addiction to god, creating an army of the desperate who cling to god and lies because they think they have to.  Afraid of their own demons, this army of ‘lost souls’ is prone to political manipulation.  Now I know where zombie movies come from.

If you want to help people without strings attached, try UNICEF, CARE, the United Way, Fair Trade, or nationally recognized medical research organizations in your country.

About these ads

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses to “Charity With Strings Attached”

  1. paulmct Says:

    Inside info on ‘the industry’ available here:

    http://thechapel.wordpress.com

    I should mention that a list of secular charities was provided here:

    http://templewhore.blogspot.com/2008/01/secular-charities.html

  2. Cody Says:

    Secular charities? No such thing! Everyone knows atheists are selfish and greedy.

    Or not. But that’s what I hear a lot from religious people. Apparently, charity and morality go hand in hand with religion. I don’t buy it.

  3. paulmct Says:

    Neither do I. Thanks for reading and your comment.

  4. God’s Gift « Bloggin’ Off Says:

    [...] Korean student told me last summer that it’s common in Korea.  Christian churches routinely offer children presents to come in and join a mass.  Korea and Asia are ‘growth markets’ for Christianity.  [...]

  5. Beijing Style Censorship in Canada « Bloggin’ Off Says:

    [...] profit from investments.  Not all the money they receive is used for charity, and their idea of charity is often actually tied to recruiting new members and spreading the word.  They have also been [...]

  6. Not So Passive Aggression « Bloggin’ Off Says:

    [...] Conditional charity is not uncommon.  Asking recipients to pray or attend a service in return for food or other assistance happens, as I’ve mentioned before.  This can lead to international incidents with consequences.  A while back, a group of South Korean missionaries were taken hostage in Afghanistan.  One was executed, I believe.  Their government negotiated the release of the rest, eventually, no doubt after paying a hefty ransom. [...]

  7. Spiritual Methadone « Bloggin’ Off Says:

    [...] written before about AA and other twelve step programs requiring addicts to trade in their old addictions for [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: