Your Charity Dollars at WorkPosted: December 6, 2011
bryanbr’s thesis is straightforward. As a nearly-militant Christian organization (in case the name SALVATION ARMY didn’t tip you off), the SA believes strongly against homosexuality, abortion, and euthanasia.
The first is the hardest to come to terms with. It’s backwards at best to think homosexuality is abhorrent and gays should be stoned. Let’s leave that there.
The second, which is interestingly titled “Women’s Rights” in the original article, is itself a bit iffy. I’m not a religious dude (though fairly agnostic), and while I haven’t taken a stance on abortion completely, I think we can all agree it’s an incredibly touchy issue. Namely, the question is, at what point does conception begin? This is a question I’ve yet to see answered well, and when you have many first-world jurisdictions across the planet that legalise the abortion of a fetus up to nine months of age, well, it becomes iffy. When you split hairs that fine, one has to wonder when “women’s rights” end and murder begins and we start playing with semantics more than anything (remember Macduff, “from his mother’s womb / Untimely ripp’d”) . Conceptualize, if you will, a pregnant woman who is due in exactly one day. She decides she doesn’t want the child. Is it murder? Certainly not. Now, when a pregnant woman is abused or attacked in such a way so as to cause the death of a fetus, the crime is treated more severely. Sure, there are very good reasons for that and such a crime is abhorrent, but the difference to our reaction to such a crime and our reaction to a nine-month pregnancy culminating in an abortion is cause for thought, I think.
Obviously there are circumstances where abortion is definitely warranted and definitely acceptable (to myself, of course). In cases of rape or where the mother will not be able to care for the child (or doesn’t want to, I guess), early into the pregnancy, abortion simply makes sense. But that’s just me, and I can easily understand opposition to abortion (though the complete and blanket opposition that the SA and various religious groups have strikes me as nuts).
The third point that bryanbr makes is the one I take the most exception to and that is the topic of euthanasia. I think the SA’s opposition to assisted-suicide is very fair, if only because of the three oppositions bryanbr has to the SA, this one seems the most justified. Euthanasia, while legal in some jurisdictions, is illegal in many, many others. Euthanasia is typically an option when one is going through pain and their quality of life has diminished significantly as a result of a (most often) incurable illness or ailment. The reasoning can be the ailment itself or a side-effect such as depression. Personally, I could never take the life of another individual, even if they asked me to (though, I guess in a life or death situation, I could, but that’s not germane). Asking doctors then to commit murder (and that’s what ending another human life is, murder), and in some cases, expecting them to when pressed, seems like a pretty extreme step. Personally, I’m very divided on the topic of euthanasia — above all, I believe that people who are in a rational state of mind and not mentally ill have a right to their own body and if they choose to end their own lives, that should be their decision. I think the SA’s right to oppose euthanasia is warranted.
I think that bryanbr’s boycott of the Salvation Army is maybe a step too far. The SA does do some good work for the homeless and single mothers and so on. They are, of course, a Christian organization and to expect them to endorse things that are antithetical with the Bible seems a little silly, though. Any society has to pick its battles and decide what it supports; I mean, if you believe all drugs should be legal or seatbelts are bullshit or the drinking age should be lowered or whatever, would you donate to a rehabilitation charity or MADD or whatever? Probably not.
But bryanbr’s argument is great in that it’s a lesson: don’t just give people money in order to feel like a good person. Know what the charity does before you decide to support them.