Does Charity come with a Price?
There are many charities all over the world that are famous for going far out of their way to help the disenfranchised, the down-trodden, the unfortunate, the ignorant, the innocent, the poor, the oppressed, the starving, the victims of war. These Charitable Organizations are seen as largely helpful and simply trying to bring hope and salvation to these affected people. Their Charity knows no bounds and seems to have no hidden conditions attached. Or at least, that’s what they want you to believe.
What? I hear you cry. There’s another side to this story? Another angle we haven’t been privy to? Ask yourself this question – is all charity unconditional? In other words, is it given with no conditions attached? That depends on the charity and its religious intent. Okay, some Charities are not religious, there are Foundations and they just give Charity where it is needed. This is not an attack on the religious. The truth is, some charity is given to the less well off based on religious reasons and less on need. Why?
Because some charitable volunteers give out loaves of bread with the one hand and give out bibles with the other. So is that right? Charities giving out charity but trying to religiously convert and recruit the very people the Charity is helping. Imagine being there listening to a priest asking a poor woman why does she pray? Asking her who does she pray to? What deity exactly is that? And don’t they know there is only one GOD? Some charities want to save, but at a price. They seem to want the person’s soul too. But surely when a charity is helping the underprivileged, it is better and more morally acceptable not to take advantage of their position? Or better not to take advantage of their ignorance. Is this kind of charity just a way of spreading a gospel? Making a religious “sale”? A conversion. Do the poor need someone giving them faith? Aren’t some people entitled to be Atheists if they want to? Do Atheists get charity? What about Agnostics? Do donations apply to them too?
Or is being charitable and giving aid a way to “own” them, “control” them. A loaf of bread and then a sermon? Didn’t Cecil Rhodes all those years ago march into Rhodesia (later named after him in his honor), a once backward country which he supposedly pitied and gave charity and food with one hand and bibles with the other? The same Cecil Rhodes who then went on to possess and own the people religiously and the country materially, and wasn’t he the one involved in one of the richest firms in the world – the De Beers Diamond company? Wasn’t that charity really just a kind of Imperialism? A way of colonizing people? And isn’t most charity just doing the same? Religious imperialism continuing its way through the poor countries of the world. Is it fair or appropriate to use charity as a means to gains? Just why are charities so intent on converting people? Is the service of the poor in the end just a scam? How should that affect the way we donate to Charity?
Thankfully there are honest charities who are not really
interested in giving out bibles, they are only interested in Social Justice for the people they are
helping. An example would be a Foundation.
Why not just give charity and leave it at that? Since when did faith have to enter this equation? Since some Aid groups belong to some faith, is that a disadvantage? The idea of bread and bibles being given to the weak and then proselytizing to them in their time of need, however, seems incompatible with our definition of Charity or Help for that matter. Is there a kind of colonialism happening by stealth in some charities? Haven’t there been problems with some faiths poaching some believers in other faiths? By implying that they were worshiping a false God? Where are we going with this? Isn’t this treading on very dangerous ground?
Some charities admit that they do give out Bibles and other
religious material. But some others just give charity. Some charities stand for
Social Justice and seek to make the world a fairer and more just place. Some
have admirable records. Some however, insist on handing out Bibles and telling where the charity comes from. The author and broadcaster Mathew Paris famously once
said “Africa needs God”, which is a surprising comment from a man who is an Atheist.
Didn’t the Vatican get into trouble in Africa by telling people that for religious Catholic reasons, they should not wear Condoms as they were unholy and against God’s wishes? And this is a country with the highest Aids rate on Earth! Do some people in Africa need that kind of charity or help, even though it runs counter to all common sense and medical opinion? Are Religious Charitable Organizations really being helpful to people like this or are the charities in question just trying to see how stupid some people are? Is this tantamount to rubbing people's noses in it? It sounds like someone is having a laugh....
Also of concern is the reluctance of some charities to share
their charity with other charities where there is a separate religious belief
system. In a place where a tragedy has occurred and
help is needed, and people may wish to donate to a good cause. Yet
people have to be sensitive to people’s existing religious belief and culture.
There doesn’t seem to be much of an appetite for international agreement in
this sphere. This is surprising – given the issues we are all dealing with.
This could be revised as charities could make an enormous difference where
there are compatible aims between
charities, i.e. – a desire to help others unconditionally,
without the normal one-up-manship and competition. It does seem like a form of one-up-manship sometimes. To
be arguing these points here when people’s lives hang in the balance seems like
sheer lunacy. The Poverty and misery that people face is what needs attention, not
some religious belief system or archaic argument.There is a clear chicken and egg scenario here. The Egg, the symbol of life clearly comes first.
The business of giving charity ought to be a simple one, yet it is a complex one.
It is simple, but it is certain people who have complicated it.
It is sometimes seen as conditional giving and in some ways religiously interfering with some other faiths, hence reluctance to share charity amongst groups. Secularism plays its part in charity too. It seems that there is an answer to the question – when is a charity not just a charity? When it is also sometimes a faith based group or church. Giving out bread and bibles is not always a good idea. When a charity tells a starving man he cannot have the bread without the bible and a sermon, then there is something seriously wrong. Meanwhile the world has people in dire need of help and assistance from people like us who thankfully are willing to share what they have with others out of the decency of their hearts. Now if the charities will just let that happen, that will be really nice!
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