So yesterday I was in the mall looking for a DVD that my little brother wanted for Mythmas. As I was walking, a woman asked me if she could have a moment of my time. As I stopped, I noticed that she was sitting next to a sign that read "Help needy families," and that there was a small collection of gifts around her feet. I decided to listen. It seemed like a great cause- Donate gifts to families that don't have enough on Christmas. I've actually been organizing a large drive as well as collection and organization of gifts for the women's shelter I work at. I've already given a lot, but I was thinking about it. I asked her what organization the gifts went to. The moment I heard "Christian" I stopped her. I told her that I don't donate to religious organizations. When she asked me why, I told her that I give to organizations that help families of all religions and focus on the needs of the population without alienating entire parts of the community. She told me that those Christian families needed presents, too. TO which I replied that those families will receive gifts and donations from their church and the young woman's organization. I would prefer to help families that do not have a support system like that. The young woman told me that they should go to church, then.
Anyway, I just wanted thoughts on if anyone else donates money to religious organizations even if they don't support the faith. Is the cause enough? Or do you support similar organizations that are nonsecular, like me?
When it comes to charities and donations, religion is not the first thing I look at. Effectiveness is. If a religious charity was more effective with donated dollars than a secular charity, then I would donate to the religious charity. Of course, this is assuming that most things are equal. If there were discrimination practiced by the charity, then they would be disqualified.
Try researching before donating to make sure that most of your dollars are making it to those in need, are being used effectively, and not being wasted on administrative costs.
i personally do not donate to charities that have any religious affiliation, because eventually the money u give does end up promoting a particular religion either directly or subliminally. an argument that some families don't have enough money for presents is the worst argument in my view as it just teaches materialism and teaches anybody to not be a good consumer. there are plenty of charities that do the same thing as bill gates foundation which promotes literacy and other stuff which christian and other religous organizations do too but u see the difference between the two when u visit the schools in india supported by either organization. this doesn't mean that some organizations which may have religious name because of how long they have been around that we should just dismiss them, like st. jude children's hospital who serves kids of all backgrounds irrespective of their faith or lack of faith. i really commend your stance of not donating to a religious organization. just think, a lot of people in america are obsessed with walmart and their cheap prices but they have little sympathy for the high price that other people pay for their low cost. mostly it is better not to donate when u don't understand where the money is going to end up.
I have a skeptical friend who once claimed that only the Salvation Army was pure. But then we find this:
Oct. 4 2005 NPR --
"A major court victory for the Bush administration's faith-based initiative. A federal court in New York ruled that the Salvation Army may fire and hire employees according to their religious beliefs, even though it receives most of its money for social services from the government. NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports."
The back-story is that the militant wing of the Salvation Army, Frau Farbisina [not her real name] took over and demanded an inquisition and then a purge of anyone, even the civilian employees that ran the shelters. This is all part of the Religious Right's war on everything.
[see Michele Goldberg's "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism" for details.]
This year they were planning on asking for immigration papers prior to giving gifts to kids in Houston. They reversed after the publicity hit. That combined with the NYC gay rights fiasco is enough for me to ignore them. But I choose to not give to any church at all, for anything.