Even a total news-phobe like me has heard about the devastating earthquake in Haiti, just about the one place on Earth least capable of coping with such events. And I’m not really one to perpetuate the guilt bandwagon, or the “redeeming act” appeals to show how nice I am. I’m not nice – I’m very blunt, and if fact gets in the way of your feelings, fact wins. Get over it.
But, I’d have to try really hard to be as enormous a fucking asshole as Pat Robertson, who made headlines once again for being the religious leader least able to understand the word, “compassion,” something that (correct me if I’m wrong) I thought was a principle tenet of his faith. You really have to be brain-damaged to take horrible events and try to use them to scare people into the fold. It’s far beyond crass opportunism, dancing merrily into the realm of total fucking shitheel.
And if you’re an atheist like I am, you get to be considered immoral, selfish, and loathsome by that idiot, and many others like him across the country (it seems there are far fewer in other countries around the world.) I’m actually used to it, and don’t really consider the rantings of any religious individual or organization as counting for much. Even so, there’s now an opportunity to throw it back.
“Non-believers Giving Aid” is a support effort formed by the Richard Dawkins Foundation as a non-religious avenue of assistance. While Pat pounds his pulpit, Richard is matching the PayPal fees himself to ensure the money you donate goes to help Haiti, period. You can choose to funnel it into Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières) or the International Red Cross, both secular organizations that don’t muddy their assistance with posturing and self-aggrandizement. And by doing so, you’re making a statement that compassion doesn’t come from religion (far from it! but that’s a post for another time.)
Don’t want to give through Richard Dawkins? Fine, don’t. I actually encourage healthy distrust. Just don’t use it as an excuse not to help out. We sit in this country with our DVD players, cars with air-conditioning, and delivered pizza – we’re pretty well-off. We can spare a bit for people that not only have never seen such conveniences, but right now, may not even see light through the rubble. Pick a method and do it.
If you want to give through your church, just compare the condition of the buildings you meet within, against the condition of whatever assistance organization (homeless shelter, soup kitchen, disadvantaged child support, etc.) in town you like. If they don’t measure up, maybe, just maybe, you should see that the money goes where it really should. However you like.
Thanks. I don’t have much of an audience, but I’ll do what I can. Spread the word.