So yeah, it’s been about three months since I posted anything here. I had a nice summer hiatus, did a lot of reading, some drafting, got an internship, and now I’m back!
Before I get into the usual grind of writing about books I have read, I’d like to address another topic, one which will likely either instantly grab your attention or cause the bombarded newswatcher to sigh and say ‘this again?”. Either way, please read through what I have to say! You just might hear something unexpected.
A friend recently challenged me to take part in the ALSA Ice Bucket Challenge. You know the drill, once someone calls you out you have 24 hours to either make a $100 donation to ALSA, or have a bucket of ice water dumped on you. The goal is to raise awareness of ALS and money for researching new treatments. This has been going on about all summer, and definitely has brought a lot of impromptu education on the disease. The modern social media culture has caused this to go viral, showing up on many sites and flooding Facebook feeds. Here’s where I start to see problems. How many of you know people who actually donated to the organization, versus just submitting to having water dumped on them and laughing about it with friends? Yes, people are taking part and raising awareness, but it has gotten as big as it can beneficially, and now people are just doing it so that they don’t feel left out. Which raises the question, does it matter what people’s reasoning is if it’s all for a good cause? Well, maybe maybe not. My biggest concern is that the ethics of this organization do not match my own, and I would expect do not match those of many of the people who have been participating. The ALSA supports at least one trial specifically researching embryonic stem cell research, utilizing electively aborted fetuses to find new treatments. Since taking this stance I have heard many arguments for this, from “giving their short lives meaning” to the ever-popular ‘they aren’t actually alive”, but none of these can possibly justify the truth I believe that life begins at conception, and any action taken to intentionally end that life is wrong. Another thing I have heard several times is that it is possible when you donate to say exactly which studies you want your money to go towards or not go to. That is still supporting the institution, though, and misses the point.
But, you may say, that is just one study, surely there are hundreds of other research studies funded by the same organization which you could approve of. This might be true. However, I have become convicted that I cannot support a partially good cause, and look the other way when I disagree with their methods. I do not look down on anyone who has taken this challenge and paid either with money or their personal comfort; rather, I am glad they are making an effort to make the world a better place, but I cannot in good conscience take part. I hope that a cure for ALS will be found, but I also hope that charities, foundations, and all organizations would take a look at their standards of ethics, and reevaluate where they stand on the issue of harming one life in order to help another.
It is my intent with this post to get people to think about what they are supporting any time they give money, time, or their word to someone or something. My conscience has grown strong about this issue. I hope you will listen to yours.
Here are links to some of the articles I have read prior to this on the topic:
Also, here is the ALSA website so you can do your own research into what they support: www.alsa.org