You probably shouldn’t write blog posts when you’re angry, but something I’ve read this morning has got me decidedly cross. I’d go so far as to say it’s the stupidest, most narrow-minded thing I’ve read from a fellow Christian in a long time.
It’s this post – Comic Relief Humbug – from the Proclamation Trust website. I’m not generally a critic of Proc Trust; I know some people struggle with their reformed-ness, but since I came out of a conservative evangelical stable myself (I’ll blog separately about this at some point), I can see a lot of positives in their approach. But this piece, written to coincide with Red Nose Day, really vexed me when I read it this morning.
The writer suggests that Christians should be cautious about giving money to the charity Comic Relief for a couple of reasons – a) because it’s not clear where the money goes, and b) because some of the projects Comic Relief then makes grants to are what he brilliantly terms ‘Christianly dubious’. Let’s gloss over that assault on the English language for a moment, and take those points in turn…
The post author writes:
“First, it seems somewhat irresponsible to give to general campaigns without first doing some groundwork. There is little or no visibility of where your giving is actually going. That’s OK for Christian organisations (and there are plenty of worthy ones that we support corporately and personally), but for those who are not, how do you know how your money is being spent? I think churches should be nurturing specific relationships, either with individuals or projects or trusted organisations. That seems a more appropriate way to give.”
The Internet is hard work, isn’t it? I mean, you have to go all the way to the Comic Relief website, and click on this page to find out where the money goes. Much easier to speculate that such a page doesn’t exist, isn’t it? But more ridiculous than this claim is the idea that it’s OK for Christian charities not to be transparent about where your money goes. Really? In my experience, some Christian charities (not all of them by any means) can be the worst when it comes to good use of resources. Do we forgive, overlook and continue pouring money into potentially poorly-stewarded things because these people sign up to the same set of doctrinal statements as us?
To be fair, I actually agree with his point about thinking more seriously about who we give to, and the bit about nurturing specific relationships is wise. But you can’t write off the importance of an event like Red Nose Day, the heart behind it, and the good it does, because you already give in other ways. That’s not particularly radical generosity is it?
But all of this is preamble. Here’s the bit that provoked me to write this…
“second, more specifically, some of CR’s projects are Christianly dubious. That’s because they give to alleviate injustice and they have a broader view of justice than you or I. They don’t publish a list of donations, but in the past when I’ve managed to get hold of the list, I found they have supported groups lobbying for women bishops in CofE and Lesbian, Gay and Transgender helplines for teenagers.”
Is it ‘Christianly dubious’ to support a young person who is struggling because of the bullying and rejection they’ve suffered because of homophobic bullying? Is it really ‘Christianly dubious’ to want to reach out to someone who might possibly be suicidal as a result? To save a life? To listen? To offer friendship? To love unconditionally? If anything around here is ‘Christianly dubious’ mate, it’s your blog post.
I wrote this for a couple of reasons. First, because there’s no facility to post comments on the Proc Trust blog, and second, because a few people have shared this piece on social media and thought it was generally good; and I disagree. I think it would be rather good if the original post was removed, and fast. As the author notes, we’re called to be both generous and wise as Christians – this post displays neither of these traits.
Oh, and you can give some money to Red Nose Day here. I might just go and do that now. Here endeth the rant.
Hang on, just going to pray before hitting ‘publish’ on this one. Yep, He seems ok with it. Maybe He’s got a ‘broader view of justice’ than the Proc Trust…