TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Poor Valentine Starving in Russia

Re: Poor Valentine Starving in Russia

Thor Lancelot Simon (
Thu, 26 Jan 2006 04:27:06 UTC

In article <>, William Warren
<> wrote:

> That's why the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are always a safe
> choice: not only do they have a lot of experience in culling out
> thieves, but the money stays in the U.S. to help people _here_.

You'd have some trouble convincing me that either of those
organizations are a "safe choice". As far as I can tell, at some
layer of management or another (a lower layer, for the SA; a higher
one, for the RC) both are run by either prosletyzing or bigoted
religious fanatics. Now, one may have more or less of a problem with
toleration of evangelism as the price of handouts for those in need --
effectively the situation with the SA; I find it exploitive but not so
much so as to outweigh the good the SA does, in that particular

But the RC, not so long ago, forced out the head of its U.S. opera-
tions for, among other things, asking a few too many times just why,
exactly, it was acceptable to refuse to recognize its cognate
organization in Israel, the Magen David Adom (the official reason: the
Israeli organization refuses to replace the Star of David with a
Christian cross as its symbol; odd, then, that the Red Crescent is
unproblematic). The Red Cross, too, it seems to me, does much good --
but is hardly the sort of group that one should paint as so
unquestionably and thoroughly good as to be an "always safe" recipient
for one's money.

Both of these groups carry substantial baggage from a sort of
Victorian era of dogooding in which those in need of help were seen,
in some way, as flawed just for needing it, and thus requiring moral
improvement. I would certainly want to see such attitudes wane before
I would feel good about making either of them the sole recipient of
whatever dollars I had available to give to charity.

Thor Lancelot Simon

"We cannot usually in social life pursue a single value or a single
moral aim, untroubled by the need to compromise with others." -
H.L.A. Hart

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Clara Barton (Red Cross founder) was
not as much a do-gooder with an evangelical bent as was General William
Booth, founder of the SA, who was really into religion big time. But
in that Victorian era, they both would have been a bit too much for
many folks who swear by them today. But, you know, around here when
there is any sort of personal disaster affecting one or more people,
SA and RC are both right there to help, just as they were at Katrina.

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