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

Re: Poor Valentine Starving in Russia

Scott Dorsey (
26 Jan 2006 10:59:47 -0500

Thor Lancelot Simon <> wrote:

> 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
> situation.

It's interesting that this seems much more to be the case in the US
than in Europe. The SA in Europe seems much more concerned with
actually providing services for the poor and less with spreading
religion. I think that's a good thing ... I think the best way to
spread religion is by providing good examples rather than beating
people over the head with it.

I'm willing to give donations to the SA every year mostly because they
helped me out when I was improverished many years ago. Certainly I
think it goes to better use than giving money to my college alumni
society, which has too much money already (and didn't give me any when
I was a poor student).

> 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.

The RC is a pretty weird organization that does carry a whole lot of
management along with everything. They do good, but when you donate
money to them, you're helping to support a huge and bloated bureaucratic
structure. Now, it could be argued that this really _is_ the most
effective way to deliver help to people in need, and that the huge
structure is necessary in order to support large units in the field
when the organizational size needs to be rapidly increased for an
emergency. I dunno, but I won't give them 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.

I would not give all my money to ANY ONE organization, no matter how
great they are. Spread it around.


"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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