Thursday, 2 August 2012

Sorry ... we don't support religious organisations

Stand back, this isn’t going to be pretty.  There will be hand waving, a few heated words, maybe even a little bit of name calling, I might even accidentally spit a little as I get caught up in my tirade and I am not going to draw breath for the next minute or two, so watch out ...

We live in a world where discrimination is not acceptable.  That is totally cool, so tell me why is it that many businesses, organisations and funding bodies have a policy whereby they will not support religious organisations?

Let us for a minute have a look at the type of services religious organisations in Australia provide, looking at the ones we see every day in our own town.  Anglicare provides much needed support for our elderly people, they provide help at home, nursing and a range of services that enable people to live in their own homes longer, they coordinate foster and kinship care for vulnerable children, they offer disability, youth, mental health and family support services and so much more.  Imagine our community without this care and support for our elderly, vulnerable, lonely and young.  Who in their right mind would not want to support the work of this organisation?

Then we have St Vincent de Paul, an organisation committed to addressing poverty in our community.  Their website says “There is no magic solution to poverty.  It takes compassion, commitment and money” and that is what Vinnies offers.  Not only do they have their donation centres they are committed to social justice.  They literally “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, protect the rights of those who are helpless. Speak out and pronounce a sentence of justice, defend the cause of the wretched and the poor." (Proverbs 31:8-9).  Again, imagine society without people dedicated to the pursuit of social justice and overcoming poverty.

Thirdly we have Salvation Army.  Who is at the heart of every emergency and disaster in this country?  It is the Salvation Army.  Did you know that across Australia in a typical week the Salvation Army provides 100,000 meals for the hungry; 2000 beds for the homeless; 5000-8000 food vouchers; 1000 people with assistance to find employment; refuge to 500 victims of child abuse; assistance to 500 addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling; several thousand people with counselling; 3000 people with aged care services, 40 people in the court system with chaplaincy programs and family tracing services which locate 40 missing family members.  This is just one week.  Again, why would you not want to support this wonderful work?

I personally know of dozens of Christian organisations in Australia who help our brothers and sisters all over the world.  They save babies from pit toilets, rescue young girls from sex slavery, feed starving babies and mothers, provide life changing surgery to women who would otherwise remain shunned by society and offer clean drinking water to remote communities.  These religious organisations, who will not be funded or supported by numerous organisations and agencies, make the world a better place.  Often they are the only ones brave enough to address issues that other people shy from.  They are not without their problems, just like every other organisation they are not perfect but surely no one can argue the work they do isn’t worthwhile and worthy of financial support.  What do you think?

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