Before you completely write me off I ask that you hear me out and think through what I am saying.
First, I think this has been a great success for ALS and I truly hope that great advances are made in research and treatment for ALS. This campaign has demonstrated the success that social media can have in promoting causes.
Second, I think we sometimes get caught up in movements without thinking through what we are doing. Are people simply responding because they’ve been challenged? Are people simply responding because it’s the ‘thing to do’? Because it’s ‘cool’? Do kids understand that this is not just about someone getting a bucket of ice water poured over their head but rather about a disease that ravages people’s bodies because of a nervous system malfunction?
Please understand I am not judging anyone’s heart on this matter because I have no idea why anyone responded as they did. I am simply asking questions. I hope people took the time to research what ALS is and thought about why they were taking the challenge and challenging others.
On the flip side of the success of the social media campaign is the peer pressure that comes with it. As I read on one site, it is only ‘jerks’ who wouldn’t support such a campaign. Many people may think I’m ridiculous in my thoughts on this – and they have that right – I just ask that you actually consider (think about) what I’m saying. The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $70 million as of Aug. 24th. It raised $8 million in the 24 hour period from Aug. 23rd to Aug. 24th. Am I really a jerk if I choose to not be peer pressured into donating more money and instead invest my limited resources into a different cause? (As a side note U.S. Diplomats have actually been barred from the campaign because of their public position.)
Thirdly, I think there are many worthwhile causes to contribute to. In fact, there are more than I could possibly, with my limited resources contribute to in a life time. Because of this I must choose carefully and invest where I think God would have me invest. God may direct you elsewhere – in fact if He only directed people to a few specific causes there would be an awful lot of charities bankrupted. With the massive devastation in Russia, Ukraine, Mosul, Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc., not counting the struggles in America (Ferguson, Homelessness in Orlando, etc.) we certainly cannot think that everyone must donate to the same group of charities. If I or an immediate family member had ALS it would probably be a higher priority for me but considering how much money they have received so far and considering that I do have Christian brothers and sister, that I consider to be family, starving and dying in other countries around the world, I find it to be my responsibility to support them first. Additionally, I find the work of IJM in its relentless fight against human trafficking to be something that I am passionate about. This past month with the ISIS crisis I felt compelled to give additional funds through World Help to support their work in the area. I am not anti-ALS and I am not a ‘jerk’ any more than someone else is a jerk for not caring for the nine year olds sold into slavery or made to sell their bodies all day and not supporting IJM. I simply have chosen to spend my limited resources elsewhere. We should be respectful of that and rejoice. I am excited for the ALS Foundation because I know they will be able to do much greater things in the next few years. And I am excited about the little girls and boys that were freed this past month from slavery through IJM, for those who received Bibles through Voice of the Martyrs, for those children sponsored through World Vision, World Help, Compassion International, Hope for the World, and others.
Fourthly, Some people have ethical disagreements with some of the methods that may be used in ALS research. While the evidence may be vague or hard to pin down on this, shouldn’t we give those people the respect they deserve as well? After all, it is money that they have been entrusted with and it is therefore their choice where they invest it. We aren’t accountable for that decision, they are.
Let’s rejoice together at what we are doing together and spur one another on to even more good works.