The ALS ice-bucket challenge has taken the internet by
storm. Most now agree it was started by Chris Kennedy, a professional golfer
who took the challenge from a friend but then recorded a video, calling on
three others to do it or donate. What started as an either/or proposition has
turned into a both/and. People are dunking themselves – former Presidents, movie
stars, sports teams and just about everyone I know on Facebook. Still waiting for
some well-known preachers to join in….
Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more
widely known as Lou Gehrig’s disease affects everything from speaking to
movement. My good friend’s mom died in 2008 of ALS. I watched her from
beginning to end. She was a woman of great faith and her family and friends
loved her to the end. It was terrible. Your body just slowly becomes
unusable. It’s a slow death. There are
not too many words to share except to sit there with them and be
with them through it. Right now 30,000 Americans suffer from it and countless
more are impacted. It worthy of our attention.
The ice bucket challenge has reportedly raised $40M. The ALS
foundation received $19.4M last year, but in one month they have doubled last
year’s total! It’s not just about the money either – there is new awareness,
which could lead to more grants, more public sympathy and more government aid.
I will never donate to the ALS Association. Don’t get me
wrong. I think ALS is terrible. The ice-bucket challenge has been a clever way of
raising awareness. However, the ALS association, amongst the many other things
it does, supports embryonic stem cell research. To support them would be like
asking me to support Planned Parenthood, who provides many good services, but
also helps women kill their unborn child.
Just by example, the ALS association gave a $500,000 grant
that involved “stem cells…from the spinal cord of a single fetus electively
aborted after 8 weeks gestation.” This was a child that had fingers, toes and a
heart beat. You can read more about their view of stem cells here.
My point is not to win anyone over to the pro-life
side, but instead that for those of you taking up the challenge and donating, you might want
to consider a place like Team Gleason to send your money. Then, you will not only be participating in a great cause, but giving to a non-profit that doesn't operate against your convictions.
Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International. As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.