Monday, February 11, 2013

Boycott Trocaire !

William Oddie writing in the Catholic Herald urges roman catholics to boycott red nose day because "though they may do some good work, [they] also support what are to Catholics morally objectionable actions and beliefs".  So what are these objectionable actions and beliefs?  Oddie gives us an example : The African Women’s Development fund (AWDF) which is committed to “Freedom of choice and autonomy regarding bodily integrity issues, including reproductive rights, abortion, sexual identity and sexual orientation”.  Oh horror of horrors.

Oddie  concludes his article with :
The simple fact is that, in John Smeaton’s words, “there is only one response to Red Nose Day. Abortion hurts women and kills unborn children and Red Nose Day funds organisations which promote it. Boycott it.”

Although stupid, the article does (accidentally) raise an interesting point : If charitable donations are used to fund objectionable practices, why donate?  Should a roman catholic donate to the red nose day campaign when they can instead donate to a catholic charity like Trocaire?  Why should non roman catholics donate to Trocaire when Trocaire very explicitly promotes catholic policies among starving overpopulated communities?  That means little to no sex education, no contraceptives and absolutely no abortion.

Just to explain: Around this time of year, it's common to see Trocaire boxes perched on Irish kitchen tables or living room mantelpieces. My parents house has one and my workplace has one.

The deal is this : to celebrate the fully-divine-yet-somehow-fully-a-man Jesus pottering around a desert for 40 days and 40 nights Christians undergo a period called Lent consisting of self-denial and fasting.  Even some secularists see this cultural habit as an opportunity to practice self-denial and rid themselves of a vice or two and 'detox' for 40 days.  The money saved goes into the Trocaire box and handed into the local church at the end of lent and the money is used by the Trocaire charity to make a world a better place.

Only there's a catch.

Trocaire is first and foremost a Roman Catholic organization. They proudly declare the fact on their web page :
Trócaire is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland. It was set up by the Irish Catholic Bishops in 1973 to express the concern of the Irish Church for the suffering of the world's poorest and most oppressed people.

Trócaire’s partnership approach makes us different. We work through global Catholic networks and with local partners on the ground. When we help people, we work with them, so that they drive the entire process themselves. Solutions are not imposed on the people we help. Instead, they become the authors of their own destiny.

I am deeply suspicious of catholic charity organizations. Yes, they alleviate some suffering but roman catholic aid centers morph into churches, catholic schools, catholic hospitals, catholic dominated councils and very quickly the state is colonized by the catholic church.  Christian charity was always a means of evangelizing by tossing table scraps to the poor while doing little to improve their long term situation.  Trocaire commits, to use the words of Oddie, "morally objectionable actions and beliefs" through their refusal to provide birth control and by their promotion of catholicism.

The Trocaire box may be an iconic feature for Irish households but why support a roman catholic organization instead of a secular charity willing to put the welfare of the impoverished over dogma and identity politics?

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