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graham

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Non-Believers Giving Aid: a religion-free way to help disaster victims.Click Here

As a life-long atheist and someone who has long admired Richard Dawkins I am amazed that he has lent his support to Non-Believers Giving Aid: a religion-free way to help disaster. To restrict donations to those charities that are without religious connections is repugnant. Surely the most important thing is to give money to the organisations that can do the most good on the ground, I don’t care if it is the nursing wing of the Taliban if they can relieve suffering.

We don’t need to compete in the compassion stakes even the religious charities don’t do that. If you want to give atheism a bad name this is the way to do it.
Jessie

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Reply with quote  #2 
Graham
As I understand it, the reasoning is that religious charities have been known to spend the money donated on proselytising, rather than on food, water, shelter and medical supplies.  I don't know whether you have seen the articles in the media about scientologists going to Haiti without taking any of the above, or the delivery of six hundred 'talking bibles'.  If these stories are true, these non-urgent items could delay emergency supplies from being delivered due to logistical problems with the airport and port.  Medecins sans Frontieres were complaining that one of their planes had been turned away several times, so getting supplies in is certainly a problem.

Incidentally, are you aware of SOS Children's Villages, which is based in Cambridge?


graham

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Reply with quote  #3 
In an emergency situation I doubt the religious charities spend much time proselytising, Scientologist’s excepted. My view was that it makes atheists look like they are more concerned to make a point than to save a life. I didn't know about SOS, they look splendid.
Jessie

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Reply with quote  #4 
I do understand your point, as the comments I have read on some blogs suggest that there are some people who are motivated by a desire to prove believers wrong when they claim that non-believers don't give as much as believers.

Non-Believers Giving Aid is not just for the disaster in Haiti however.  The idea is that longer-term aid will be possible without any of the money going to proselytising.  I don't know how anyone will actually check that the atheists aren't doing exactly the same thing, of course. 

I did make enquiries as soon as NBGA was set up and it does not currently allow UK tax to be reclaimed by the charities, although this will be remedied as soon as possible.  For this reason, I would recommend that UK taxpayers give directly to UK charities which can do this, for the time being.

Can I also add Shelterbox as another of my own favourite disaster charities.  Both they and SOS Children's Villages do not advertise in the way some charities do (to keep admin costs down) but they do fantastic work.

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