If you are like me, your news feed on Facebook is filled with friends and family who have taken the ALS ice bucket challenge. I am not surprised. My friends and my family are incredible people who would do anything to help people in need or help cure such a horrible disease. It is no surprise that they would want to help so I don’t fault them for that. Our own family has also lost a family member way too early to this terrible disease.
Raising money to find a cure for ALS is not wrong. Supporting people who have ALS is not wrong. Loving people who are dealing with ALS or have known someone who has died from ALS is not wrong. What I think is wrong is how the the ALS Association uses the money it is being given.
The ALS Association uses the money it is given, among other things, to do embryonic cell research. According to their website (I am paraphrasing), they create life in a petri dish and then wait till a certain point of gestation to collect the cells that have been created up to that point. These cells can be used by ALS patients to regenerate their central nervous system. You can read more about it on the ALS Association website here.
For me as a Christian, this is what I cannot condone. I believe life begins at conception. I cannot participate in or pass along a challenge which could possibly end up supporting what I view as a Christian as killing babies.
This caused quite the debate in my home last night. Within 48 hours, most of my family members had been nominated to take the ice bucket challenge. None of us will be doing it. The reason is simple. Anyway we look at it, we could potentially be setting up others to stumble. If I do the challenge to show my support for ALS itself (which I do) and/or give my money to another ALS organization which does not do embryonic cell research (there are some), I am still left with the responsibility of nominating other people. Let’s say the people I nominate are aware of the ALS Association situation and donate elsewhere, but they have to nominate others as well. Somewhere down the chain, the communication will be lost and someone will donate to the ALS Assocation. I would be responsible for starting a chain which would lead to a donation to an organization which is doing what I feel is wrong in God’s eyes. I will not own that. I will not.
According to USA Today, the ALS Association has raised 2.3 million dollars since July 29th of this year. Their donations usually for this time of year are around $24,000. You can read more about this on USA Today website.
Please hear in this blog my love for my family and friends who are so awesome to support a cure for such a horrible disease. Please hear that you can donate money to find a cure, but I would encourage you to send it to other organizations which take cells from after-birth placentas which are just going to be discarded in a bio-hazard bin anyway, for example. Just do your research before giving any money.
I knew by this morning that this is what God wanted me to write about. I knew it would be hard. There are so many who have done the challenge. People I love deeply. I didn’t want to offend anyone, hurt anyone’s feelings, or make anyone feel bad who has already donated money. As I prayed this morning for one last clarification on God’s direction, I prayed “Lord, I don’t want to offend anyone.” Immediately, I felt the following words impressed on my soul, “Are you willing to offend me?” No, I have to put Him above the world. God would not want life being created and then killed. Please just consider what you will do.