Friday, 15 March 2013

Why My Nose Stays As It Is Today

Today is an event that happens every two years. Yep, it's Smugfest Day.

I do not support Comic Relief despite the pressure.

The first problem I have is the attitude. If you state that you choose to give to other charities, then you are a miseryguts and a killjoy. Some of us believe in giving quietly, without fanfare and regularly, by standing order or direct debit, so charities can plan. But's that being a miseryguts and a killjoy.

I am reminded of Jesus's words in Matthew 6:1-4.

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Comic Relief's gospel - and I use that word deliberately for reasons which will become clear later - is that giving to the needy should be accompanied by the modern trunpets, so celebrities can be praised by the public for doing stuff for char-i-dee.

It's not enough to be charitable. One has to be seen to be charitable and receive praise for it.

The second problem goes to the heart of the Comic Relief gospel. And that is the attitude that doing something funny for money absolves all sins.

A couple of years ago, I criticised celebrity drug addict George Michael. And one woman who overheard pointed her finger at me, and angrily told me that Michael cares about the starving children in Africa (R) (TM) and did so much for Comic Relief. How dare I say a word against him!

And I tried to explain this. In some parts of the world, crops for drugs are grown on land which could be used for crops for food. There are children who will go hungry today so that Western celebrity drug addicts can shove white powder up their noses.

Drugs wars leave children maimed and orphaned. In some parts of the world there are children who have to bring up their brothers and sisters, or whose health is permanently damaged so that Western celebrity drug addicts can shove white powder up their noses.

However, this could all be dismissed by the argument that a celebrity drug addict does stuff for char-i-dee.

Frankie Boyle's "jokes" about an autistic boy? That's OK - he does stuff for Comic Relief.

DHL? Oh, that's OK, they do stuff for Comic Relief.

Dodgy person or dodgy organisation? Supporting Comic Relief justifies everything.

The third problem is the deceit. As John Smeaton argues, Comic Relief funds organisations that promote and perform abortions.

Now, if people want to give money to abortion providers that is up to them. But an organisation giving money to them and then stating "we do not fund and have never funded abortion services or the promotion of abortions" is wrong.

There are two possibilities. Either Comic Relief genuinely does not know that some organisations it gives money to perform and promote abortions - in which case it does not research where money it raises is spent and therefore does not practice good stewardship with the money entrusted to it.

The alternative is that it does know where the money goes and chooses to deny it. In which case it is untrustworty.

But I note that the Comic Relief letter mentions it gives money to CAFOD. So that makes everything OK. Well it doesn't.

We come across this modern morality. For example, I knew a lady who, as she liked to remind people, was a "nice person" and "such a good Christian". Others would - and I agree - describe her as a "nasty piece of work". She would remind people of her little good deeds which would earn her a place in Heaven.

Reduce someone to tears by spiteful comments about a seriously ill relative who they are not sure will survive? Find it funny when something bad happens to a social inferior? That's OK - do a little good deed each day and brag that you are a "nice person".

I remember seeing a poster advertising the National Lottery. It had some disabled children at the seaside with the slogan "Fun for you. Funds for them." I don't have time to go into the Lottery now, but issues about gambling addiction and opening the door to a social acceptance of gambling (I remember the bookmakers in Hythe with its frosted windows - now gambling dens advertise openly about how much you can win) and the potentila super-casinos.

Someone objects to the National Lottery? Simple, just draw attention to the tiny percentage that goes on "good causes" and make out that what they are really saying is they don't like disabled kids having a day at the seaside.

Someone objects to super-casinos? Simple, just waffle about "regeneration" and "bringing money to the City" which can be spent on the poor and disadvantaged.

It's this attitude that one good deed for char-i-dee justifies everything.

There is a fourth issue. I was told recently that surely I can afford, on my salary, to give £1 to Comic Relief. Just a pound. Won't even notice it.

I'm sorry, but choosing to give to charities other than Comic Relief does not make you a miseryguts or a tightwad.

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