Catholic Archdiocese: Don’t Support the ALSA with the Ice Bucket Challenge Since They Do Embryonic Stem Cell Research

There are plenty of good reasons not to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge taking over your Facebook timeline — it’s annoying, it’s repetitious, just give the ALS Association the damn money and stop making a charade out of it — but leave it to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to find a reason to complain:

The challenge itself is fine, said Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese.

The Archdiocese just doesn’t want fundraising to be sent to the association, which funds at least one study using embryonic stem cells, Andriacco said.

Because raising funds for ALS is like paying for abortions.

Just like distributing condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV is like promoting risky sex.

Just like businesses shouldn’t have to provide comprehensive health care for employees because some women may need birth control pills.

Mind you, the ALSA allows you to earmark where your contributions go, so it’s possible to donate money without directly funding stem cell research… but if you’re the Catholic Church, you don’t have time to investigate nuance like that.

Catholics have a nasty habit of taking something that’s overwhelmingly positive and spinning it as if it’s the harbinger of doom. You also have to question the morality of people who prefer saving embryos over people who actually suffer from ALS.

At least the Archdiocese is encouraging participants to give, not to the ALS, but to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa (where embryonic stem cells are not used), a non-profit that doesn’t even focus on ALS. Which basically defeats the purpose of the whole “Ice Bucket Challenge” in the first place.

(That Catholic group, by the way, is not listed on Charity Navigator. The ALS is and gets an excellent four-star rating from the accountability website.)

Still, it’s just another sign that the Church is completely out of touch with the rest of the world that they can’t even participate in a fun charity drive because they’re too caught up in a pseudo-moralistic stance that makes no sense to anyone else. I thought one commenter at Joe. My. God. put it well: “The ice water wouldn’t faze the cold-hearted anyway.”

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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