The DI’s Shameless Fundraising Tactics

The DI’s Shameless Fundraising Tactics December 24, 2008

The desperation of the Discovery Institute is clearly on display in a fundraising appeal they’ve sent out seeking to exploit the suicide of a college student to get people to send them money. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams has the fundraising letter, which is based on the story from a few weeks ago about Jesse Kilgore killing himself and his parents and the right wing media blaming it on having read a Richard Dawkins book.

This isn’t the first time they’ve tried to exploit this guy’s suicide for their own purposes. Anika Smith already wrote an idiotic post on the DI blog declaring that Kilgore’s suicide shows “the Consequences of Teaching One Side of Evolution.” After all, this kid was raised a creationist; he already got the other side. But it’s even more shameless to try and raise money off his death. Here’s how the letter begins:

December 11, 2008

Dear [name redacted]:

Jesse Kilgore was an earnest young college student who loved to debate issues. But just a few weeks ago, Jesse killed himself.

According to friends and relatives, Jesse had read biologist Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion and was devastated by it. One of Jesse’s relatives recalled a recent conversation:

“[Jesse] mentioned the book he had been reading – The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins – and how it along with the science classes he had eroded his faith. Jesse was always great about defending his beliefs, but somehow, the professors and the book had presented him information that he found to be irrefutable.”

When I read Jesse’s story, my heart broke – not only for Jesse, but for all of the other students who are facing similar despair right now.

Ideas do have consequences, and the Darwinists’ assertion that life is the product of an unguided process can have a devastating impact on young hearts and minds.

That second to last paragraph should read, “When I read Jesse’s story, my eyes lit up with dollar signs knowing I could exploit this to get my credulous followers to send in more money.” Here comes the pitch:

*$2000 will provide a full scholarship for a college student to attend our summer seminar.

*$200 will fund the production of an episode of our internet radio show.

*$50 will enable us to send free educational materials to a teacher.

There used to be a series of ads with the slogan “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” That statement is true for Jesse Kilgore, and it’s true for the millions of young people right now who remain unprepared to face the claims of the Darwinian atheists. Please enable us to challenge these claims head-on in the coming year with a message of hope.

Shameless. Absolutely shameless.

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