For as long as I can remember, my dad has had this idea of creating a church called the Church of We Do Good Things. If I suddenly came into a huge sum of money, my fondest dream is to turn his idea into a reality, slightly changed. I have little interest in calling it a church, but I would create the We Do Good Things Foundation.
The idea is a simple one: Help those in need. That’s it. If someone is hungry, you feed them. If they are sick, get them medical care. If they need a job, help them find one. If they need clothing, provide them. As a foundation, our giving policy would be modeled after the Foundation Beyond Belief, which seeks out smaller organizations doing good work in several areas of common need, organizations for whom a $40,000 or $50,000 grant could make an enormous difference in their ability to succeeds at what they do. We would identify them, research them to make sure they would use the money effectively and efficiently.
We would make no political statements. Oh, some may see some of what we do as political statements. If we fund a group that feeds, clothes and works on behalf of immigrants and refugees, their legal status would be irrelevant to us. Some may see that as a political statement about immigration policy, but it would not be. I have strong and passionate opinions on that subject and I’ll happily express them, but that is not the point at all. We are not making a political statement but a human one — they are fellow human beings who need our help and we’ll do our best to provide it.
There would be many similar situations. If we were to fund a program to provide contraception services to women, no doubt the “pro-life” folks would be up in arms and see it as encouraging immorality. Tough. Contraception is vital to giving women control over their lives and allowing them to be full and equal participants in our society, to continue their education and have careers. If that is viewed as a political declaration, I don’t care. It helps make society a better place, helps individual people when they need it. I care about nothing more.
When we support programs for LGBT teenagers, to help them deal with the bullying and discrimination they so often face, forget politics. What is happening to them is brutal, vicious and far too often ends in alienation and even suicide. They need our help. We should provide it. Period. What more do we need to know than that?
The thing is, we don’t need a multi-million dollar foundation to do this. Sure, it would help. But those organizations doing the difficult work — with single mothers, refugees, homelessness, community health clinics and so much more — exist all over the country. And you may not be able to give them thousands of dollars, but you can give them a few hours a week of your time. And bring your kids with you so they learn this simple idea that helping one another is a moral and practical necessity.
My health will no longer allow me to do much of anything. All I can do is express myself, urge everyone to do whatever they can with whatever resources they have to pitch in. Your little bit is added to someone else’s little bit and pretty soon we’ve got something big. Perhaps we’ll even have a movement created, one that highly values voluntarism. One that values other people, regardless of their religious or political views, their ethnicity or sexual orientation, or anything beyond their basic humanity. Maybe we can make my dad’s dream a reality
Welcome to the Church of We Do Good Things.