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Is UNICEF Connected to Christian Agenda?

November 1, 2006

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
I have a question about UNICEF, which I know will probably be provacative and will probably irritate people.

As an atheist, I believe in complete separation of church and state, and I am wondering if anybody truly understands what UNICEF’s current perceived or actual mandate is vis a vis Christianity.

When I was growing up in the 1970’s my parents were very opposed to giving via UNICEF because it had very clear links to Christian organizations—and were were Jewish—and it’s not something we supported.

I realize that the leadership of UNICEF has changed over the decades and that until very recently there was a woman in charge who was very much in line with my personal philosophical outlook (whether she was an atheist or not is irrelevant - the fact was that she supported things like birth control education and other things).

Recently a more right-wing, Bush related appointee took over in 2005 and ironically the article I found was in the Christian Science Monitor, which I abhor.

I don’t know if the agenda has changed—or drifted back towards the right (religious) but I suspect that it has from the little I could find. I respect their overall mission as the marketing department on their website spins it—but I dont’ know the reality—and I don’t really want to assume anything-but it really, really concerns me.

I don’t want my kids—or myself—having to support an organization with an underlying Christian agenda—because I don’t think that religous philosophy furthers the evolution of our species in any way whatsoever. I think it is divisive, and without any foundation in reality and unncessary to the moral/ethical foundations of our species.

Most of you (obviously, from polls conducted all the time) cannot begin to relate to what I’m saying. I dont’ really care. But I’d like to know if and why the school system in Croton is supporting something with a hidden or not so hidden agenda—UNICEF.

I will continue my research but I’d like to see if others already have the information.

I realize I can just opt-out of supporting it - but I still would like to be able to make my voice heard if I find out that this is in fact a Christian organization at its roots.

— Mathew Peretz

On November 5, 2006 7:48 PM, judatheist said:

OK. you do that. You are not only part of the problem - you are at the root of the problem. People like you are so pathetic - you think that your puny self is somehow connected to some imagined paranormal force that is at your beck and call to receive your prayers? Yeah - God has time for you and your individual needs, right? That’s exactly why religion is so anthropomorphic (look it up) - and so sad. And this alleged being didn’t have time for all of the humans who die and have died tragically for eons - praying or not.

It’s a shame this has to devolve into a religious argument - but it’s entirely predictable - you Christians always think you have some hotline to this divine being. Good for you. Keep deluding yourself and being ignorant and uneducated.

It’s about as devolved as our species can get.

I’m done with this discussion - but you keep up the prayer. I’m sure it will work for you - because you somehow deserve the special attention from this being that billions of suffering, dying humans don’t seem to get. But, as you say, that being works in such mysterious ways (especially when negative things happen of course). And of course it’s got to better in that afterlife you cling to blindly.

Oh how blindly.

On November 3, 2006 1:34 PM, bojangles said:

Judatheist - That awful anger you carry must be a tremendous burden. I will pray for you!

On November 2, 2006 6:49 PM, judatheist said:

I completely disagree with bojangles - who makes a lot of points that are illogical and irrational.

What on EARTH does the quantity of so-called luxury items that I own have to do with analyzing the underlying philosophical agenda of a charity?

Nothing whatsoever. In fact, it is presumptuous and misleading simultaneously - and pretty thoughtless. It assumes that I (or someone like me asking a question) has some given quantity of so-called luxury items.

Second, it somehow ties in the idea that I live some particular materialistic lifestyle with some assumption about how/when/why I give to charity - or if I even do give to charity at all.

There are so many flaws in that “argument” that I cannot even address them.

Third: if you think for a moment that the mandate or underlying philosophy of any given organization doesn’t matter because some of what they do is seemingly good, then we have very little to discuss. Are you serious when you say it doesn’t matter if it’s supported by the Christian right? Because to me it matters very, very, very much.

That was my entire point. I don’t think you get it. The leadership of that organization has in fact changed in 2005 from a Clinton-related person to a Bush-related person (broadly speaking) - and that very much affects how they act in the world. It affects how they carry out their notion of birth control, family planning, women’s/young women’s rights, etc. etc. etc. etc.

I don’t even want to stoop to the level of divulging the actual charities that I do support - but let me just say that they are obviously ones that are in line with my own perception of reality - which has everything to do with eductaion, the environment, and women’s rights. As far as I can humanly tell the charities I support are entirely disconnected from any underlying religious fundamentalism, which I abhor.

I’m sorry to tell you this - but it does matter to me - because I don’t see religion of any kind as the solution. I see it as the problem.

The problem with a lot of charities is, in fact, that there is an underlying religious agenda - but a fair number of them are upfront about it. The tricky part is to tease if out of some of them - because some of them don’t state it anywhere. Even worse, sometimes it’s only reflected in how they act in the world. That takes an even more discerning eye.

I’m sorry if this is too subtle for you or too atheistic. But that’s life - in my short stay, with my limited means, I need to know who I’m giving money to and what to teach my children about who and what are acting on the world and its inhabitants.

We are suffering from several thousand years of divisive, irrational fundamentalism - mainly thanks to Christianity - and now Islam - and I know with certainty that we need to evolve beyond religion. Read The End of Faith by Sam Harris. I hope we survive long enough to evolve.

On November 2, 2006 10:02 AM, Jeff T. said:

Mathew— It seems like reading the Wikipedia entry might shed some light on the issue. Here’s the URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNICEF As you’ll see, the Catholic church has criticized them for supporting abortions and contraception. I personally have never heard that UNICEF was at all a Christian organization — it’s a part of the United Nations.

On November 1, 2006 1:46 PM, bojangles said:

Atheist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddist or any religion - what difference does it make if that organization is doing what so many of us fail to do. We allow our politicians to bleed us dry with grafts and payoffs, lobbyists to buy whatever service or protection they want, and, yes, churches to settle out of courts to protect their precious reputations. Offer an alternative before withdrawing needed support. Withhold your taxes, stop your money from going to any luxury item whatsoever you may own. Do you drive a car? How many coats do you have in your closet? How many pairs of shoes? How many telephones, tv’s, major appliances in your house? How many warm blankets and how much good food? To criticize UNICEF because it might be backed by the Christian right is a most egregious mistake. To stop supporting an organization that does so much for the world’s most vulnerable - children who are exposed and at risk to the most horrendous lives - is a huge mistake.

I’m willing to support any organization that has the success rate of UNICEF be it aetheist or believer sponsored; any religion; any philosophy. These kids deserve a life and any organization that strives to provide it gets my support.

Is there an aetheists group to pick up the work UNICEF has done for years?



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