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As society becomes increasingly secular over time (generally speaking), I’ve heard people raise the concern that donating to religious causes or religious charities has a diminishing importance or is losing relevance. Generally, the argument goes something like,” A charity doesn’t have to be religious to have high ethical standards,” or,” Donating to religious charities excludes other groups who may be in need.”
Well, it’s certainly true that there are a lot of secular organizations out there who do plenty of good with very high ethical standards. Religious affiliation is not a prerequisite to morality. However, groups that are true and genuine to their religious origin must champion the ideals that all major religions agree on – including mercy, forgiveness, and helping thy neighbor. Religious charities who champion those values (as most do) and start with those values at the core of their mission are inclusive of all groups and tend not to refuse aid based on creed. However, there are religious charities targeted at supporting a particular minority group, like the Askenazi Jewish Heritage and Sharsheret, which focus on supporting the community of Jewish women born with a genetically higher risk of breast cancer. Charities like these are exclusionary in a morally justifiable way because charities tending to a niche community need to focus on that community in order to best understand their needs and how funding can be used most effectively to further their cause.
At the end of the day, I don’t believe that donating to a religious charity is any less effective than donating to a secular charity. If you identify with a spiritual faith, it could bring you peace of mind knowing you’ve contributed to a cause through the lens of your religion. My personal experience donating to Birthright Israel, an organization that affords Jewish young adults the opportunity to tour Israel, was very rewarding in both a mental and spiritual sense and I encourage others to explore similar opportunities.
Renato Negrin Travels
As a world traveler, Renato has developed a truly globalized perspective. Him and his wife Siu care deeply about issue that affect people around the world and want to focus on contributing to organizations that can drive positive change.