“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
Recently I have seen several posts like this, "Why I Cannot Accept the Ice-Bucket Challenge" and this one, "The ALS Challenge Kills Babies." Being a person who wants to honor God and cares deeply about the unborn I was concerned about accepting the ALS Ice-Water Challenge should someone nominate me. My dear friend Johnny nominated me this morning. This created a dilemma. I am a pastor at a large church and whether I accepted the challenge or not communicates a message. If I don't take the challenge, then I appear to be a pastor who is unwilling to participate in culture even when culture is trying to do something good and positive. If I do take the challenge then I might be supporting embryonic stem cell research which may be the killing of innocent humans.
On the one hand it is important for Christians to engage in culture whenever possible, to say "yes" when it can. Christians are called to be in the world bringing light to darkness. On the other hand, Christians must live thoughtful lives giving consideration to moral issues when the rest of the world remains ignorant, and when something is morally questionable, it should be rejected (1 Thess. 5:22). For people who have written blog posts like the ones above, the framing of the issue stops here, but it shouldn't!!
Even before I received the challenge I had begun to do research because I figured it was only a matter of time. I found out that the claims of embryonic stem cell research have some validity. I could not in good conscience contribute to organizations that used this kind of research. The ALS Association uses that kind of research. Fighting to find a cure for ALS is a worthy cause that should be continued in a moral and God honoring way. The challenge isn't about supporting the ALS Association, it is about fighting ALS in general, it is about seeking a cure, no matter who it comes from.
My research continued. I figured it could not be the case that ALSA were the only ones fightig ALS. So I started to look up other organizations. Unfortunately, almost all the organizations I found did not make it easy to find out if they used embryonic stem cell research. However, I found at least two organizations that fight ALS and do so in a way that gives Christians an option to support the fight against ALS, take the challenge, and glorify God int he process. The first is Team Gleason. They work alongside other organizations like CBR who uses stem cells, but only collects them from the umbilical chord so no human life is harmed in the process. These two organizations are worthy of support based on what I know about them. As a Christian I cannot in good conscience support ALS Association, so instead I will be accepting the challenge and donating to Team Gleason...I hope you will do the same.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.