By Rachel Dery
One doesn’t have to be a Facebook fanatic to know about the ice bucket challenge supporting ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The fundraising campaign has gone viral since it received media attention in late June. Videos of people pouring ice water on themselves, donating money and then nominating their fellow Facebook friends comprises more of my Facebook feed than all my other posts put together. As of Aug. 24, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA) announced that donations have reached $70.2 million, according to their website alsa.org.
While the fad grows bigger every day, I question why Christians aren’t doing their homework. When I finally received a Facebook notification with my nomination, I found myself on the ALSA website reading about the organization before I went forward. What I found convinced me not to support this fundraiser.
According to the ALSA website, the organization uses embryonic stem cell research, and claims, “adult stem cell research is important and should be done alongside embryonic stem cell research as both will provide valuable insights. Only through exploration of all types of stem cell research will scientists find the most efficient and effective ways to treat diseases.” While I support research to cure ALS, I do not support research that uses embryos, which encourages the planned fertility industry and overproduction of embryos in in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics.
The following quote comes from the American Life League website and was provided by a spokesperson from ALSA: “The ALS Association primarily funds adult stem cell research. Currently, The Association is funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC), and the stem cell line was established many years ago under ethical guidelines set by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); this research is funded by one specific donor, who is committed to this area of research.”
While this may seem to limit the research being done with embryos, the organization itself is not against their use. Later in the same statement the organization admits that donors may direct their funds to not be used for embryonic research, however ALSA will support embryonic stem cell research in future at its own discretion. Simply by not reading information available to the public, we are supporting the culture of abortion in the U.S.
I also question why we are supporting an organization if God has not placed it on our hearts to pray for it. If we believe that the fruit of donated money comes from the prayer that travels with the money, then why are we donating money unless we are committing to pray for where the money is going? “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
While I support the search for a cure to this disease as for any other, I do not believe the ends justify the means. My ice bucket is going toward the Kentucky Right to Life Association.