Can pro-lifers give to Children in Need?
Posted by Alithea Williams on 16 November 2018
Since 1980, Children in Need has raised £972 million for disadvantaged children. But is a media run umbrella organisation the best way of helping children? And does it pose any problems for pro-lifers?
It's that time of year again. Celebrities galore are donning bear ears and making fools of themselves on national television, all in the name of charity. That's right, today is Children In Need day. The BBC's annual fundraising extravaganza is something of a national institution - it will be all over the television, there will be fundraising efforts in many workplaces, and especially in schools. This leads many of us to ask if there is any problem with pro-lifers supporting Children In Need.
What is Children in Need?
BBC Children in Need is not really a charity in itself (although it is registered as one). It is an umbrella organisation, whose function is to give grants to a large number of smaller charities across the country. According to the BBC website, Children in Need is currently supporting over 2,700 projects in communities across the UK. The lists of projects are broken down by region.
So what's the problem?
I have written before about the importance of doing research before we give to charity. Where our money goes is a decision we make - one that matters. The first problem with huge media charity campaigns like Children in Need (as with Comic Relief) is that they make doing research almost impossible. It takes long enough to read the names of all 2700 odd projects, let alone doing any in depth research into what they all do. How can we make an informed decision on where our money goes in these circumstances?
Secondly, we can't assume that an organisation does good work just because it is listed as a charity. Marie Stopes International, one of the biggest abortion providers in the world, is a registered charity! While it's simple to discount charities like this whose core aims are completely opposed to the pro-life position, it isn't always that easy. Many charities have generally good aims and also support abortion and other anti-life practices, sometimes in unexpected ways.
What does this have to do with Children in Need?
Children in Need does not tend to fund projects that directly provide abortion. BPAS and Marie Stopes do not quite fit the criteria of small local projects. However, the issue is far more often finding out if generally good charities also support abortion.
Sadly, we don't live in a pro-life culture. There's no reason why the organisers of Children in Need would be basing their selection of charities on whether they directly (or more likely indirectly) support any anti-life practices. We can't just assume they'll all be fine.
For instance, it is often the case that projects doing very good work generally, such as rape crisis centres (many of which are being funded this year), will provide or refer for abortion and potentially abortifacient birth control. Children in Need has also made grants to numerous sexual health centres and to projects supporting young people with same-sex attraction. Such centres and projects often support and/or facilitate legal abortion, abortifacient birth control and/or damaging forms of sex education.
An example of a project funded in 2016 which one might not expect to be problematic is the Manchester Deaf Centre. However, the particular project being funded was a collaboration with Brook (an outspoken promoter of abortion) to deliver sessions "which deal with sex, religion, personal rights and sexuality for deaf children and young people in Manchester."
Almost inevitably, digging through the 2700 current projects would reveal issues problematic for pro-lifers.
So what to do?
Many will say that supporting Children in Need is legitimate because only a small amount of money will go towards supporting abortion. But this seems rather feeble. Where we decide to give our money to is a decision that matters, and one we have control over. We have to pay our taxes, even though some of that money will go to NHS funded abortion. We don't have to give to a particular charity, especially when we have the option to choose one where there's no chance at all our money will be spent on abortion.
Rather than give money to an umbrella charity, which will spread it out among over 2700 charities; why not give to one or two you definitely feel you can support? If you still want the fun of watching the show, and are moved by a particular appeal, there's nothing stopping you researching that cause, and giving directly to it. That way, they'll have your full donation, not just a tiny fraction of it, and you'll be 100% sure that none of your money is supporting abortion or other anti-life practices.
You can also contact Children in Need, and express your concerns. Many of us doing so might make the organisers seriously consider people's ethical concerns when selecting the projects they fund. This isn't about attacking the good works charities do, or maligning the intentions of those who support them- it's about working towards a state of affairs where every penny of our charitable giving goes to causes which truly respect life at every stage.