faith fridays: suspect brownies

Faith Fridays: Suspect Brownies

[An analogy I once heard:] Some teen siblings ask their father if they can view a movie many of their friends have been watching. They claim the movie is, by and large, kid-friendly minus a few adult-oriented scenes. “Mostly all good ingredients,” they say. They wait in anxious anticipation while their father hems and haws, and finally, offers his answer. “Well, I’ve decided to go ahead and let you watch the movie,” he says. They look at each other and smile the victory grin. “There’s just one condition,” he adds. “I’m going to mix up and bake some brownies for you to eat while you’re watching it, and just before I put them in the oven, I’m going to stir a bit of dog poop into the mix. It won’t be a lot, of course. You’ll hardly notice; mostly all good ingredients, in other words. So, what do you say?”

Recently, I met up with a suspect-brownies sort of challenge. A friend asked if I’d be willing to donate to a good cause she was supporting. The request caught me off guard because I knew of her pro-life convictions. I also knew, after stumbling over some information a few years ago, that the organization diverts some of its funds into the abortion industry’s fervent friend, Planned Parenthood. I knew, too, that the organization’s mission focusing on “healthy babies” oftentimes crosses into the seriously immoral realm of eugenics. Because of that, I had reconsidered my own support of the organization, despite its strong reputation locally and nationally, and despite the fact that I’d worked for them for a short duration out of college.

I surmised my friend must not have known about the behind-the-scenes work of the organization. After all, it’s a component of the organization carefully guarded and hidden from public view. But the issues in question are well-documented. When I approached my friend about this, she was surprised – shocked really – but seemed grateful to know the truth. She’s now looking into other options and will not be supporting the organization in the future.

Not long after our discussion, I remembered a questionable note that had slipped out of my daughter’s backpack a few days earlier. It mentioned her participation in a fundraiser that would be benefiting this same organization. I was being called to step up to the plate again. How could I advise my friend to reconsider her position to support this organization, yet be okay with my own daughter’s innocent involvement in the fundraising project? Of course, I couldn’t. After a day of communicating back and forth with the school, it was revealed that the project had slipped through the cracks. The principal, who generally approves all such classroom activities, hadn’t known about this one, which had been organized by a parent-run classroom party.

In other words, no one intentionally brought ill will to the situation, any more than Joe Q. Public knows he or she is inevitably supporting eugenics by paying “$1 for healthy babies” at the local K-mart checkout each year. I also suspect the parents who set the project in motion were not informed of the organization’s tendency to meander into immoral terrain. This might not be an issue at all in public school, but in parochial school, it definitely becomes one; our school’s mission is formation of body, mind and soul of the children who attend. But I could not hide behind ignorance, and hopefully, my actions and questions ended up helping a few others become better informed.

If I haven’t made it obvious enough yet, I’m alluding to the March of Dimes. I’m not pulling “conspiracy theory” here. The facts are facts and anyone can access them (see below for starters). And yes, the organization has done a lot of great things, but honestly, if you were offered that plate of brownies, would you take a bite? “Healthy babies at all costs” is perhaps more closely in tune to the organization’s ultimate goal than other slogans the organization has used. In light of what goes on in the corners, those cute little babies in the ads become more of a deceptive front. Think about it: When prenatal testing shows imperfections, what then? If carried out to its logical conclusion, the “healthy babies at all costs” mentality eliminates a lot of beautiful people I have known and loved.

Before the brownie-flinging commences in my direction, consider that the MOD has a huge public relations engine working in its favor. It would be much easier for me to not go against that and continue living my blissfully ignorant life. But now that I’ve seen the ingredients laid out side by side, I just can’t take the chance that I might be eating a bit of doggy doo-doo.

To test my claims, go here or here. If, after reading, you smell something slightly off in the mix, even if it would be simpler to just take a small bite, you might consider this information in any future decision about charitable giving.

It’s no fun learning an organization you thought was pure has an underlying, immoral motivation. It can rock your world and turn it upside-down for a time. But there are alternatives. For those who would like to support the good of what MOD tries to accomplish without the moral murkiness, consider The Michael Fund, which calls itself "the prolife alternative to the March of Dimes."

We’re rarely forced to compromise our conscience; the options are out there, and with a little bit of ingredient-digging, they will be uncovered. I, for one, would prefer to enjoy my dessert guilt-free than put my soul in jeopardy.

Have you ever come upon a suspect-brownie situation; i.e., boycotted a company or organization based on principle? If so, how did that action make you feel? Do you regret your decision?