How many goodwill Baptists and others of faith have invested their dollars this year in moral advocacy?
Your support ensures that the Baptist Center for Ethics/EthicsDaily.com remains one of the most dependable Christian voices for the common good, Parham writes.
Not nearly enough.
Active people of faith support lots of good, nonprofit causes. Many do so sacrificially. Too few give to organizations that pursue social justice, speak up for the powerless, challenge the powerful and push for the common good.
Here are five reasons why goodwill Baptists and others ought to support EthicsDaily.com through its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics (BCE):
First, EthicsDaily.com is unencumbered by denominational compromise.
BCE/EthicsDaily.com is the exceptional organization in Baptist life. It is unburdened by the inevitable compromise that comes from being a denominational agency. That means we can speak forthrightly to a host of moral issues. And we can do so in real time, not a year later in a denominational report or a convention resolution that gets buried in paper tombs.
Being unburdened by the predictable quenching of the moral witness by denominational ownership presents a challenge – funding. So we depend on funding from the morally courageous.
Second, EthicsDaily.com is a rare organization among faith-based groups.
BCE/EthicsDaily.com is a unique nonprofit entity, one that advocates for social justice, critiques culture, challenges the church, frames constructive interfaith dialogue, speaks up for the common good.
How many such organizations fit that description?
Social justice organizations are few and far between. Donors have a plethora of options for supporting missions, theological education, world hunger, health research – most of which are good and deserving causes.
Historically – at least in Baptist life – financial support for ethics-related agencies has always been low and slow. Baptists give lip service to the prophetic witness and doing justice. They give a pittance of charitable dollars to such initiatives.
Supporting BCE/EthicsDaily.com directly and personally is one way to ensure that charitable dollars will make an earthly difference in the public square.
Third, EthicsDaily.com is a leading Baptist voice seeking good will with the Islamic community. Our documentary, "Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims," aired in 2010 on more than 130 ABC-TV stations. It is also being widely used in churches and increasingly used in public events.
Additionally, we've just released a new documentary – "Sacred Texts, Social Duty." It explores how Jewish, Christian and Islamic leaders interpret what their sacred texts and religious traditions say about taxation and how their moral teachings apply today to taxes.
We live in an interfaith world. Goodwill Christians must find constructive ways to work with other faiths to advance the common good.
BCE/EthicsDaily.com is at the cutting and equipping edge of that effort.
Fourth, EthicsDaily.com addresses the tough issues.
We opposed all the chest-thumping and sky-is-falling war talk in 2002 and 2003 before the invasion and occupation of Iraq when public opinion was at a fever pitch for war. We stood our ground on the time-honored rules of just war. We used the same rules to oppose President Obama's war expansion in Afghanistan.
We have tackled the forbidden topic in houses of faith and a contentious topic in the public square – taxation.
Our new documentary, "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," was originally produced as an ABC-TV interfaith special. The network gatekeepers refused to air the program unless we watered down our moral message. We were unwilling to gut the program, to remove the 10-minute segment evaluating regressivity/progressivity, sales taxes on food, and the lottery as a predatory form of taxation.
We decided that broadcasting an hour-long documentary on sacred texts without an application of moral teachings to the public square would say that religion was irrelevant, that faith had nothing to say to social justice, that the current tax system was a good one from a faith perspective. We concluded that watering down the moral witness for the sake of an ABC broadcast was too much of a compromise.
Tackling the tough issues makes fund raising doubly difficult. That's why we need moral investors.
Fifth, EthicsDaily.com has an unmatched record of productivity.
As a result of dynamic content each weekday on our website, our readership has skyrocketed this year.
We provide fresh content each weekday – editorials, columns, movie reviews, news stories, sermon manuscripts and radio podcasts.
At the same time that our readership has grown, we've been producing documentaries – documentaries that have won film festival recognitions, aired on network TV stations and been used in churches as educational resources.
Not bad for an organization with two full-time staff members, three part-time staff members and a host of contributing columnists!
Simply put, BCE/EthicsDaily.com is a better steward of your charitable gift than any other organizations. Your support ensures that BCE/EthicsDaily.com remains one of the most dependable Christian voices for the common good.
We need EthicsDaily.com readers to become moral investors.
Click here to give.
Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.