3 comments posted · 8 followers · following 0

13 years ago @ Atheist Revolution - What\'s the Harm if Be... · 0 replies · +2 points

Since I do not, as a personal rule, approach others to talk about religion, those who ask me this question are invariably doing so during a conversation that they initiated. My typical response, therefore, is "I couldn't care less what you believe, but you came to me making claims and I will correct your claims when they are wrong. Why do you care so much about what I _don't_ believe?"

As for the question of caring - I don't care what individuals believe. I really don't. So long as their beliefs never interfere with my life (by proselytizing to me, by voting in ways that are consistent with the faith but inconsistent with a just society, etc.), I'm quite happy to let them think whatever they please. My rule is this: "If you're doing your religion in a way that doesn't interfere with me, I shouldn't even know what religion you are" - just like how most people who don't initiate conversations about religions with me have no idea I'm an Atheist. I think religion, like politics, has little place in polite, every day, ‘round the watercooler conversation.

I honestly believe that if people kept their religions to themselves and were capable of interacting with their society in a way that befits the 21st century regardless of their personal beliefs, I would probably have never become an Atheist in the first place. I never would have bothered to question something so benign.

13 years ago @ Atheist Revolution - Year-End Charitable Do... · 0 replies · 0 points

May I ask why you choose the HSUS? I used to work for a national animal welfare up here in Canada and I must say that our view of the HSUS was... unflattering. They were giving large amounts of money to organizations like the Montreal Humane Society, which at the time was involved in some very shady business. The money was used to fund a national donation drive using MHS's alternate legal name "Canadian SPCA." The language of the donation drive made donors believe that donations would be used Canada wide, while they were, in fact, used only within Montreal, with a percentage shipped back to the HSUS in the US. Within the US, I've heard of some pretty ichy stuff going on with the HSUS as well - specifically that it is not associated with any actual human societies, though it advertises itself as a national organization of local branches. I believe they've had some legal issues surrounding their advertising practices, but I don't know enough about it to say anything with authority.

That being said, it would be my personal recommendation to stay far far away from the HSUS.

I've worked in the not-for-profit sector my entire adult life, and I can safely say that there are some truly awful scams. If you are in Canada, you should ALWAYS ask to see their charitable registration number and look them up on the CRA's website. Just because they aren't there doesn't mean that they are scams (for example, my local Atheist group isn't registered because it doesn't fit in any of the CRA's categories), but it should certainly raise some flags for you. The next thing you want to do is make sure that that they have the Imagine Canada logo displayed somewhere. This certifies that they adhere to a fundraising code of conduct. It's pretty difficult to get and is a good sign that the organization can be trusted.

Remember, also, that you have a right to call any not-for-profit and ask where the money goes. Be wary of organizations unwilling to share their annual reports or audited financial statements. You have the right to know where your dollar goes.

But at the same time, don't be too judgemental of high administrative costs! Getting a really good program going takes a lot of work, and that more often than not means a dedicated staff. While it means that a percentage of your donation will not go directly into the cause you're supporting, it does mean that the organization has the resources to be far more effective than a volunteer-run organization. Of course, that's a choice you have to make based on your own beliefs.

The last thing I want to mention is that there is a place for both local and national organizations. Generally, while a national organization will not go out and actually feed people, it will raise attention to the problem of homelessness. A national organization will also usually institute national programs, or develop pilot programs and best practices that can then be used in local communities. In these ways, national organizations provide the resources that allow local organizations to be more effective. Personally, I like to "diversify my portfolio," so to speak. I donate to a mixture of both local and national organizations.

13 years ago @ Atheist Revolution - The Day I Became an At... · 0 replies · -1 points

It's about time!

But seriously, well done. It's never an easy choice between lifestyle/job security and principles, and I'm glad that you've made the right one. Just remember that there will always be other jobs.