Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm Beginning to find the ALS Bucket Challenge Offensive

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has brought unprecedent recognition as well as record donations to the ALS Association, all in the hopes of increasing research in diagnosing, treating, and curing the currently incurable, debilitating, and ultimately fatal Lou Gehrig's disease.  The Challenge has gone completely viral on social media, with friends, celebrities, and politicians posting video of themselves speaking a bit about ALS, challenging others, and then having a bucket of ice water dumped over their heads.  What is the challenge?  Either dump a bucket of ice water over your own head within 24 hours and post a video of yourself doing so to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like, and then challenge another three or more friends to do the same. If you fail to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge you are asked to donate $100 to an ALS charity.

It seems innocuous on the surface, but in reality it isn't.  First of all, there are those morally offended by ALSA receiving mass donations, as they are vocal supporters of embryonic stem cell research.  These folks offend others who aren't as put off by embryonic stem cell research and find anyone who would denounce the work ALSA is doing as complete jerks.  A solution was put forth that folks could instead donate to any other ALS charity, such as, which does not support ESCR.  Ok, fine. I guess that works.

I get it.  Some people are personally touched by ALS.  They may even have loved one's with the disease, and for that I am sorry.  The Ice Bucket Challenge really is a nice idea, until the bullying starts.  Today, our son was called a vile name because he had the nerve to decline the challenge.  He was told he had to pay up.  Wow, really?  He didn't ask to be "challenged".  No one should bully others into doing anything for charity.  It actually works against the true nature and meaning of charity.  Charity should be done out of love not out of peer pressure, and not as a public act as it is being done on social media.

And now I shall step down off my soap box.

Print Friendly and PDF


Natalie said...

Ugh! Thank you! I feel the same way. I have yet to be challenged that I know of and I will not be participating. The problem with this is that (like breast cancer awareness) is that it becomes more of a commercial act instead of a charity act causing people like me to become desensitized to it. I've honestly avoided supporting any breast cancer awareness agenda because of the commercialization of it.

Kristen said...

I so agree. My parents were just challenged by one of my aunts and uncle and I know my time will finally be here with one of them and I have no intentions of participating and no money to donate. Not even $5.00. I'm just choosing not to respond. But I've seen some very nice people I know get very ugly about this. I've heard a lot of priests suggesting alternative charities also doing ALS research if people feel pressure to participate they are asked to name the alternate charity they are doing it in honor of. I guess I've never been much of a joiner with stuff like this because even that is not gonna get me to do it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mau,
I'm waiting to hear about the "jump off the bridge w/o a bungee" or "skydive w/o a 'chute" challenge.
I agree, Charity is a private act. Not to be one-upped. "Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" comes to mind.
Tell JP, I said good job.

the godfather