2009-02-24

Non governmental politics/ Faith Liberty and the Individual in Humanitarian Assistance/ Erica Bornstein

The essay concerns the Charitable choice-act that was passed by president George W Bush in 2001. It gave funding for religious charity organization, something the author sees as problematic. "As secular freedom yielded to religious freedom, a discursive shift occured so that the state a protector of freedom against religious authority became an instigator of freedom for religious authority".

Bornstein also talks about how this act has an individualizing effect. "Charity is distributed through individuals not through civic groups. Government relies on charitable institutions to do the work of compassion". She also discusses how it then is up to the individuals and not the government to take care of the problems and the damage that failed politics have created.

Comments:
I find this very interesting and problematic. One problem I see with individual charity is that it has to be creative to attract attention. Like breast cancer events for example -"throw your bra"- type things that to me can become very tasteless. And people might only give to their certain interest instead of seeing the bigger picture and giving to those who actually need help the most.

Yet the other side of it is more like we have it in Sweden. The government "takes care of everything", and we, the people, become comfterable and passive. Further, the government might be "wrong" in their choice of who needs charity the most.

Regarding religious vs. secular organisations there is defenetly a possibility that they will work towards other goals simulatneously as they do the charity, for instance religious conversion. Yet I think it also is important to remember that the other organizations are not completely neutral, they also have agendas or certain "beliefs". (One can think about the World bank, who conditioned their credit to nations with a full acceptance of the liberal, capitalistic ideology.)

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