11 August 2009

Don't give to Tearfund

Because it wastes your money hiring an intellectual minnow called Sara Shaw. She works for Tearfund (a Christian poverty relief charity) as "Policy Officer - Climate Change". I am sure that its money could be better spent hiring someone who can actually do some serious work in the developing world, rather than lead statist political causes.

She recently wrote this nonsense criticising the New Zealand Government's policy on climate change:

"Poor people, already being hit hard by climate change, have once again been disappointed by another developed country taking a weak and self-interested approach"

Hit hard by climate change how? No evidence, just part of the zeitgeist promoted by Shaw that climate change is happening, real and the poor are suffering because of it. Secondly, she claims to speak on behalf of poor people. Funny that, not being one herself, or even a member of parliament for any country. Thirdly, she criticises taking a "self interested approach", which of course poor people never do - they are always willing to sacrifice their lives for the greater good.

This follows from her earlier banality and economic illiteracy in promoting the faith based idea that by penalising "non-Green industries" and subsidising "Green ones", everyone wins. Not a shred of evidence or economics, just faith.

She presumably thinks she does great work to "save the world" and "help the poor", when she isn't doing a concrete piece of positive work in developing countries, for education, health or to improve infrastructure.

If she really gave a damn she'd be pushing for the European Union to abolish its Common Agricultural Policy, eliminate agricultural export subsidies, eliminate barriers to importation of agricultural products into the EU, and abolish domestic subsidies. That would make an enormous difference to farmers in developing countries, but no - she worries about climate change - a distraction from doing real good for people who are impoverished. She could campaign loudly and vigorously for good governance, the end to the corrupt kleptocracies that plague Africa and don't protect private property rights or have independent judiciaries.

However no, Shaw would much rather finger point, pontificate and preach, blaming the developed countries, and suffer the poor, ever patronaged, people in the developing world. She is chasing the ever illusion, the idea that destroying wealth creating industries will help the poor, and taking money from those who create wealth and give it to those who don't helps them too. There are undoubtedly charities that help impoverished people without being distracted by Green politics and agendas of economic illiteracy, big government and finger pointing rather than evidence.

Tearfund isn't one of them.


Swimming said...

why not give to Tear Fund NZ? This silly wonk works in the UK. DIfferent beast.

Sus said...

Really, BN? You think the Kiwi counterpart differs much in essentials?

Bet it doesn't.

Swimming said...

TEAR Fund is not part of CAN.

Geoff_S said...

My contribution to the Pakistan flood relief got directed through Tear Fund, I did not know they were evangelists until & got their reply "praying that the people affected will know the Lord’s comfort".. perhaps I could add my disappointed reply here....

Dear Tear Fund; Oh dear! I just wanted to make a gesture to help Pakistan recover from a flood & I'd no intention that victims should know the 'lord's comfort'. If evangelising is even a small part of your operations, could you make this very clear on your contribution website?

As an atheist I find mixing welfare with even a hint of religious propaganda quite scary & rather unpleasant as vulnerable people are in no position to refuse the welfare half of the deal. I don't blame you for disagreeing with me & good luck with your work, I'd just like the 'lord's comfort' & your 10 year objective of releasing 50 million people "from their spiritual poverty" through 100,000 churches is clearly highlighted on your donations page.

I worry that tear fund website designers may have discovered that the more they hide the Christian evangelism side of the operation, the more donations they can get, but if Tear fund simply adds a link to a non-religious charity, then donations to the cause would be the same.

Could you pass this comment onto your web designer as feedback. If your designer is more of a professional fund-raiser, could you ask a Christian director to look at your disaster relief donation sites & consider modifying them to make it unlikely that someone who is against evangelism donates without knowing. Thanks