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Author Topic: Charity  (Read 4163 times)
Siya
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« Topic Start: August 12, 2010, 11:00:02 pm »

One thing I've been thinking about is charity. A lot of pagan religions include values that would seem to place some import on charity. Personally, it feels like an extension of hospitality to me, although I'm not sure I could really explain why — it just seems like in a lot of old folk stories, the "moral" of extending hospitality to guests is generally toward poor, wandering strangers rather than guests as we would think of them today, friends and family. Animal rescue/rights and environmental charities can play an important part of reverence for the Earth, and educational charities would help give people the tools they need to gain wisdom and knowledge, and those who follow healer gods would probably be inclined to help hospitals and hospices, and so on.

Does charity (donation of time, money, food or other resources) play a large role in your personal and religious values?

Do you help pagan-run or pagan-focused charities or as part of your religious organization (coven, grove, etc.)? Or do you mostly help secular organizations or those run by other faiths? What types of charities do you most often help?
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« Reply #1: August 13, 2010, 12:51:15 am »

One thing I've been thinking about is charity. A lot of pagan religions include values that would seem to place some import on charity. Personally, it feels like an extension of hospitality to me, although I'm not sure I could really explain why — it just seems like in a lot of old folk stories, the "moral" of extending hospitality to guests is generally toward poor, wandering strangers rather than guests as we would think of them today, friends and family. Animal rescue/rights and environmental charities can play an important part of reverence for the Earth, and educational charities would help give people the tools they need to gain wisdom and knowledge, and those who follow healer gods would probably be inclined to help hospitals and hospices, and so on.

Does charity (donation of time, money, food or other resources) play a large role in your personal and religious values?

Do you help pagan-run or pagan-focused charities or as part of your religious organization (coven, grove, etc.)? Or do you mostly help secular organizations or those run by other faiths? What types of charities do you most often help?

Some of my offerings consist of giving to charities.  For example, to honor Hecate, I donate dog food to the animal shelter, and when honoring Demeter and Persephone I donate to the food shelf. I'm on a very tight budget so I can't do as much as I like, but I do what I can.
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« Reply #2: August 13, 2010, 01:03:49 am »

Some of my offerings consist of giving to charities.  For example, to honor Hecate, I donate dog food to the animal shelter, and when honoring Demeter and Persephone I donate to the food shelf. I'm on a very tight budget so I can't do as much as I like, but I do what I can.

I do a lot with animal rescue (mostly pit bull) and ASPCA, also with wounded warriors and a lot of support the troops stuff.. money is tight so it's mostly time.
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« Reply #3: August 13, 2010, 08:07:36 am »

Do you help pagan-run or pagan-focused charities or as part of your religious organization (coven, grove, etc.)? Or do you mostly help secular organizations or those run by other faiths?

I tend to give to charities which put the vast majority of the donation to use actually helping others -- that is, those with the least overhead. I honestly do not care much about the religious orientation of the charity, if any. Unless they are using the money to push their beliefs on the people they are trying to help, it really makes no difference to me why they are helping people.
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« Reply #4: August 14, 2010, 05:30:30 am »

Does charity (donation of time, money, food or other resources) play a large role in your personal and religious values?

Charity is more a part of my personal values than religious but I primarily support those which support children and provide the most basic needs. Having said that I am a sucker and will give at least a little to anyone who approaches me directly. I also try to avoid charities where I think it should be the governments job to fork out the cash.
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« Reply #5: August 14, 2010, 02:15:50 pm »



Does charity (donation of time, money, food or other resources) play a large role in your personal and religious values?

Do you help pagan-run or pagan-focused charities or as part of your religious organization (coven, grove, etc.)? Or do you mostly help secular organizations or those run by other faiths? What types of charities do you most often help?

My workplace actually donates a lot of money to our local animal shelter. When i decided to get a puppy that is where I went looking. We do fund raising at work for the shelter's annual walk. I don't have very much money but I have started baking. I bring whatever baked product I make into work and sell it with the proceeds going to the shelter.

I try to give to people who might not have much, even if I don't have much myself. If my friend is low on money until payday and needs a few groceries, I just give them some if I can, or I will invite them over for dinner that week.

It is pretty easy to give charity when most of the people you know hover just over the poverty line.

For me I guess charity ends up being a circle. I give to others in whatever way I can, and when I need something I can get help.

I will admit that I am having a lot of medical expenses right now. Whatever my insurance doesn't cover there are 2 local charities that will cover some of my bills. I don't feel bad taking the money either, those funds are for people like me. People who make barely too much to get government assistance. Some day I will have more money and I will probably give back to that organization to help someone else who is going through what I am.

So I guess giving is important to me, maybe my beliefs make it that way, or maybe it is just my personal circumstances that make me realize how charities can help those who really need it. So I give what I can. I tend to do things that involve more effort than money though.
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« Reply #6: August 14, 2010, 05:50:41 pm »


Does charity (donation of time, money, food or other resources) play a large role in your personal and religious values?

Do you help pagan-run or pagan-focused charities or as part of your religious organization (coven, grove, etc.)? Or do you mostly help secular organizations or those run by other faiths? What types of charities do you most often help?

Tzedekah (righteous giving) is a core part of my faith.  We are commanded to give to care for the widow, the orphan, the poor and the afflicted.  We are commanded to care for the earth and be humane to animals.  Our money spent and our volunteer activities reflect this.  Our Temple is involved in several charitable activities (food pantry, clothing and blanket distribution, Habitat for Humanity, weatherizing assistance, temporary homeless shelter, free back-to-school "store" providing clothes and school supplies for needy families, and tons of other things). 

Most of my charity work is through my Temple, partly because it is convenient for me and partly because I appreciate the way that the charity is given in a way that does not shame the recipients.  For example, we have a "tikkun closet' in our entry way where we put clothing and food and people can come in and take what they need without having to come in and ask.  I do also contribute to other charities occasionally.  I give a lot of used items for the American Kidney Foundation thrift store, and I run a local ReUseIt recycling/sharing group.

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« Reply #7: August 15, 2010, 08:38:37 am »

I tend to give to charities which put the vast majority of the donation to use actually helping others -- that is, those with the least overhead. I honestly do not care much about the religious orientation of the charity, if any. Unless they are using the money to push their beliefs on the people they are trying to help, it really makes no difference to me why they are helping people.

Randall, exactly. Anthony and I discuss this every time someone tries to hit us up for a donation to UNICEF or something. For anyone interested... http://charityguide.org/volunteer/charityratings.htm Here is an excellent website to check on the ratings of various charities.

I do give to charities and frequently. However, this tends to be the assistance shelter down the street where men, women, and children in harsh times can go in and buy a trash bag worth of clothes for like two bucks. You don't know exactly what you're going to get but at least there are clothes.
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dragonfaerie
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« Reply #8: August 15, 2010, 07:02:37 pm »

Does charity (donation of time, money, food or other resources) play a large role in your personal and religious values?

Charity plays a role in my life, but because I have causes I want to support and not necessarily because I want to be charitable.

I want a clean environment, so I volunteer for a stream cleanup. I believe in Equal Marriage rights, so I donate to Equality Maryland. Etc. Yes, I'm being charitable by doing these things, but that's not my motivation for doing.

I wouldn't say it's particularly religiously motivated, except where my personal values coincide with my religious ones. I don't think you need to be charitable in order to be a good Pagan, but I think every good citizen of planet Earth should be looking at giving back in some way to causes that move them.

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« Reply #9: August 15, 2010, 09:34:01 pm »

Does charity (donation of time, money, food or other resources) play a large role in your personal and religious values?

Do you help pagan-run or pagan-focused charities or as part of your religious organization (coven, grove, etc.)? Or do you mostly help secular organizations or those run by other faiths? What types of charities do you most often help?

Charity does play a fairly significant role in my world, as it is one of the core tenets of my personal path.   "Give whatever you can, whenever you can, however you can" is pretty much a personal mantra. 

I support organizations and causes that are near and dear to my heart based on the work that's being done, rather than religious affiliations. Since religious tolerance and diversity are both important to me, I tend not to make decisions based on a group's religious affiliation, unless proselytization, intolerance, or religious misinformation is a component of the group's mission.  In that case, I run the other direction as fast as I can. Smiley
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« Reply #10: August 15, 2010, 10:20:04 pm »

Does charity (donation of time, money, food or other resources) play a large role in your personal and religious values?

Do you help pagan-run or pagan-focused charities or as part of your religious organization (coven, grove, etc.)? Or do you mostly help secular organizations or those run by other faiths? What types of charities do you most often help?
It is an overarching part of my spirituality in that my entire purpose is to do for others no matter what the personal cost may be. I also work for a local nonprofit agency contributing more than half of my total time as inkind. Most of my work is with at-risk youths and families living in housing communities.

My spirituality often conflicts with the parameters of my work and lifestyle, but that is how it must be. If a kid needs me to stay until 1 am to help with his school work and  my boss says not to, then if it means my job to help that kid it will mean my job. It's where I've been guided to be my purpose and where I must follow.

Hope that answers your question.
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« Reply #11: August 18, 2010, 06:20:03 pm »


On an expanded note, do you think there should or shouldn't be some kind of organized effort among pagans in general to create pagan charities? (Or, because a lot of religions that fall under the pagan umbrella don't hold the same values, should there be a push for Wiccan charities, Asatruar charities, Druid charities, etc.?)

Personally, I give to a few secular charities and have no problem giving to charities run by other religions if evangelizing takes a backseat to actually helping, but I would love to see a pagan-run food bank or something in my local area, just because it would do so much to shatter people's misconceptions about pagan religions simply by existing. But at the same time, I think of charity more as a human value than a religious one, so I don't know if there's really a need for more religious charities when there are secular ones already doing the work.
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« Reply #12: August 18, 2010, 06:37:42 pm »

Personally, I give to a few secular charities and have no problem giving to charities run by other religions if evangelizing takes a backseat to actually helping, but I would love to see a pagan-run food bank or something in my local area, just because it would do so much to shatter people's misconceptions about pagan religions simply by existing. But at the same time, I think of charity more as a human value than a religious one, so I don't know if there's really a need for more religious charities when there are secular ones already doing the work.

In terms of 'public relations', I actually think it's more useful (and a lot more practical) to have Pagan groups contribute communally to existing charities. A couple of examples:

- Pagan Pride events are required to have some sort of charitable donation/food shelf donation going: these go in under the event names.

- A local group here has been coordinating a monthly charity drive. Which charity it is changes every month, but the drop off points are the same, and if there's a 'putting things together' need, they coordinate people getting together to do that. I like that model because they get to work with a bunch of different organisations over time, who get to know the local Pagans as 'those nice people who help out'.

- It also allows them to fill in some interesting gaps - for example, a group of people go do Meals on Wheels on Christmas Day, since many Pagans don't have the same time commitments as people who are also celebrating religious commitments. Everyone benefits.
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