Acton Institute Powerblog

You Know the ONE

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“We don’t want you to give your money. We’ll just take it instead.”

That commercial, the one where all the celebrities and guys in collars and habits are talking about raising your “voice” for the world’s poor, has been nominated for an Emmy award for best TV commercial.

It’s the one that ends with the voice of Tom Hanks saying, “We’re not asking for your money. We’re asking for your voice.”

In one sense, that is totally true. If those behind the ONE Campaign had their way, they wouldn’t “ask” for your money. They would just have the government take it. It really is all a bit duplicitous.

So they aren’t up front about it…they really do want your money: “If the USA agreed to commit an additional ONE percent of it’s budget, or 25 billion dollars per year, it would cost every American 23 cents a day. I’m ready to do that if it saves lives…are you?” There’s more than one hypothetical in that statement.

But even so, it doesn’t matter what you might answer to that rhetorical question. Even if you aren’t willing, if the ONE Campaign has its way, your money will be taken and used anyway.

Maybe the slogan should be: “We don’t want you to give your money. We’ll just take it instead.” This adds a whole new dimension to the idea of charity.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Comments

  • The difference in perspective from the ONE Campaign and directly responsible charitable efforts is summed up in the first two sentences from this article in Christianity Today:

    “Eighteen-year-old Lauren Tomasik had a vision. This Wheaton Academy