You know the ONE
Acton Institute Powerblog

You know the ONE

“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 director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.