Along with some fine secular organizations, it is important to recognize the churches and other faith-based groups that have years of experience and success in reaching out to the poor and suffering. The only apparent difference between faith-based and non-religious groups is the motivating factor.
For instance in the case of churches, the Gospel edict is clear that it has a mission to tend to the needy and the hurting people of the world. These organizations deserve the encouragement that a financial grant can give. After all, the award is made not on a group’s beliefs, but on its action.
Think of all the independent contractors, individuals and/or companies that do work for our government, most notably those involved in the war. Most, if not all, are motivated by profits. So what’s wrong with awarding some contracts to a group that is motivated by higher ideals than making money?
In our particular case, our In His Shoes Mission is motivated by a history which includes genocide, coupled with the Christian command to fight evil with love. The members of IHS are grandchildren of the Armenian Genocide survivors who feel compelled to walk in the shoes of others, especially those who suffer as a result of war, oppression and even genocide.
Today, our efforts are focused in remote areas of Africa, especially in Darfur. We have donors who are neither Armenian, nor Christian, and some do not even subscribe to the philosophy of overcoming evil with acts of love. Yet, they recognize that our organization has the means to help.
In the same way, the government doesn’t need to subscribe to any particular brand of religion to know that its money is serving a worthy and humane cause.
FR. VAZKEN MOVSESIAN
Armenian Church Youth Ministries