Gransnet forums



(117 Posts)
absentgrana Mon 01-Oct-12 09:22:52

We recently attended a family party. Our host had informed us that he didn't want presents (it was a big 0), but that there would be a charity collection. The charity turned out to be a Christian one, which would not have been an issue for me, even though I an an atheist, if it had just been Christian Aid or some other general charity. The sole function and raison d'être of the chosen charity, however, is something of which I profoundly disapprove.

My dilemma, albeit a minor one, was should I ignore my own strongly held beliefs and give the "present" that my host had chosen or stick to my convictions and not give anything at all? He has no idea who gave or how much so there was no question of looking mean if I didn't donate.

What would you have done?

whenim64 Mon 01-Oct-12 09:35:04

I would have kept quiet and given to a charity I felt ok about absent. smile

annodomini Mon 01-Oct-12 09:57:05

I agree with when. Give it to a charity that you believe in.

JO4 Mon 01-Oct-12 10:02:12

I would have given it to a charity I approved of. And told him I had done so. (Nicely of course)

Bags Mon 01-Oct-12 10:06:54

I would tell him I disapproved of that charity and why, and tell him which other I had chosen, if any.

Barrow Mon 01-Oct-12 10:12:40

I agree with what others have said. Why would you give to something you disapprove of. Give to a charity you approve of and tell him discreetly later.

absentgrana Mon 01-Oct-12 11:38:35

I hadn't thought of that. I might have done if I had known what the charity would be in advance, but when it was just anoiunced at the party itself, I didn't have much opportunity to think about it. Even so, would my refusal to fund a charity that is dear to my host's heart but a willingness to donate to one of my choosing look like criticism of him and arrogance on my part? Furthermore, I don't see him very often so either I would have had to discuss this rather uncomfortable matter actually at the party (bit party pooper), probably in front of other guests (many of whom I did not know) or telephoned or e-mailed later. Somehow that looks a bit like making a storm out of a molehill.

Lilygran Mon 01-Oct-12 12:10:48

You could have given a token amount and the rest of what you would have given to a charity of your choice. It seems more than a bit naff to do what your host did especially as seems to be the case, in such a public way that other people knew what everyone had given. Not a hypocrisy, though. Stupidity?

janeainsworth Mon 01-Oct-12 12:22:12

It sounds a real rave absent. I can't imagine being asked for money like that actually at the party.
A thoughtful host would have put the suggestion on the invitation, and I would have been annoyed as much by the lack of consideration as the lack of choice of charity.
Come on! Are you going to tell us the name of the offending charity grin

Bags Mon 01-Oct-12 12:24:18

Standing up for your principles is not making a mountain out of a molehill. Any good friends should understand and accept that. There is far too much pressure to do what is superficially polite without any consideration for principle, in my opinion.

Quite apart from anything else, it's presumptive, not to say a bit rude, to expect an automatic present anyway.

A better approach, I feel, is to say that IF anyone wants to give a present, p,ease could they make a donation to THEIR favourite charity. Then everyone is happy and no untoward pressure is put on anyone either.

glassortwo Mon 01-Oct-12 12:31:41

bags as usual you have put into words exactly what I was trying to post but so much better. smile

absentgrana Mon 01-Oct-12 13:27:06

To be completely fair, the wording on the invitation was politely expressed along the lines of if you would like to give to charity there will be a collection on the evening of the party. I don't think there was any presumption about giving a present; just a statement that he would prefer a donation to charity if you wanted to. I have no problem with the whole thing in principle; it was just unfortunate that the charity didn't meet with my approval and it was not named in advance.

Ana Mon 01-Oct-12 13:35:31

So what did you do in the end, absent?

Ana Mon 01-Oct-12 13:47:43

Just realised that sounds nosy, and perhaps you don't want to say. Sorry.

wisewoman Mon 01-Oct-12 13:57:05

If as you say the invitation said if you wanted to donate then an opportunity would be available. You didn't want to donate to that charity so what is the problem?

Mishap Mon 01-Oct-12 14:08:37

I think bags is right - give to some other charity, having explained why you have done so.

I filled a shoebox for Christmas last year for the third world and was a bit concerned to discover that also included in my box would be a bible - I do not like the idea of the gift having strings attached. I knew it was a christian charity and had no problem with that (they do wonderful work); but the inclusion of a bible felt too evangelical/indocrinating to me.

Lilygran Mon 01-Oct-12 15:26:59

They don't have to read it - or even keep it!

Mishap Mon 01-Oct-12 16:30:35

But they could have had some nice sweeties!

Indeed they do not have to read it, but it was a box with a message other than that we care and want to help - I find that uncomfprtable.

Bags Mon 01-Oct-12 17:09:13

I agree, mishap. I wonder how religious people would feel about an atheistic book being included instead of the bible?

Bags Mon 01-Oct-12 17:09:47

God is not Great, for instance?

Greatnan Mon 01-Oct-12 17:22:46

I recently attended a wedding in an Anglican church. I have no idea what the bride's views on religion are, nor was I prepared to ask her. I stood and sat when asked, but did not join in the hymns. There were no communal prayers. I did give a donation as I left the church as I did not know whether the fee the couple had paid would be sufficient to cover the cost of the ceremony. I presumed the organist and vicar were paid separately. If I had refused to attend the wedding, it would have caused a great deal of unhappiness and spoiled the day, which I was not prepared to do.
Sometime I feel you have to put the feelings of others above your own principles, as long as nobody is being hurt.
In response to the OP, I think I would have said quietly to the host that I was making a donation to my favourite charity in his name.

Lilygran Mon 01-Oct-12 18:34:12

The Bible would have been the most important gift of the lot as far as the Christians organising the collection were concerned. Christians still risk imprisonment and execution to take Bibles to countries where Christianity is persecuted. I don't think anyone should worry about one being included and as I put in my previous post, no-one has to read or even keep it.

Greatnan Mon 01-Oct-12 18:43:44

I think the fact that a bible came in a box of food and other gifts was rather sneaky - the children receiving it might feel obliged to read it. I would not contribute to any charity that was that proselytising, especially if it were being done under the guise of charity.

Lilygran Mon 01-Oct-12 18:57:11

'Charity' means more than giving stuff to people.

Greatnan Mon 01-Oct-12 19:00:08

Does it involve imposing your own religion on them -whether they like it or not? I thought that kind of missionary work had ended long ago. At least Mormons and JWs are honest - they say outright that they want to convert you - they don't bring you a parcel of food with a bible in it.