Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 2, 1967
NUMBER 26, PAGE 2b-3,6b

The United Fund' Campaign--(Why A Christian Should Not Support It)

Eugene Britnell

It is about time for the Community Chest or United Find to make its annual appeal for millions of dollars. It is also time that someone came to the defense of those who cannot conscientiously support such work, and show why many Christians feel as they do about it.

First, the position and attitude of Christians--members of the church of Christ--should be clearly understood. We do not believe that "one church is as good as another" nor do we believe that we can scripturally support any false doctrine or religion. In this we differ from all denominations. We believe that the Lord built his church (Matthew 16:18) and that all works which a Christian may do must be done either as an individual Christian (Matt. 19:42; I Tim. 5:8, 16; Luke 10:30-37) or in and through the church (I Tim. 5:16; Eph. 3:21). When I speak of works which a Christian may do, of course I have in mind the works of a spiritual nature where the support and practice of truth and error are involved. Certainly there are social and civic organizations which do not support religious error and in which a Christian may consistently work as a citizen. But we cannot have fellowship with false doctrines or religions (II John 9-11).

[SIC] doctrines and institutions are right and that there is no such thing as religious error, then of course you can consistently support any organization and this message would not be applicable to you.

Not too long ago, I received a letter from a gentleman, president of a local bank, who was connected with the United Fund. I quote from his letter:

"It has been brought to my attention that the Church of Christ ministers of Pulaski County have not been participating in the United Fund Campaigns. At the request of one of the ministers, they have not been solicited for this important community appeal. As one who strongly endorses the United Fund program, and who has participated actively in it for years, I feel free to urge that you reconsider participation in this community effort...

"May I appeal to you as a man of tolerance and understanding and to your sense of civic pride to participate in this worthwhile effort by making a contribution to the United Fund? I am enclosing a pledge card for you to use and I hope that you will prayerfully consider the request."

I appreciate the gentleman's attitude and interest. If he can support and work for the United Fund, all right. I cannot support it. I am tolerant of truth and right, but I am intolerant when it comes to error. It is because of my "understanding" of the arrangement that I cannot support it! I believe in prayer, but there is no need for me to pray about something which the Lord has already clearly revealed to me through his word.

There are many religions and religious works supported by the United Fund which I cannot support. I shall name three — the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, and the Jewish works involved. I believe that the Catholic Church is a false religion, and the same is true of the Salvation Army, I cannot support those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, therefore I cannot support the Jewish works.

One cannot contribute to the United Fund without contributing to the organizations which benefit from the Fund. Why should people be asked to give to a fund which will be used to promote the interest and work of religious institutions which they believe to be wrong? The majority of those who support the United Fund are inconsistent! How can a Jew give to an organization which opposes Judaism? How can a Protestant finance a Catholic organization when the word "protestant" means "in protest of Catholicism"? How can a Catholic give to organizations which oppose Catholicism? The United Fund blatantly asks Jews to help the Christ whom they deny; the Protestants to help those whom they protest against, and the Catholics to protest against themselves! The three religions stand diametrically opposed to each other, yet they all try to melt in the United Fund pot. Let the United Fund purge those religious parasites from its roll of beneficiaries and let them do their own work as many other religions do. All people could then support the Fund more consistently.

I do not appreciate nor endorses the tactics employed by those who promote the annual United Fund drive. One method is to develop a guilt complex. One must give to the Fund or stand convicted as some sort of scoundrel for not doing so. If he does not give, he does not "care enough to share enough" with the unfortunate. The United Fund promoters set before you two alternatives--either give the "United Way" or stand condemned as a selfish, hard-hearted individual who is unconcerned about the welfare of others. Do not be pressured by such methods of propaganda! One is not limited to these alternatives. I can be concerned with and do something about the needs of the unfortunate without contributing to the United Fund.

Another method is the plea for conformity. Everybody is giving the United Way! If one does not give this way, he is considered some kind of strange offbeat character who is a reactionary to everything good. Such a person is uncooperative, narrow-minded, and unworthy of respect. This kind of propaganda tends to pressure one into contributing rather than run the risk of being stigmatized by such implications. All want to be accepted by their friends and associates, and no one desires to be considered an odd-ball. Therefore, to many, it is easier to give to the Fund than it is to resist such pressures and perhaps stand alone under the disapproving eyes of the crowd.

Through the employment of various propaganda methods, the community is pressured into organizing for the drive. Businesses, Clubs, Churches, and all strata of society are asked to throw their influence into the campaign. Factory workers, office personnel, city employees, and church members are all instructed to back the effort wholeheartedly. They are told: "We want 100% cooperation." Key men from every walk of life are selected to serve in the organization, and are supposed to whip their associates into line. I know of a case where an office manager approached a Christian the third time, and then finally asked for permission to give a dollar himself in her name in order to have one hundred percent cooperation! Did he not know that it was not the amount of money that was involved? By such coordination and intimidation the people are pressured into giving millions of dollars to the United Fund, and thereby supporting, all the institutions and organizations which benefit therefrom.

Not only do I oppose the tactics which I have mentioned, but I strongly oppose the practice of many factories, stores, and other places in their efforts to tell each employee how much he or she is to give. Even the Lord did not do that. Here is what the Bible teaches on that: "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart (not as some church or agency determines for him. EB), so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver" (II Cor. 8:7). Many times, without knowing the financial needs or circumstances of a person, some store or factory will decide that he should give a day's salary. What right do they have to do that? On the pledge card which I received with the letter which I have mentioned, they have it all figured out as to what each person's "fair share" is. For example, if you earn $300.00 per month your share is $18. 00. Who said so? Are the people not intelligent enough to decide how much they should give? I think that they are.

Some argue that they can avoid supporting the objectionable organizations by earmarking their contribution. This is merely a bookkeeping camouflage, for such earmarking simply leaves more money in the general fund for all agencies, and they all receive the percentage previously agreed upon by the officials. If I desire to give to a particular organization, why can't I send the contribution directly to it and then be sure where it goes? Why does one have to give through the United Fund? Is that in some way better than direct support? How on earth could it be?

The trend in America and religion today is toward group action and centralization, and against individual initiative, action, and responsibility. The United Fund is another indication of that.

I often wonder about the use of much of the large amount collected by the United Fund. I have not observed a great amount of work being done by the Fund, and in addition to that, the majority of the worthy organizations of the community conduct their own fund-raising campaigns each year. A Christian is free to support these directly.

Regardless of the business, professional, and social pressure, we must have the conviction to stand for what we believe to be right. Acts 5:29 says that we must obey God rather than man; Matthew 7:13,14 teaches that Christians must stand in the "narrow" way rather than the way of worldly "broadmindedness" and Romans 3:8 and II Timothy 2:5 condemn the principle of "doing evil that good may come. "