’Tis the season for giving, or, at least, that is what we say. The conclusion of the year 2016 comes as a relief of many of us. Not only was this year riddled with the deaths of Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen and a number of other celebrities, but we also faced one of the most divisive elections in recent history.
As we watch the news cycles or, perhaps, more appropriately, our social media feeds, it seems that this is also the season of outrage. Our president-elect chooses to engage in Twitter battles against television shows and Broadway musicals. Neo-Nazis are celebrating the outcome of the recent election. Hate crimes have occurred with increased regularity since the election. Suicide and crisis hotlines received an increased volume of calls after the election. There is much to be outraged about. Many presidential appointments have been less than ideal for progressives like me.
Outrage, however, means nothing unless we channel it towards change. While Facebook posts, blogs and words are well intentioned, they are empty unless they are followed up with action.
In an attempt to encourage progressives to take action, I have created a Christmas list of organizations that might help channel the words of our outrage towards productive ends. I do not offer this list as a mere symbolic gesture. As a graduate student living on a graduate stipend, I have made small contributes (some recurring — emphasis on the small) to all of the following linked organizations in the past few weeks. I challenge you to channel your outrage toward similar ends.
- The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Are you concerned about the safety of your Muslim neighbors? Suggestions of a “Muslim Ban” or a “Muslim Registry” are contrary to American ideals of religious liberty. Support organizations like the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty or Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to help protect not only your own religious liberty, but also the religious liberty of your Muslim neighbors.
- The National Resources Defense Council. Are you concerned about President-Elect Trump’s selection of Scott Pruitt to the head the Environmental Protection Agency? Pruitt does not believe in the threat of climate change despite mounting scientific evidence to the contrary. Support organizations like the National Resources Defense Council to help protect God’s creation.
- Planned Parenthood. Are you concerned about women’s access to health services? President-Elect Trump has claimed that he is committed to defunding Planned Parenthood, an organization whose primary function is to provide reliable reproductive health care and sexual education to individuals and communities. Donate to Planned Parenthood to protect women’s access to reliable health services.
- The National Immigration Law Center. Are you concerned that the lives of immigrant families and children will be devastated by a creation of a “board wall” and a “deportation task force”? The gospel does not call us to build walls, but to tear them down. If you want to follow the biblical mandate to care for the stranger in your midst, donate to the National Immigration Law Center.
- The Human Rights Campaign. Are you concerned about the well fare of your LGBTQ neighbors? Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence still believes that human sexuality is a choice and that conversion therapy works. Donate to the Human Rights Campaign to protect the rights of your LGBTQ neighbors.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. Are you concerned about the spike of hate crimes taking place in America? White supremacists feel emboldened by the election of Donald Trump. Help expose extremists and fight bigotry by donating to organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
Other organizations certainly need our financial support. Perhaps you are worried about President-Elect Trump’s pledge to open up libel laws. Donate to news organizations like Baptist News Global or purchase subscriptions to a local or national newspaper. In this season of giving, I challenge you to give to organizations which seek to make a difference in our country. Give because you are outraged. Give because you seek a more just society. Give because God calls us to protect the least of these.