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Church fundraisings!

Last Saturday as I was driving into Suva via Waimanu Rd., I got caught in a bit of traffic jam just in from of the FM96 building. This is just blocks from one of the busiest parts of Suva for those that don't know. Cause of the traffic jam? A few youths carrying tin cans with coins flanking a minibus driving at perhaps 5 km/hr! Wrapped around the minibus was some kind of banner alluding to some fundraising effort by some church!

This is just nonsense. Why the hell can't the churchs involved direct their fundraising efforts in a less chaos causing manner! This kind of fundraising drives are getting increasingly common. I personally feel these efforts are more begging then fundraising.

It's not just the churches though, that involve themselves in such efforts. Cent-a-vote cards and raffle tickets are commonly used by religious organisations such as Hindus for their "fundraising". Worse still, most of these efforts involve children.

If religious organisations need to raise funds, they ought to do it in a less bothersome. They should not be allowed to use children. Infact the state should outlaw the use of children in such frivolous activities.

Below is an FT (18/04/2005) editorial on the issue...

To give or not to give - Fiji Times Online:
"TITHES and donations are generally accepted as important parts of many faiths.

And it has been increasingly emphasised that these have to depend on the willingness of the people to give what they can afford, rather than what the religious leaders except from them.

As long as members are not forced to contribute against their will, it presents no major concern to religious freedom.

Today a new style of soliciting donations is being witnessed. Some church leader encourage their members to go out and sell tickets to the public in the streets.

Such fundraising drives are within the law if a permit is sought beforehand. But things get out of hand when these people begin to harass members of the public on the streets to donate to the cause. The tickets are thrust into people's faces and they are forced to tick in the boxes how much they must give.

An example of this is what was witnessed at Koronivia outside Nausori where youths stopped traffic to sell their 10-cents-a-vote tickets as part of their fundraising drive for a new church.

In another incident in a street of Suva, a youth from the same church ridiculed a woman because she refused to give him any money.

This is not acceptable and goes against the principle of giving from the heart towards charitable causes.

Many are too embarrassed to refuse when approached in public to give money to religious fundraising. The practice should be stopped because it is tantamount to harassment.

People should be able to be given the choice to give and not be harassed.

Not everyone can afford to donate money because for many, putting food three times a day on the table is a daily struggle. They also have to think about other expenses such as sending their children to school.

The burden of giving to the church has been blamed for holding back the social and economic development of the Fijian community.

Researches reveal that religious donations either willing"

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