As I’m leisurely stalking my news feeds and timelines, it seems like every other person is doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Totally a worthy cause to raise awareness and raise money to fund for a cure for a debilitating disease. I have seemingly evaded any sort of nomination or challenge to do the Ice Bucket Challenge, but that’s okay because participation doesn’t require me to be challenged. As it is summer here in Texas, a cold splash of ice water would feel absolutely wonderful but not necessary. But I can still donate. With that said, I decided to donate to Compassionate Care ALS, who doesn’t do research for a cure but rather gives personal care to those who suffer from ALS. I figured this would be a good way to undoubtedly remain consistent with my Catholic faith and not contribute or potentially contribute to unethical means of finding a cure for ALS.
Something that’s been occupying my mind lately is hearing about all this news about the persecution of Christians and other minorities in Iraq. I’m not hearing a lot about it in mainstream news, but for sure via Catholic channels. It sucks. Totally sucks. The militant extremists are essentially forcing everyone to convert to Islam and if they don’t, they are killed. Families are having to flee from their homes and if they stay, they’re subject to either high taxes or death. People kidnapped. Women raped. Men executed in groups at a time. Children dying from starvation and beheaded. Terrible. They are systematically driving out Christians and killing them if they don’t submit and convert. Crazy terrible. For the people fleeing, they’re essentially leaving everything behind and have nothing with them except the clothes on their back.
It’s escalating towards genocide status. It’s terrible because these acts violence are objectively crimes against humanity.
And I don’t know what to do.
The other day at work, for whatever reason my cubemate seemed to be upset or sick or something such that he was pretty much silent the rest of the afternoon. That’s unusual. I didn’t ask him how he was doing. I remained silent and didn’t take any action even though it seemed obvious to me that something wasn’t right/normal. I know I should have said something or asked him how he was doing to let him know that I was concerned. But I didn’t. I was silent, minding my own business.
Earlier in the week, I had heard on Catholic radio that the Knights of Columbus have set up a fund to help with humanitarian efforts for Christians and minorities in Iraq. 100% of donations will be used for those efforts. That’s awesome! They’re looking to raise $1M total. That’s not a lot, but every little bit helps.
I keep seeing how virally successful that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is and how much money that has raised in a relatively short amount of time.
Considering all these things, an idea hit me that afternoon when my cubemate was silent. A challenge. I should start a challenge akin to the Ice Bucket Challenge.
After some thought, the idea converged to the following…
A two-part challenge:
1) One minute of silence in the car. Silence because I feel like driving in silence with the radio off is uncommon. How often do we allow ourselves to be silent and still, especially in the car? Prayers can be offered up or just simply existing. Maybe you could have a print out of the Prayer for Iraq. No music. No talk radio. Nothing. Mainstream media has been quiet on this issue. Let our purposeful silence resonate and bring light to this issue.
2) Donate money to the Knights of Columbus fund. Again, 100% of the donations will be used to help those in need. You can find the link here: Knights of Columbus Charities. At least a $5 donation would be good if the challenge was accepted to do a minute of silence in the car.
Challenge people you know to take one minute of silence in the car for persecuted peoples in Iraq as well as offer a small donation. You have 24 hours to accept and complete the challenge.
Here’s me accepting my own challenge and nominating others:
Thanks and God bless,