This has been on my mind and on lately. There’s talk now and then online about Pagans and charity, and it came up again just recently, though I can’t for the life of me find back where it was said that Pagans aren’t charitable.
I think that’s not true…it’s just that we don’t do charity the way that Christians do.
Christians generally seem to be motivated either by evangelism (and frankly, for many of them, even if that’s not the primary motivation it’s a secondary motivation), or by “this is what Jesus said to do.” Their relative size means there is funding available even for large scale projects, people to volunteer, and there are enough people with the right background in business and law to set up other ways for churches to make money to fund their programs (if you have any doubts there, look at sites like http://www.startchurch.com).
Since we don’t evangelize, we don’t have that as a reason to do large outreach programs We’re smaller – more localized or more specific to a certain topic. And our motivations are different. Some things we do because of specific experiences in our own lives, some because we see a need and we know we’re all in this together here on spaceship Earth, and some because a specific deity suggests to someone that the project would be a good idea.
We don’t have a lot of funding. We don’t have a large pool of volunteers to draw from. Much like our circles and groves and kindreds, our charity work is small and personal.
Circle Sanctuary has a list of bigger projects. And I know of a number of smaller projects, including one I run myself.
One problem with smaller projects is that 501(c)3 status is so expensive and time consuming to get. It makes me wonder if a bunch of us with little projects ought to band together and start a blanket non-profit with local chapters that do whatever it is that they do.
I do wonder, though, if there are other ways to do this – ways that make more sense from a Pagan standpoint. What do you think?