Wednesday, June 14, 2006

On Morality and Money

As stated in Ynet News, Richard Desmond (according to Forbes, one of the world's billionaires) has recently been appointed the head of Norwood, an Anglo-Jewish charity.

The British press has apparently fallen all over itself in righteous indignation by exposing his less savory works to the general public. His pornographic businesses have made him a billionaire. He gives to Jewish and non-Jewish charities. What could be wrong by having him raise money for a good charity?

Plenty.

It would be one thing if he were giving the money himself. One could almost make a case for accepting it as some kind of charitable repentence or offering. Of course, one could make a case that dirty money (whether from pornography, drugs, gambling, or any number of other immoral sources) cannot purchase good works.

But, this is not a case where he is giving the money. No, he is to be a fundraiser. He is going to represent the charity himself. One could argue that the public persona of the charity is going to be represented by a PORNOGRAPHER, and that some of the stink of his immorality will stick to the charity itself.

Now, some have called for the charity to repudiate Mr. Desmond, and to not let him become part of the Norwood heirarchy. I do not believe it is in the best interest to try to force a charity (or any other organization for that matter) to choose or un-choose whom they will.

Yet, I am truly puzzled that the Norwood board of directors could only see the money, but not the implications. It is not as if there were even a question of his association with the pornographic portion of his holdings.

I, personally, would go out of my way to not give any of my charitable donations to any organization that would hire someone of such dubious character. The free market is the best place to solve this. If enough people would turn their back on any organization that publicly associates itself with immorality, then those organizations would be forced, via market pressure, to change, or fold.

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