Monday, December 18, 2017

A Season of Giving

This is the time of the year when I look at my giving for the year and make end of year gifts to organizations and causes I support.  I do not belong to a church so I do not tithe or regularly support a church like many people do.  Throughout the year I give to various causes but at the end of the year I take stock of my giving and make most of my donations.

My giving includes support for political causes in which I believe and to good candidates running for office.  Some may think that political contribution are a separate category of giving than charitable causes but I do not agree.  I fear for our country and want to preserve liberty, promote limited government, promote good government, promote justice, protect private property and promote a free market economy.  I want America to remain a unique country.  I do not want our nation to become a "normal" European-type social welfare state. America has been the arsenal of Democracy and the leader of the free world. We are the essential country both in power to do good and as an example of what can be.

There are evil forces in the world.  It is easy to forget how the whole world was on the bring of a nuclear Armageddon at the end of the cold war and how half of the world's population was under communist domination and it is easy to forget the 100 million victims of communism.  While Communism is no longer the primary threat freedom faces at this time, the views that made communism so seductive are alive and well.  People are often ready to follow an ideology that promises to fix everything and they are willing to sacrifice their freedom for an idealistic utopian promise of a better tomorrow.

In my view, resisting tyranny and promoting freedom are every bit as important as finding a cure for a disease or feeding the hungry. We also, however, have a moral obligation, I believe, to help those in need.  I do not think this is a collective obligation. I don't think one gains any merits when the government robs you of your earnings and gives it to someone else. The fact that you are taxed does not satisfy the obligation to be charitable.

If you examine your life and have been blessed and do not give, please consider doing so.  It is so easy to simply not care and not share.  I find that I am blessed when I give. Also, giving makes one more sensitive to the cause to which they give and more vested in results. One has to follow their own heart and where I choose to give, may not be the same place you choose to give but below are some of the organizations I find to be worthy of my support. If you are looking for a place to give where your money will be put to good use, I urge you to consider contributing to the following organizations.

Nashville Rescue Mission is an organization with which we are all familiar.  They are the primary
agency serving Nashville's homeless. They feed them, provide shelter, and provide case management attempting to get people employed and off the street.  They are a faith-based organization and do not receive government funding. The Nashville Rescue Mission saves lives and helps the most unfortunate of our city.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing expert empirical research and timely free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. They have fought for elimination of barriers to the right to earn a living. In the days before Uber and Lyft, when Nashville tried to harass and regulate out of existence a ride-sharing company, Beacon came to the defense of the company. Beacon has successfully pushed for bold reforms in education, healthcare, economic regulation, and tax policy, among many others. They also investigate and expose government waste.

Institute for Justice fights for economic liberty including opposing unreasonable licensing laws that serve to protect certain service industries from competition. They were active in Nashville in the past when they opposed the city's efforts to shut down an early pioneer in alternative transportation.  The city tried to force all providers of ride-sharing services similar to Uber or Lyft to charge a minimum fee of $40 per trip among other measure designed to stamp out alternative transportation and to protect the taxi interest. IJ also was active in Nashville in protecting the rights of a small business owner by the name of Joy Ford when the city wanted to take her music business office and sell the property to a big developer. Currently, IJ is working with The Beacon Center to challenge the city's prohibition against home-based businesses.  Metro's ban makes illegal home recording studios and music teachers giving piano lessens in their home and even a one-chair hair salon. The enforcement of the ban is arbitrary. IJ has also been active in fighting civil forfeiture in which the government may seize one's property and to regain the property the owner must prove he is not engaged in criminal activity.

Judicial Watch uses the open records or freedom of information laws to investigate and uncover misconduct by government officials and litigates to hold politicians and public officials accountable who engage in corrupt activities. They also fight for fair and honest elections and defend voter ID laws and fight illegal sanctuary policies.

Tennessee Parks & Greenways Foundation  is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to protecting
and conserving Tennessee’s natural treasures. It is the oldest accredited, statewide land trust in Tennessee. Through collaboration with members, private landowners, local municipalities, and state and federal agencies, they work to create parks, establish wildlife corridors, expand existing protected public lands, and enhance public recreation opportunities.  Some of the most endangered and beautiful spots in Tennessee have been saved and made publicly accessible due to the work of this organization. 

 Tennessee Eagle Forum. The mission of TEF is "to enable conservative and pro-family men and women to participate in the process of self-government and public-policy making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty, respect for family integrity, public and private virtue, and private enterprise."  The organization is highly effective and has a tireless leader in Bobbie Patray.

Victim of Communism Memorial Foundation.  The Berlin Wall fell, but communism didn’t. One
hundred years after the Bolshevik Revolution, one fifth of the world’s population still lives under single-party communist regimes in China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. Communist regimes commit the worst and widest-scale human rights abuses on the planet. Communism promises to make everyone equal, but delivers radical inequality. Every time it’s tried, it ends in economic collapse or a police state. From the famines, purges, and gulags of Soviet Russia to Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge—from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre to the Castro regime’s 2012 murder of Oswaldo Payá—communists have killed more than 100 million people. Countless more suffered and suffer still. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the record of communism and an entire generation of Americans is open to collectivist ideas because they don’t know the truth. This foundations tries to keep the memory of the evils of communism alive.

The Alzheimer Association  advances research to end Alzheimer's and dementia while enhancing
care for those living with the disease. I support this organization because my wife has been living with dementia for at least 16 years. Misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer's in 2003 it was not until sometime in 2015 that she was correctly diagnosed as having a different condition. By the time the she was properly diagnosed and treated, the brain damage was advanced and not reversible. Advances in diagnosing and treating dementia would have made a big difference in Louella's life and in my life as her caregiver.


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