Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dougmas Jar

This is a long one. Sorry.

The time around the Winter Solstice is known among Dougintologists as the Dougmas Season. One of the ways we celebrate Dougmas is with a Dougmas Jar.

The idea is simple. You want to take jar and decorate it. On December first this jar gets placed near wherever you drop your keys and wallet and whatnot when you get home in the evening. As you're emptying your pockets you drop your change into the jar. You do this for the whole month and then on New Years Day you count up the change and write a check for that amount to your favorite charity.

The Church of Dougintology has its own preferred charities.

The Solar Electric Light Fund ( provides microloans to people in remote areas that the electrical grid hasn't been, or can't be, wired. $500 can provide a house with solar panels, batteries, and lights. Maybe even a small fridge to keep vaccines from spoiling.

Trees for the Future ( plants trees in barren areas. I believe that $0.10 plants 1 tree. The desert generally known a the Sahara Desert (Sahara is actually just one part of the huge north African desert) continues to expand due to poor land management. TftF works with the locals to plant Moringa trees in these areas. There's already enough rain, but the soil is often packed hard. The trees help break up the soil so other things can grow, provide food for the locals, and eventually become fuel.
I like this one because it helps create an environment where the locals can support themselves instead of continually needing donations of food and money so they can continue living where nobody should be living.

For Douglas Adams (a Dougintology saint) I include:
* The Dian Fossey Gorilla Foundation (
* Save the Rhino (

The Do-Not-Give list:
This tradition started because of the overly secular nature of the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is one of the most universally recognized charities. They provide food and shelter for the homeless whether due to poverty or disaster. Seems like a good cause, right? Alas, they are also a religious organization. Their giving is based on whether or not you believe what they believe or are at least willing to sit through their services. It's not out of the kindness of their hearts that they're helping people. It's just a tool to try to manipulate the most vulnerable into sharing their beliefs.

And then there's their stand on gay rights. They do hire gays, but only because they're legally required not to discriminate in their hiring practices. They've spent several years spending your donations to lobby the Bush administration to give them a waiver on having to not discriminate. They've spent donation money to fight equal rights for homosexuals laws in Scotland. They refuse to provide aid to poor gays. They refuse to provide equal benefits to gay employees.

Just added to the Do-Not-Give list: The Christian Children's Fund.

You may have heard that Gary Gygax died on March 4th of this year. Gygax is best known as the creator of Dungeons and Dragons. D&D not only helped provide many thousands, if not millions, of geeks with a social life and human interaction but also spawned dozens of board games, computer games, books, and comic strips. He was a beloved father figure for many geeks. So at this year's GenCon Indianapolis they dedicated the Charity Auction to Gygax's favorite charity: The Christian Children's Fund.

They raised $17,000 for the charity but when they tried to present it the charity rejected the money. They didn't want to take money from D&D players or that was raised via the sales of D&D material. They felt the money was somehow tainted and that the poor children that might be fed or provided with clean drinking water were better off hungry than fed with dirty gamer money.

The money did finally find a good home. The Fisher House Foundation doesn't discriminate about who gives them money. The Fisher Houses are like Ronald McDonald houses for wounded soldiers. While the soldier is in the hospital his family gets to stay in the Fisher Houses for free. But I think there may be some arrangement about who does the cooking in the house. They were happy to have the money.

The Church of Dougintology frowns on any kind of discrimination and use of carrot or stick to manipulate people into sharing your beliefs. It encourages everyone to find their own beliefs even if that belief is no belief.

We disapprove of faith based charities partially because they usually refuse care to people who refuse to attend their services first. It's not charity if you're using it as a bribe. This is not what Jesus would do.
We also disapprove because a healthy chunk of the money is used to buy Bibles instead of food or health care. We're giving to help the poor, not teach them that their ways are wrong and they should reject their medicine men.
And partially because they'll refuse aid to good Christians whose lifestyle they disapprove of. So what if the homeless gay guy is only homeless because his parents' Christian beliefs required they throw him out of the house when he came out of the closet.

Anyway, I found a jar for this year. I may even decorate it. If you do something similar I'd love to hear it.

Operation Foxhole ( creates care packages for soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. There are religious groups that create care packages but they're mostly religious DVDs and books. Operation Foxhole is run by soldiers. Their care packages include things that deployed soldiers actually want. Things like fresh socks, Skittles, and whatnot. They accept donations of money, goods, or letters. You can use the link above to find out more.

1 comment:

Sweetly Single said...

I love the fact that you put Dian Fossey on the your list!! She is a true hero and one of my favorite foundations to support.