I have been volunteering at AI for two months now, doing their e-bulletins and website updates every Friday.
I looked for a place to get involved with the community when I reached Adelaide: I saw it as essential to maintaining an attitude that cared about what was going on in places out of my own little bubble–it’s easy to forget once you’re swamped with life.
I picked Amnesty (over Australian Refugee Association) because of convenience and because there happened to be a position that needed to be filled. I wasn’t quite sure if I necessarily supported what they did, I was just there to learn. I knew they had been doing good, effective work, and I was curious. I wanted to get a sense of why and how campaigns and street marches were effective or important.
Yin Wei asked me if I’d turned into an anti-capital punishment campaigner when I told him of this; I hadn’t. : )
I just knew I wanted to keep playing my small part. I wanted to keep taking the one hour journey to Amnesty every Friday and be consistent in little things that are so important to the running of a huge organisation like this one. Hopefully I’ll be convicted and find my passion in championing an issue somewhere, while I’m sending out emails and managing mailing lists and posting up events on the website.
There’s one thing though. In recent years, however, Amnesty has expanded the range of issues it stands for, including LGBT rights and its updated stance on abortion.
Amnesty International now believes “women and men must exercise their sexual and reproductive rights free from coercion, discrimination, and violence.”
Well, abortion is against my Christian faith. That is the only thing I am certain of in this situation that has been much discussed about elsewhere.
I mean, what do you do then?
Do you then overlook all the good works that AI has done? Does this mean AI has fundamentally changed? Has it changed too far? Should Christians, or the church, then distance themselves from Amnesty’s work? Would it help the cause of social justice?
I suppose criticism is inevitable for a huge organisation like this in a complicated and complex world – earlier this year they took another hit for standing by a Jihadist. But while people figure out what’s the right thing to do in theory, I give them credit for soldiering on and just doing whatever they do, the best way they know how.