why we shouldn’t support the ice bucket challenge

EDITED TO ADD:  As a blogger I’m constantly learning and assessing how to communicate better and more effectively. Looking back I wish I had titled this blog post : Rethinking the Ice Bucket Challenge. Because while I’m still choosing not to participate, I think that many have used this community challenge to talk about not only ALS but also the aspects involved in research such as ESCR and awareness of ethical Biomedical labs.  Knowledge is key! I hope readers can understand that we aren’t just being negative about something that seems so positive…. we are just trying to live consistently with what we are most passionate about.

This past week my husband and I read something about the ALS ice bucket challenge and once we read it we couldn’t ignore it and started digging deeper.  You see this good hearted genius challenge IS directly linked to the ALSA foundation. To date over 30 Million dollars has been donated to that specific organization through this social media campaign.  So we researched further about ALSA and found that while we have no doubt they have the best of intentions, we simply can not support them in their efforts to finding a cure because well, we believe life begins at conception.  And that conviction proves to be the reason why we can’t support this campaign due to the default organization it contributes to.  This is what Dan wrote on why he or others who are Pro-life shouldn’t join in on the ice bucket challenge.

This isn’t to say if you’ve done it you’re wrong (If we hadn’t read what we did I have no doubt I would have a cute photo of my kids with water buckets on their heads up on facebook by now)  it’s just asking us to be informed and to look deeper. Because once we do,  then we can align our efforts and resources to those things that are consistent with what our core values are.  And I do realize that LOTS of other Biomedical organizations also fall into this same category for us. We are just trying to research and be educated as we seek to live consistently with our convictions and spend our money and use our voices to those things which we are most passionate about and that we feel support life in a way that honors all life…. even the tiniest ones.  Emotions and Experience plays big into our feelings about finding a cure for these diseases that have taken the lives of our loved ones. And I hope and pray that research continues and cures are found!  But I also hope and pray that  during the most darkest of moments that we can find Truth to be absolute and a strong rock to stand on when things around us feel so very subjective.

We want a cure. We want research. We just don’t want it done the way ALSA (and so many other biomedical research labs) is doing it.  So we want to be a voice. It might be a small one and seemingly useless in the shadow of 30 millions dollars and growing raised. But It’s still facts that we think are important to know and stand on moving forward. BE sure to see the LINK at the bottom of the post to an organization that would be great to support if this is your conviction.

Here’s what Dan Chappell wrote:

A humble challenge on the ALS ice bucket challenge:

I have considered for days now whether or not to say anything in a public way about the ALS/ALSA challenge. But, tonight I must confess I feel as though some perspective is needed in order for individuals to make an informed, and I think important, ethical decision. First, it is important in our day of social media revolutions to be thorough in our investigation of the causes we support. This is an important word to us all (including me). I want to say that the desire to find a cure for ALS, Parkinson’s,Alzheimer’s, and many other debilitating diseases, is a admirable and important human goal. However, the intent to save a life does not always justify the means we choose to bring about that result. 

 If you are a believer and seek to be consistently pro-life I truly ask you to look deeper and see what your money and support truly funds and supports.  The ALS Association uses embryonic stem cells as a primary research method. They also are an organization that lobbies for federal funding of the use of ESCR (Embryonic Stem Cell Research). These embryo’s are harvested and/or donated and then as part of the research process of many Biomedical Labs they are destroyed by the removal of stem cells and are discarded. They also use fetal tissue that have come because a child was aborted. This must be an important consideration to all who want to honor human life as the image of God, from conception to death.  

You can see why the use of embryonic stem cells is so popular… but if you believe that life begins at conception then it comes at far too great of a price.

From ALSA.org: “Adult stem cell research is important and should be done alongside embryonic stem cell research as both will provide valuable insights. Only through exploration of all types of stem cell research will scientists find the most efficient and effective ways to treat diseases.”

 I ask you to consider whether this information should guide you in your public support and funding of such research. I want to be clear, I am not judging nor am I questioning the character of researchers or those who have and will take this challenge. I simply am begging you to be informed and to consider the cost of experimental research to human life and dignity.   Saint John Paul II said in 2003:  “Any treatment which claims to save human lives, yet is based upon the destruction of human life in its embryonic state, is logically and morally contradictory, as is any production of human embryos for the direct or indirect purpose of experimentation or eventual destruction.”   You say we are saving lives, but not one cure has come using ESCR and how many lives has it cost? 



Even Scientists have studied and written on the down sides to using ESCR vs. Adult stem cell research and the benefits to the latter are far greater especially in the current ability for clinical trials on living people.  It’s the HOPE of something… of a possible cure… a possible treatment that fuels ESCR. And to me that’s not the kind Hope I can get behind because it impacts lives in the here and now and in the coming years in a harmful way. AND furthermore, Think about if the research on embryos does result in a breakthrough, then there would be mass amounts of embryos needed and harvested.  Not to discount the suffering of those with ALS or those caring for them…. it’s just to say, we can look for Hope in other places and trust we are seeking the best of everyone.  

So, I will not be dumping Water on my head and I will not be donating to the ALS Association, but it is not because I do not care. Trust me I do. I simply believe that in seeking to save a life, I cannot support the destruction of another life’s right to exist, no matter what the stage of development. I ask you to pray and before the Lord consider your position on this. Imagine that if we all spoke with one voice for ethical biomedical research, the results we could accomplish. 


Our friend Amber Lehman who is CEO at a First Solutions Pregnancy Center in Raleigh wrote and encouraged us all to think about what we CAN do.  She wrote:

For a pretty thorough look at organizations that support embryonic stem cell research you can go here: http://www.jp2mri.org/organizationslist.htm. Consider what impact could be had if the organization you love who does ESCR received hundred, maybe thousands, of letters telling them that you will begin supporting them when their funding no longer supports ESCR. Just consider it. Consider thinking through your moral values and what you really believe. Are you pro-life? How can you live that more consistently? Are embryos the tiniest human beings in need of protection or not? Could we fight for those embryos left behind by IVF to be donated to couples not able to afford IVF full price? How many ways could we change this issue if we thought about it.

Wait a minute, Amber, I thought you ran crisis pregnancy center and helping women through unexpected pregnancies? Why so passionate about this? Because it is equal to an abortion–you may as well dump a bucket of ice and give to Planned Parenthood (#1 abortion provider worldwide).

A human life is a human life at 1 day old in a petri dish and 100 years old on a death bed–there is no other logical conclusion I can find, either we logically take life back to day one or we find some arbitrary line in “life” to determine he/she is a person with value.


I have numerous links and an extensive bibliography if you would like to know more and do in depth research, I hope you do. I would be happy to provide those to you.  Please email me at { danandcasey@gmail.com }.  But I feel as though it is important to offer an alternative for an organization who is doing strong, important but ethical research.

Consider the John Paul II Medical Research Institute.

Or write the ALS Association and other ESCR supporting organizations…. tell them your concerns and your convictions. Let’s do more than a fun facebook video that draws attention to an organization that wants to save some lives but at the expense of untold numbers of others. Let’s save lives….even the itty bitty ones, the ones with no voice and no choice and let’s impact our world!  (Proverbs 31:8)  Because Ethical research absolutely matters.  And unethical research though it may seem to or promise to justify the means… has consequences that I don’t think many of us have stopped to consider or weigh with the future of our society, let alone Eternity, in mind. 

May we be a people of continual learning and  knowledge and wisdom. May we champion life for all people and be consistent in our beliefs and convictions.  

** And ya’ll I (Casey) get it… this all feels so overwhelming and personal. Some of you have watched loved ones die before your eyes and before they should have. You want us to find cures!! And when you start looking at who uses Embryonic Stem Cells you start feeling the walls caving in on you because the lists are vast and the organizations are large and they involve fighting Cancer, Ms, Diabetes, All sorts of foundations and organizations looking for cures to terrible diseases.  You can start to feel like why bother… I’ll never be able to avoid all of them, or afford to support the few who do ethical research on my own.  But take heart, I just think we can stand where we can stand and all wrestle with the convictions we hold to and seek education and then provide education and then trust that the Spirit will lead those to walk in a way that is founded on truth and knowledge even when it feels overwhelming and hard.

I do realize that this is one small tip of a very large iceberg and that our society for the most part doesn’t have the same convictions we (who are Pro-life) might. But because this is something I’m very passionate about I wanted to share and just give depth to a social media campaign (which is genius and good hearted!!) but that way we all can still act and give to the organizations which best support the convictions of our hearts! And those who do know me know that I’m for ethics in many areas of life! (Hello International Adoption.. I have lots of stories how doing the hard thing but the right thing was something we had to decide to do in our journey to Africa)  This is just one that is at the forefront of many people’s minds and facebook feeds.  




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