(COVINGTON, La.) – Several students at St. Paul’s School have joined thousands in turning against the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge over the past several days, citing the internet sensation as “overused and boring,” while other members of the SPS community have found an even deeper problem with the seemingly positive mission, pointing to moral problems with the ALS Association’s spending.
“Some of the ALSA’s (funds go) to embryonic stem cell research,” SPS Religion Teacher Thomas Lahey said. “(This) is a problem because when scientists do research on embryonic stem cells, they’re basically taking those stem cells from embryos which have been formed in a test tube or they’re taking the stem cells from aborted fetuses. Both constitute murder in the eyes of the church.”
Because of this, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond urges participants to donate instead to Team Gleason, a local organization created by former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.
“It is possible for people to contribute to research that is morally acceptable,” Aymond wrote in his Clarion Herald column. “The Steve Gleason Fund – which was begun by former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason to fund ALS research – involves research that does not use embryonic stem cells. People can specify in their donation to the Steve Gleason Fund how their donation should be used.”
The Ice Bucket Challenge stipulates that once nominated, candidates have 24 hours to complete the challenge. Participants are expected to donate $10 for completing the challenge or $100 for declining. However, St. Paul’s senior Andrew Brouillette finds the challenge to be ineffective.
“When you do the Ice Bucket Challenge, it’s not really helping people with ALS. All you’re doing is pouring ice on your head,” Brouillette said. “If you don’t do the Ice Bucket Challenge, you’re not going to pay. The only people that really contribute are celebrities.”
Celebrities have certainly contributed, as well as many others who view the Challenge as more than an excuse to create a funny video while dumping cold water over themselves. According to the Boston Globe, more than $94 million has been raised to find a cure for what has often been referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” after the wildly-popular New York Yankees First Baseman who became the first known celebrity to contract the disease.
Those who wish to learn more about ALS or donate to Team Gleason can find more information at www.teamgleason.org.