Random musings

Would you take the money?

The following video is from the national geographic documentary series.  What would you do and why?

For those who have not followed the link, the issue is whether a church charity should take money from a brothel to support their ministry to poor kids.

About Author

Shane is an ethicist and theologian, Honorary Associate for the Centre of Disability Research and Policy, the University of Sydney, and Assistant Director, Policy, at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation against People with Disability. Shane is proudly disabled, and an occasional blogger on


  • craig bennett
    August 13, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Interesting scenario.

    Using the scenario that was given, that the nuns were unaware of whom gave the money, I would accept the money. I would also take the money if I knew who it was coming from if there was no attatchments to it.

    A couple of issues / questions are raised.

    1) Is there any difference to taking this money than there is with any other monies recieved through an offering which has dubious origins. Eg, gambling, unethical business, loans, unpaid bills etc.

    2.) It acceptance of it could be used as a bridge building exercise towards future ministry with the brothel / workers etc.

    3.) I’m thinking of the street girl who broke an alablaster of expensive oil over Jesus head and the one who wiped his feet with hair and tears….there could be a sense of repentence coming from the brothel owner / worker….

    4.) There is a OT example of the Israelites taking the Egyption gold as they set off for their exodus….plus many examples of them raiding conqured enemies temples etc.

  • Penny Nakanishi
    August 14, 2010 at 12:00 am

    If it were clear where the money was coming from I wouldn’t take it for the sake of my brothers and sisters in Christ.(1Cor8) Taking the money would be a very controversial decision and potentially hurt many of the congregation if the truth came out. There is no way to be sure that the news of the donation and its source would not be leaked.
    I believe that God would not want me to hurt those dear to Him and that He is able to miraculously provide for the orphans.

  • Greta Cornish
    August 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I think one of the benefits of considering an ethical dilemma like this is the fact that we would (realistically) probably never actually have to deal with this exact hypothetical situation.
    However, I think it raises an important line of thinking for what goes on in our community every day in regards to monetary grants given out to various community groups by our local clubs. The fact of the matter is that a lot of these grants, while extremely beneficial in helping valuable volunteer organisations, are funded (at least in part) by pokie machine revenue. The notion of someone’s crippling addiction funding the greater good puts me in a bit of a bind. Should the church, in trying to make connections with it’s community, accept grants from bodies such as the local RSL in order to continue works of social concern?

  • Craig Benno
    August 31, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Interesting thoughts Greta.

    It raises the ethical question if we should accept monies from the government who accept taxes from same RSL clubs, or from the sale of cigarettes, or even those within our own pews in the collection plate who may be involved in the selling of lottery tickets or the sale / manufacture of tobacco, alcohol, racing, or other forms of legal merchandise.


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