Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Money laundering, the Christian Mafia, and an email to ‘the Black Bitch’ (Part Two)

...continued on from 'Money laundering, the Christian Mafia, and an email to 'the black bitch' (Part One)

So, where does ‘the black bitch’ fit into the Christian Mafia story ? Who is the ‘black bitch’?

The following anecdote is a little off-topic but not so far off that I need to make too many excuses for including it here. It is a story well known within the NGO community and the subject of plenty of hushed cocktail banter. You will not read about in the newspapers, however, for reasons that will become apparent.

I cannot mention either the name of the NGO (a household name) or the name of the central character in the anecdote (another household name) because both are extremely litigious and would have a gaggle of lawyers descend on me like a ton of bricks if I mentioned them. The Christian Mafia does not want its dirty linen washed in public.

It is a story that touches on the foolishness of hitting the ‘reply’ button when sending an email without checking to see precisely whom you are replying to. It is also a story that highlights the arrogance of NGO’s untroubled by the precepts of transparency and accountability to be found prominently displayed on their websites; NGOs who are Lords of their multi-million dollar empires, subject to no independent external monitoring or assessment; laws unto themselves.

The story is long. I will cut to the chase. A black former employee of this particular NGO found herself involved in a minor dispute with it about the level of pay she was entitled to if she were to be re-employed by the NGO. An arrogant woman by all accounts who felt that she was entitled to a higher wage and a more elevated position within the heirarchy than the NGO was offering.

In the course of this minor dispute the CEO of this particular NGO sent an email to someone else within the NGO in which he referred to the former employee as a ‘black bitch’. Alas, he copied this email to the ‘black bitch’ herself! You can guess what happened next. Yes,  he was sued. It cost his NGO $70,000 to keep this out of the courts, out of the public eye and to enable business as usual to proceed with no-one the wiser apart from those in the NGO world who were privy to it or heard about it on the grape vine. That $70,000 to keep this man’s name off the front pages of newspapers was made up of small tax-deductible donations made by Australians who believe, because this NGO has a huge marketing department, that does it only good work around the world and is as pure as driven snow.

The stories about this man’s doltish behavior are legion but, as I mentioned earlier, you will never hear of them because the NGO he heads up (also in the business of saving souls for Jesus Christ) is notoriously litigious. The fatal combination of Spin Doctors, lawyers and a huge marketing section guarantees that the general public will never know what actually goes on in this or any other cashed-up NGO.

Indeed, the Sultans of Spin employed by the Christian Mafia will go to extraordinary lengths to keep you, the generous donor or sponsor, laboring under major illusions (delusions!) as to how your tax-deductible dollars are being spent. If you have made a donation to Citipointe church or to the Global Development Group some part of your  tax-deductible dollar is now going towards paying the lawyers and Spin Doctors who have been employed to break my legs. I am speaking metaphorically, of course. They do not want to break my legs. They want me in jail. They want me banned from coming to Cambodia again. They want me to shut up and not say out loud what everyone in Cambodia knows – that too many of the Christian NGOs in Cambodia are there to proselytize, to rescue Buddhist children from their heathen parents and turn them into God-fearing Christians convinced that their parents will be going to Hell for engaging in Buddhist ceremonies, for having Buddhist beliefs rather than accepting Jesus Christ as their Saviour. And, please excuse me for belabouring the point, but these human rights abuses are being paid for with tax-deductible Australian dollars. The Christian Mafia will insist otherwise but any and everyone associated with the NGO world in Cambodia knows that most Australian Christian NGOs are in the soul-saving business. It is contrary to AusAID rules but, if my experience is anything to go by, senior AusAID officials are either asleep at the wheel or turn a blind eye to the blatant proselytizing that takes place in Cambodia and, I suspect, in other 3rd world countries where evangelical Christians are breaking up families and saving souls with the assistance of Australian tax dollars, despite this:

“Evangelism (also called proselytism and missionary work) is the practice of attempting to convert people to another religion or faith…Tax-deductible funds cannot be used for evangelistic purposes nor for missionary activities. Missionary activities include evangelism but also extend to activities designed to build up the knowledge and faith of believers including theological training and study of worlds of religious wisdom such as the Koran, Torah or Bible. The building and maintenance of places of worship are also ineligible.

Guidelines governing AusAID’s partnership programme with NGOs similarly exclude evangelistic activities: “Approval will not be provided for activities which subsidize evangelism or missionary outreach…” AusAID funds must be used “to assist in strengthening an organization’s or a community’s development capacity of socio-economic situation…” and not to strengthen the ‘religious witness’ of a church or religious organization.

Under the very specific sub-heading of ‘Evangelical Activities’ the explanatory notes state: “AusAID and NGOs recognize and agree that AusAID funds are not to be used for programming that is designed to convert people from one religious faith or denomination to another or from one political persuasion to another. Nor should AusAID funds be used to build up church ecclesiastical or political structures except in circumstances where those structures are specifically designed to provide relief and/or development assistance. In this context, church, ecclesiastical and political structures include not just infrastructure, but could extend to training or organizational activities.”

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