Apr 07

Who Needs a Donation When You Can Like, Share and Pray?

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Because I have brain cancer nobody wants to pray for me

I spotted this on a Facebook “wall” and found it nauseating. It made me angry. The post is exploitative and cynical on such a scale that it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t purposefully, carefully, engineered to be as misanthropic as possible.

I did a little searching to see if I could uncover the story behind this particular image. – So many posts like this are old and / or have aren’t even remotely accurate (in terms of what is actually depicted or their source).

I didn’t happen across the backstory (it appears to be a new meme). But I did come across this excellent article.

The essay makes several points:

When it comes to posts like this, one share does NOT equal one prayer. One like does NOT mean you think the baby with a physical disability or difference is “still cute.” One comment does NOT mean the sick child or abused puppy “will be saved.”

Here’s what you’re actually doing when you type Amen or share the photo on your wall:

  1. You’re exploiting what is most likely a stolen image of a child whose family has no idea it is being used.
  2. You’re making the owners of the page that posted it or the twisted people who stole the photo and created the post a whole lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong: I think there is value in sharing articles and raising awareness on issues. But the vast majority of these memes are bogus (and/or painfully out of date.) Even if this case of Bella with brain cancer is real, sharing it isn’t akin to raising awareness of a cause that gets little attention. “News flash: Cancer = Bad”.

And in what alternate world is a child with a brain tumor not receiving prayers? (The efficacy of prayer aside.) “Sorry kid. You know how it is. A brain tumor is a sign that god has marked you for damnation. I just can’t be seen praying for you. It wouldn’t go over well with the big guy.” Come on people! Do you really think a kid with cancer had to mock-up a graphic for facebook to get somebody to pray for them?! YOU ARE BEING PLAYED FOR FREE ADVERTISEMENT!

I’m confident that those who click, “Like” or share are people of goodwill, but besides the dubious source and quality of these memes, there is something of a cynical escape clause in every click.

It’s easy to hit the little thumb icon and feel good about oneself, but if you want to help a cause, REALLY help – consider a donation of your time and your money. – Don’t “Like” don’t share – you’re just chumming the waters for the cynical sharks of fake news and lining the pockets of the unscrupulous.

Care to help somebody suffering from cancer? Want to share something? Start here.

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