On Saturday, GOPUSA reported on the fundraising effort a church and associated school were putting together for the Wounded Warrior project. Unfortunately, the organization rejected the funds and said they would not accept any donations from religious organizations. The outcry on GOPUSA and other sources was so strong... and it made a difference!
Here's the initial news report from Saturday:
The original Fox News story detailed how the Liberty Baptist Church and Academy in Fort Pierce, Florida was trying to raise money for the WWP.
The church had planned on taking up a special offering on the last Sunday in February and students were collecting money from family and friends.
“We must decline the opportunity to be the beneficiary of your event due to our fundraising event criteria, which doesn’t allow community events to be religious in nature,” read an email from the WWP community events team. “Please note your registration fee will be refunded within the next 7-10 business days.”
WWP said as a nonpartisan organization they cannot accept event fundraising from companies “in which the product or message is religious in nature.”
Pastor Cooley said they were so shocked that the school secretary called Wounded Warrior to make sure there hadn’t been a mistake. He said a WWP representative assured her that “religious” was indeed on their banned list.
But now it appears the Wounded Warrior Project has had a change of heart. In a follow-up story, Todd Starnes reports that "the Wounded Warrior Project has apologized for rejecting donations from a Baptist church and said the incident was 'blown out of proportion' even though the organization’s website states that religious donations are not accepted."
The spokesperson said the charity does not have a policy banning religious groups from hosting fundraisers. WWP said the event was rejected because the church would be ‘soliciting funds’ and they would be doing so over an entire month.
“The truth is – it was a mistake from a junior staff member,” the spokesperson said. “We register religious events on a regular basis and always have.”
So what is going on here? Did the Wounded Warrior Project organizers commit a simple mistake, or are they bowing to public pressure. If funds from religious events are accepted on a "regular basis," then why does the web site state differently? And why did the e-mail received by the school also state that the funds raised by the church would not be accepted because of the religious nature of the fundraising event?
It's great to see the Wounded Warrior Project do the right thing here. The real question is what happens in the future, and why is there a conflict between what is being said by the WWP spokesman and what appears on their web site?