First, I will not get in whether giving to a particular ALS foundation is worthy or not of your giving. It appears the one in the news recently, ALSA, is using an existing stem cell line. Whether or not any giving to this organization would support this effort or any future, similar efforts is beyond the scope of this forum. We suggest you call and ask how your money will be spent, even administrative costs. This is true no matter where you are giving. But supporting ALS research, in general, is a worthy of support since it helps those in need of bodily aid.
In answering generally, first let us hear what it means to keep the fifth commandment according to Luther’s Small Catechism.
“Thou shalt not murder. What does this mean?– We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.” This is impossible for us to keep. It is impossible for us to know that we have kept it: Psalm 19:12 “Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.” Even if you support an organization that does not use embryonic cell research, your work is still tainted by sin. The sin of pride, the sin of omission (for example: did I really give as I could have or did I neglect to research their business practices?) You are a sinful creature and cannot claim any work as keeping any commandment. Our justification before God does not come from the law.
Having said that if we know that in supporting an organization that we would be giving our money that directly supports the taking of a life, even if that ends up helping find a cure for a disease, then we should avoid doing it. (Note: We cannot control indirect sourcing as when you pay someone for goods or services and then they in turn use that for evil). If you have given and then realized your error, there is always forgiveness. If you gave despite knowing where the money was going, there is always forgiveness. Seek out your pastor who, in the stead of Christ, can and will forgive your sins. Christ alone is your justification apart from the law. For by the law no one is made righteous. Only Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross is able to make you righteous before God. This is a broken world. You are a broken, sinful being. You cannot measure your righteousness by the law. But God has given his dear Son for you that he sees Christ’s righteousness which covers all the iniquity with which you are corrupted.
Pastor Gary Hall