Updated 02:54 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 22, 2021

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Controversy: Animals Rights Activists, Catholics and Protestants Speak Out, Some Make Accusations of 'Slacktivism'

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While the ALS 'Ice Bucket Challenge' has raised more than $50 million so far for ALS research since it's inception last month, the charitable campaign has been met with criticism from different groups. There has also been a push from the 'Pro-Life' sect, who cites that ALS research means experimenting with stem cells, which they consider to be a form of abortion. Both Catholics and Protestants alike agree on this fundamental claim. Other critics call the challenge an act of 'slacktivism,' which can be classified as participating in a movement due to its popularity. Lastly, Pamela Anderson, a life long PETA advocate, cites that ALS research means harmful testing of animals.  

Catholics as well as Protestants believe that stem cells, also known as embryonic cells, are the equivalent of a human life. When these cells are harvested it is the same thing as committing murder. The Archdioceses of Cincinnati has banned all ice bucket donations from its schools in order to prevent stem cell research.

"We deeply appreciate the compassion, but there's a well established moral principle that good ends are not enough. The means must also be morally licit," said Cincinnati Archdiocese spokesperson Dan Andriacco.

Anti-abortion activist Lila Rose has been warning Republicans to stay away from the ice bucket challenge for the same reasons. "It hurts the pro-life cause, which calls for a consistent, cohesive ethic on the dignity of ALL human life, when pro-life politicians take part in gimmicks or events, however well-intended, that contribute directly and unapologetically to the culture of death," Rose told BuzzFeed.

Aside from moral and ethical claims about where the donations are being spent, critics also cite that the ice bucket challenge is just the latest victim of 'slacktivism.' Slacktivisim can loosely be defined as a trendy movement, in which participants are only engaging because it is the popular or cool thing to do. Critics are curious whether all participants actually donated money or--more importantly--know what ALS is.

Slacktivisim lives and dies with social media. In a couple weeks when the hype has worn off, millions of people will go back to their day to day lives and forget all about ALS. Whether or not the ice bucket challenge can be classified as such a 'slacktivist' movement, the fact remains that according to TIME, $50 million has already been raised for ALS research by the 'ice bucket' challenges, no matter the motive.

The last counter-attack on the ice bucket challenge comes from celebrity Pamela Anderson, who claims that ALS research harms animals when searching for cures. "Recent experiments funded by the ALS Association, mice had holes drilled into their skulls, were inflicted with crippling illnesses, and were forced to run on an inclined treadmill until they collapsed from exhaustion. Monkeys had chemicals injected into their brains and backs and were later killed and dissected," Anderson wrote on her Facebook page.

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