Local pro-life organization is raising funds in a way that I think is intentionally misleading. Can I do anything? Should I do anything?
A sidewalk vendor appeared in my Brooklyn neighborhood a while back. They started as just a book table, but have expanded and it's several tables set up lengthwise with junk spilling out everywhere: furniture, housewares, books, and other second-hand items, all sold "to benefit the homeless."
Only after they'd been there for many months did I realize that there was a little sign on the very end of one table stating that they were actually a pro-life organization
. (Their website used to have more information about the "pro-life" aspects of their mission, but it seems to have been changed. Right now there's just a single mention offering aid to "expectant mothers.") Sometimes there's no signage whatsoever. Today there were just big paper signs that said "SALE FOR THE HOMELESS."
I disapprove of this sort of fundraising, specifically because they aren't up-front about who they are and what they're doing with the money. (I have the same beef with the Salvation Army bell ringers
.) It irritates me to know that a lot of their money probably comes from people who would never knowingly give to any kind of pro-life organization. At one time I just resigned to leave them alone and hope they moved on to somewhere else, but it's been over a year and they've flourished, and they show no sign of being more forthright with customers about who they are and what they're doing. It's hard to ignore, I have to walk back and forth past their tables several times a day.
Also, this is circumstantial, but around the time they started up, someone
began wheatpasting anti-abortion propaganda fliers all over the neighborhood, written in both English and Polish. Stuff like "Diary of an Unborn Child
" or vile descriptions of abortion procedures, often posted at children's eye-level. These have been replenished just about as rapidly as they've been defaced or removed by others in the neighborhood.
So, if I were going to complain about them, who would I complain to? My city councilperson? They must have a permit for the table or they'd have been shut down long ago, but they do seem to have let things get out of hand.
Or is this a situation where I should really just hold my tongue and chalk it up to cultural differences with people in my neighborhood? I'd like to hear some opinions.