The Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (IndyCAN) proclaims to bring “people together across racial, economic, and religious lines” in hopes of “achieving power for positive change.” Yet, despite their superior claims, the organization’s mission is misleading. Although they consider helping the “most vulnerable” their top priority, it would be perhaps more appropriate to say that their philosophy is to use the misfortunes of others to further their own political agenda.
Consider for example, their claim that they work across “religious lines.” All of the listed 22 members on IndyCAN’s website are churches. Curiously missing from this list are any temples, mosques, gurudwaras, and other places of worship. If IndyCAN is indeed interested in working with people regardless of the person’s faith, should they not include more than churches as a resource to the most vulnerable? What if a particular individual seeks help but does not profess the same faith as IndyCAN members? Would IndyCAN require such an individual to convert or help them anyway? Of course, they could always keep the list to include churches only but then they should be more accurate and forthcoming about their mission. At a minimum, their position is confusingly ignorant, at worst, a dangerous encroachment on a person’s religious freedom.
IndyCAN also boasts of working across “racial lines.” If race is not a targeted issue for this organization, how do they explain the overemphasis on the plight of a Spanish-speaking populace only? For instance, why do they only have “Espanol” marked as a choice for people visiting their website but no alternatives for Indians who speak Hindi, Pakistanis who speak Urdu, Chinese who speak Mandarin, and Somalis who speak Somali? Are we to assume that people from other races are all well off and only, those who speak “Espanol” are most vulnerable? Does IndyCAN want us to believe that only an “Espanol” speaking vulnerable population resides in Indianapolis and the surrounding area? That would be preposterous indeed!
Another paradox is IndyCAN’s claim to help people across the “economic lines.” How they help the “low to moderate-income people” and suggest that they work with people across “economic lines” is mindboggling. Indeed, if they do claim to work with people from all economic backgrounds, then all people in the area, looking for help, should have the same services available to them regardless of the individual’s financial background.
Perhaps, the most telling part of IndyCAN’s true function can be found in its Mission Statement itself: “IndyCAN’s mission is to build the leadership capacity of low and moderate-income people who live, work, and worship in Marion County, empowering them to work alongside service providers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to increase collaboration, leverage resources, and improve the systems impacting their lives.” [My emphasis]. In other words, IndyCAN’s mission is to use the “low and moderate-income people” to further their own ambitions and those of interest groups who stand to benefit the most from this sham. If IndyCAN, as a Christian organization, wanted to help the “most vulnerable,” it would spend less time on promoting their political agenda and focus more on Christ. Making corrections on their Mission Statement would be a great start.