T.D. Jakes, Perry Noble, Nick Vujicic and Jentezen Franklin were among the numerous participants of the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" that's been sweeping online social networks. The stunt was being used to raise funds to support continued research into treating and curing Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Participants of the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" record a video of themselves being doused with a bucket of ice-cold (or icy) water. Participants also state which individuals they are nominating for the challenge. If a person who is called out for the challenge fails to accept within 24 hours, they are then expected to donate $100 to an ALS organization (although some do both the challenge and make a donation).
An example of the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" can be seen in the video below of Jakes, pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas:
As heard in the video, Jakes called out Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen, comedian and actress Sheryl Underwood and E. Dewey Smith, pastor of The House of Hope Atlanta. Both Underwood and Smith have accepted the challenge.
The "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge," most affiliated with the ALS Association, has been criticized by various parties, both for how it has been simplified by some participants as a social media trend as well as for the nature of the research involved in pursuing a cure for ALS.
The ALS Association explains that in its quest to "leave no stone unturned" to find effective treatments and a cure for Lou Gehrig's Disease, that an embryotic stem cell study was its current primary fund recipient. According to onlineforlife.org, that study involves stem cells taken from a fetus aborted at eight weeks. The ALS Association, emphasizing the need for "appropriate scientific review and ethical guidelines" in stem cell research, says that it allows donors to request that their donations not be used to fund embryonic stem cell research, or any projects involving human stem cells.
In a press release dated Aug. 29, the ALS Association revealed that it had received in the last 30 days $100.9 million in donations due to the viral nature of the ongoing "Ice Bucket Challenge." The organization raised more than 36 times as much in donations as it did in the same 30-day period last year, when it pulled in $2.8 million.
While the ALS Association is the primary organization linked to the "Ice Bucket Challenge," there are other nonprofits that fund research for treatments and a cure for the grave disease that does not involve the use of embryonic stem cells. Sen. Ted Cruz in his recorded "Ice Bucket Challenge," notes on his Facebook page that he personally supports John Paul II Medical Research Institute (as does Regent University) because the organization "respects human life."
Onlineforlife.org lists other organizations that do not support embryonic stem cell research that participants of the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" can donate to, including the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center (adult and nonembryonic stem cell research) and the Mayo Clinic (adult stem cells).
ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig's Disease, is "a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord," according to the ALS Association.
Below are videos of Christian leaders carrying out the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge," including Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church (who calls out President Barack Obama); Jentezen Franklin, pastor of Free Chapel (who calls out Ed Young, Jr.); and Life Without Limbs ministry leader Nick Vujicic (who calls out Rick Warren and Joel Osteen). Also watch the bonus video of Dr. Ed Young, pastor of Second Baptist Church Houston, who got quite a surprise after substituting the required bucket of cold water, for a glass of water.