This weekend I was a guest golfer at the prestigious Menlo Country Club in Woodside. It was a glorious day, with no one else in sight on this magnificently tended course (though I suspect that's because word had gotten around that a Jew was on premises).
On the front nine I shot a characteristically miserable 56, prompting my host to propose a wager on the back (5 stroke handicap for me, $10 per hole!) to benefit the winner's favorite charity. Anyway, something came over me (must have been the Golf Nutrition Bar) and I shot a 46 on the back, forcing me to actually identify for him the organization I most often support:
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. If the religious right has its way, the US will become more of a theocratic state than any Middle Eastern regime. Must I really trust in God (as U.S. coins instruct me to do), or swear to tell the truth so help me God (can't I tell the truth all by myself)? Much more importantly, are we going to let superstitious politicians trample on women's rights, gay marriage, stem cell research, and a proper science education in public schools?
After hearing my chosen charity, the country club member politely asked me "er, What else do you like?" So I shared with him another pet cause:
Sierra Club. When my son was 5, he prevailed upon me to join the Sierra Club. After hearing from a door-to-door fundraiser about the prospect of new oil drilling in Alaska, he pulled out his piggy bank and contributed his own money. His advocacy for wildlife was passionate, compelling, and contagious.
My golfing host cut his losses and agreed to fund Sierra Club. Good thing, too, because my next suggestion would have been PETA...