Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Two Would Be a Crowd for Two Mothers in Law

DEAR ABBY: Our nephew recently asked family members for money to help him go on a mission for his church. Apparently he is supposed to gather 50 sponsors to pay a "tax deductible" $50 to $100 per month for two years (via direct bill or credit card), according to the forms from his church.

We love our nephew and his parents, but we do not share their religious beliefs. And quite frankly, the request has upset more than a few members of the family because the amount requested is obviously not just to support the young man, but a way to support his church.

Help! How do we respond to such a "charitable" request? -- EMBARRASSED IN ARIZONA

DEAR EMBARRASSED: Respond by writing your nephew a sweet note wishing him well on his mission, and explaining that you do not feel comfortable donating. In no way are you obligated to fork over money -- via credit card or any other way -- and you should not feel embarrassed for declining to donate.