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Atheists and Their Ignorant Fury Against Faith-Based Charities

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The Supreme Court just ruled on Monday, June 25, that the atheists and agnostics had “no standing” to bring a complaint against the government for creating a funding protocol for faith-based charities. I’ve been listening to them all morning as they complain that evil religious people will be taking over the world. They say we will use “charity” to preach our faith and that we will break down the wall between church and state. And, they say, if this happens who knows what will happen to our beloved democracy? Ah come on! The United States has a reputation for being a very religious country, yet our borders are continually open to people of all religions. We don’t forbid people of different faiths from becoming citizens. Nor do Christians prevent people of different faiths from enjoying the American way of life.

American atheists and agnostics like equating organized religion (especially Christianity) with evil, forgetting that Stalin and Mao Tse Tung performed their share of murderous atrocities, and that Hitler did not belong to any organized religion but was a lover of the occult and the just-plain-weird. Every time I hear some atheist or agnostic complaining about how “Christian faith-based charities” threaten to, I think of the YMCA, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Save the Children and the Christian Children's Fund.  These are just a few of the faith-based charities in the United States. I have yet to see these groups deny aid to anyone because of a difference in faith.

In fact, of all the food pantries and shelters in my little town, most are faith-based. The Salvation Army, for instance, has many food pantries and kitchens throughout the country. As do churches small and large. The only non-faith-based homeless shelter in my town couldn’t feed the amount of people who — at the end of the month — find themselves hungry and foodless. So why shouldn’t the faith-based pantries be helped out a bit by government funding?

The atheists and agnostics who brought the lawsuit against the White House don’t seem to want to acknowledge that many companies and organizations were created by people with faith and after a while proved so successful they became more secular. Again, the Salvation Army is an example of an organization that began as a religious charity or in the mind of a religious person — yet which is widely respected among secular organizations. The YMHA (Young Men Hebrew Association) and YMCA (Young Men Christian Association) began as religious organizations but now are more like cultural organizations now, rather than religious ones.

There are also organizations created by people of faith which were never ever religious at anytime during their history. Yes, people of faith can create community programs that don’t preach or advertise or proselytize. For instance, about thirty years ago four black women — one of them a minister — created the Peekskill Area Health Center. They were women of faith, and their purpose grew because of their faith that God wanted them to create a place which provided medical care for the poor. They have now created a multi-county secular organization, Hudson River Healthcare, that gives health care to countless of the underserved, migrant workers who work in the agricultural areas of upstate New York, immigrants, (legal or otherwise), in our urban area and in surrounding rural counties. And they even give out condoms. They aren’t out to preach to anyone about sexual abstinence, and they have no conservative agenda towards immigrants. Nor do they prevent people from getting services because of religious issues.

Even those faith-based charities which seem suspect provide charity to all people without preaching.

For instance: Although pro-life and originally created by a religious person, Birthright doesn’t get involved in politics at all.  Unlike Planned Parenthood which was created from Margaret Sanger’s racist eugenicist heart and which is responsible for so many abortions that have decimated our minority populations.  Birthright cares for poor women who have no money to take care of their children. Many Birthright agencies also provide counseling for the countless women who have been emotionally scarred because of abortions. Planned Parenthood doesn’t have any post-abortion counseling programs for the women whose lives are devastated by abortions.

Another examples of a faith-based charity that doesn’t preach and that keeps faith separated from charity is the Christian Children’s Fund. That organization takes care of poor children in the United States and all over the world without regard to the recipient’s religious faith. I, for example, have sponsored three children over the past two decades. They were primarily Moslems or Hindus but did I care? No! I just wanted the kids to be fed and housed.

The United States ranks among the top "charitable" countries. Three-quarters of charity donations are sent by individuals. Of the individuals who donate, the majority are religious Christians. Of the organizations receiving donations, most are Christian organizations. Certainly atheists aren't in the habit of giving a tenth of their income (and more) to the poor.

The atheists and agnostics who are so furious about God, religious people, and faith-based charities are simply bent on not seeing the obvious truth which is that, whatever they may think of those people who are “deluded” by religion, we “deluded” are generous, noble, hearted, fair, and above all…quite capable of helping people without preaching to them.

Perhaps they're afraid of acknowledging that religious people can be kind and organized because it comes too close to acknowledging that there is a kind and organized God in the universe.

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  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    I am ambivalent about Dubya’s faith-based initiative, and I’m also ambivalent about this decision.

    One the one hand, I believe that local religious charities are much better able to deliver goods and services to needy people than a cold, soulless government bureaucracy. Instead of indifferent government employees simply putting in their time until retirement, you have motivated volunteers who truly believe in and love their work. Also, they are closer to the people they serve than someone in a state capital office building, or Washington DC.

    On the other hand, I don’t want the government involved in subsidizing religion, ANY religion. First of all, the churches could become dependent upon the government cash, which would give the government vast leverage over the churches, making the churches themselves in a way dependent on government welfare. Second, it could lead to the government subsidizing Islamist “charities” that are little more than terrorist front groups. Third, it could sow discontent among citizens who don’t like the idea of their tax dollars going to promote ideologies that they disagree with.

    It’s a tough call. I guess we’ll have to see how this thing pans out over the next few years, and then we’ll have a better idea of whether it’s a mistake or not.

  • troll

    unlike the author some readers will remember examples of holier than thou attitudes and intense stigmatization that poor folk had to stomach and the hoops they had to negotiate back in the day before cold inefficient government took over social services (with its whole other set of illth and hoops)

    imo constitutionality questions aside it’s a mistake to re-empower churches with their long histories of abuse

    of couse things change and the future might not resemble the past

  • http://www.beltwayatheists.org Jeff Wismer

    Wow, you’re timing is excellent…

    You’re a wonderful example to Xians everywhere, b/c truly the Xian way to continue to attack people who just witnessed American Theocracy and their rights trampled upon by 5 Catholic theocratic judges in the supreme court.

    Good Job, keep up the excellent work.

  • http://www.beltwayatheists.org Jeff Wismer

    By the way, when you use Salvation Army as an example…who is really being ignorant??? Salvation Army has a long history of denying people employment who were not of the right faith:

    NEW YORK — The New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a lawsuit in federal court charging The Salvation Army with religious discrimination against employees in its government-funded social services in New York City and on Long Island.

    “This case is not about the right of the Salvation Army to practice or promote its religion. They have every right to do so, but not with government money,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. “The Salvation Army cannot use taxpayer money to practice religious discrimination against its social services employees.”

    US DOJ

    Lown v. Salvation Army: a group of current and former Salvation Army employees sued the Salvation Army and New York City and State officials, claiming that because the Salvation Army contracts with the City to provide a variety of services, including adoption, foster care, hospice care, and many other social services, the Salvation Army could no longer use religious criteria in its hiring and staffing decisions. Section 702 of Title VII protects the independence and autonomy of religious organizations by exempting them from the prohibition against discrimination in employment on the basis of religion. The plaintiffs, however, argued that it would violate the Establishment Clause for the Salvation Army to invoke this provision when contracting with the government. The Civil Rights Division filed a brief arguing that so long as the services being provided under the contract were secular in nature, the Salvation Army did not lose its right to define and preserve its character and identity as a religious organization through its personnel practices. The court agreed on September 30, 2005, and ruled in favor of the Salvation Army and the other defendants.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I don’t have a dog in this race, so I can comment as one who is no longer involved in the American rat-race, but as someone who once was.

    I remember being turned down three times for welfare when I was homeless – by the same bitch of a bureaucrat. I remember how pissed I was that she had a relatively secure roof over her head and a job – and I had neither. And jobs were not that easy to come by when I was living in the street.

    I shouldn’t be so nasty about it all. The government of Minnesota is not allowed deficit spending and the economic downturn of the early ’80’s (that vaunted Reagan “recovery” when ketchup was touted as a vegetable in school lunches), the state was near broke.

    I also have memories similar to the ones that troll recalls above. I remember how utterly humiliated I was by what was known as the Jewish Family Service in St. Paul. So religious organizations are not much better.

    In essence, there are no good answers, and litigating over stupid issues like whether a religious organization should get state money or not only enriches lawyers. The administrators of these religious organizations know well the dangers they face dancing with the devil of state funding. If they are stupid enough to take to the dance floor, let them slip on it.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    “…so many abortions that have decimated our minority populations”:

    Decimated? What are you talking about?

    “kind and organized God”:

    Then why is there so much need in the first place? (This isn’t meant as a smart-aleck question; I honestly wonder if you have noticed how often Christians have to defend or excuse the actions or inactions of their God.)

    “atheists and agnostics who are so furious…”:

    You seem to be fairly furious yourself. WWJD with atheists’ and agnostics’ questions? I don’t recall any part of his message that was about using political power to force anyone to observe the Beatitudes.

    If a Wiccan abortion clinic (were there such a thing) applied for faith-based government funds, would you support their right to receive them?

    What you choose to do with your contributions is one thing;what government does with OUR taxes is something else.

  • Leslie Bohn

    atheists aren’t in the habit of giving a tenth of their income (and more) to the poor.

    Any proof here?

    I wonder if the poster believes atheists to be uncharitable based on a simple lack of information. Not everyone, after all, is so quick to take credit for their charitable giving by, say, mentioning it in a blog post, followed by an unsubtle boast (she called herself “noble!”) that’s pretty embarrassing.

    But then so is smearing a whole group of people with no evidence.

  • Dr Dreadful

    “abortions that have decimated our minority populations…”

    Yeah, terrible, isn’t it? Hardly see a black face or hear a Latino voice at all these days. [/sarcasm]

  • Graham McKnight

    I understand the author’s concerns but she makes a few generalisations/ false claims.

    The most striking of which is the belief that every Christian gives a percentage of their wages to charity and that atheists tend not to. I think the author would have have more in agreement with her had she not made this claim for the simple reason that some Christians do give to charity whilst others do not, and some atheists do give to charity whilst others do not.

    Besides, as an Atheist myself I dislike the idea of charity giving; I would much rather prefer to stimulate the economy of the respective destitute person/ persons so that it may better provide for them and their families. The USA gives much to charitable organisations, but even with the best of intentions and efforts these organisations cannot repay the debt owed by the IMF and the WTO to betrayed nations and peoples.

    Charitable people have the best of intentions but their energies are misplaced; I equate charity to throwing your loose change into a black hole. I’d rather invest money in finding ways and means to stabalise that black hole because clearly the WTO ain’t gonna manage it with it’s fat ass budget beyond the wildest hopes and dreams of any charity that I know of.

  • bliffle

    Wrong again, RJ. Personal sacrifice, charity and good works are not exclusive to the religious. I won’t recite examples, because nothing can penetrate your ironclad bigotry.

  • MCH

    Re comment #1;
    “One the one hand…”

    But what about two the two hand…?

  • http://www.carolemcdonnell.com carole mcdonnell

    Honestly, guys!

    After Katrina, would you rather be helped in a disaster by the Salvation Army or by FEMA? And if FEMA can’t do it, would you rather a corporate entity such as Wal-mart? Both Wal-mart and the salvation army did way better at helping to feed, cloth, and shelter the Katrina homeless.

    I tend to think that the usefulness of the faith-based entities would be hurt by having governmental entities throwing red-tape at them.

    But certainly, in the last disasters…the corporate and faith-based communities were way more helpful, prompt, and organized than the government was.

    As for whether I think atheists are uncharitable or not, that’s not what I said. I mentioned the tithe…which is what the average religious person donates to his church or to charities. Last thing I heard there wasn’t an atheist tithe. I have no doubt atheists are generous, but since there is no record of what atheists or even folks who belong to “ethical societies” give to the poor, then we have no knowledge of the generosity of atheists, agnostics, et al.

    If you’re looking for proof of the generosity of American Christians, check out the UN stats. -Carole

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Many of us, I’m sure, give to any number of organized charities based on
    1) our financial ability to do so, and
    2) approval of the work the organization does and the record of good it accomplishes.

    No doubt religious faith motivates some individuals. For others, it may be a sense of shared humanity and a derire to alleviate any suffering that they can.

    That’s all to the good, usually. But for George Bush’s spiritual beliefs (or any religious group’s theology) to be pivotal to U.S. governmental policy and dominant in any budget decisions is treading on very dangerous ground for both state and church.

    And, of course, church property (and vast wealth, in some cases) is tax-exempt and may or may not be used to promote the general welfare.

  • http://atheisthussy.blogspot.com/ Intergalactic Hussy

    Churches historically have been known to rake in way more cash than they need each week.

    Atheists not charitable? Other than knowing from personal experience to be blatantly false, even more atheists would get involved if folktale stories weren’t constantly pushed on us as we try to do the work of the people (not god).

  • Constance

    Good article. Great debate.

  • http://www.beltwayatheists.org Jeff Wismer

    “I have no doubt atheists are generous, but since there is no record of what atheists or even folks who belong to “ethical societies” give to the poor, then we have no knowledge of the generosity of atheists, agnostics, et al. ”

    You certainly did you homework on this one…(it took me less than five minutes to google this)

    Secular Charities and Aid groups:

    Note: Guidestar, Charity Navigator and Charity Watch (American Institute of Philanthropy) describe and rate many different charitable organizations. Use these sites to research any group or charity before you donate.

    Secular Charities and Aid organizations are listed below. Please visit each group’s website to review their “About Us” pages. Excerpts appear after the website link, but are not comprehensive.

    American Red Cross
    The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. The USA’s premier emergency response organization, over 91% of Red Cross spending is on charitable services.

    United Nations Children’s Fund
    UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a “first call for children” and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families. UNICEF provides emergency and disaster relief.

    Doctors without Borders
    Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in nearly 70 countries.

    Oxfam International
    Oxfam International is a confederation of 12 organizations working together with over 3,000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty, suffering and injustice. The Oxfams operate in over 100 countries worldwide working with local partners to alleviate poverty and injustice.

    Council for Secular Humanism
    Provides secular support services to non-religious people throughout North America. Look to it for help with plans for weddings, funerals, conferences, speaking events, etc.

    The Nature Conservancy
    The Nature Conservancy is a leading international, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the diversity of life on Earth. An environmental group that protects natural habitats and the wildlife within them. Focuses on “science-based” initiatives.

    Population Connection
    Population Connection is the national grassroots population organization that educates young people and advocates progressive action to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained by Earth’s resources. Works against faith-based policies that are supported by the Religious Right.

    Earth’s Atheist Resistance To Holy Wars And Religious Devastation – A growing atheist charity, EARTHWARD is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonmembership public-benefit charity organization that provides humanitarian relief aid to civilian victims of religiously motivated violence.

  • http://www.beltwayatheists.org Jeff Wismer

    “After Katrina, would you rather be helped in a disaster by the Salvation Army or by FEMA? And if FEMA can’t do it, would you rather a corporate entity such as Wal-mart? Both Wal-mart and the salvation army did way better at helping to feed, cloth, and shelter the Katrina homeless.”

    I thought god was supposed to be there? Where was god? Was god on vacation during Katrina? Or do you agree with your Xians brothers/sisters who say it was a punishment from god on new orleans?

  • http://www.beltwayatheists.org Jeff Wismer

    “I tend to think that the usefulness of the faith-based entities would be hurt by having governmental entities throwing red-tape at them.”

    Charity Governance

    You’re right who needs red-tape when you can sell two coast guard ships given by the government’s Faith Based Office and use that money to evangelize and brainwash children !!!

  • Graham McKnight

    Carole,

    The tithe does not serve as a record for the amount of money religious people give to charities, it would be absurd to believe that this was so.

    Again, you mention in your response that: ‘I mentioned the tithe…which is what the average religious person donates to his church or to charities.’ I know of many religious people, my mother included. None of them donate a tenth of their wage to the Church, taking the sizeable number of religious people that I know of, the proportion that give a tenth of their income to the church do not constitute the majority, they simply cannot afford to as the government removes a large percentage of wages via taxes etc etc.

    Besides, what were you hoping to prove with this point anyway? Does donating a larger percentage of your wages to charity make you a better servant of your nonsensical God than your friend or relative who donates less?

    How about increasing taxes with the intent of investing more in our children’s education so that the next generation may better understand global economics? Charity serves as evidence of a faltering economy anyway, does it not?

  • http://www.beltwayatheists.org Jeff Wismer

    “But certainly, in the last disasters…the corporate and faith-based communities were way more helpful, prompt, and organized than the government was.”

    I can really tell by that statement how well thought out and scientific your article is…or in other words, let’s just put down whatever I want on paper, and pray that it’s good (that works right?)

    Hurricane Katrina

    I wonder if you were actually there after Hurricane Katrina hit…if you were, you must have been in church the whole time, or praying to god with your eyes shut, the Corporation for National and Community Service was the first responders and the best organized group, even more so then the red cross, who couldn’t even shelter me when I aked them to when I asked to volunteer.

    Tsunami

  • http://www.beltwayatheists.org Jeff Wismer

    Is it too much to ask for some accountability to the writer to actually do some homework and research before writing a bunch of nonsense.

    In the words of Elaine Wright Colvin:

    “Facts aren’t too high on our priority list, they just get in the way of god”

  • bliffle

    Bill Gates, whose philanthropy is well-known, is irreligious. Warren Buffet, who threw his excess wealth into gates’ philanthropy pot, is openly agnostic.

    And as far as I know, none of their foundations requires an oath of belief in superstition from the recipients of their charity. None of them requires withholding of medicine to punish people for their sins and not obeying voices in the benefactors heads.

  • http://www.carolemcdonnell.com carole mcdonnell

    Wow, Jim!

    You are proving my case against immature fury. You got email addresses from my website, sent emails to all my friends and colleagues (many of whom are atheists and who think you shame their cause) and then you spend the day inciting all your friends to email me and to post cruel emails to my website and to my myspace page. You even emailed writers’ groups to incite them to jeer and mock at me. I’ve never seen such fury and such immaturity combined in one. The weird thing is that it seems that you and your atheist friends who are harrassing me and inciting others to harass me are all so rude…and all so immature about how to deal with people. Talk about a herd mind! You’ve only proved that you guys do indeed have an immature and ignorant fury.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Whoever this Jim fellow is, he doesn’t seem to have come from BC. Not this thread, anyway.

  • A Concerned Citizen

    Honestly, both sides fume with so much hatred that it’s easy to wonder how we’re charitable at all.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Carole,
    Until you answer some questions and address points raised, you have no case.

  • Zedd

    Carole,

    I have a problem with Christians adopting an adversarial stance against non Christians.

    As a christian, you know that your salvation came by grace. You are supposed to be the light of the world and not the judge (judge not lest you be judged). Christ said he came not to condemn the world but to love it. Who are Christians to side step that policy and write scaving comments on organizations or people who THEY deem not to be Christians (we look on the outside He looks on the inside… you don’t know who is a real Christian).

    It is this practice that is actually turning people off from Christianity. Your article is a deterrent. I believe that it requires admonishing and repentance. There is no sign of the love that lives in your heart. There is no sign of your gratitude for the grace that has been granted you a sinner. I sense an adversarial stance on your part.

    There are ways of voicing your position without expressing an us against them (sinners I assume)tone. I should remind you that we all have sinned and have come short (very short) of the glory of God. Lest anyone should boast.

    If the courts voted for the continuance of faith based support by the government, it is not YOUR victory. But you act as if it is. God does not need for you to write articles on his behalf on secular websites. If you understand the Word, you know that this is not about Christians but God’s love for the people that are being served.

    If the god that you serve is the true God, he doesn’t need government funds let alone this article.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “[The] Salvation Army has a long history of denying people employment who were not of the right faith”

    Yes, unlike those Muslim “charities” that eagerly employ Jews and Christians and Hindus (but especially Jews)…

    Tell me, what is the NYCLU’s position on that?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    atheists aren’t in the habit of giving a tenth of their income (and more) to the poor.

    Any proof here?

    I can probably Google up the links if you really require them. But, yes, religious people have been shown in study after study to give a higher percentage of their income to charitable causes than atheists.

  • Zedd

    Correction folks, tithing is not the same as giving to charity, Christians know this. Lets not get too arrogant.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Wrong again, RJ. Personal sacrifice, charity and good works are not exclusive to the religious. I won’t recite examples, because nothing can penetrate your ironclad bigotry.”

    First of all, I’m agnostic.

    Second of all, religious charities (which are largely funded by donations from religious people, and have highly-motivated religious people working at the grassroots level as volunteers) have a longer and better track record of doing “good works” in needy communities than secular organizations. That is simply a fact.

    This does not mean that all worthwhile charities are religious charities, and I never said that.

    Please refrain from making baseless assumptions in the future. Thanks.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Re comment #1;
    “One the one hand…”

    But what about two the two hand…?

    Wow. A typo flame. How original…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Atheists not charitable? Other than knowing from personal experience to be blatantly false […]

    Sigh.

    Cite:

    Believers give more to secular charities than non-believers do

    […]

    The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions.

    […]

    The average annual giving among the religious is $2,210, whereas it is $642 among the secular. Similarly, religious people volunteer an average of 12 times per year, while secular people volunteer an average of 5.8 times. To put this into perspective, religious people are 33 percent of the population but make 52 percent of donations and 45 percent of times volunteered. Secular people are 26 percent of the population but contribute 13 percent of the dollars and 17 percent of the times volunteered.

    […]

    Religious people are more generous than secular people with nonreligious causes as well as with religious ones. While 68 percent of the total population gives (and 51 percent volunteers) to nonreligious causes each year, religious people are 10 points more likely to give to these causes than secularists (71 percent to 61 percent) and 21 points more likely to volunteer (60 percent to 39 percent). For example, religious people are 7 points more likely than secularists to volunteer for neighborhood and civic groups, 20 points more likely to volunteer to help the poor or elderly, and 26 points more likely to volunteer for school or youth programs. It seems fair to say that religion engenders charity in general — including nonreligious charity.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “American Red Cross
    The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. The USA’s premier emergency response organization, over 91% of Red Cross spending is on charitable services.”

    The American Red Cross started out as a religious charity. You can tell, because it’s called the American Red Cross. (And in the Muslim world, they are called the Red Crescent)…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “United Nations Children’s Fund
    UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a “first call for children” and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families. UNICEF provides emergency and disaster relief.”

    Funded largely by governments through tax dollars, not voluntary contributions.

  • Clavos

    RJ #33:

    Excellent, substantiated comment.

    Props to you, sir.

  • MCH

    “Wow. A typo flame. How original…”
    – comment #32

    Sorta like this:
    “No, but they’re both adulterers, from the party of “Famliy [sic] Values”…”
    – June 21, ’07

    ————————–

    Hoisted by your own petard.

  • Clavos

    In the spirit of the moment, it’s:

    Hoist with [his] own petar.

    Hamlet

    Act III Sc.iv.

    Should have stuck it out all the way to the GED, emmy.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Wow. A typo flame. How original…”
    – comment #32

    Sorta like this:
    “No, but they’re both adulterers, from the party of “Famliy [sic] Values”…”
    – June 21, ’07

    ————————–

    Hoisted by your own petard.

    The difference between you and me, “MCH” (other than the fact that you post here anonymously, despite being a member of the mainstream media) is that I actually posted a response of substance after subtly pointing out your typo.

    And here’s the link.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    RJ #33:

    Excellent, substantiated comment.

    Props to you, sir.

    Thanks, Clavos. I do what I can to bring a little reality to the debate…

  • Zedd

    Clavos

    Its tithing not giving to charity in all honesty. We cant make the required contributions to ministry by the bible(the 1/10) equivalent to giving to charity. Its not.

  • MAOZ

    #34, RJ — “The American Red Cross started out as a religious charity. You can tell, because it’s called the American Red Cross.”

    I seem to recall having read in a biography of Clara Barton that the red-cross emblem was based on a reversal of the Swiss flag (white cross on red background), since the international organization originated there.

    It may reflect, tangentially, something about Switzerland’s religious history, but that doesn’t mean it says anything about the Red Cross organization per se.

    I suppose if Switzerland had happened to have as its flag a white octagon on a turquoise background, then we would now be commenting about the American Turquoise Octagon organization.

  • mlbb

    I work for a FAITH!!!-based organization called the SoupMobile, which serves meals to homeless and hungry people. Anyone who shows up and stands in line gets as much food as they like until the food is gone, no strings or sermons attached.

    We have FAITH!!! that when we need something, someone-somehow-somewhere will send us cash or volunteer to make sandwiches or provide labor and materials for expansion projects. Our faith hasn’t failed us yet.

    This year we will serve more than *100,000 meals!!!* in an entirely volunteer-run-organization–NO paid staff!

    So. I tire of the faith-based debate, because everyone who donates or volunteers in our prep kitchen sustains our faith in human kindness to solve “insoluble” social crises.

    As for tithing, what about those who organize donation drives or group projects and thus contribute far more than their direct volunteering? Or those who volunteer every day because they are blessed enough by the god of their choice to be able to.

    Volunteer labor is valued at $11.00+ per hour by granting groups and foundations. I am relatively certain that our volunteers reach their tithing “requirement”–their own contribution *and* plenty of extra $11.00s’s to make up for those who don’t contribute their 10%.

    We don’t care what church our supporters attend, or whether they attend church services at all. We’re just grateful they read or hear about us and volunteer or send cash (to pay the rent and electricity bill). In our world, a girl scout troup is just as vital as a sunday school class. Their sandwiches taste the same to a hungry homeless person.

    OK, back to work at….www.soupmobile.com

  • SimplyJessica

    Thank you for the insightful article, Carole. The hard part about history is that most have not seen it happen. There are many controversies and quarrels about what really did happen. You are correct. Your view is controversial, and it takes courage to write about it. Personally, I have seen and heard a great deal that causes me to believe that what you write is true. And I found the article enjoyable. And I believe that it is also good for some of the organizations listed here to get a little pat on the back. So often we forget where places come from. And I am glad to hear of the government’s decision. If everyone would work hard to help his/her neighbor who was in trouble, then there would be far less need for the government to fill. Thank you again for sharing.

  • http://www.carolemcdonnell.com carole mcdonnell

    I really want to truthfully thank Jim Wismer for all the free publicity he has been giving me. He sent my name and article to so many atheists and writers’ organizations. He even set up some cyber-bullying against me and sicced his political atheist organizations against me. Again, as I said there really is such a thing as atheist fury. It’s very out-of-control, raging, and hateful. I’d forgotten how vindictive and how full of the herd mind atheist activists can be. I’ve been receiving some nasty email from many atheists on myspace and at my website address.

    But the weird thing about all this is that my new novel is being published soon. People who never knew about me now know my name. Very few first time authors are blessed with such controversy. Controversy, good or bad helps a book and an author. Ask Amazon and the ABA. Authors and Books that get hateful reviews or are mixed up some flaky controversy often rise to the top. So I really praise the Lord for this blessing. Jim has made my name known to so many people, and I will forever be grateful to him for helping me as a new author. Hateful emails aside, he has blessed me and my book more than he knows. -C

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    So all this was really a cheap advertisement for your novel.

    How devout!

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Atheists carry much less hate than the average believer. Most of us, I think, would pretty much mind our own business, content to be free of religious dogma if all you “faith based” humans weren’t doing so damn much damage in this world.

    Christians love to proverbially hug themselves reveling in just how wonderful they are. They are all so kind and generous, so loving, so concerned, but are quick to remind anyone not of the faith of their certain descendance into eternal hell for not professing allegiance to jesus. It’s all bogus crap.

    As there is not one iota of evidence supporting the existence of any god or gods, why don’t believers carry a burden of proof for their faith before they are allowed to subject the rest of us to their blather?

    Believers carry a greate deal of distrust and loathing for non-believers (gays and lesbians who are perennial targets of christian hate are nevertheless more accepted in society than are atheists.) Pastors continually remind their respective flocks of how dastardly we are.
    After all, we are the devil’s minions.

    Keep in mind that to be an atheist pretty much anywhere in the world had been a very risky business for much of human history. The “burning” of atheists often took place right here on earth usually sponsored and carried out by mother church. Atheists have been vilified for centuries. That given, perhaps we are a bit defensive and tend toward being a tad cranky.

    If the dominionists have their way, all of us professed non-believers will likely have to find new digs and/or go underground. We will probably rue the day we ever chose to start gabbing about our distaste for god and religion on the internet. We’ll be hunted like rats.

    Our founding fathers were true products of the “enlightenment” as brought forth through the Renaissance. As many of them were professed deists who accepted a notion of some kind of godly creator, but certainly not any kind of personal god, often professing their great distaste for religion in general, it was no accident that god is NOT mentioned in the Constitution. They understood only too well the dangers of any government endorsement of religion. The separation of church and state was a mainstay of their political philosophy. Georgie Porgie’s “faith based” initiatives with the federal government providing tax money to support religious organizations in any capacity is a slap in the founding fathers’ faces and counter to the Constitution. There can be no “taking back our country for Christ.” He never had it in the first place.

    People can be good and do good without religion, without churches, without god. We don’t need some idiot evangelist prancing about the dais at some mega church to provide our moral bearings.

    Hell, I think I’ll establish my own church, the “Church of What’s Happenin” and get me some of that good federal money. Whoo doogies!

    Baritone

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    Just as not all White people are the same, although many Whites have caused a great deal of harm through out history to non Whites, not all Christians are the same.

    I am a Christian. I disagree with what those arrogant people that you speak of vehemently. Their actions are not christian. They use Christianity as a shield to do whatever they want. Christianity promotes love and forgiveness. These guys promote whatever they want frankly, including hatred and intolerance.

    I personally cant get my head around homosexuality. I get being feminine if you are male or being masculine if you are female but I don’t get the idea of being BORN to engage in sex with the same gender. I get biology and what the sex organs are designed to do but I don’t get the notion of feeling like you are born to put them in the same gender. There is a big gap there that never gets addressed. Is it emotional, a biological glitch of some sort or a misunderstanding of feelings of inadequacy?

    However, I love people for people. Its non of my business what a person feels like they are born to do. Its not my place to understand it. It is their life’s journey. I hope to display love to all in my life and that they feel the love from me, completely. I have nothing to judge as I am not in the position to do so. I am sure that there are plenty of things that perplex people about me, they too have not been appointed to judge me.

  • REMF

    Zedd;
    Dittos.
    – MCH

  • Maurice

    #48 Zedd

    Well written. Well said.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    I have noted that most christians, jews and muslims are not of the radical bent. Most just want to practice their faith, go about their day to day lives and, for the most part, live and let live. Life is hard, too hard for most people to spend a great deal of time hassling other people.

    However, as Sam Harris and others note, there is a certain amount of enabling the radical agenda of extremists of whatever faith owing to a reluctance by the mainstream to speak out against them.

    Looking at homosexuality through the atheist perspective renders it a non-issue. People engage in any number of activities that our bodies were not necessarily designed to perform. Flying, deep sea diving, eating Big Macs. Take away the traditional moral factor and homosexual acts become far less objectionable. As you note, what others choose to do, including their choice of sexual partners, is no one’s business but theirs. It does not affect you or me.

    I can’t say that I know a great deal about the biological or hereditary factors that pertain to homosexuality. But again, even if such acts are distasteful to you or me, they have no effect on us. It’s none of our business.

    I don’t believe that gays have any kind of evil agenda as is often charged by evangelicals. Just as with most other people, they just want to live their lives, make personal choices without being judged and having those choices limited or curtailed by legislation and self-righteous christians.

    If you read through Leviticus, you will note that there are any number of activities which are condemned that make no sense to us today – the intermingling of cotton and wool?

    I have a number of homosexual acquaintances, I guess owing to my former involvement in the theatre and with music. To a man (and a woman or two) they are intelligent, talented, responsible, active in the community. Some are parents, and as nearly as I can judge, they appear to be good parents.

    I went to grad school with Howard Ashman. The name may not ring a bell for you, but Howard wrote Little Shop of Horrors and wrote the lyrics for the music in Disney’s Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He started work on Aladdin but sadly succumbed to AIDS before the heavy lifting began on that project.

    Howard was wonderfully talented and a great human being. Howard was gay. Should Disney not have hired him owing to his sexual orientation? Is there anything objectionable in those films that one might trace to Howard’s or Tim Rice’s homosexuality?

    I think the best thing to do is to let it be. Let people live their lives without others judging them. Remember the biblical admonishment regarding the throwing of the first stone.

    Baritone

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Despite not believing in the existence of omnipotent superbeings, I thought this article was pretty on the money all the way through.

    Then the author had to go and blow it with her closing sentence. It just goes to show that despite all their good works, you can never completely trust a faithist…

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    I have lived among evangelicals all of my life. I have never heard anyone speak of gays having an evil agenda.

    I think your disdain for them causes you to hold the wrong views about them too. With respect, perhaps you may be guilty of what you accuse them of.

    Homosexuality was and is not accepted openly in non Christian societies Baritone. I don’t think that societies attitudes about homosexuality are based on Christian doctrine. People do use the bible verse about same gender sexual intercourse to make arguments against homosexuality but their discomfort with homosexuality is not because of their great scholarly, line by line adherence to scripture.

    If my child declared herself to be gay, I would love her. I would still not get it but the love would continue uninterrupted. I am sure it was the same for you with your son. If she chose to stop eating with her mouth and instead take in nourishment through an IV. I would think it was odd but the love would not end. If she decided to crawl instead of walk because she felt like she was BORN to crawl, I would think she was odd but still love her. Whatever compulsion she would have, I would still love her. I hope that she does not feel compelled to do anything that is contrary to her biology and certainly nothing unlawful but I will always love her.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    Perhaps you should watch some tapes of James Dobson and some of the other high profile evangelists. They have been at times vehement regarding their fear and loathing of the “gay agenda” as with the “atheist agenda,” and the “left-wing agenda.” (Of course Dobson doesn’t come off as any kind of hypocrite, does he?)

    As I see it christians are pretty much all over the place – far left, far right and everything in between. Each grouping, if you will, looks upon their particular perspective as being “mainstream.” Yet what the most radical right wing fundamentalists are preaching from their mega church pulpits in the Xurbs, may be far removed from what you might hear at the little Methodist church down the street.

    Further, keep in mind that it has been my experience that most homosexuals I have known consider themselves as christians. They attend church regularly, belong to a variety of congregations, believing that they, too will have a place in heaven.

    One thing I should note on behalf of my sons. Neither of them are gay. It doesn’t particularly bother me should someone believe that either or both of them were gay, but I can’t speak for how they would react. They sometimes read through some of this blather, and I don’t want to get a phone call. I don’t need the stress.

    Homosexuality is not accepted in any society which remains strongly influenced by religion – especially mono-theistic religion. Remember that christianity, judaism and islam, the 3 major mono-theistic religions essentially were born out of the same part of the world and the same traditions.

    You will find that where a given country has moved away from religion and toward a stong secular society, that gays, lesbians and I suppose various other lifestyles are far more accepted. Again, take away religious dogma and the objections fade.

    Baritone

  • Nancy Brown

    Baritone, you stated that James Dobson spoke of a gay agenda… he didn’t make that up.. here are some quotes from a book by a gay psychiatrist and a gay public relations expert. The book is entitled “After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear & Hatred of Gays in the 90s.” It was written in 1989 by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Marsden. I think if you look closely at the gay movement since that time you will see that pretty much everything mentioned here and throughout the book is followed almost to the letter.. In my mind that qualifies as a gay agenda..

    “Conceiving their book as a “gay manifesto for the 1990s,” the authors called for homosexuals to repackage themselves as mainstream citizens demanding equal treatment, rather than as a promiscuous sexual minority seeking greater opportunity and influence.”

    Writing just as the AIDS crisis hit its greatest momentum, the authors saw the disease as an opportunity to change the public mind. “As cynical as it may seem, AIDS gives us a chance, however brief, to establish ourselves as a victimized minority legitimately deserving of America’s special protection and care,” they wrote.”

    Kirk and Madsen called for homosexuals to talk incessantly about homosexuality in public. “Open, frank talk makes gayness seem less furtive, alien, and sinful; more above board,” they asserted. “Constant talk builds the impression that public opinion is at least divided on the subject, and that a sizeable bloc — the most modern, up-to-date citizens — accept or even practice homosexuality.”

    “And when we say talk about homosexuality, we mean just that. In the early stages of the campaign, the public should not be shocked and repelled by premature exposure to homosexual behavior itself. Instead, the imagery of sex per se should be downplayed, and the issue of gay rights reduced, as far as possible, to an abstract social question.”

    the authors called upon homosexuals to “portray gays as victims of circumstance and depression, not as aggressive challengers.” This would be necessary, they argued, because “gays must be portrayed as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to adopt the role of protector.”

    Religion aside this country was founded on majority rule and until such time as the pro gay community has enough votes to change our laws legitimately, I don’t believe they should be changed by any other means.

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    In less religious societies gays are still the brunt. In Britain, they speak of puffers. Yesterday was a gay pride event and gays expressed still experiencing a great deal of nonacceptance.

    I suppose I am looking at things from an Anthropological perspective. There has always been homosexual activity and bestiality for that matter but societies prior to organized religion did not accept homosexuality as a lifestyle choice. Some military cultures would allow young men while going through initiation rituals to engage in homosexuality because of lack of contact with females for long periods of time. The higher ranking young men could molest the younger lower ranking ones. I suppose much like what goes on in prison. But once they returned in their cultures, it was not accepted to live as gay men.

    I think the real issue is that homosexuality is confusing to most people and therefore scares them.

    You can argue though that countries that are more liberal in general are more tolerant about everything more than those that aren’t.

    I’m sorry. I thought you said that your son who lives in Germany was gay. My apologies.

  • Zedd

    Nancy Brown

    I don’t see the problem with repackaging your public relations strategy. Every group does it, or should do it.

    Gay men were partying and known to be extremely flamboyant and promiscuous in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Any group like that would incur disdain form society.

    After AIDS and suffering from the leper tag, gays took the opportunity to live as themselves. Like everyone else, like productive socially engaged citizens instead of the deviants that they had been in the past.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd, Nancy, etal,

    Right you are Zedd. No doubt the gay community has organized and have set forth some strategies for gaining wider acceptance in society. To some extent, that happened with the NAACP in the 1940s and 50s. Insofar as that’s concerned, I suppose you could infer that gays have an “agenda.”

    However, I don’t believe that qualifies as the nefarious, evil campaign designed to make everyone gay, that Dobson and others would have their parishoners believe.

    I wasn’t suggesting that gays have no opposition abroad. But European countries in general are more liberal and more accepting of gays than here in the good old, god fearing US of A.

    As you noted Nancy, I have a son living in Germany. As he is an operatic tenor, he knows and works with many gays and lesbians there. Generally, they do feel less put upon in Germany than in the states (at least those who have ventured over here.) However, there remain those who are quite vocal, and sometimes violent in their oppostion to homosexuals – mainly skinheads, neo-nazis and the like. But then, they pretty much hate everybody.

    And Zedd, remember ancient Greece and Rome which represented the highest in civilization for their respective times. Men having sexual relations with pubescent boys was fairly normal, not really considered an abberation.

    In any event, we shouldn’t have to look back in time for support of gays. We live in a world of swift and constant change. What was the norm even a few years ago in all aspects of human activity has changed. Again, free of the burden of religious dogma, one is free to make very different judgements about all manner of behaviors.

    As Bob Dylan once wrote: The Times, They Are a Changin’

    Baritone

  • Ned Farrar

    I am tired of hearing defenders of Christianity claim the Nazis were atheists, pagans, or anything other than what they claimed to be: Christians. Hitler himself was a baptized Catholic and an alter boy in his youth who cited the influence of Jesus on his life 70 times in “Mein Kampf”; the motto of the SS was “God Is With Us”; and the Nazi party, though not affiliated with any one sect, advocated “Positive Christianity” as its religious creed.

    When challenged about his religion, Hitler himself responded: “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” The Catholic Church evidently agreed, since they not only failed to add “Mein Kampf” to their list of banned books, they also failed to excommunicate Hitler for any of his crimes against humanity and actually celebrated his birthday each year with a special mass up until the victory of the Allies.

    Indeed, Christian churches (and not just Catholic ones) lent much support to the Nazis. While today, 60 years after they went down in defeat, each routinely trots out examples of its priests who saved Jews from the gas chambers, they generally omit to mention that such priests were in the minority. For every Dietrich Bonhoeffer to oppose Hitler there was an Alois Hudal backing him up. In fact, following Germany’s surrender, Bishop Hudal was responsible for organizing a network of Catholic clergy who helped many Nazi war criminals escape to South America – in case you were wondering how Adolf Eichmann, Klaus Barbie and Josef Mengele made it there.

    So please, stop pretending Hitler was not a Christian just because it makes the rest of the Christians feel better about themselves!