Friday, November 20, 2009

I'll help you, if...

Aside from all the stuff you say in the Apostles or Nicene Creeds, it seems to me that a central doctrine of Christianity is that Jesus Christ "came to earth to teach about love and fellowship. He represents the person that all Christians must strive to be."

That's simple enough, and as long as out leave out the Son of God stuff, and don't pick too much at some of the things the Bible says he did and said, I think a lot of people can get behind the ideas of love and fellowship and striving to be a better person.

I understand the concept that religious charities can choose who they want to fund or help based on their beliefs; it's their money. I just don't think that excluding certain groups or people who need help, based soley on their beliefs or lack thereof, is very nice. Nor do I think it's charitable, altruistic, unselfish, or any kind of social justice. I also don't think that people who are seeking aid should be witnessed to. It's just not very helpful.

I think that trying to help without expectation of saving souls or gaining new followers or indoctrinating in any manner is probably a better way to go about it. I don't think that any charity is really selfless; we all get something out of helping others, whether it's just that warm feeling of self-satisfaction. It just seems to me that certain groups are putting their beliefs above their stated ideals, and it's unfortunate, especially when there are so many more people who need help. It's like charity blackmail: "We'll withhold your funding if you do/support/believe X."

This is what is happening in Washington, D.C., where the Catholic Archdiocese says that they will be "unable to continue service programs" if the District adopts a same-sex marriage law. This is what is happening with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which is only in favor of their version of which poor people are deserving. This is what is happing with the American Legion in Bloomington, Minnesota, which was asked not to include a prayer in their Veteran's Day program in the public schools. They said that if they can't do the prayer, they will hold back their 25-30 thousand dollars worth of scholarships.

Using your religious beliefs to justify holding disenfranchised people hostage is disgusting behavior.

Heck, it's even bad PR.

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