Squeezing Conservatives Through the Eye of a Needle
Conservative Christians not only pick and choose which Bible passages to follow, there's often a litmus test for their good deeds. Ask the next homeless man you see what he has to endure to quality for "Christian" charity. Really. Ask him.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has a new plan to end poverty: Make sure children are only raised in homes with a mother and a father. Households with single mothers cause poverty, Perkins says, and of course gays and lesbians are bringing the nation to ruin. When he's pressed about evangelicals obsessing over same-sex marriage at the expense of impoverished Americans, Perkins stammers and becomes practically incoherent. He finally declares that programs to help the poor should be the responsibility of local communities (read: churches that dispense largesse conditionally) ...
"We don't think government is (the) solution for dealing with poverty. We believe that the American people who are generous in their giving, local communities who can address not just the material povery but the spiritual poverty as well... My family goes to the local homeless shelter here in Baton Rouge because we meet not only the physical needs but we share with them the spiritual needs that they have." (The hungry and vulnerable must listen to preachifying before they're given their crust of bread.) "That's what churches do. That's what the religious community does when they're empowered to do so." (via MSNBC's Martin Bashir)
In an opinion piece on the Oklahoma Daily, Trent Carson talks about filthy rich Republican politicians: I’m often told that these men, and almost all people like them, give to charity and contribute to foundations that benefit the poor every single year; that programs like welfare should be handled by charities, not the government. The church should take care of this, they say, rather than the government forcing us to be charitable by taxing us and spending our money on programs for the poor. I believe this was actually Ron Paul’s answer to a debate question. It seems obvious to me that we have charities, churches and a welfare system, and many people still can’t afford to meet a basic standard of living in this country. Removing the welfare system and placing the burden solely on charities and churches seems like a pretty obviously bad idea. The donations from the rich wouldn’t come close to meeting the basic needs of the poor, which was of great concern to Jesus, and cutting programs like welfare would leave many of the poorest people in America to die and many of our greatest cities surrounded by slums.
Here's a quote from St. Francis of Assisi: "Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance."
Well, that certainly leaves out the Vatican and fundamentalist pastors. (Painting, above right, by Dan Gheno)
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