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Comment count is 31
cognitivedissonance - 2015-05-10

Widow's mite, yo. Part of my people's heritage.

In counterpoint, every single Christmas, there's multiple Kruggerands dumped in Salvation Army buckets.

kingarthur - 2015-05-10

Five for evil. Even if you're homeless and destitute, you owe the church your last penny and all you'll get in return is a prayer.

All while these hard right assholes scream to destroy and defund any semblance of a social safety net.

Fuck these people. I hope they burn in the hell they so badly want to exist.

Jet Bin Fever - 2015-05-11

I don't think you understand tithing at all. But that's okay.

The Mothership - 2015-05-10

I'm trying to come up with a cleverly argued way to see this story in a less cynical way than the way that ashtar sees it. I am failing. 5 stars because that's what Jesus probably Would Have Done?

jfcaron_ca - 2015-05-10

This church has a "Pastor of Finance and Administration". No, not a coordinator, not a director, not even a President, a PASTOR of finance.

Old_Zircon - 2015-05-11


Oscar Wildcat - 2015-05-11

Supply Side Jesus.

bopeton - 2015-05-10

I can't decide how to feel about it. They should find that guy and feed him and see if they can't help him out. Thinking how much I'd have to put in there if I were to give up 10% of my income, they should have more than enough to help get this guy straightened out.

For all their obvious evil, churches do a lot of good in the world; feeding hungry children and buying Christmas gifts for people who can't, and so on.

On the other hand, I think churches of pretty much every religion should be wiped off the Earth and teaching fear of demons to little children is essentially child abuse.

I'm sure that wasn't his only ##CONTENT##.18. That was just the change left over from buying a can of Steel Reserve the night before.

The real world is a scary and complex place. It's a good story if they try to help him. It's shitty if they just praise him for giving 18 cents and promise him that God is happy.

Bort - 2015-05-11

"For all their obvious evil, churches do a lot of good in the world; feeding hungry children and buying Christmas gifts for people who can't, and so on."

They do some good in that vein, but our secular tax dollars do vastly more. There are those who claim that we'd be better off if we let churches rather than government feed the hungry, but I ran some numbers the other year, and calculated that every single church in America would have to pony up 5,000 or so a year to cover what government food programs currently do. There's a reason that poverty didn't take care of itself through churches, and the government eventually had to step in.

So yes, I'm glad that churches do help the needy, but our godless Leviathan does far more.

kingarthur - 2015-05-11

Churches should have their income taxed like anyone else's. Also, religion is no substitute for social welfare and never can be.

gravelstudios - 2015-05-11

I play piano for a couple of rural churches (I don't believe any of it, but I can't say no to /hour). They will take up special collections to give needy people food, pay their electric bills, etc. If someone asks for help, they never say no. They believe that it's the church's job to care for the poor, not the government's. I respect and appreciate what they do, but there is just no amount of private charity that will fix our social safety net.
Back when I still believed (or was trying really hard to believe), I was giving about 20% of my income to my church. I wish I could get that money back now. When I look back on it, I realize most of it was squandered.

Binro the Heretic - 2015-05-11

"For all their obvious evil, churches do a lot of good in the world; feeding hungry children and buying Christmas gifts for people who can't, and so on."

Horse shit.

I grew up in the Bible belt. Churches mostly spend the money they take in on improving their own facilities and throwing fun parties for their own members. They kick a little bit to charities to keep up appearances but not a lot.

That food they feed the hungry children? They organize food drives. It doesn't really cost them anything. Same with those Christmas presents. They ask people to buy a kid's wish list then give the stuff to them so they can present it to the parents as if the church bought it.

My old boss made a sizeable donation to a local church and the church used it to re-pave their parking lot.

Bort - 2015-05-11

"Churches should have their income taxed like anyone else's."

In theory they do -- to the extent that any organization can apply for tax-exempt status, and if it adheres to the requirements of 501(c)(3), it won't have to pay taxes.

That said, I'm trying to find information on how many churches have lost their tax-exempt status ever. I've found only one church mentioned by name, and they lost their status for engaging in very blatant attack ads against Clinton (one of the 501(c)(3) requirements is no endorsement of candidates). But I have to believe that there are plenty more churches that have lost their status due to misusing their funds. Or maybe that tends to be more a matter of embezzlement and the church itself is off the hook.

Anyway, I don't have a problem with nonprofits in general, and that includes churches -- with the expectation that they will be watched like hawks. Unfortunately, if John Oliver is to be trusted, the IRS doesn't have the funding to get much of anything done these days, so I'm not expecting much oversight.

betabox - 2015-05-11

Let's not lose sight of the fact that much of the reason churches are seen to do good is that it's good publicity for them. Also, the more good churches are seen to do, the more ammo right-wingers have to say that we don't need governmental social safety nets.

For every bit of percieved good churches do for those in need, they do ten times as much harm.

And no, I'm not saying that the members of churches have ulterior motives, it's just how organized religion ends up working.

bopeton - 2015-05-11

Well I never tried to imply they're as efficient as any kind of social safety net, just they generally mean well. Or, more realistically, they want to *look* like they mean well which often translates into the same types of action.

Religion is bad, but individual people at individual churches aren't really.

That guy - 2015-05-12

Sounds good to me.

EvilHomer - 2015-05-12

>> They do some good in that vein, but our secular tax dollars do vastly more.

Is this true, Mr Bort? I had to do some fact checking here. Assuming for a minute that coerced taxation is the moral equivalent of voluntary tithing (and/or accepting the premise that extortion is moral, if and when the extortion can be argued to have pragmatic benefits), then here are two sources which can help us to compare the spending of the Catholic Church and the spending of the US federal government:

-------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------

http://media.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/full -width/images/2012/08/articles/body/20120818_fbc986.png

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/breakdown_2015USot_16os5n< br />
-------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------

As we can see, according to The Economist, the Catholic Church spends more than half of it's annual income on providing health care. Nearly a third of the money goes towards education, while the remainder is split between charities and "other" works. Only about 6% of the tithed income goes to administrative costs, which doubtlessly includes many less-than-noble purchases (including buying the silence of abused children, which was the premise of the predictably hostile parent article). You know how those Catholics are!

By contrast, the US federal government devotes *less than half* of it's spending towards health care, education, and welfare ("charity") combined. Pensions for state employees account for nearly 20% (thanks guys! Bought my computer with some of that money), and the spending on *defense* - that is, on making bombs and blowing up people who had the misfortune to be born outside of the imaginary territorial lines claimed by the United States - is, proportionally, over TWICE what the Catholic Church spends on administrative pork alone! What's more, our own "pork" category is almost 4 times larger than it was for the notoriously wasteful Catholics; in fact, it is the single largest spending category we've got, tellingly almost twice the size of our educational spending.

In other words, if you had a hundred dollars, and you could give it either to the Church (as tithe), or to the state (as tithe), giving your money to the Church would mean that at least 80 of those dollars would go towards something which we can both agree is "moral" or "charitable". If you tithed it to the state, then if you're lucky, would go towards something "charitable", while at least would go towards murdering Africans, stockpiling mustard gas, and illegally monitoring everybody's smartphones for dick pics.

The Pope is pretty notorious for being a money-whore (and for good reason), but one must ask, is the Holy Roman Emperor really that much better? A good, loyal American would think so, because why shouldn't he?... but, surprisingly, these numbers seem to suggest otherwise.

Your thoughts, Mr Bort?

Robin Kestrel - 2015-05-11

And the sign said, "Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray"

But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn't have a penny to pay

So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign

It said, "Thank you, Lord, for thinking about me. I'm alive and doing fine."

Bort - 2015-05-11

That (fictional) hippie grew up to be a shit person. Once he got a promotion at the job from verse one and got enough money to buy a house, he was no doubt putting up signs warning that trespassers would be shot on sight.

Sanest Man Alive - 2015-05-12

And then some other hippie jumped his fence and yelled at him, "HEY! What gives you the right?"

Binro the Heretic - 2015-05-11

What pisses me off most about "religious" people is they never stop to ask themselves, "Am I doing the right thing?" They're just so fucking sure they are and it never needs to be examined. They beat children and feel they're teaching them to be "good." They persecute the innocent and call them "sinners." They promote ignorance & fear and call it "spreading God's word."

Some people would feel ashamed to take a poor person's last pennies, but not these mother-fuckers. They just smile like it's a great thing they've just done.

Jet Bin Fever - 2015-05-11

He gave them himself. He could've just left giving nothing and nobody would've minded. It's completely anonymous (in most churches). I don't see any extortion here.

Binro the Heretic - 2015-05-11

It's long-game extortion. They raise people from birth to fear eternity in a torture chamber full of fire & demons and tell them they'll go there after they die if they don't do right by the church.

They should still have felt shame taking those pennies.

Jet Bin Fever - 2015-05-11

It was found in the plate, they couldn't exactly get them back. And hey, maybe it made that guy/girl feel good, thus making it a worthwhile investment for that person.

Binro the Heretic - 2015-05-11

They should feel shame their rhetoric made a person with not a lot to spare feel the need to spare it.

Hugo Gorilla - 2015-05-11

This comes off as staged.

Jet Bin Fever - 2015-05-11

I hate that you vehement fuckers are going to make me defend this, but I find your hatred laced arguments against the incredibly diverse religious community sickening. Sure there is a lot of greed and excess as there -always- has been. But, characterizing these people from a small news clip who were moved by a humble offering as somehow evil or greedy for being so moved is really unfair and far more cruel than anything they're doing by passing around a plate for a voluntary offering. I doubt if this was about a homeless person giving their last bowl of rice to a Buddhist monk you would react this way, either.

Look, I don't expect any of you guys to agree with me, but I see atheist aggression towards believers just as if not more intolerable as believers' aggression towards atheists. Sinking to their level by characterizing people and judging them is terrible for people that are supposedly liberated from that judgment through reason and logic. It's shameful to judge these people when you don't know anything about them, because that's what most religious people do right back when confronted by atheism and nothing gets done.

So, I propose that before you decide to spout your blind hatred over a worthless, forgettable news piece about .18c (oh that poor homeless person can't buy anything now!), just because it happens to involve a church, you should try to be a better person and not blindly judge the people you see as ignorant.

Binro the Heretic - 2015-05-11

I'm pissed off that jackass pastor is so pleased about it instead of being appalled. He should be telling people, "If you only have eighteen cents to spare and no roof over your head, please, PLEASE keep that money for yourself. You're the kind of person we collect money to help. You don't have to chip in. God will understand."

And no, I wouldn't be pissed just because a homeless person gave their last bowl of rice to a Buddhist monk. I would be pissed off if the monk took it knowing he has rice waiting back at the monastery and knowing how dearly the homeless person needs it.

Churches are not religions. Churches are organizations dedicated to preserving a power structure. Religions are a way of life. I have no problem with religion and lots of problems with churches.

ashtar. - 2015-05-11

Though I do wonder where the money they take in goes (I bet their "Pastor of Finance" isn't on food stamps), and this ties in to larger debates about the social safety net, I'm mostly joking. I don't actually have much of a problem with this and I'm exaggerating my position for comic effect. Which is how I roll on poetv.

I do believe that all Buddhists are parasitic scum that rely on bullshit, superstition-laced metaphysics, especially pretentious American Buddhist wannabes, if that makes you feel better.

Sanest Man Alive - 2015-05-12

I haven't met an American Buddhist I didn't want to punch in the throat, usually before they even mention their religion and subsequently go off about cool reincarnation is gonna be, so I'll give you that.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-05-11

Now appearing on slownewsday.com

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