Imagine If Sodomy Laws Could Be Used To Punish The Stingy, Unconcerned Rich!

That line is not mine (but it got your attention). It’s from Nicholas Kristof’s column. Kristof says, “If liberals were less snooty and evangelicals less sanctimonious, what a team!” On the latter:

A growing number of conservative Christians are explicitly and self-critically acknowledging that to be “pro-life” must mean more than opposing abortion. The head of World Vision in the United States, Richard Stearns, begins his fascinating book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” with an account of a visit a decade ago to Uganda, where he met a 13-year-old AIDS orphan who was raising his younger brothers by himself.

“What sickened me most was this question: where was the Church?” he writes. “Where were the followers of Jesus Christ in the midst of perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time? Surely the Church should have been caring for these ‘orphans and widows in their distress.’ (James 1:27). Shouldn’t the pulpits across America have flamed with exhortations to rush to the front lines of compassion?

“How have we missed it so tragically, when even rock stars and Hollywood actors seem to understand?”

Mr. Stearns argues that evangelicals were often so focused on sexual morality and a personal relationship with God that they ignored the needy. He writes laceratingly about “a Church that had the wealth to build great sanctuaries but lacked the will to build schools, hospitals, and clinics.”

In one striking passage, Mr. Stearns quotes the prophet Ezekiel as saying that the great sin of the people of Sodom wasn’t so much that they were promiscuous or gay as that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)

Hmm. Imagine if sodomy laws could be used to punish the stingy, unconcerned rich!

Later he notes some liberals pushing to end the longtime practice of channeling American aid through faith-based organizations. He believes that would be catastrophic:

In Haiti, more than half of food distributions go through religious groups like World Vision that have indispensable networks on the ground. We mustn’t make Haitians the casualties in our cultural wars.

A root problem is a liberal snobbishness toward faith-based organizations. Those doing the sneering typically give away far less money than evangelicals. They’re also less likely to spend vacations volunteering at, say, a school or a clinic in Rwanda.

If secular liberals can give up some of their snootiness, and if evangelicals can retire some of their sanctimony, then we all might succeed together in making greater progress against common enemies of humanity, like illiteracy, human trafficking and maternal mortality.

Great column! Kristof follows up with some additional thoughts. And tweets.

  

21 Comments

  1. I've always said that if they repeal the right to choose, they should have all people in favor of doing so sign up for an extra tax to support unwanted children born to women who once had the right not to torture these kids by bringing them into abject poverty, abusive situations or disease/drug addiction in the household.

    I think that's fair. That's the christian thing to do..

  2. “if they repeal the right to [abortion], they should have all people in favor of doing so sign up for an extra tax to support unwanted children”

    This always has been wrong, not only illogical, but wrong-minded. I know that won't stop you, Sil.

    They don't even have to hand out free contraceptives (including to those they believe need them the most, but who can't even spell the word “contraceptive,” much less be entrusted to use them right.)

  3. “A root problem is a liberal snobbishness toward faith-based organizations.”

    It's often more blatantly political, when not actually diseased, instead, Joe.

    The fact is, as Kristof even stated, the church groups are busy. Incidentally, there's a quiet but present Religious Left in this country, including openly gay-friendly churches. Aren't some of them over in Haiti, too?

  4. Also, Joe, keep your eyes and ears open now that there has been a quake in Chile.

  5. I'd also like to see those folks who are usually perceived as conservatives and conservative christians start taking a similarly more realistic view toward matters regarding the protection of the environment, which is an area that really shouldn't be politicized anyway, and afterall, we're talking about what is left of the garden of Eden, which has a religious component (to say the least). As for pro-life, we are ALL pro-life, it's just that not everyone has a sound understanding of what pro-choice means and why it's important.

  6. This could be a true test of faith. A “put your money where your mouth is” moment of biblical proportions. A true christian would not hesitate to open his wallet for a cause he believes was handed to him by God. If God wants each and every pregnancy to come to full term and result in a child even to a situation that will surely harm it, then God must want those people who can to chip in to help the little fellow as he grows to eighteen in all the ways kids need. True, it'll be expensive but if the fringe right can silently condone murder of abortion doctors then surely they'll be able to ante up a little dough in the form of an extra tax.

    Contraception? It's a nice dream that works well if people use it. The trouble is that unexpected pregnancy happens to rich and poor, intelligent and stupid people and people of all races and colors and that is because we are biological beings with weaknesses. So using that as a jumping off point, we provide as much contraception as we can sneak past the all-powerful Roman catholic stronghold and we allow choice when the unthinkable has happened.

  7. “If God wants each and every pregnancy to come to full term and result in a child even to a situation that will surely harm it, then God must want those people who can to chip in to help the little fellow as he grows to eighteen in all the ways kids need.”

    The second doesn't necessarily follow from the first. It doesn't if personal responsibility is consistently demanded. Does that preclude assisting these children, and other children? No, of course.

    Contraception, now in those Catholic lands that remains a problem, as well as being probably a worse problem than sexism when it comes to abortion rights. Certainly there's room for progress.

    http://prbblog.org/?p=91

  8. Start taking a similarly more realistic view toward matters regarding protections of the environment.

    A lot hinges on how you define “realistic.”

  9. A lot hinges on how you define “realistic.”

    I think I can safely say that for everyone here that pretty much means what I think, because what you think (if you don't agree with me) is wrong. :-)

  10. “The trouble is that unexpected pregnancy happens to rich and poor, intelligent and stupid people and people of all races and colors and that is because we are biological beings with weaknesses”

    Interesting that you associate unexpected pregnancies with weakness….

  11. I completely agree that it is stupid for people to attack faith based charities. I understand one of the driving purposes of these organizations is to convert those they help, but they are still helping. I wonder if these people attack all faith organizations or just Christian faith based organizations? How many people were upset when Scientology showed up to help in Haiti? I don't like Scientology, but I like that they helped.

  12. A lot hinges on how you define “realistic.”

    A good starting point would be the recognition that what we are doing so far is abysmally little. I'm not talking about any particular aspect of environment btw, but the entire gamut from oceans to treetops and everything in between – what we eat, how we get it, habitat loss, loss of biodiversity, dead zones, etc. Despite the courageous work of some people, most humans still have their heads deeply inserted in the sand when it comes to the seriousness of these problems.

  13. ” they should have all people in favor of doing so sign up for an extra tax to support unwanted children born to women who once had the right not to torture these kids by bringing them into abject poverty, abusive situations or disease/drug addiction in the household.”

    I'm in!!!!!!!! I'll gladly pay an extra 10% of my pay to make that happen. Can I get an amen from the liberal side? Anyone?

    And Joe is correct. All Christians should aid widows and orphans no matter what. Aid first, those of the Church, then aid those outside the faith (per the Bible).
    “If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows – 1Timothy 5:16″

    You are absolutely right, Joe. Regardless of the cause of the desparity, all people of faith should try to help in accordance with their means. But apparently, Hollywood types typically have more “means” than individual Christians.

  14. “Interesting that you associate unexpected pregnancies with weakness….”

    I think you're right… That's probably a misnomer. UnWANTED pregancies could be considered weekness. If you don't want children….don't have sex – or at least have a vasectomy or tubal ligation if you feel you “must” have sex.

  15. A good starting point would be the recognition that what we are doing so far is abysmally little.

    News to me. Looks to me like we've made great progress over the past 50 years on all sorts of fronts–reducing pollution, protecting wildlife, etc–particularly in the developed world. We've also seen poor countries come along nicely in economic development, positioning them to afford more of an interest in issues like these in the future.

    Could we do more? In theory, certainly. But we've also got to tangle with realities like feeding 6 billion people and implementing policies in a diverse and fractious political landscape. Again, much hinges on your definition of “realistic.”

  16. “Great progress” is only believable if you base your standard of progress at near ground level. You are right to bring up the realities of too many people though. Resources are not infinite, and when combined with our compulsion to exploit them with little thought for the consequences it would be easy for an outside entity to view us as collectively insane. Think of the planet as your backyard for a moment; I don't know about you, but I care about what happens in my back yard.

  17. “Great progress” is only believable if you base your standard of progress at near ground level.

    Forgive me, I was under the impression that the EPA, for example, had done a lot more than zero to reduce air and water pollution.

    But if the reality is otherwise, let's shut the place down. If they can't show decent improvements even after 40 years of trying, we should save our money.

  18. Of course you're right, everything is fine. Time to sit back and congratulate ourselves. As you were…

  19. “we've also got to tangle with realities like feeding 6 billion people”

    What's more important to the worst people, who have (interestingly, given this thread) created their own secular church of the most puritanical fundamentalist kind, they blame us and the sin of “global warming” for Haiti's plight (just ask Danny Glover and others in the church, like him) and here at home the most zealous in our federal capital insist we must create and submit to (while they enjoy power and not a little money from) a new market in indulgences (carbon credits).

    The Wahhabis and the Taliban make more sense, and even are less disreputable than them, sometimes.

  20. That was a cute rant dude. Your own little contribution to AGW so to speak. ;-)

  21. “cute rant”

    Woof

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