Friday, September 09, 2005

Non Prophet Organization?

On top of all the other mismanagement and crass ineptitude displayed by the federal government and FEMA in particular, highlighting Pat Robertson's dubious charity Operation Blessing might not have prolonged the suffering of the people of the Gulf coast but it certainly makes one marvel at just how ideologically driven Mr. Bush's evangelical conservative adminstration is.

In their latest financial filing Operation Blessing shows that it gives over $800,000 in donated money to Mr Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (the forum that Robertson uses to call for assasinations, condemn Americans afflicted by 9/11 as deserving of God's wrath, and reflect that Katrina was good for christians as it might lessen scrutiny of sumpreme court nominee John Roberts) and that the charity was involved in activities that involved soliciting donations for victims of the Rawandan genocide and then using the funds to charter aircraft to move supplies and product for a diamond mine in Zaire owned by Mr Robertson. Despite this, the politically appointed staff at the top of FEMA (whose jobs depend on Mr. Bush's largesse) listed Operation Blessing as second only to the Red Cross on a list of recognized charities for those wishing to help out the survivors of Katrina. The full story by Juan Gonzales of the New York Daily News can be found here.

While Robertson and his ilk revel in accusing the secular rationalists of this world of indulging in "moral relativism", it strikes me as relativist in the extreme to solicit money for one purpose and spend it for another while reasoning that as all your activities reflect the will of your god, all are deserving of a share of donations (even if the public are too blinded by false idols to see your selflessness for what it is). How ironic that the fountainhead of Mr. Robertson's protestantism, Martin Luther, was railing against just this sort of equvication of faith with commerce when he broke with the catholic church. What are Jesus fish, scale models of Judge Roy Moore's "Ten Commandments" monument, and WWJD wrist bands if they are not modern versions of the idulgences and relics sold my corrupt monks of Luther's era? Pace, buying supposed moral superiority by giving to a "faith based" charity rather than to a no-nonsense do-the-job secular organization marks you out as no more than a vainglorious egotist at odds with the teaching you supposedly follow.

Robertson's shady outfit aside, the evangelical bent of some of the relief operations is distasteful to me. While I appreciate the aspects of christianity that call for charity I see more parallels with the actions of the moonies than Jesus in the compulsion to foist religious beliefs on people at their lowest ebb. Give the food, but don't demand prayer in return, lest you turn from a dove to a vulture. Orwell wrote of this in his book "Down and Out in Paris and London", the idea that the poor are undeserving unless they display willingness to have someone else impose their religion on them.

Let human beings handle human problems brought on by the force of nature and human neglect and mismangement. Leave the spirituality where it belongs- as a sideshow attraction fortune telling tent or in the hands of teenagers getting freaked out by the cheap tricks of a ouija board.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

If you think about it, the charity one displays is a fruit of the spirit in and of itself. There is no need to beat a person over the head with it. I believe that if you accuse someone of suffering anything because they lack Jesus while lending them a hand is doubting that love, (And I believe Jesus is Love) conquers all.
Jesus said, "When I was thirsty you gave me to drink and when I was hungry you gave me to eat....." Matthew 25:42.
Our jobs are to love (be charitable) and let that speak for itself.
After all Christians also suffer (I don't have to tell you that) . Wouldn't it be horrible if on top of your suffering you were told that it is because you deserved it.
Job ( a man who suffered much) was told to reflect on what it was he had done to God for God to have him suffering so.
This blaming of a persons lack of spitiuality being the cause of their suffering is crud!!!
Help others in need and let those actions speak for themselves. If I were to be asked why I was so helpful then I would reply that in my case it is because Jesus taught me to love my neighbor.