If you prefer to dismiss religious people, be ready to replace the billions of dollars in social services they provide worldwide. Our economy would collapse if it had to replace the services faith-based organizations provide.
Catholic Charities has fed millions with tens of millions of dollars. They fight for social justice, against the death penalty, and rebuild communities destroyed by drug abuse and irresponsible parenting.
Religious organizations still have people in Haiti cleaning up earthquake debris long after governments lost interest. Hurricane Katrina relief is still in the hands of faith-based groups.
Who provides the lion’s share of rent-free space for Alcoholics Anonymous and a host of other 12 step groups to keep addicts sober? Who builds homes for the poor, installs electricity or running water in third world countries? Who started House of Ruth, providing services to patients and families dealing with AIDS/HIV?
They are the religious people who are constantly derided as haters, simpletons, and controlling fools. Before casting aspersions upon someone with whom you disagree, at least have the decency to respect the social services they provide for the betterment of all. Even better, sign off your computer and pick up a shovel. They could use some help.
Some people immediately complain that religions receive tax exempt status which would provide money for more government controlled social services. Religions are not corporations creating products. They provide social services as an extension of a spiritual mission.
Do the same people who complain about churches receiving tax breaks ever use the tax code to their advantage? Do any of the complainers use the mortgage interest deduction, child tax credits, or other tax deductions to ease their tax burden? Surely not. Faith based organizations provide the societal safety net that diminished government funds cannot cover.
Who shepherds people transitioning back into society after prison terms? While most people walk to the other side of the street to avoid convicts, they are embraced by faith based groups who assist them in trying to become productive members of society. The government does nothing except employ parole officers to monitor ex-cons’ activities. Benevolent people are the convicts’ only hope of becoming reintroduced to society.
Lots of people run to their local missions to “give back” every Thanksgiving. They serve meals and take out the garbage and sweep the floor and then go home and feel good about “teaching the kids about others who are less fortunate.” Guess what? Those poor people are hungry the other 364 days of the year. And who feeds them day after day after day while you’re tucked into your nice neighborhood? Those rotten faith based people are at it again…being good to the downtrodden EVERY day, not just for a momentary Thanksgiving guilt-averting cameo appearance.
Oh, and what are the names of those places? St. Vincent de Paul. St. John’s Homeless Shelter. Wayside Christian Mission. St. Joseph Orphanage. All those Saint and Christian words sure do get in the way of arguing that religious people are a pack of intolerant haters. Who’s doing the heavy lifting for society?
I am not advocating for any particular religious affiliation. I am simply pointing out that they provide valuable service to society and should not be compared with riotous zealots rampaging in middle eastern streets over a movie. Lighten up, religion bashers. Everyone has a place in our society.