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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Robbing Peter To Pay Pat

In today's financial times, it is certainly difficult to feed, clothe, and entertain a family while managing to keep a roof over head. The once-proud are often found lining up at food banks and are increasingly living without adequate heating and comforts once taken for granted such as internet and telephone service. Today's poverty stretches across all ethnic and religious lines, which may result in a family simply not being able to afford their usual gifts to charities and religious organizations.

However, it is the lack of gifts to the church that Pat Robertson simply finds reprehensible, and here he explains his objection.

In Pat Robertson's eyes, poverty is simply a series of poor management decisions and not tithing is robbing God. But is it really? Churches were built by men and the gifts by common people to them have made some men, like Mr. Robertson, fantastically financially wealthy. Religious adherence has certainly blessed Pat, and I can understand his desire to see the contributions coming in, but Pat's not God- in fact, he's not at all like the God he professes to worship.

The Christ God was a champion of the poor, commanding his followers to feed his flock, that being those too poor to receive God's commands. (John 21:15-17 and many others). As we know today, children who are malnourished often fail to thrive in educational settings. The family that Mr. Robertson is chastising for "robbing God" is not comprised of thieves, in fact, they're obviously nice enough to at least ask if they can put a hold on tithing until they can afford to do so. Tithing is supposed to be a gift to the poor, and they are the poor. It is not supposed to be a collection fund for a mega-preacher's new Porsche.

It could be argued that the tithe is some sort of payment for spiritual guidance, but the Bible clearly states  "freely you have received, freely give". (Matt 10:8) Telling the poor to give money to the rich may be part of the GOP platform, but it's far from in line with the god that they claim to worship, and there are multitudes of verses to support this. Whether you believe or do not, a fundamental part of the Christ story, as well as that of many other prophets and saviour gods is aiding those who suffer. Good works do matter, and if you can't afford to give monetarily, you can certainly aid physically by volunteering at a soup kitchen or whathaveyou.

Pat's selfish attempt at guilting the poor into giving their last dollar to a church building is abhorrent. No God would command this because it's patently absurd. I sincerely hope that this person prays to their God and comes up with the answer that it's far better to be alive and healthy than to go into ruin mailing in contributions to people that Jesus claimed would have less of a chance entering the garden than a camel passing through the eye of a needle.

Pat Robertson is not a holy man, but an opportunist. He has made untold riches exploiting the poor in African diamond mines and right at home on cable television. He is the ultimate preacher caricature, telling the Good News with a hand in the pockets of those just looking for something to believe in. Rev. Robertson takes money from the poor and accuses them of holy crimes when they cannot afford the price for teaching that is supposed to be free.

Even though I don't believe in Pat's god or any other presented before me, I firmly believe that no person needs to be spiritually abused in the manner that Pat Robertson and his cohorts so blatantly do. If I'm wrong and there really is an all-consuming hellfire which awaits unbelievers and the cruel, I am certain that I'll be roasting alongside the evil men who steal in the name of god.

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