Friday, March 06, 2009

The pitter patter II

Of rats' feet over broken glass.


This series didn’t start out to be a discussion of the Christian religion nor musings about the temporal obligations it imposes on adherents. But it veered that way in the first post in the series. Sometimes you go with the flow.

A couple of commenters leapt to the defense of Governor Pepsodent. One email correspondent — who Spot will cheerfully admit he taunted by sending a copy of the post to said correspondent — said that Spot had gotten faith and acts all bollixed up and that’s what the Reformation was about.

In other words, a surfeit of material.

It is probably unfair and inaccurate to lay the entire controversy of whether the justification of believers is through acts or through faith at the feet of the Reformation. But that was hardly Spot’s point. It was just to note the hypocrisy involved in calling yourself a Christian while describing the robbing of nearly a billion dollars from the cookie jar of money for health care for the poor as “belt tightening.”

One commenter scolded Spot for trying to bring religion into the public sphere and raised the parade of horribles (a lawyers’ term of art) that might flow from doing so: polygamy, a jihad against Christians, or the imposition of dietary laws. Now, aside from the fact that the comment’s “horribles” all happened to be — imagine — Muslim, it is really rich for conservatives to whine about religion in the public square.

Live the sword, die by the sword, pal.

This is the same crew that’s been yammering for years about abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage and rights, ad nauseum, claiming very noisily that religion should be the basis for public policy. Tell you what, conservatives: show a little compassion for existing sentient human beings, and then maybe your other braying wouldn’t at least sound so hollow.

Then, the commenter also says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” [hysterical laughter] Sorry, this is irony almost too rich for an old dog to digest. They can sure dish it out, but they can’t take it, as Spot’s dad might have said. Really, what’s needed is a little liberal judgmentalism to confront some of these bozos on their own terms.

Another commenter wants to compare Spot’s charitable giving with the governor’s. That’s a silly “my dad can beat your dad” kind of a taunt, but Spot says it raises an issue that the commenter never thought about. Conservatives like to brag about how charitable they are, but in truth a lot of their giving is to churches, and a lot of that goes to staff and maintain the clubhouse and for marketing to prospective members. The percentage dedicated to actual relief is an entirely, and much smaller, figure.

There are exceptions such as UMCOR – the United Methodist Committee on Relief – which spends every nickel it gets on humanitarian relief, getting its funds for administration from the national church organization.

But you can’t say that just because someone gives a bunch of money to say, The First Church of Getting out of Jail Free, that they’re really generous and charitable; it might be just the opposite.

And now, boys and girls, Spot will be gone for a few days. Family matter.

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