Posts Tagged generosity

Just Like Jesus Would Do

After a homeless man dipped into the church’s cookie jar, First Baptist Church of Royal Palm Beach in Florida had him arrested–for his own good, church officials say. The unnamed man, seeking assistance from the church, entered the church through an unlocked door. Once he entered the building, he saw a cookie jar and helped himself to the cookies inside.

A cleaning person happened upon the man and called 911. After a church employee showed up, it was decided that the First Baptist Church would demonstrate Christian charity by having the homeless man locked up for the theft of the cookies, which are valued at $2.25.

The church claims that the decision to press charges was done with the homeless man’s best interests at heart because it was decided on the scene that the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The church officials and the police officer who pushed for the arrest decided that bringing the troubled young man –  who was thrown out by his family onto the streets because of an alleged “destructive and disruptive lifestyle”  is best helped by being incarcerated and pulled “into the system” because, as we all know, the best way to help an (emotionally) troubled person possibly struggling with substance abuse is by locking him up behind bars in our our gracious for-profit prison system, giving him a criminal record so he will definitely have a hard time finding employment later with a tarnished record like that and throwing away the key.

The church admitted (see below) that it has contacts with rehabilitation programs that could have helped this person instead of having him incarcerated for stealing a cookie when he was hungry, but alas, the church claims, in very Christ-like fashion, that having the man arrested still “seemed reasonable.”

Yeah, just like Jesus would have done.

Well, it is a good thing that Atheists are the least trusted entity in this country, just a notch under rapists, because they do not believe in a higher power and therefore are the ones without morals.  Unlike this church and its followers who clearly get their morality directly from god.

 

 

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This Is Charity

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Mesut Ozil of the German World Cup Soccer team has donated his €300,000 (around $405,000) prize for winning the World Cup to pay for the surgeries of 23 Brazilian children – one for each member of Germany’s 23-man squad.

Now this is what I call charity, not shit like Amy Adams offering her (most probably free) first class seat on a plane to a veteran.

While table scraps like that are a nice gesture, offering your first class seat to a veteran is not anywhere near anything I would consider generous and charitable. It is kind of condescending actually and it sure as hell doesn’t really help a veteran.

Now if a person of modest means who paid good money for that seat had offered it  to the veteran, I would feel differently, but to see a multi-millionaire be only capable of giving a poor man a nice seat on a plane is just pathetic.

Amy Adams probably got that seat for free anyway and while quite nice, I want to point that nice is just about all it is because, that kind of shit doesn’t help people!!

Amy Adams has the wealth to do so much more and to truly reach out to that man and help him out yet all she can do is give him a seat. Thing is, that veteran doesn’t need a first class seat on a plane as much as he probably needs a decent paying job with a livable wage and benefits, as much as he needs financial security, as much as he needs access to quality and affordable health care etc.

While it may feel great that he can stretch out his legs for a few hours, a first class seat on a plane doesn’t pay his medical bills, it doesn’t pay for his psychological counseling – which he most likely needs after the trauma of war- ,  it doesn’t pay for his rent or put retirement money in his account. That kind of stuff is nothing but shameless self promotion trying to mask as charity in a country where people are so used to not seeing charity that the majority are thankful for such a gesture and think Amy Adams is the best ever.

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Amy Adams

But she is not. She just gave up her seat for a man on a plane, thus exhibiting basic human decency. When you give up your seat on a bus for a handicap person you are merely exhibiting the bare minimum of human decency, you don’t get accolades for that (and for all our intent and purposes, a millionaire giving up her first class seat on a plane to a veteran is the equivalent of a regular person giving up their seat on a bus).

My point is, if you have the means and you want to help people, try helping them in ways that matter – in ways that truly help them get back on their feet, in ways that lessen their burdens as they navigate life in poverty and destitution, such as helping pay for the medical treatment of children whose families do not have the means to pay for such a treatment.

Giving up a seat you got for free is not impressive and it sure as hell is not charity. Not to me as I expect more and set a higher bar.

But agreeing to pay a war veteran’s medical bills for a year from your bloated thespian salary, for example, that is charity. Or would have been charity, if Ms. Adams had actually offered it.

As  Jack London once wrote: “a bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is a bone shared with a dog, when you are just as hungry as a dog.”

There is so much wealth in this nation and collectively we could do so much better for everyone, if only we had the will. Instead, we deal with poverty, need and destitution by telling fairy tales about bootstraps and hard work, and how misfortune only happens to the lazy, the immoral, to people who deserve it etc.

Most people who have it very good, who are members of the one percent, rarely think about what it really takes to help others; they often lack the empathy needed to help create a society where we help out those less fortunate than us with something more than table scraps. They sit in their ivory towers, throw down scraps they got for free in the first place and call that charity. It is not.

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Only Doing Good Things For People In Time of Crisis

Every now and then there is a headline in the news about some celebrity fulfilling a dying fan’s wish or something, such as English musician Ed Sheeran who sang a dying 15 year old her favorite song minutes before she passed away. He is being called a hero now and a great and amazing person, and he may very well be. I don’t dispute that. In fact, I have no opinion on that as I don’t know the man personally and what is in his heart, but I read something similar about Justin Bieber and countless other celebs doing such things for a dying fan and it makes me wonder because I really wish that these people would maybe also consider doing something nice for people or a young fan or whoever when they are not about to die.

I mean, why do people get all generous and giving when someone’s life is about to end and thus when it is too late? Why not be like that with the living? Why not make a young fan’s day, not because that fan is dying, but because they are a fan and doing nice things for people is decent. It is how it should be.

This sort of reminds me of people who get all mushy and generous around the Holiday season yet spend the remainder of the year not really giving a damn, including voting for policies that hurt the poor more than help them.

After all, why not help out in a soup kitchen in July? Why not gather toys and food for the needy in March? Why not help elect officials that will make sure that the needy have food year-round. People are hungry twelve months of the year, not just around the holidaya.

My message to people who want to do good is, do something nice and good for people – whoever they may be and whatever your abilities are  – just because it is the right, humane thing to do. Don’t wait for a disaster to help people in impoverished countires. Don’t wait for a fan to be at the verge of death to make their day. Don’t wait for Christmas to come around to think about the needy and hungry. Don’t just gift someone something nice or call them up because it is their birthday.

A lot of suffering in the world  – from the global to the personal scale – takes place everyday. Most people lead lives of quiet desperation. Out of view, to the point where it has become invisible to most and matters insomuch as it makes great first acts for celebrity Oscar vehicles.

But that is the kind of suffering and need that requires the most attention – diligently and regularly, not just once a year or on a special occasion or because someone is about to die. That is the kind of need (for money, food, kindness, empathy, a shoulder to cry on etc.) that is present year-round, not just when a holiday, a disaster or the grim reaper are around. That is because reaching out and caring do not have seasons or occasions, they should be done all the time because that is, ultimately, what makes the world a better place for all of us – from your co-worker, to your friend, to your sibling, the hungry child in the Sudan, the homeless girl in an orphanage etc.  That is what shows others that you value them because being valued makes happiness possible and unhappiness bearable.

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