• Article by: Ðavid A. Osorio S

    Skeptic | Blogger | Fact-checker
    • Copyleft

      One of my favorite bumper stickers:
      “Pray for peace–it’s literally the least you can do.”

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      There is the Catholic Charities group. But looking at their US website, I don’t see ‘feeding the hungry’ or ‘disease’ anywhere. http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/what-we-do/programs/

      About a decade or so ago, the Catholic Charities group in SE Texas provided free day-care to single mothers who were going to college. I don’t know much else about the program, but I have to wonder what kind of daycare it was and whether non-Catholics were permitted.

      • They don’t get all worked up just because there is hunger… but gay marriage? Let’s intervene in Politics!

    • f_galton

      An Overview of Selected Services Provided By Catholic Charities organizations in California:

      Total Unduplicated Clients: 854,800

      Food Distribution Services, including Food Banks, Pantries, and Other Food Services: We Served 482,928 individuals

      Congregate Dining: We Served 245,990 meals

      Home Delivered Meals: We Served 148,514 meals

      Social Services: We provided services to 226,649 individuals

      Education and Enrichment services: We Served over 200,000 individuals

      At-Risk Populations: We provided services to 142,992 individuals

      Clothing: We provided clothing to 108,474 individuals

      Counseling and Mental Health Services: We provided services to over 28,000 individuals

      http://www.catholiccharitiesca.org/services_largestprograms.asp

      • f_galton

        An Overview of Selected Services Provided By atheist charity organizations in California:

        Total Unduplicated Clients: 0.

        Food Distribution Services, including Food Banks, Pantries, and Other Food Services: Served 0 individuals

        Congregate Dining: Served 0 meals

        Home Delivered Meals: 0 meals

        Social Services: Provided services to 0 individuals

        Education and Enrichment services: Served 0 individuals

        At-Risk Populations: Provided services to 0 individuals

        Clothing: Provided clothing to 0 individuals

        Counseling and Mental Health Services: Provided services to 0 individuals

        • peter

          http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9553.htm

          As recently as a few
          hundred years ago, it was dangerous, if not fatal, to so much as openly
          doubt Christian theological doctrines. That is the practical form
          that “Christian love” and “Christian charity” has taken for the
          overwhelming part of its history. Its ferocity was only moderated by the
          innovative principle of state-church separation, a principle still
          denied and denounced by the most
          energetic of Christian zealots. How, then, can special merit be
          accorded to Christianity? What is so singularly virtuous about doing
          what others are forcibly prevented from doing? And how honest and
          principled is it, given these circumstances, for Christians
          to claim exceptional virtue for themselves while disparaging their
          historical victims?

          Even today, unbelievers are
          relentlessly reviled by many Christian leaders. Consider the following
          recent statements by U.S. leaders:

          “No, I don’t know that
          atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered
          as patriots. This is one nation under God.” [Vice-President George
          Bush]

          “The fact that we have
          freedom of religion doesn’t mean we need to try to have freedom from
          religion.” [President William Jefferson Clinton]

          “Radicals and atheists are destroying families.” [First Lady Hillary Rodham-Clinton]

          Given the context of
          Christians’ past and current treatment of those with contrary religious
          opinions, it is outrageous for anyone to point to Christian educational
          and charitable organizations as “proof” that
          Christianity excels at promoting compassion and humanitarianism. Those
          who make such fraudulent claims are like those who said, a century ago
          and more, that the absence of blacks and women in political office or
          other positions of responsibility “proved” that
          they lacked the character and intellect to vote or pursue professional
          careers. Then, as now, faith-blinded Christian apologists who are
          unwilling or unable to think excel in circular reasoning and
          question-begging, not in generosity or human feeling.

          If Christianity were so
          spectacularly marked by the urge to give to others without asking
          anything in return, Christian institutions would have done far more than
          they have. As it is, almost all religious hospitals,
          clinics, schools, and colleges charge and collect fees that are the
          same as, or very little different than, similar non-religious
          organizations. Those associated with religious groups may receive modest
          or token subsidies, either in the form of cash from
          generous believers (and unbelievers!) or in the form of free labor
          provided by an order of monks, nuns, priests, and other volunteers. But
          the secular organizations engaged in the same activities manage not only
          to survive without such help but pay taxes
          to the state and dividends to their shareholders as well. A reasonable
          person would conclude that the religiously-affiliated schools and
          hospitals, far from being praiseworthy examples of altruism, are, in
          fact, inefficient and wasteful of money and resources.

          Of course, shelters for the
          homeless and battered women, food banks, soup kitchens, and the like do
          not charge fees. They survive, almost without exception, on a variety
          of grants. Most often, these are government
          grants. But this is no less true of organizations affiliated with
          religious groups as with those that are not. Catholic Charities, for
          example, gets the majority of its funding from taxpayers. Charitable
          organizations also rely on the United Way and other
          funding sources that draw on society generally rather than on
          adherents of any specific religion. Even the bell-ringing Salvation Army
          “Santas” rely on the ordinary generosity of people generally, and not
          just on that of theologically-correct Christians.
          Meanwhile, just as in the case of schools and hospitals, these
          religious-affiliated charitable organizations enjoy special advantages.
          Virtually all of them own land and other untaxed properties. In many
          cases, they enjoy streams of income from these assets
          as well as other unrelated activities, all of which are also untaxed.
          This represents a large subsidy from Christians and non-Christians
          alike, even for those religious organizations that do not receive
          outright grant monies from the taxpayers.

          It is arguable whether such
          subsidies are a good value for the benefits received, even if they were
          not unconstitutional violations of state/church separation. But they
          are subsidies nonetheless. It is an abuse
          of the facts, of reason, and of the spirit in which these subsidies
          are given for anyone to claim that the success of the recipient
          organizations demonstrate the superiority of the religions with which
          they are affiliated. More importantly, it illustrates
          the wisdom of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which was
          intended to prevent this diversion of public funds to the support of
          religious proselytization.

          This brings us to the most
          disturbing feature of religious “charities.” For they are not motivated
          primarily by a compassionate desire to alleviate human suffering or the
          generous inclination to advance
          the cause of human happiness. This was well shown by many of the
          pronouncements of one of the most celebrated of Christian charitable
          leaders, the late, but still revered “Mother Theresa,” who said: “I
          think it is very good when people suffer.
          To me, that is like the kiss of Jesus…” The same fundamental
          indifference both to human suffering and happiness is at the root of
          Christian groups’ opposition not only to abortion but also to birth
          control and assisted reproductive technologies. Nowhere
          is this better shown than when religious charities are forced to
          choose between humanitarianism and their own theological teachings. Holy
          spirits beat flesh and blood human beings every time.

          Thus the chief motivation
          for Christian “charity” is not love of humanity at all. It is love of
          Christian dogmas and doctrines. For Christian teachings do not hold that
          good works are good in themselves.
          Rather, good works merely serve to show the inward theological
          correctness that Christians believe is necessary to win entry into
          heaven and escape damnation. Good works are merely the “signs and
          wonders” that prove Christianity’s divine authority.
          Most of all, good works are the bait to lure potential converts and
          the cost of being “saved.” All of which demonstrates not that the
          Christian religion is morally superior, but that it is morally bankrupt.

          Meanwhile, it turns out
          that there are secular schools, hospitals, clinics, homeless shelters,
          and other charities that do without Christian theology and Christian
          “morals.” In fact, there are two varieties
          of them. There are those sponsored by various government agencies. And
          there are the previously mentioned private organizations, both
          non-profit and for-profit. Both public and private secular institutions
          have been far more successful at alleviating human
          suffering and promoting human happiness than any religion has ever
          been.

          It is true, of course, that
          the funds extracted from taxpayers to pay for many of these secular
          programs are collected under threat of civil and criminal law. For this
          reason, it is often said that no moral credit
          ought to be imputed for the work they do. Yet religious organizations
          also depend on monies collected through taxation. Nor do they ever tire
          in seeking a greater share of it. It cannot be more praiseworthy for
          Christian charitable groups to spend these
          funds than for the government or a private secular organization to
          spend them. In fact, the opposite is the case. For the charitable
          Christian groups’ interest is primarily in advancing the Christian
          religion with humanitarianism a distant secondary goal.
          In addition, however unworthy the tool of taxation may be, traditional
          Christian methods of collecting money, property, and treasure are far
          worse. The power of the state, after all, is obviously limited. But
          Christians claim that those who do not cooperate
          with them will suffer eternal torture in hellfire.

          Not long ago, Christians
          enthusiastically delivered those who failed to cooperate to earthly
          flames well in advance of the alleged hellfire. But this is not what
          most of us today think of as generosity, charity,
          and loving-kindness.

          • peter

            http://www.thinkatheist.com/notes/Secular_charities

            http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Charities

            It is typical christian subterfuge, spreading of smelly red herrings and outright lying that let them compare the efforts – as small as they might be considering the billion dollar enterprise, the catholic church – to the efforts of still small but growing and not well organized groups as the secularist, humanists and atheist worldwide.

            At least atheist, secularist and humanist organizations do not have to sell off some of their properties to cover the legal expenses and penalties to child abusing officials. Their policies are usually in compliance with local law and they do not hide the misdeeds till it stinks to high heaven and not even their god can wash them white again.

          • f_galton

            It’s too bad there aren’t an atheist built hospitals, if there were you could go to one and ask for psychiatric help.

            • peter

              Is that all you have to offer? Christians in action, methinks.

            • Are you surprised?

    • f_galton

      The Catholic Church manages 26 percent of health care facilities in the world. Atheists manage zero.

      • So… your argument is what exactly? That people who don’t believe in unicorns should try to manage as much hospitals as they can while identifying themselves as Aunicornists? Or that managing 26% of world health care facilities is somehow an excuse to violate any country’s secularism? Or are you gloating that 26% of health care facilities in the world deny medical treatments and Human Rights such as abortions and euthanasia? Or that LGBT people aren’t allowed to visit their significant other in the ITUs?

        • f_galton

          People you disagree with are more charitable than you are. Instead of lying about it, give credit where credit is due.

          • Ohh, it was an ad hominem attack! Did I lie? Please, point me where I did so!

            You won’t be able to, because I didn’t, you liar!

            • f_galton

              The cartoon you posted is dishonest. Instead of lying about things on the internet you should be working to set up some atheist hospitals.

            • 1°) I should nothing!
              2°) It’s accurate. I don’t see the Pope getting all worked up, just because there’s poverty.
              3°) I do see him commenting on women’s rights and having his minions lobby.
              4°) A health care facility run by deluded people who believe condoms don’t work is as bad as no health care facility!

            • f_galton

              Dishonest and stupid.

            • Yeah… right! I guess you should pray so it goes away!

    • f_galton

      The Catholic Church maintains 512 centers for the care of those with leprosy. Atheists do not provide a single facility for lepers.

    • MaryL

      All services provided by local, state and federal government are actually atheistic. That includes hospitals, social services, and so many more. At all levels, US government has no gods or religions.