Monday, June 21, 2010

Man gives savings to church

 In New Zealand, there's a recent news story about a partial paraplegic who gave most (all?) of his savings to a church.
A Napier church took at least $20,000 in donations from a disabled rest home resident with head injuries and rejected pleas not to take the last of his life savings.
Mr Abraham, 54, was a partial tetraplegic with head injuries, after being hit by a car in 1986, Ms Dever [his rest home manager] said.

"He's got no family or next-of-kin on our list, and they've taken everything from him. It is unethical, immoral and I believe un-Christian.

"He used to have a nest egg but now he has no life savings. He believes if he doesn't give it to them, he won't go to heaven."
"I said most people would think that accepting huge amounts from someone with nothing is wrong," Ms Dever said. "I tried to reason with [the church pastor] and asked him to give the money back but he wouldn't."
Ms Dever may be right, but we shouldn't be asking, "What would most people do?"  We should be asking, "What would Jesus do?"

Jesus would cheer the man on.
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

(Luke 21:1-4)
And here, I thought that charity was about spreading the wealth, not concentrating it.  Apparently, it's really about hurting yourself as much as possible.  New Testament morality is... strange.

(Via Friendly Atheist)

News update: It seems the church pastor tried to get Mr. Abraham to sign a document clearing the church of any wrongdoing, but the rest home stopped him.  Later, the church decided to return the donations to Mr. Abraham, though it looks like they can't stop him from donating money anonymously.


Secret Squïrrel said...

Churches/temples/synagogues are not simply about collecting wealth; they are, and have always been, about concentrating power and maintaining influence over the lives of others. This goes equally well for pretend churches such as the Church of Scientology.

Jesus (the man) fought against this very thing within his own religion (Judaism) and caused sufficient trouble for the religious authorities that he was sold out to the Roman occupiers.

It is perhaps one of the world's great ironies that only about 100 years after his death a church (and nascent religion) was established in his name that would go on to become one of the most potent concentrators of wealth & power, as well as a vicious persecutor of those it considered to hold views that differed from its own.

The acceptance of this man's life savings by this pastor would be a little more palatable if we knew that it was going to be put towards feeding the hungry or housing the homeless. Too often, a windfall like this gets spent on some marble statue, a new alter/dais, or a couple of new stained glass windows.

Larry Hamelin said...

Too often, a windfall like this gets spent on some marble statue, a new alter/dais, or a couple of new stained glass windows.

... or the Minister's new Mercedes.

miller said...

I've appended a news update to the story.