In the US, the Salvation Army (and other charities) have been so hijacked by anti-immigration rightwingers that they are now apparently insist on proof of citizenship status before giving donated toys to children. Seriously.
They don’t claim to know who’s been naughty or nice, but some Houston charities are asking whether children are in the country legally before giving them toys.
In a year when more families than ever have asked for help, several programs providing Christmas gifts for needy children require at least one member of the household to be a U.S. citizen. Others ask for proof of income or rely on churches and schools to suggest recipients.
The Salvation Army and a charity affiliated with the Houston Fire Department are among those that consider immigration status, asking for birth certificates or Social Security cards for the children.
As someone put it on Boing Boing:
“Evidently, I missed the part of the New Testament where Jesus instructs his followers to check people’s immigration status before rendering charity to them.”
But religious organisations being used to push a message that’s clearly contrary to their mission statement is hardly unusual.
Take The Manhattan Declaration, signed by prominent “Christian” leaders in Washington last month. If I were a Christian – someone who believes Jesus Christ was the Son of God sent back to teach us, and that the four Gospels in the Bible are an accurate reflection of what he taught – I can’t see how I’d be anything but appalled by that document:
While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.
What an extraordinary thing for anyone calling themselves a “Christian” to sign. The things Jesus Christ actually talked about “claim our attention”, but we are MUCH MORE bothered by gay marriage, abortion (NOT the death penalty), and our freedom to make sure other people don’t have freedom in relation to those areas.
Or, to put it even more succinctly, Charles Colson – one of the drafters – explains the point:
The signers … say they also want to speak to younger Christians who have become engaged in issues like climate change and global poverty, and who are more accepting of homosexuality than their elders. They say they want to remind them that abortion, homosexuality and religious freedom are still paramount issues.
“We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues,” said Charles Colson, a prominent evangelical who founded Prison Fellowship after serving time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal. “A lot of the younger evangelicals say they’re all alike. We’re hoping to educate them that these are the three most important issues.”
Not merely “still paramount” – “the three most important issues”. We must re-educate these younger Christians before they start basing their faith on Jesus Christ’s actual teachings.
These people, who call themselves “Christians” – not “Leviticians” or “Paulians” – have the temerity to push the stuff Jesus did talk about below the stuff he never mentioned even once. If I were a Christian, these people claiming to speak for me (and my Lord) would be a direct attack on my faith.
I’d want my religion back.
AND IN OTHER RELIGIOUS NEWS:
- The Victorian government funds religious forum whilst denying assistance for an equivalent atheist meeting.
- American Christians try to come to terms with their pastor going through divorce – apparently the instinctive response is to “abandon them” for this betrayal of their congregation.
- An Indonesian government minister is blaming natural disasters on “immorality” (by which he means failure to adhere to Muslim rules).
- And a Malaysian woman is fighting for her right not to be a muslim, after being “converted” as a child.
- US Christians concerned about what will happen to their pets when they’re Raptured are being offered quite a deal.
- Some Americans are optimistically selling a version of the Bible on a game console, Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
UPDATE: Colson being softly interviewed by failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee:
Chuck Colson: oppressing gays “is what’s given us a just society, one of the greatest civilizations in human history”.