Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Clinging To Guns and Religion: The Side Effects Of The Economy

What Does Jesus Want?
An Assault Rifle and Some Brand New Choir Robes!

RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Obama's reinstating the assault rifle ban:

The Obama Administration has revealed its intention to reinstate the so-called “assault” gun ban — Step One of their plan to repeal the 2nd Amendment.
Of course, Obama stated many times during his campaign how he considers the Second Amendment a fundamental right of all Americans, but Steele has to scream louder than Rush Limbow-wow these days in order to be recognized.

So much for the American public clinging to their guns, but what about their religion?

Actually there should be a lot of people rejoicing over our poor economic times: Priests, ministers and rabbis. During times like these, people turn to religion for solice. They flock (sorry) to churches to pray for fortitude (and in the case of Joel Osteen's church, that much-needed second car). And sometimes, religion turns to the people for, well, more than they can afford.

Take the controversial subject of tithing. Giving 10 percent of your gross income during good times is a bit of a stretch, but when you've lost your job and foreclosure on your house looks imminent, does the church expect you to tithe?

Glenn Latham (“Four Thoughts on Tithing,” Ensign, July 1982, 72)

    1. It Takes Faith—Not Money—to Pay Tithing
    2. Tithing Is Not Measured in Quantity of Dollars Paid, A tithing paid is still a tithe, no matter how many dollars a person pays.
    3. Payment of Tithing Does Not Create a Hardship, No, tithing does not impoverish. Tithing enriches.
    4. Tithing Money Is Not Our Money
Tithing enriches who? And just where does that tithe money go to? A church's leaky roof is one thing, new choir robes another. The pastor's wife might have to make due with last year's Cadillac or risk some very dirty looks from the congregation.

And what about those prosperity gospel churches? Will Joel Osteen or Creflo Dollar be able to sell the "seed" money concept? Will Rick Warren's church have a soup kitchen on campus next to the skateboard park?

My guess is that Osteen, Warren, Copeland, Parsley and megachurches all over the country will be bold enough to ask for blood from their turnips. They will point out that there are people much poorer than their own congregations - people who will be helped by the collection plate. And by giving as much as they can, good "Christian" believers will reap far greater rewards: the more they give, the more they suffer, the more they suffer, the greater their rewards will be in heaven. Hmmmm...

And what about the televangelists? Will their viewers act like thousands of Senator Ted Grassleys and ask/demand transparency? Exactly what will their largesse come in the form of? Will they eschew the trappings of their profession? Will some of them (gasp!) be forced to sell one of their villas? Or worse, will they be forced to fly business class? Our broken economy will put to the test churches all over the country.

It will be very interesting to see how they weather the economic storm.

Just a thought.