The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Show Them We’re Better Than They Are

September 1, 2005 | 90 Comments

Please give to Catholic Charities, the American Red Cross, or the Salvation Army.

The Raving Atheist has given $20 or $25 to each one, shamed into it by the appeals of various Christian blogs — even though feeling no more than a detached sense of moral obligation and fully recognizing that the deaths of 250,000 tsunami victims plus Jerry Orbach last winter was comparatively worse than the situation in New Orleans.

In the spirit of naked opportunism and egoistic self-promotion, I will send a TRA refrigerator magnet and post a limerick on my site incorporating the name/pseudonym of anyone who donates $10 or more to any of those charities. If donating to Catholic Charities, verify your donation by sending me (at the name of the person who sends the computer-generated thank you e-mail after upon processing the gift; if to the Red Cross, the Order Id. or approval code; if to the Salvation Army, the donation id.

Your donation will help establish atheistic superiority by demonstrating we’re not too proud to help religious folks wade through a looter-ravaged cesspool of human corpses. Perhaps by our example, they’ll realize that soliciting verifiable contributions is better than generalized pleas to give, diluted by useless, time-wasting prayers to an invisible-sky dolt that apparently couldn’t figure out we liked the weather as it was. If you’re hesitant to give to the Catholics, recall that your dog’s head is full of crazy ideas too, but that doesn’t stop him from helpfully fetching the Frisbee. Also, if you put my name in the donations “Comment” box you can revel in the thought that it will be festering in their computer system for years to come.


90 Responses to “Show Them We’re Better Than They Are”

  1. GenghisDirt
    September 1st, 2005 @ 11:35 am

    Actually, this raises an interesting question. If you start with the assumption that many church-going Christians are, generally speaking, more likely to give to charities and/or volunteer for humanitarian purposes (quite a big assumption, I know, but there are quite a few convincing studies on the subject) how does one manage to remove the non-rational portion of their belief system (miracles, ressurection, transubstantiation, etc.) while maintaing the tremendously admirable tradition of helping those in need?

    Oh, and by the way, I’m a little offended at the concept of one-upmanship in the act of donating to charities. Maybe one should help others out of one’s own sense of ethics and decency, and not to keep up with Mr and Mrs Catholic.

    Then again, anything that will help those people can’t be a bad thing.

  2. Erik
    September 1st, 2005 @ 11:57 am

    Better yet, y’all come down to Houston and help the expected 25,000 refugees from Louisiana who will be camped out at the Astrodome. We need all the help we can get, moving in the cots, blankets, food, medicine and drinking water.

  3. hermesten
    September 1st, 2005 @ 12:08 pm

    “Christians are, generally speaking, more likely to give to charities and/or volunteer for humanitarian purposes (quite a big assumption, I know, but there are quite a few convincing studies on the subject)”

    Can you refer me to some of these studies? My first suspicion is that it has a good deal to do with how “charity” and “charitable contribution” and “humanitarian purposes” are defined. For example, counting every dollar given to a church as “charity” when only twenty cents of that dollar goes to helping others, and the rest goes to keeping the crystal cathedral nice and comfy for the contributors; and calling say, an “outreach for Jesus” “humanitarian” while dismissing something like sex education for impoverished Africans as “political.”

  4. Antigone
    September 1st, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

    I’d rather give to a more secular organization.

  5. JP
    September 1st, 2005 @ 12:15 pm

    I wouldn’t give a bucket of warm piss to the Salvation Army. Aren’t they currently being sued for religious discrimination?

    Fuck the Salvation Army. They are a bunch of homophobes, Christo-Fanatics.

  6. hermesten
    September 1st, 2005 @ 12:16 pm

    Another thought on the subject. I suspect these studies also don’t control for other factors. For example, church goers go to churh for a number of reasons, some of them purely social. If before the service starts, the priest asks people to contribute money to help the victims of hurricane Katrina, counting the money they gave isn’t accurately measuring the “humanitarian” inclinations of Christians because it doesn’t factor out the social pressure of public giving, the captive audience, and the fact that these Christians can just do what they normally do, go to church, and make a contribution, while an atheist has to actually get up off his ass and find a way to contribute on his own.

  7. jahrta
    September 1st, 2005 @ 12:54 pm

    Just a random thought about what’s going on in the big wet easy – In a way I’m a little surprised that so many fundamentally religious organizations are champing at the bit to help these people out, considering that New Orleans is to our times what Soddom and Gomorrah (sp?) were to biblical times. Has anyone heard anyone state that Katrina was god’s will, washing away the sinners? I’d stake my life on it that somewhere out there is some evangelical asshole preacher using this as a scare tactic to avoid temptation and wickidness, or the loving god above will make you dead and soggy. I also heard that there are thousands of hoods and gang bangers running the place now, stealing whatever they want and shooting cops. Apparently the cops aren’t cracking down on them because they’re placing the rescue effort as their number one priority, and also because they don’t have the jail space. i understand these arguments, which is why i’d simply put a slug in their heads and let the bloated corpses float downstream. Anyone who would try to capitalize on this tragedy deserves no less. this goes double for the white collar crooks running the oil companies, profitting beyond imagination from all of this.

  8. GenghisDirt
    September 1st, 2005 @ 12:59 pm

    hermesten said: “Can you refer me to some of these studies?”
    Huh. I just did a (admittedly shallow) google search, and all I could find were studies published by religious or crypto-religious organizations (Heritage foundation, the Christian Science Monitor, et. al.) or vague references to a 1996 Gallup poll. Gallup, unfortunately, charges an arm and a leg for a pdf of their archived studies. It might just be an apocryphal assumption on my part… which would be reassuring, as I personally HATE the idea that Christians are more giving than atheists (heck, I spend probably 20% of my waking hours doing volunteer work), but it’s still a valid debate.

    As far as the effectiveness (abstinence as AIDS prevention) or the true agency of individuals in their volunteerism and/or charitable donations (“Hey you in the third Pew! I didn’t see you in the church soup kitchen this weekend! You will burn in Hell for all eternity if you don’t help us make the chowder this saturday… Great! See you there!”)… well, in some ways it really IS the thought that counts. A net gain in charity is a net gain in charity, after all. Go and ask those folks in New Orleans (or Indonesia, or Haiti, or Afghanistan, or ALL of sub-saharan Africa) if they really care where that can of soup came from.

    Mind you, I’m being a bit of an “Angel’s Advocate” here (heh). I’m infuriated by the evangelical nature of most religious charitable organizations (and don’t even get me started on the Salvation Army, JP… “Blood and Fire”? What kind of motto is that for samaritans?!), but my question still stands.

  9. spencer
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:04 pm

    I gave to Mercy Corps which is not a religious organization but is helping out in NO.

  10. GenghisDirt
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:04 pm

    jahrta said: “…somewhere out there is some evangelical asshole preacher using this as a scare tactic to avoid temptation and wickidness, or the loving god above will make you dead and soggy.”
    I don’t know. Robertson is keeping a kind of low profile nowadays, after his “murder a democratically elected president for his precious, precious oil” comment caused a minor ruckus. What I can’t wait for is someone to say that God is causing global warming to create a new flood to wash away the heretics.

    Anyway, gotta go. I have some actual volunteer work to do today (not just rhetoric… I really do!).

  11. GenghisDirt
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:05 pm

    jahrta said: “…somewhere out there is some evangelical asshole preacher using this as a scare tactic to avoid temptation and wickidness, or the loving god above will make you dead and soggy.”
    I don’t know. Robertson is keeping a kind of low profile nowadays, after his “murder a democratically elected president for his precious, precious oil” comment caused a minor ruckus. What I can’t wait for is someone to say that God is causing global warming to create a new flood to wash away the heretics.

    Anyway, gotta go. I have some actual volunteer work to do today (not just rhetoric… I really do!).

  12. GenghisDirt
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:07 pm

    Sorry for the double post! I received a perl script error message and must have clicked too many times.

  13. AK
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:09 pm

    Give to the Red Cross! They are plenty secular, and are actually the best prepared to handle this aid effort. Nobody mobilizes like the Red Cross, and nobody gets more aid per dollar than the Red Cross.

    By the way, This hurricane is evidence that There Are No Theists In Foxholes. If you are curious why, then check out my blog (click on my name in this comments section to get there).

  14. leon
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:15 pm

    Sorry, but these people have been warned years ago that this was going to happen. This will happen again sooner than you think; it is a 101% guarantee. I am already contributing through the taxes I paid.

  15. Glenn
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:16 pm

    First, if a church acts the way people generalize on here, steer clear of it, it’s just a social organization. Christians certainly recognize that life is fragile and we were commanded to take care of the poor in the Bible. Taking care of each other does nothing to diminish God; it’s what we were told to do. I don’t know about the studies, but I’ll tell you what I experience.

    There is very little social pressure to give in most churches (at least in monetary form, volunteers are requested most often, and it’s pretty obvious when you don’t). Nobody knows what you’ve given except perhaps the church accountant if you give with check, and she’s not telling anybody (again, unless the church is really wheels off). Captive audience, yes and no… I mean your not really that captive, you can just not come. It’s not like someone tricked you in, then tried to sell you bottled water for $6. You knew what you were getting into.

    The reason I feel Christian’s give is we know the money was never ours to begin with and it’s our job to handle it in a Godly fashion. Also, people at the church I attend are much more aware of the world around them, then say, the people I attend college with. Believe it or not, many people attend church without alienating non-Christians or becoming homophobes.

  16. Glenn
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:24 pm

    Leon, come on. If people die in California in an earthquake will you be here to say the same? People near Mt. St. Helens? Tsunami affected regions? If you expect just your tax dollars to take care of this, then expect your taxes to go up.

  17. Corrie
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:28 pm

    Well said, Glenn. Most Christians – even the theologically conservative Evangelicals I hang out with – are nothing like the obscene cartoons painted of us by some unbelievers. Maintaining crystal cathedrals? Huhn. Our church roof (wooden) is decades old and the inruance company has told us they will no longer cover it. We’re having a special push to raise funds to fix it. In a small congregation, that will mean digging deep.

    But we’ll also dig deep to help out the victims of this catastrophe.

    FWIW I’ve heard no one suggest that this was God’s judgement on N.O.

  18. leon
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:36 pm

    That analogy is not on the same parallel.
    The future earthquakes in that region may never be

  19. Classical Values
    September 1st, 2005 @ 1:42 pm

    (Just trying to help)

    Like so many bloggers, I feel a little powerless where it comes to assisting with the Hurricane Katrina effort. What I’d say again, is GIVE, GIVE, GIVE. I donated to Catholic Charities, and I also plan to donate to the…

  20. jahrta
    September 1st, 2005 @ 2:00 pm


    “The reason I feel Christian’s give is we know the money was never ours to begin with and it’s our job to handle it in a Godly fashion.”

    -While this statement, in and of itself, may be a noble one, it’s still complete and utter bullshit. if you work at a job – unless you’re a volunteer – you’re EARNING money in exchange for your services. That money belongs to you and you alone. This notion of everything “belonging to god” is just more puerile nonsense branded into the collective consciousness of christians (alliteration anyone?) everywhere to make it easier for the church to put its hand in your pocket every sunday. after all, if the money never belonged to you, it’s not as if you’ll miss it right? try telling the cable company you can’t pay your bills because god called in that loan he gave you. i’m sure they’ll understand.

    by the way, if you’re not talking about the money itself, but rather the skill that allowed you to hold down a steady job and earn the money, you’re basically saying that humans do not truly possess free will, as we’re not acting of our own volition but rather as nothing more than god’s wind-up toys.

  21. GodlessHeathen
    September 1st, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

    jahrta said: “…somewhere out there is some evangelical asshole preacher using this as a scare tactic to avoid temptation and wickidness, or the loving god above will make you dead and soggy.”
    yep – right here

  22. a different tim
    September 1st, 2005 @ 2:41 pm

    Leon – your taxes are amongst the lowest on earth because your fundamentalist-dominated government seeems to believe in Darwinism everywhere except its proper sphere, which is biology. Then, to add insult to injury, the theists claim the moral high ground by claiming a monopoly on compassion. Are you going to give it to them?
    I too would rather give to a secular organisation esp as Christian charities tend to have strings attached, as witness GWB’s insistence that any AIDS relief to Africa is tied to an abstinence policy. Red Cross is fine.
    The implication that Christians have some kind of monopoly on relief work fills me with anger (as an insult to unbelievers) and fear (in case it’s…you know…true).

  23. hermesten
    September 1st, 2005 @ 2:43 pm

    “Maintaining crystal cathedrals? Huhn. ”

    Try driving around the Dallas area; there are huge lavish churches all over the place.

  24. b
    September 1st, 2005 @ 2:51 pm

    jahrta: Hey, look – it is the wrath of “gOd” that wiped out NOLA, because of all the “decadence” that gay folks do.

  25. hermesten
    September 1st, 2005 @ 2:56 pm

    Tim, I think your comments about taxes are sort of a misnomer. A middle class American may pay less in taxes that the equivalent Briton, but this average American gets virtually nothing in return. When you look at the whole tax picture, what is paid, what is spent (and how), and what is returned in the form of various subsidies like housing subsidies, public transportation, and socialized medicine, Americans get less for their tax dollars than anyone in the developed world.

    Just look at what the people in New Orleans are getting –zippidity fucking doo dah. I just read on CNN where people are literally dying on the streets, the city is in chaos, and there is no evidence of any government services –no police, no national guard, etc– in many critical areas. Of course, one reason for this is because Bush diverted the funds for things like levee repair to Iraq, and half the state’s national guard is in Iraq.

  26. Tenspace
    September 1st, 2005 @ 4:06 pm

    The idiots are already screaming how New Orleans was destroyed just before a big homosexual convention. Visit the forums and join the discussion. As for charities, I only donate to the Red Cross, since I can count on my money being spent on helping people and not proselytizing.


  27. hermesten
    September 1st, 2005 @ 4:15 pm

    Samples from Westboro Baptist Church

    “Thank God for Katrina”

    “New Orleans, symbol of America, seen for what it is: a putrid, toxic, stinking cesspool of fag fecal matter.”

  28. Guin
    September 1st, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    “this goes double for the white collar crooks running the oil companies, profitting beyond imagination from all of this.”

    I really wish people would get this type of thinking out of their heads… be rational and try to think back to why you would think this way about money and investors. Anyone can invest in these companies and *risk* their hard earned cash instead of spending it on other things.

    If you want to do something positive then buy shares in an oil company and get a proxy started to give more to charities.

  29. Frank
    September 1st, 2005 @ 5:30 pm

    hermesten — you do realize, of course, that Westboro “Baptist Church” can hardly be considered a legitimate church. It’s “pastor” is a wack job and the congregation is made up almost entirely of his family. His “church” is no more representative of actual Baptist churches than (insert a ridiculously obvious contradictory analogy here).

  30. DHA
    September 1st, 2005 @ 8:17 pm

    If people chose to live 20′ blow sea level next to the largest river on the continet and close to the Gulf of Mexco, why should I encourage that stupidity.

    We will all pay enough in taxes that will go to help them rebuild in a flood plain.

    Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insanity.

  31. Debbie
    September 1st, 2005 @ 8:56 pm


    Phelps is a nutcase with a very limited following, but how about Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.

  32. Glenn
    September 1st, 2005 @ 10:57 pm

    jahrta – Of course you don’t see it from my perspective, your atheist. I’m not trying convert you.

    DHA – It’s defiantly something for us to think about in the future, but to withhold aid now is callous beyond words.

    Debbie – I wish I knew who followed them. They are modern day Pharisees. But you do understand that the noisy Christian’s will get the media attention just like anywhere else. They are not in the position they are because they represent Christian’s as a whole; they are there because they are divisive.

  33. AK
    September 1st, 2005 @ 11:10 pm

    Phelps is the truest, most faithful Christian I have ever seen. He is the prime representative of Christianity in America, and the whole world should recognize him as such. His church is even more Godly than the Landover Baptist church!


  34. AK
    September 1st, 2005 @ 11:10 pm

    Phelps is the truest, most faithful Christian I have ever seen. He is the prime representative of Christianity in America, and the whole world should recognize him as such. His church is even more Godly than the Landover Baptist church!


  35. Eva
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 12:20 am

    xtians say stalin and mao did what they did because he was an atheist……and atheists say robertson and phelps do what they do because they are christians…..

    atheists say that stalin and mao did what they did because of political reasons….
    theists say that robertson and phelps so what they do because they are not real christians….

    i stil think the 4 of then are/were real assholes……

    but we atheists are still right.

  36. MBains
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 8:06 am
  37. hermesten
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 10:01 am

    “hermesten — you do realize, of course, that Westboro “Baptist Church” can hardly be considered a legitimate church.”

    Actually Frank, I guess I don’t realize that. In what way is this church illegitimate? Does it not get tax exempt status? Has some court or government agency ruled that it is not really a Christian church? Has the Baptist organization ordered this church to stop calling itself a Baptist church? Or has it sued them to cease using Baptist in their name? If it’s not a “legitimate” church, why haven’t they? How do we distinguish a “legitimate” Christian church from one that is not?

  38. schemanista
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 10:13 am

    DHA sayeth: If people chose to live 20′ blow sea level next to the largest river on the continet and close to the Gulf of Mexco, why should I encourage that stupidity.

    Fourth and fifth paragraphs.

  39. Frank
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 10:17 am

    hermesten — the legitimacy and authority of a church has nothing to do with the government so I could not care less about whether or not Westboro “Baptist Church” enjoys tax exempt status or has curried favor with some court or government agency. A church is a church because it adheres to the teaching of the Word of God. Westboro demonstrates a departure from Scripture that almost any church in America (of any denomination) would be able to recognize and point out.

    The name “Baptist” goes back a ways and is not copyrighted, so anyone is free to use it. There are a number of different Baptist associations in America, the largest being the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Baptists, and, I believe, the Missionary Baptists. These three groups are not affiliated with one another but all bear the name “Baptist.”

    There is another brand of Baptist out there known as Independent Baptist. This is a church that forms on it’s own and has no affiliation with any group. Westboro is that kind of church. I can assure you that were Westboro to attempt to affiliate with any of the Baptist groups I mentioned above they would not be welcomed as a cooperating church simply because their radical departure from even the simplest of Christian teachings is so obvious to everyone.

    Trying to hold Westboro up as an example of what Christians in America think or believe is misguided at best and completely dishonest at worst. It would be like taking one of those roving bands of murderous thugs in New Orleans and holding them up as a representative sample of what all Americans are like. It is neither fair nor true.

  40. Jennifer
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 10:51 am

    I can assure you that were Westboro to attempt to affiliate with any of the Baptist groups I mentioned above they would not be welcomed as a cooperating church simply because their radical departure from even the simplest of Christian teachings is so obvious to everyone.

    I don’t think their acceptance into the Baptist country club or not, Phelps is a performance artist that exists because he has an audience…and that audience is angry Baptists. He’s the religious crowd’s Anne Coulter. He says something about that population.

  41. Frank
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 11:11 am

    Jennifer said Phelps “has an audience…and that audience is angry Baptists.”

    At first I was going to dispute your claim. I am a Baptist (and have been involved with Baptists in a number of states from the local, rural church level to the highest officials of the SBC) and neither I nor anyone I’ve been around could be considered a member of his audience.

    But then I re-read your post. You said his audience is “angry Baptists.” I can agree with you there, Jennifer. His audience IS angry Baptists … all 17 of them. And all of them right there in the pews of his “church” building.

  42. hermesten
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 11:12 am

    I’m not even suggesting that Westboro represents all Christians, but it cleary does represent some Christians, no matter how wacky it is. It would seem to me that any organization that is having its name sullied by a group like Westboro would want to do something about it. If any Baptist organization has attempted to prevent Westboro from associating itself with “Baptists” I am unaware of it.

    Also, I think Jennifer is absolutely right about the Phelps audience. Phelps is sort of a proxy hater. A lot of Christians agree with him, but they’re not willing to make a public spectacle of themselves as he does. When his group was protesting recently at the funerals of soldiers who died in Iraq, one soldier’s family member was quoted in the press as saying that he sympathized with the Westboro message, but he thought a funeral was the wrong place to express it. There are a lot of people who would publicly deny any support or association with someone like David Duke, but vote for him if he was on the ballot. People with radical agendas like Phelps, who are smart enough to realize that open confrontation is often counterproductive, love to have a Phelps to help them ratchet their agenda into place by pretending to be relatively moderate.

  43. hermesten
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 11:20 am

    “I am a Baptist (and have been involved with Baptists in a number of states from the local, rural church level to the highest officials of the SBC) and neither I nor anyone I’ve been around could be considered a member of his audience.”

    Come on Frank. As one who has held minority viewpoints most of his life, I can tell you that this doesn’t mean all that much –the old, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence line. None of us are saying this is a majority viewpoint, just that it is a viewpoint with support far beyond Westboro. There are potential Westboro supporters in every community. Most people who sense that their views are going to be condemned by the majority just keep them to themselves until they think they have a sympathetic audience –this is what makes Phelps unique, he doesn’t.

  44. James
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 11:47 am


    In all fairness, with the majority of Christians in the U.S. feeling pretty much the same way Phelps does about gays, the only real difference is in what tasteless ways both groups use to show their dislike. One likes to push for Amendments that restrict gay rights, the others like to stand at the funerals of gay servicemen and protest about them serving their country. Now, maybe Christians see some fundamental difference between these two strategies, but outside the crystal ball, we non-believers see different ways to achieve the same goal.

    I don’t run to a dictionary to find out what kind of Christian a person is, I ask them, and I take them at their word. That’s the basic respect humans (should) pay each other.

    Phelps says he is a Christian. I believe him. Hew says his congregation is Baptist one. Again, I believe him. Shoe me where his doctrine diverges from any basic understanding of Christian teachings and I’ll be less likely to believe him. But for now, apart from his tasteless protests, he seems to me to be far more aligned with other Christians than he is with us Atheists. I have to consider him part of the overall tapestry that is Christianity in the U.S., irrespective of the claimed “minority” status of his group.

    He looks like, feels like and smells like a Christian. And you know what they say when something looks, feels and smells like it.

    Frank, given that this blog says “Raving Atheist” at the top, you should’ve known that the “No True Scotsman” fallacy would get no play here.

    The funny thing is, some believers who’ve spoken out about Phelps have struck at him by calling him “Godless”. Tells you something about some Christians when they consider a particular groups description to be an insult, doesn’t it?

  45. Glenn
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 1:43 pm

    AK – I’m not sure I understand this point, no theist in foxholes. Are you suggesting that self preservation and Christianity are mutually exclusive. I mean if thats what you thought, then all that was needed was to try to act threatening to the nearest Christian to disprove it. Are you suggesting that a Christian should not avoid oncoming traffic, lest he avoid God’s will? How exactly is Katrina any different? I’d quit patting yourselves on the back for this great philisophical find, it’s really pretty lame.

    James – Your basic point is, I don’t care about evidence to the contrary. I believe this guy because it makes my point. Is that about right? You guys take one nutjob on the net to imply Christians (or even a significant portion of) are callous, homophobes, praising Katrina, then expect us to come up with statistics to prove you wrong. Who’s argument is more fallacious? If your suggesting that Christians who don’t support gay marraige are the equivelent of this guy, then clearly you have no tolerance for nuance.

    I could go through the whole site and find the errors for you, but instead I’ll just leave a few verses he seemed to avoid. These are all verses 6th graders would learn in Sunday School (I’d leave references, but im lazy, google will surely find them if you like.)

    Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (These people were certainly not the ‘elect’, and Jesus prayed or thier forgivness. He seems to take the context of a prayer by Jesus and make it law; because Jesus once said he was praying for the elect and not the world, doesn’t mean He said thats a rule, it’s just who He was praying for at the time.)

    “Do not be revengeful, my dear friends, but give way before anger; for it is written, “‘Revenge belongs to Me: I will pay back,’ says the Lord.” (Running around with signs proclaiming God hates fags is not giving way before anger)

    “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin… For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. ”

    “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

    “Hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly how to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

  46. a different tim
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

    He also reputedly once drove some money changers out of a temple. It doesn’t stop televangelists hoovering cash out of poor people like a berserk liposuction machine with a big cross glued on it.
    There is a vast constituency of Christians – I would hazard, most of them – that ignore this stuff. Of course atheists are going to argue against these positions. Of course we are going to characterise them as Christian. That’s because as far as we can see, based on the behaviour of a large number of Christians, they are.

    *i realise this doen’t fully answer hermesten’s point. I don’t want to evade it, and will answer if necessary, but the topic has moved on since that post. can’t post from work any more so I am limited to evenings.

  47. Glenn
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 3:36 pm

    True, True. In the end it’s the generalizations. There are lots of Christians who aren’t greedy televangelists or nuts or hate mongers. Oh well, I suppose I need to do some work to.

  48. Jason Malloy
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 5:58 pm

    Another vote for Red Cross.

    Households that give money to just religious charities give almost double ($1154) the amount of those that give money to just secular charities ($623). But those that give to both secular and religious charities (like RA) give almost double that ($2247). Households that give to both even give more to religious charities than those that just give to religious charities. 52% of households give to both*. Thid doesn’t necessarily tell us anything about the giving habits of religious vs. seculer people, just those that give exclusively to one klind of charity. Further, people who identify as “Non-Religious” are a large group of Americans, and it’s the third largest “relgious” designation (after Catholics and Baptists) making up 14% of the population. Atheists are a very small group of less than 1 million people and less than half of 1% of the American population. So stats for the “nonreligious” or “secular” also don’t necessarily apply to those who identify as “atheists”, who are probably a different and more elite sample (i.e. have more education/income). Hardly any statitistics are available for this specified group and I doubt that there is any for charitable giving, but I would guess it was considerably above average, if anything, for the ‘elite’ reason given.

    *all five stats:,1854,552403,00.html

  49. hermesten
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 6:28 pm

    I read the report methodology and I conclude that the report is meaningless for some of the following reasons:

    1. The report methodology defines religious “charity” as giving to the church itself, so the money could be spent buying copies of “The Passion” to distribute to church members. This is not “charity.”

    2. Contributions to such things as hosptials associated with a “religious body” are not considered charity.

    3. The data was determined by a “phone” survey of 4216 people. The publically available report does not say how the sample was determined, so one must suspect sample bias. Also, people are inclined to lie about things like charitable contributions.

    4. “Secular” charities include orgainziations like The United Jewish Appeal.

    This strikes me as the kind of “study” that shows whatever its sponsors want it to.

  50. celeste
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 7:28 pm

    I’m actually volunteering time at a donation center for one of the churches that is housing 100+ refugees. No one has yet to ask what church I go to or anything. But I when they do and I say I’m an atheist, I think it will help out the atheistic cause. If more people knew outed atheist who were active in the community and such it would help to get rid of the idea that all atheist are god hating, self centered, satan whorshiping, sinners. (just paraphrasing from the days of living in the bible belt. hehe) Forgive the spelling errors not one of my strong points. :( So get out there and get involved as an outed atheist and represent!

  51. rev_holy_fire
    September 3rd, 2005 @ 7:15 pm

    Just give, and forget the religion for now. Lets all be ambassadors for christ and give as much as we can to help the people of New Orleans.

  52. hermesten
    September 4th, 2005 @ 12:29 am
  53. hermesten
    September 5th, 2005 @ 10:03 am

    “Natural disaster is caused by the sin in the world,” said Maj. John Jones, the group’s area commander (Salvation Army). “The acts of God are what happens afterwards … all the good that happens.”

  54. Steve G.
    September 5th, 2005 @ 6:35 pm

    I’d be lying if I didn

  55. hermesten
    September 6th, 2005 @ 9:35 am

    “Michael Brown, creator of the immensely popular website – popularly known as the Catholic DrudgeReport, has said that Katrina was “definitely” a purification for New Orleans. Brown points out that the name Katrina itself means “pure”. And that, Brown told, is not a coincidence. “I don’t believe in coincidences,” said Brown, adding that God has everything in His control and “I think that everything is interwoven.””

  56. hermesten
    September 6th, 2005 @ 9:39 am

    So Frank, is Michael Brown a “legitimate” Christian? He’s says the same thing Westboro does, he’s just more “polite.” About about the Salvation Army guy and Rev. Shanks. Are all these people just wackos?

  57. Frank
    September 6th, 2005 @ 9:53 am

    hermesten — I’ve no way of knowing for certain if Michael Brown is a “legitimate Christian” or not, based solely on his comments above. It is entirely possible that he is a Christian and is misguided in his beliefs. It is entirely possible that he thinks he’s a Christian (based on his misunderstanding of what that means) and is out there representing Christianity when, in fact, he’s no more a Christian than you.

  58. hermesten
    September 6th, 2005 @ 10:55 am

    Frank, I’ve never heard of Michael Brown before, but the article claims that he is “immensely popular.” I’ve now posted a number of quotes from a variety of sources, that indicate that the Westboro attitude is popular with far more than just the 17 wackos you referred to earlier.

    I have not looked for quotes like these either. Every single one I stumbled across, on sites like the DrugeReport, while looking for something else. The Westboro attitude is obviously shared by a large number of people, even if it isn’t a majority viewpoint.

  59. Frank
    September 6th, 2005 @ 12:37 pm

    hermesten — I don’t dispute that most Christians consider homosexuality sinful. The Bible is pretty clear on this point. But just because someone considers homosexuality a sin does not place him or her in the same category with the Westboro crowd.

    It is plain from Scripture that sin deserves judgment and I’m sure a great many Christians might believe the hurricane to be such an event. I disagree. Most of us disagree. New Orleans, while completely deserving of God’s judgment, was no more deserving of judgment than any other city that has not suffered a similar fate.

    It really does not matter that Michael Brown is “immensely popular.” There are a great many “Christian preachers/evangelists” that are “immensely popular.” Many of them simply because they like to tell people what they want to hear rather than teach the truth from the Bible. There is a spectrum of teaching that ranges from the authentic, orthodox teaching of Scripture all the way to radical, brainless rants of people who claim to be Christians like “Rev.” Phelps. I have no idea of where on this spectrum Michael Brown falls, but, based on his comments, I still would not lump him in with Phelps.

  60. Jennifer
    September 6th, 2005 @ 1:01 pm

    Frank, do you believe that God delivers judgment to people while they are on Earth, and if so, how do you differentiate between “Judgment” and random cataclysmic events.

  61. Frank
    September 6th, 2005 @ 2:41 pm

    Jennifer — there was a time that God delivered judgment to people while they were on Earth, the Old Testament has a number of examples of it. However, with Christ’s coming a lot of things were made clearer. I can’t say that God does not deliver judgment on Earth any longer (I do not presume to speak on God’s behalf), but the vast majority of things we see are nothing more than humanity suffering the natural consequences of sin. All of creation was corrupted when man introduced sin and God allows us to experience the results of that which we have sown.

  62. ElDiablo
    September 6th, 2005 @ 3:19 pm

    Gave $100 to American Red Cross

  63. a different tim
    September 6th, 2005 @ 4:00 pm

    “All of creation was corrupted when man introduced sin” etc.
    Whoa there, Frank.
    The consequences seem a little – shall we say – disconnected from the actual sins. Unless God really hates poor black people, or they’ve sinned more than the rest of us.

    But that’s not my main objection. Oh no. I’m aware that you’ll reply that God will make it up to them in the afterlife, or some such.
    What I’d like to know is, do you think there were no natural disasters before the advent of man? The Deccan flats and the chixulub crater would tend to be evidence against that view. maybe the dinosaurs corrupted the earth first, then it got better, then man did it.
    Or maybe it was retrospective. Man didn’t corrupt creation until, I dunno, 6 thousand years back, but because God knew it was going to happen, it got corrupted backwards in time as well.

    Me, I think we can probably do better than “the consequences of sin”. I reckon there were specific sins involved that we can probably identify.
    *Ignoring clear warnings. the Army Corps of Engineers (hey! the experts we pay to know about this stuff!) asked for $105 million to reinforce and maintain the levees, the Bush administration gave them $40 million. The rest went to lower Leon and Hermesten’s taxes. This isn’t on the seven deadly sins list so I’ll call it the sin of sheer fuckwitted stupidity in the face of the obvious. Maybe it’s the sin of (mental) sloth.
    *Selfishness and greed. And ignoring clear warnings, (again). Those bad guy biologists, who promote evolution in your schools and such, said that the wetlands adjoining New Orleans were iimportant in soaking up storm surges. But the local administration wanted to sell them at a vast profit to land speculators, with appropriate permissions to drain them in place, and the federal administration let them do it. They probably thought the biologists were just being environmental again. After all, we have dominion over the beasts etc of the earth so we can drain their habitat if we like, right? Natural flood barrier? Say again?
    2 for 1 special! Sin of pride. Sin of avarice.

    This catastrophe did not have to happen. Previous administrations (including republican ones) had recognised that, hey, if you have a major city in Hurricane alley and below sea level, it might be a good idea to spend some money on the flood defences.

    Never mind, let’s blame it all on original sin instead.

  64. hermesten
    September 6th, 2005 @ 4:11 pm

    Frank, I don’t understand why you’re focused on the “sin” of homosexuality. In the quote I provided Mr. Brown doesn’t mention “homosexuality” and he doesn’t even mention “sin.” He speaks of “purification,” says “katrina” means “pure,” that God has everything under His control, and that there are no coincidences. One of the Pehlps quotes I provided merely said “thank God for Katrina.” Now, I suppose this can be interpreted a couple of different ways, but it seems both are equivalent to what Mr. Brown had to say.

    In any case, whether God “hates fags,” or He was just “purifying” New Orleans, if “everything is under His control,” and there are no “coincidences,” then both Pehlps and Brown are saying that God destroys the lives of the innocent along with the lives of the “guilty.” Or to use the language you were using, everybody’s a sinner, so even little children are fair game for God. Either way, He doesn’t seem very discriminating for an omniscient and omnipotent God.

  65. Frank
    September 6th, 2005 @ 4:34 pm

    a different tim — that’s quite a rant, buddy. I’m not saying that there weren’t major screw ups with regard to those levees. In fact, I consider it stupidity of the highest order to have known for 40 years those things wouldn’t stand up to a cat 4 or 5 hurricane and STILL do nothing. If I’m the mayor of New Orleans and the fed won’t pony up then I start taking bids from contractors who do that kind of work and just get it done. After all, it’s my city that stands to go under and, ultimately, my responsibility to do all I can to make sure it doesn’t.

    Quite frankly, I see this as conclusive evidence that big government does not work (at the local, state, or federal level). So YES, keep cutting those taxes and start, for goodness sake, eliminating some bureaucrats and programs and let the people keep their own money and provide for themselves instead of waiting around for a bloated government to take care of it.

    hermesten — I’m not “focused” on homosexuality, that is just the context of our discussion (remember, it started with “Mr. God-hates-Fags.”)

    Now, as I believe that everything is under God’s control, it really doesn’t matter a whole lot whether God caused the hurricane or merely allowed it. Someone with my worldview is faced with the fact that God certainly had the power to stop it whichever the case. It is completely understandable that the first question that pops to mind is “How could God let this happen?” But, the more appropriate question, I think, is this: Why should God be obligated to stop such a thing from happening? Is He, in fact, obligated?

  66. hermesten
    September 6th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    Tim, I’ll grant you that it depends somewhat on how you look at it, but Bush didn’t really lower my taxes. It’s true that I got a federal tax rebate from Bush, but in my case, and I suspect, the case of many many others, the increase in state and local taxes was more than the decrease in federal taxes (twice as much for me). In general, this is because, except for the very rich, the income tax rebate is just a shell game: the feds are simply redistributing what were formerly federal obligations to states and localities. In any case, at the federal level, the purpose of our tax system is two-fold: 1) put money in the pockets of our criminal elites –both our corporate and political criminal class; and 2) fund a security state that keeps the proles in their place, so that our criminal elites can continue to live, without fear, at the expense of the proles.

    As I said in a different post, taxes in the US are mostly a redistribution of wealth, from the middle, to the top and the bottom. They give the bottom enough to keep them from rioting in the streets and the top gets the rest. Tax give aways to corporate interests and administration cronies have reached levels under Bush that can only be called rapacious. And I don’t mean “rapacious” in the sense of what is taken in taxes, but how those taxes are used. The biggest part of my tax dollars goes to private interests like Halliburton at grossly inflated prices. Iraq is the fucking money train for these friends-of-the-monkey companies that get $50 million contracts for $200,000 bridge repairs, and the like. Katrina is one result, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. All the tax money this government spends and look what you get in return. We’ve got a fucking moron ass-licking good-ole-boy ideologue as head of FEMA, tax money siphoned off at every level to keep our corporate criminal class in Rolex’s and Hummers, and dead bodies floating in our chaotic streets. But don’t worry, not a one of those dead bodies gave any serious money to the Republican Party while they were still alive, so all’s well that end’s well.

  67. simbol
    September 6th, 2005 @ 7:03 pm

    “But, the more appropriate question, I think, is this: Why should God be obligated to stop such a thing from happening? Is He, in fact, obligated?”

    If all your family were corpses floating on the flooded streets of New Orleans, you wouldn’t make that nonsense questions.

  68. assclown
    September 6th, 2005 @ 8:24 pm

    why should god be obligated to do anything? If god want’s to be irrational, cruel or just retarded he can. It’s good to be king, but it’s better to be god, and why the fuck should you have to explain yourself to some insignificant specks that you created for a laugh? God can and does fuck us all seven ways from sunday. Instead of complaining about it just grab your ankles and say “thank you sir, may I have another”

  69. Paul
    September 6th, 2005 @ 8:49 pm

    Frank wrote:
    “So YES, keep cutting those taxes and start, for goodness sake, eliminating some bureaucrats and programs and let the people keep their own money and provide for themselves instead of waiting around for a bloated government to take care of it.”

    So, let each person build, maintain, and improve their own levee?

    I hope I’m missing the sarcasm in your comment.

  70. Debbie
    September 6th, 2005 @ 11:53 pm


    Frank’s god behaves no differently than a small boy who pulls the legs off a spider one-by-one for fun, but on an incomparably larger, and more vicious, scale. I feel sorry for people like Frank who are so terrorized by the threat of eternal damnation that they have to worship such a sadistic bastard. A sadistic bastard who behaves like this in spite of having the power and wisdom to create the universe, and can wield complete control over everything that happens.

    There has to be an element of masochism and a desire to be dominated in such a belief system.

  71. Angi
    September 7th, 2005 @ 12:22 am

    psst! the Salvation Army is a church. pass it on!

  72. Frank
    September 7th, 2005 @ 9:09 am

    Paul said, “So, let each person build, maintain, and improve their own levee?” You apparently missed the part where I said if the fed or state does not help with the levee then the mayor should take bids from private contractors for the work and get it done. If I’m charged with a responsibility I don’t wait around for someone else to come and make it happen for me. I roll up my sleeves and go to work. Had any mayor of New Orleans in the past 40 years done that perhaps the levee would have been built to withstand the hurricane they all knew was an eventuality.

    Debbie said, “I feel sorry for people like Frank who are so terrorized by the threat of eternal damnation that they have to worship such a sadistic bastard.” I’m not terrorized by the threat of eternal damnation so, while I appreciate your concern, you can save your pity for someone who needs it.

  73. Jennifer
    September 7th, 2005 @ 9:30 am

    Frank, if you believe that all of this is the result of original sin…that all suffering is….then, it follows that Christians would be disinclined to help rescue efforts or medical assistance for any disaster. After all its God’s Will. Would you agree?

  74. Frank
    September 7th, 2005 @ 9:49 am

    Jennifer — Nope, I wouldn’t agree. A cursed world is just one of the consequences of sin. Death is another. Eternal separation from God is another. But God provided a means of escape from some of the consequences of sin. Through Christ He provided the means to escape eternal separation (hell). He has charged believers everywhere to help alleviate the consequences of this cursed world. Jesus was constantly meeting the physical needs of people who were hurting. It is one of the responsibilities of the church to continue to do that today, according to Scripture.

    In fact, Christians, as recipients of God’s grace, are quite eager, in turn, to become God’s agents of grace in situations like the one we face on the Gulf coast.

  75. Jennifer
    September 7th, 2005 @ 9:56 am

    I was OK until we got here

    In fact, Christians, as recipients of God’s grace, are quite eager, in turn, to become God’s agents of grace in situations like the one we face on the Gulf coast.

    Its the conservatives – indeed Christians – that are practicing “blame the victim.”

  76. hermesten
    September 7th, 2005 @ 10:01 am

    Frank, I don’t think you’re paying attention to the situation in New Orleans and elsewhere. Disregarding such things as the fact that Louisiana government is notoriously corrupt, and that New Orleans has what may be the most corrupt police force in the entire country, the fact remains that FEMA has federalized all disaster response. The news is coming in now about how FEMA has prevented state and private agencies from rendering aid. I think one reason for this is that it enables the Bush administration to control who is responding, and hence, who gets paid. A lot of local contractors in New Orleans and Louisiana are democrats. I’ve even read accounts of people being prevented, by force, from walking out of the city.

    Just look what’s being reported now. Halliburton is going in to New Orleans on a cost plus contract to aid in reconstruction. FEMA privitized disaster recovery planning for New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. Of course, it’s probably just a coincidence that the companies getting these contracts happen to be big GOP contributors and riddled with executives who have been in and out of government in past administrations. And look at the GOP clown in charge of FEMA. And though this is primarily a republican thing, it’s not just a republican thing: the democrats are crony capitalists too, wherever they can cut a deal.

  77. Frank
    September 7th, 2005 @ 10:21 am

    Jennifer — Three of the top five organizations contributing money and manpower along the Gulf coast are faith-based. Catholic Charities, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and the Salvation Army are three of the biggies doing wonderful things to help the victims of this hurricane. Just one state Southern Baptist organization alone (Arkansas Baptist State Convention) is preparing 60,000 meals a day. These are people who are taking time off from their jobs, giving money (while not making any), in order to help.

    Perhaps you could share a specific instance of someone from these organizations who are practicing “blame the victim.” I’m not even sure what you mean by that.

    hermesten — I am paying attention. It is the failure of government (at all levels) to adequately deal with this disaster that highlights America’s need to stop pumping so much money into it. Good grief, if we were clients of a company that so failed to deliver on a promise we’d fire them. Unfortunately, in this case, we can’t fire them. We have to keep on paying them money because they demand our money. quite literally, at the point of a gun. Don’t think so? See what happens if you refuse to pay your taxes.

    The first priority of any government is to maintain it’s power. Officials of governments have the same priority. That’s why I am such an advocate of smaller and smaller government. Government’s will always want to rule people contrary to their will. For this reason I think it best to limit THEIR ability to do that. Shrinking government is the answer. And, for the record, I don’t single out any particular party in this matter. The past administrations of both parties have piled bureaucracy upon bureaucracy and made our federal government more and more inept and less and less effective in the process.

  78. Vernichten
    September 7th, 2005 @ 10:22 am

    Where did you get this information regarding sin and God Frank?

  79. Frank
    September 7th, 2005 @ 10:34 am

    Vernichten — In light of the fact that it’s no secret here that I’m a Christian, I’ll assume your question is rhetorical. Everyone here knows what source I consider the authority on such matters. What’s your point?

  80. Jennifer
    September 7th, 2005 @ 10:39 am

    Yes, but many people gave to those charities. You can see from RA’s post that I was one of them. That doesn’t count and you know it.

    Regarding the last administration – at least they balanced their check book.

  81. Frank
    September 7th, 2005 @ 10:55 am

    Jennifer — Your comment dealt with the motivation of Christians to do good works in the face of tragedies:

    “I was OK until we got here

    In fact, Christians, as recipients of God’s grace, are quite eager, in turn, to become God’s agents of grace in situations like the one we face on the Gulf coast.”

    I was merely pointing out that it is apparent, from the response of Christians to this crisis, that they are, in fact, eager to become God’s agents of grace. Whether or not you gave any money to a charity is completely beside the point as I was making no claim to exclusivity on behalf of Christians to doing good deeds.

  82. Jennifer
    September 7th, 2005 @ 11:02 am

    You said “Here is an example of Christians giving” I said “No that was Us” and you said “I didn’t say it wasn’t you”

    In any case, Do you consider George Bush to be a Christian?

  83. Vernichten
    September 7th, 2005 @ 11:22 am

    I wasn’t sure if you could be easily dismissed with the destruction of your a priori beliefs. But I wasn’t attempting to engage in that argument.

    It’s difficult to argue against your assessment of the relief effort. Charity has always been a weak link in my argument against religion. I see things as useful or harmful, and I was just evaluating the usefulness of your argument regarding the faith-based relief effort.
    I wan’t intending any hostility this time. Just trying to learn about my universe.

  84. a different tim
    September 7th, 2005 @ 1:53 pm

    Still not with you on “small government”.
    That eminent republican, PJ O’Rourke, made a comment in the introduction to one of his books to the effect that purpose of government is to build roads etc, and defend the country. It is, he said, like a basement furnace – an appliance that does a job, not an almighty state.
    I’m with him so far.
    however, even a basement furnace needs a minimum spent on it,. If oyu fail to provide enough fuel you wiull get a very cold winter. If you fail to maintain it it may explode and kill you and your entire family, and your little dog too. My contention is that the current US administration have treated government with contempt. It doesn’t hack it to have an administration that starves federal agencies of funds then blames them when they are unable to meet their obligations. The Army Corps of Engineers was doing just fine but didn’t get enough to keep the levees well maintained. The cutting back of government and the sale of wetlands to the private sector contributed directly to the problem.
    Now by now you probably consider me some kind of socialist, but I urge you to consider that the majority of victims are 1) poor and 2) black (as I have mentioned before). Do you seriously consider that the private sector could give a rat’s ass about these people?
    Your point about local administration is well made, however – Branco is fully culpable and should go.
    Bush on the other hand has announced he will lead the enquiry into his own government’s failings. “Bush clears self of all responsibility in hurricane disaster!”

    PS Did you know Afghanistan and Venezuela have offered to send aid? Next up – do they mean it or are they taking the piss?

  85. simbol
    September 7th, 2005 @ 6:06 pm

    Venezuela’s president offered 1.000.000 barrels of gasoline and 5 million dollars cash for the poor of new orleans (About 85 million dollar in total). It is a serious offer, not because Chavez is worried about the sufferings of the poor in new orleans, but because Chavez is interested in presenting himself as the champion of the poor of the world, against the american imperialism, globalization, neo-liberalism, and specially against Bush. If USA government don’t put hurdles, the donation will take place since Venezuela has not financial problems for doing this given the current prices of oil. It seems to be that Jessie Jackson has been operational in this affair.

  86. Fryan
    September 7th, 2005 @ 7:09 pm

    I think you’re being overly sceptical of Chavez here simbol. It would have been all too easy for Chavez to get into power on a ‘help the poor’ platform, and then do what Lula, the president of Brazil did, and just side with the local elite, and foreign business interests. Instead he has consistently sided with Venezuala’s poor majority, risking both his regime and his life, as seen in the U.S backed 2002 coup. He has a deal going with Cuba, exchanging oil for 20,000 Cuban doctors, who have been sent to provide medical care to poor rural areas. Although I don’t approve, in general, of Chavez aligning himself with Cuba, as unlike Venezuala, it is not a democracy. The point being, I think an offer from the Chavez government to help poor hurricane victims can probably be taken at face value.

  87. Frank
    September 8th, 2005 @ 11:46 am

    Jennifer — With regard to whether or not I consider George Bush a Christian: I am convinced that HE thinks he is a Christian. He has said and done things that would lead me to believe that he is. However, he has also said things that are completely contrary to the Bible. For example: he has said that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. That is plainly contrary to Scripture and I have a hard time believing that a Christian would say such a thing (even one calculating the political considerations of the statement). So, the answer to your question is: I just don’t know.

    Vernichten — I did not suspect you of hostility. I just wondered where you were going with your questions.

  88. simbol
    September 8th, 2005 @ 11:51 am

    “He has a deal going with Cuba, exchanging oil for 20,000 Cuban doctors”

    does this mean that cuba had 20000 idle doctors?

    The truth is than venezuela has the same percapita doctors than cuba,better trained and with better equipment. IT is also true that the slums are not served because they are very dangerous and doctors prefer no to go. Chavez put some cuban doctors in this slums and protected them, and nobody knows exactly how many but surely in the order of the thousands. This also served to chavez to justify the big subsidy he is giving away to Castro. Chavez was elected on a platform of serious reforms, but he changed to old fashioned comunism, anti americanism, anti globalization and anti Bush. The country is going backwrds in terms of employment, income, health indicators and democracy. 50% of population is supporting Chavez because him is giving cash to the poor, cheap food, and third rate health services in the slums. This can not be criticize of course, but the fact is that capital is fleeing the country because the comunist stance of chavez, and the money coming from the oil is squandered by the government, not only by its sloppy work but also because Chaez is financing all leftists in the world, from drug-related colombian guerrillas and Ecuadoran and Bolivian leftists to european anti globalization groups, and Cuba and Argentina of course. So this ineffectual government has the venezuelan population in a worst situation than when it came to power. Democracy is dying. Before Chavez, Venezuelan democracy was the strongest is LA. Chavez made the same that Hitler. He was elected on a democratic platform, and then changed the rules an now control besides the executive branch, the legislative, the judiciary and the electoral authorities, this usually is called a dictatorship. He has purged the military and is creating a militia controled by himself. Recently a law was passed with heavy punishment against the media when criticizing the goverment, the result is auto-censorship. Venezuela has now the biggest monetary reserves in its history, but there is a control of foreing exchange used politically.
    Many people likes chavez for beign anti imperialist, anti neoliberal, anti globalization and anti Bush. Problem is that this stances doesn’t make a person automatically a decent human being, a decent politician, and a man who deffends freedom. That’s why Chavez is friend of Castro, visited Hussein when in power, support the Iran tyranny, and the chinese “democracy”, and his government can be qualified as the most corrupt in Venezuelan History, which is what happen when you makes inoperative those independent bodies which controls executive and legislative branches, like General Comptroller, the judiciary, the general prosecutor and the media.

  89. Jennifer
    September 8th, 2005 @ 5:33 pm

    Thanks for answering Frank. I actually don’t think he is. I think smart marketers prompt him to say the right words, but I think if 50 of the voters embraced Pastafarianism tommorow he’d be in Pirate gear faster than you could say King James Version.

  90. Christopher Davis
    October 9th, 2005 @ 7:55 am

    I really appreciate what you’re doing here. Very interesting site. Naked truth: , out little pieces of bread and cups of juice

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