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Does Christianity really prefer charity to government welfare?

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  • While often overlooked, there is a strong Christian case for their coexistence
  • Unspeakable: Washington Ignores Homeless Epidemic

Elizabeth Stoker, The Week 

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were-all-responsible-for-helping.jpg?201 We're all responsible for helping. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) 

April 10, 2014 | The role of private charity versus that of state-sponsored social programs remains a hotly contested issue in Right vs. Left politics, with the Right typically favoring a heavy or total reliance upon private charity, and the Left typically calling for a more robust emphasis on state-provided programs. What is often presumed, however, in this political discourse is that Christianity, like conservatism, requires a total reliance on private charity to deliver services to the needy. This could not be more wrong.

The reason the political debate is back in the news is a recent essay in Democracy Journal concerning the conservative premise that voluntary charity could or should supplant state programs aimed at addressing joblessness, illness, accident, and old age. In the article, Mike Konczal labeled such conservative ideation "the voluntarism fantasy," pointing out that in the American context, "complex interaction between public and private social insurance… has always existed in the United States."

Elizabeth Stoker writes about Christianity, ethics, and policy for Salon, The Atlantic, and The Week. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, a Marshall Scholar, and a current Cambridge University divinity student. 

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Related:

Unspeakable: Washington Ignores Homeless Epidemic, Bill Boyarsky, TruthDig

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  • The hardship of families and children is an overlooked national disgrace.
  • The National Center on Family Homelessness has chronicled the toll such conditions take on children.
  • Work Until You're Dead?
  • Senator Spends Day Off With Homeless Man For A Lesson You Can't Learn From An Office

‘Somebody Called the Cops on Jesus’

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  • “It gives authenticity to our church,” says church rector Rev. David Buck. “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”
  • Homeless Lose a Longtime Last Resort: Living in a Car

Alexander Reed KellyTruthdig

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Apr 13, 2014 | Residents of “an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes” in Davidson, N.C., now share the block with a bronze statue depicting Jesus Christ as a vagrant asleep on a park bench on the grounds of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, NPR reports.

The Son of God is “huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.”

 

Alexander Reed Kelly joined Truthdig in May 2011 as an assistant editor. In December, 2010, Alex was arrested outside the White House while protesting America’s wars. With him were Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg and 130 other activists, many of them veterans. 

Full story (includes audio) … 

Related:

Homeless Lose a Longtime Last Resort: Living in a Car, Zusha Elinson, Wall Street Journal

  • Cities in Silicon Valley, Elsewhere Crack Down on Vehicle Dwellers Driven Out of Apartments by Rents
  • Examining DC's Homeless Crisis
  • Unspeakable: Washington Ignores Homeless Epidemic

 

5 Extremist Christian "Science" Teachings

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  • The Christian curriculum that says its students should not have any knowledge of anything contrary to the Bible.
  • This stuff is in schoolbooks.
  • 7 Most Absurd Things America's Kids Are Learning Thanks to the Conservative Gutting of Public Education
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington

Jpnny Scaramanga, AlterNet 

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screen_shot_2014-01-16_at_11.04.23_am.png December 19, 2013 | Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) is a fundamentalist school curriculum used in a  claimed 6,000 schools and 145 countries. Despite the name, education is actually second to its  stated primary purpose, which is “to diligently teach our children to love the Lord in every sphere of their lives, with all their hearts, all their souls, and all their minds,” according to its website.

ACE explicitly says its intention is that students should not have any knowledge of anything contrary to the Bible. In practice, students are taught gross distortions and misrepresentations of mainstream science, like these 33 bizarre multiple choice questions from the ACE coursework. Here’s a look at the some of the blatant mistruths ACE teaches.

Jpnny Scaramanga is a PhD student at the Institute of Education, London. He grew up as a Christian fundamentalist and is currently writing a memoir of his daring escape. 

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Related:

7 Most Absurd Things America's Kids Are Learning Thanks to the Conservative Gutting of Public Education, Katie Halper, AlterNet

  • Kids learn that gun control is a gateway to tyranny and that science is unchristian.
  • Publicly Funded Schools That Are Allowed to Teach Creationism

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How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington, George Monbiot, Guardian

The degradation of intelligence and learning in American politics results from a series of interlocking tragedies.
 

Fr. John Dear, Dismissed from Jesuits

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  • "It Is So Strange to Be Hated by So Many Church Leaders"
  • Maryknoll: Vatican has dismissed Roy Bourgeois from order

Megan Sweas, Religion Dispatches

dear_302.jpg Fr. John Dear: "I'm still a Catholic priest."

March 5, 2014 | "This week, with a heavy heart, I am officially leaving the Jesuits after 32 years." This was how Fr. John Dear announced his dismissal from the Jesuit order in his National Catholic Reporter (NCR) column in January—a "divorce" (as Joshua McElwee put it that same week) that seemed to many to have been inevitable, if deeply regrettable. Dear, a widely respected peace activist, has been arrested over 75 times for civil disobedience, but it was his "obstinate disobedience" toward the directives of his Jesuit superiors that resulted in his dismissal.

He talks here with Religion Dispatches (RD)  about his commitment to radical nonviolence, the future of the Church—and closes by offering some strong words to the spiritual-but-not-religious cohort. 

Megan Sweas is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles who writes about religious and social issues. 

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Related:

Maryknoll: Vatican has dismissed Roy Bourgeois from order, Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

  • November 19, 2012 | In interviews Bourgeois focused on the rights of conscience of Catholics and "the importance of people of faith and members of Maryknoll to be able to speak openly and freely without fear ... of being dismissed or excommunicated."
  • SOA Watch Activist Arrested by Military Police
  • Churchgoers, save yourselves

 

If Churches Paid Taxes (Graphic)

 

Atheist Republic  / Daily Kos 

 

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