An unpalatable truth

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An unpalatable truth

Postby meteorite » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:09 pm

This column for today's Star is likely to ignite quite a firestorm of furor, because the writer is saying pay up or shut up. If you don't like the way it's being done, do it yourself. It isn't a message many folks want to hear.

But it highlights a distasteful but inescapable fact - you can't have what you don't pay for. So make up your mind.

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Society, not faith groups, should take care of the vulnerable

July 03, 2010

Ken Gallinger

Q: While visiting the Children’s Aid Society in Barrie, I was shocked at literature displayed in their waiting area. I came across a pamphlet entitled ``What the Bible says about Homosexuality.’’ Just minutes into this twisted propaganda, I could not believe what I was reading. The CAS is twisting the Bible! Taxpayer dollars are being spent on this garbage rather than on the children in need!

A: This is one of many letters I’ve received, from people dismayed about the relationship between Christianity (and religion generally) and public institutions that care for vulnerable people.

The concern is about faith-based institutions, such as Catholic Children’s Aid or Christian Horizons, who deal with “special needs” folks, downloading doctrine on vulnerable people who don’t have the power to say “no.”

I can’t answer all these letters, and their authors are chiding me for ignoring them. So let me make a couple of general, if controversial, statements.

Christianity is, in many respects, a wonderful faith. I’m grateful for the role churches have played in shaping our educational, medical, immigration and social support systems. And I’m grateful for the way faith communities of all stripes continue to carry the weight of caring for people who slip through the cracks — the poor, the hungry, the refugee, and so on.

But it’s time for Canada to grow up.

It is a societal responsibility, not an act of charity or faith, to care for the young, the disabled, elderly and other people. Faith groups have no business teaching children anything except faith and values, and that should happen in churches, mosques and synagogues—not in schools. Nor should faith groups any longer be in the business of taking care of Canada’s frail elderly or vulnerable disabled.

And society has no right to expect them to! There’s an old saying: “he who pays the piper calls the tune.” If Canadians want their kids, their sick, their disabled, their refugees to be cared for in systems that are laundered of every hint of faith, then it’s time for Canadians to stop whining about taxation and step up to the plate, rather than merely bitching when religious people carry the freight, often paying for it from their own wallets.

This is Canada’s 143rd birthday. Birthdays are a time to say thanks for where we’ve come from, and think about where we are. Judging by the mail I get, there’s a lot of bitterness and suspicion about the role of faith communities in caring for the vulnerable. Some of that suspicion is patently justified. But the simple fact is that faith-based institutions and individuals have borne a far disproportionate share of the load for caring for the vulnerable in Canada, and, in an overwhelming majority of cases do so with compassion and grace. In return, they expect to be able to pray, and tell their faith stories.

The poor, said Jesus, “are always with you.” And they still need to be taken care of. If Canadians don’t trust people of faith to do it, then perhaps those who are worried should suck it up and start bearing as much of the load as their religious neighbours have been carrying.

Send your questions to ethical@rogers.com.
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Re: An unpalatable truth

Postby Sean » Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:34 am

Ken wrote:Christianity is, in many respects, a wonderful faith. I’m grateful for the role churches have played in shaping our educational, medical, immigration and social support systems. And I’m grateful for the way faith communities of all stripes continue to carry the weight of caring for people who slip through the cracks — the poor, the hungry, the refugee, and so on.


Faith is a disease. What is a wonderful disease?

Churches have, throughout history, if anything, fought AGAINST shaping out society for good. What has been used to justify slavery? Segregation? Block the women's rights movement? To fight gay rights tooth and nail? Do you need two guesses here?


Otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly, kind of.
Those who say it cannot be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it.
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