Dictating Charity

I probably won’t be doing much advocating for reproductive rights these next few weeks as I will be busy volunteering as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and trying to collect non-perishable foodstuffs for Project Christmas, a local organization that gives boxes of food and presents to those in need during the holidays and one that helped my family during my childhood. As of this writing, I already have put in about 10 hours of volunteer work for the Salvation Army, collected 10 non-perishable food items, and made countless little girls lose their shit over seeing their favorite Disney princess in the flesh (I cosplay as Princess Anna if its not too cold).

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Cosplaying as Princess Anna during one of my bell ringing shifts. I look very, very awkward in this photo. 
There has been a massive shortage of bell ringers this year. Barely any of the open shifts have been taken. Only once in my almost 10 hours of bell ringing has another volunteer showed up to bell ring at the other entrance of the Wal-Mart. In Wal-Mart’s case, the red kettles get put away when there aren’t any bell ringers so the Salvation Army loses out on potential donations with the utter lack of volunteers.

On two separate occasions, the Pastor has bumped into me while I was bell ringing. Any public run in with the Pastor is always awkward with that fake “Stepford Wife” persona of his and him pretending like were acquaintances when in reality we have squabbled over the rights of the women his group harasses every week.

Yet the encounters during my volunteer work have got me thinking: Why isn’t he out here ringing? Actually, what have those pro-lifers, the moral crusaders that want to help people, done to help the less fortunate?

Part of me isn’t surprised considering the Dicktator’s Facebook page is sprinkled with criticisms for people who choose to do fundraisers or acts of charity over standing for the unborn. Reading through his posts, which most revolve around abortion, he gives the impression that everyone’s singular priority should be standing for the unborn and that you’re not a true Christian if you’re not.

He says things like:

“It is sad to see that even Christians who rely on God’s Word cannot see priorities and the significant difference between feeding somebody for a couple hours compared to fighting against the torture and murder of over 3,000 children every day.”

“I don’t know how you can equate giving a bowl of soup to a needy neighbor while ignoring the slaughter to our unborn.”

I don’t know how anyone can believe that a living, breathing human being is comparable to a fetus, but maybe that’s just me.

He is completely right on one thing: the significant difference between helping the needy and fighting for the unborn, though maybe not in the way that he thinks.

In this country, there are about 1.2 million abortions performed every year. In his mind, that means slightly over 3,000 children are being “tortured and murdered” every day.

 

But he says nothing of…

…the 43.1 million people in poverty, including 14.5 million children.

…the 42.2 million, including 13.1 million children, living in food insecure households—meaning there’s not always enough food for everyone. Of the 15.8 million households that were food insecure, 6.3 million of them were experiencing very low food security.

…the estimated 2.5-3.5 million homeless. It’s estimated that 1 in 50 children, 1.5 million children, will experience homelessness every year.

 

If we divided those numbers over the course of a year like he does abortion statistics, we would have:

*118,082 people per day living in poverty. 39,726 of them would be children.

*115,616 people per day would be living with hunger. 35,890 of them would be children.

*6,849-9,589 people per day would be homeless. 4,109 of them would be children.

So….he’ll speak up for the 3,000+ fetuses being aborted every day, but is completely silent on the 4000+ outside-the-womb children who are homeless every day (statically speaking)? Or the thousands more experiencing poverty and hunger? Its likely that if they’re homeless they’re also experiencing poverty and hunger.

His whole argument sounds completely hypocritical when he repeatedly posts pictures containing certain Biblical quotes alongside his “what are you doing for the unborn?!” posts.

 

As an atheist, I was not familiar with Matthew 25: 42-43. Obviously, he’s using it to criticize those who are ignoring the unborn that are aborted, but the quote itself seems to have very little (if anything) to do with the abortion debate and is critical of those who ignore the needs of the less fortunate. I learned the quote is part of a bigger piece of scripture called “The Sheep and the Goats”. In the piece, Jesus divides the world’s people into two groups “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”. He tells one group (“Sheep”) that they will inherit the kingdom of heaven while the other group (“Goats”) will inherit the eternal fires of Hell. The division seems to be based on whether people committed acts of kindness and mercy to their disadvantaged “neighbors” such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the imprisoned and sick. He explains that doing these acts of kindness for someone is the same as having done them for Jesus himself. The quote the Dicktator posts is the part where Jesus points out to the cursed group how they saw people who were in need and ignored helping them. It makes sense to me because the stories I know about Jesus involve him seeing people who are needy and immediately helping them.

It seems a bit hypocritical of the Dicktator to criticize anyone for doing charitable things Jesus himself would have done (like giving that bowl of soup to a needy neighbor) over standing against abortion and then post scripture that has little to nothing to do with abortion to further his anti-abortion message where Jesus criticizes those damned to Hell for not having done the charitable things the Dicktator is criticizing people for doing in the first place. It seems hypocritical to post about showing mercy or standing up for the poor and needy when he himself hasn’t done those things unless its in regards to the pre-born. He’s posting these things to lots of followers and several will blindly reply back with “AMEN” without question.

It reminds me of another Biblical quote that he posted to judge the Christian leaders for not standing against abortion: “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” 

Concerning the Pastor, the other main protester, he’s happily told me of the group’s annual Life Chain event, the seminar for teenagers where they lie to them about abortion, and potentially protesting other places in the future, but hasn’t told me of any efforts to help the less fortunate. He seemed to be put off guard whenever I have asked him of other ways they’re helping people beyond this weekly demonstration yet has never missed a beat when it came to his anti-abortion crusade. He has the time to put in at least an hour holding a sign every week no matter what the weather, organize pro-life events, and write letters to the editor trying to convince everyone that fetuses are people, but so far seems to have done little to nothing that would help actual people. Through my own research I found in 2013 his church sponsored TWO anti-abortion billboards in town for the year, which would range anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. I’m sure an expensive billboard claiming that your baby had a heartbeat 18 days from conception does nothing for the woman with an unplanned pregnancy who can barely afford to take care of herself.

Here’s what I don’t get in all of this: if they truly believe fetuses at any stage of development are people, then why are they doing practically nothing for the living, breathing people outside the womb who experience things like hunger, poverty, or homelessness?  You want to tell women not to terminate their pregnancies, but don’t want to do anything to ensure that any fetuses you save will grow into children that are taken care of? Has it occurred to any of these pro-lifers that these sorts of issues just might be reasons women get abortions in the first place and abortion rates will drop if these issues are taken care of? I’m sure they haven’t. They probably want to go on believing women who get abortions are irresponsible nymphomaniacs who should’ve kept their legs closed if they didn’t want children. I’m sure they want to continue believing that they’re helping by standing outside holding a sign with an opinion.

At the very least, why criticize those who are making efforts to help people meet their basic needs? “Love thy neighbor” if you will. Are the needy somehow not their “neighbors”? Isn’t prolonged hunger, poverty, or homelessness torturous and a death sentence like they want to claim abortion is to children? What if the unplanned pregnancies they save end up becoming a part of those statistics? Would these children be helped by the very people who sought to save them from being aborted?

In response to a letter that the Dicktator’s 12-year old daughter wrote, I suggested she get in contact with non-profit organizations to ask how she can be of help and called out the adults that she’s crusading with for not doing pro-active things that would actually benefit those in actual crisis. Instead of taking note of it, I got a response from one of the Pastor’s relatives (well, they share the same last name and town anyways) who was “disappointed” in my letter and that I should be “championing those who are speaking up for the rights of the pre-born, because the very same people she is trying to discourage as they offer hope to others would help her if she was awaiting punishment for a crime in which she was innocent.”

Why should I champion them? While they stand outside a health clinic that doesn’t offer abortions (and wants to prevent unintended pregnancies!) with large signs, misinformation, and Biblical scare tactics in their attempt to try and save at least one pregnancy from being terminated, they’re ignoring the millions more who are sick, poor, hungry, or homeless. Many of which are the children they claim to want to protect!

That’s why there’s a tiny part of me that is surprised I haven’t seen any of them out there this holiday season ringing bells in the name of a charity that greatly helps people or telling others that they should volunteer for the good cause. They claim to be moral crusaders that up for those who cannot help themselves while preaching that “love thy neighbor” commandment as if it were proof that they care about people.

But I suppose their actions speak so loud that I cannot hear the agenda that they preach. Maybe they need to demonstrate outside a clinic in an attempt to prove to their God that they’re good people that are helpful to the disadvantaged while doing nothing that would provide for them.

If anything, their lack of real charity somewhat motivates me to help in any way I can. I may not have Jesus’ abilities like being able to feed an entire village or healing the sick. What I do have is the ability to ring a bell to help bring in donations to a charity that can feed, clothe, shelter, and help those who are in need and handing out cheap chocolates to bring a little joy to those who donate.

Course, I never started bell ringing to prove I’m somehow better than the protesters who claim to cherish human life. I freeze in my Princess Anna costume mostly for the people I recognize need these services from this organization. Several people have come up to me during my shifts to explain how the Salvation Army helped them. I ring for those people.

It’s just a bit sad seeing others who claim to be devoted to Christ not doing the same. To quote a comment made by one of the Dicktator’s followers (though maybe not in the same context): “Sad when people are too busy leading righteous lives to connect with reality.”

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