“Rice Christians”

[“Rice Christian” was the pejorative term applied to desperate people who became Christians for the material benefits that were offered to them by the churches (or missionaries) who originated the term:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_Christian

I was personally turned off the church as a career following my divinity studies by the fact that the Protestant church mid 20th century looked to be being taken over by operations that promised financial benefits for joining up and which operated profitable schemes (often on the fringe of illegality) benefiting individuals in control and ready to exploit the benefits for religious organizations offered by U.S. tax system.

Taking financial advantage of a religious role is no new game. It has been around as long as religions have most likely. Jesus, himself, seems to have blown his cool only once — at the religious tax collectors who blocked the doors of the Temple to the poor.

The modern danger to Americans in the use of religious need and greed as a motivation for membership in such institutions is that they discourage support systems for those not members of their organizations and oppose such things as taxes in the public interest. They would rather collect 10% for themselves than support taxes for state funded education, medical care, maintenance of infrastructures, food for the hungry, etc., etc. The upshot is that the U.S. is pouring billions into war games and starving children in the U.S. proper:

http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/04/editorials/hungry_us_children.htm

Only the U.S. of the developed nations steps aside from the basic needs of its own people. Others ponder this weird state of affairs in a nation that claims that almost all of its citizens are Christians. The short answer, of course, is that they are not Christians. They are increasingly members of the Megachurches dedicated to the greedy self-interest of their operators (see below). For the record private charities generally can handle only about 10% of publicly identifiable needs. Ed Kent]

………………

IN GOD’S NAME
Megachurches Add Local Economy to Their Mission
By DIANA B. HENRIQUES and ANDREW W. LEHREN
The business interests of megachurches include aviation
subsidiaries and investment partnerships.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/23/business/23megachurch.html?th&emc=th

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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