Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coming at you.

As I look at the stack of collection envelopes so very thoughtfully provided by our parish, I noticed that next Sunday is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development's turn to take a chance at biting wholesale chunks out of my wallet.

Now, if you are an assiduous reader of this blog, and have developed sufficient skill at reading between the lines, you will be keenly aware sans doute that my views are not the sort of views which the CHD countenances with any sort of glee.

To shed further light on this, you might wish to click your digits on over to the USCCB's website and do a search for the CCHD, either by its abbreviated or proper name. Three things ought strike you, immediately.

1- Almost all the groups which suckle the milk of human kindness at the CCHD's teat have appalling acronyms. Yes, I know I am a lunatic right wing maniac, but I can't help but have my radar start making high-pitched whirring sounds at the tortured wordsmithing required to come up with an acronym that spells out some impactful word, i.e. "BLAST: Badger Lake Action Support Team" and the like. People who would like to avail themselves of my monetary largesse ought do well to think along different lines.

2- Almost none of these groups have actually done anything concrete to solve any poverty. This is because almost all these groups have views inimical to reality. You will read much about "breaking the cycle of poverty, but puzzlingly little of that cycle being broken, anywhere. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find that cycle so much as dented or dinged with CCHD funds. (Incidentally, the only way to eliminate poverty is to afford poor people open, free and unfettered access to the free-market system. Next question.)

3- As you look into what they stand for, the vast majority (can you see charity humming quietly in my choice of words?) of these groups have a decidedly, er, left-of-center political skew.

Now, a warning; in a few seconds you will run headlong into a litmus test. I happen to like litmus tests. I'm not comfortable looking at the world as black-or-white, but I'll cheerfully settle for "charcoal or dove grey."

OK, here is one litmus test:

One of these groups refers to The Heritage Foundation as -- watch this, now -- "the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation." ANY group that considers the Heritage Foundation "ultra conservative" can be safely said to be aswim with people whose personal happiness is directly related by how closely the USA resembles "a worker's paradise." In short, the sort of people -- richly deserving of our sympathy and prayers -- who would read (and believe) The Nation if it were only free and/or subsidized with taxpayer funds. One wonders at what groupthink would be on the Cato Institute.

Because you strike me as a cynical sort, dear Internet, I'll give you another litmus test. Free. It's easy. Find me ONE of the CCHD-affiliated groups which doesn't have a website scrofulous with musty and yellowing Days Of Rage terminology such as "community action" and "strengthening advocacy" and "leadership development." Find me one that says something like: "These people were poor and, thanks to our efforts, the cycle of poverty has been broken so they now have careers and are well on their way to prosperity."

In summary, what I will be doing this Sunday is absenting myself from the contribution stream, and slinging the funds to people who actually help the poor by (gasp!) lifting them out of poverty, instead of cranking out press so laden with agitprop verbiage that it more closely resembles a Norman Lear pitch than anything a reasonable person would recognize as reality.

As Christians, we are to be mindful Christ has commanded us to feed the hungry, not to "empower their advocacy" and to clothe the naked, not "fostering community clothing initiatives." If you really care about those in material poverty, and also care what people do with your money (which we will assume took you some effort to acquire) you just might wish to consider doing likewise.