A few polls claim that fundamentalists give oodles to charity while the rest of us hoard our money and hate the poor. I wonder if the powers that be over on the fundamentalist side of the street are going to comment about what’s happening in Youngstown, Ohio.
For the five of you that missed the story, Paul Ryan “ramrodded” his way into the Mahoning County St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen this week. There was some initial confusion as to whether or not the Republican vice presidential candidate washed clean dishes, but now it seems the soup kitchen may have set aside some dirt dishes for Ryan to wash and his kids to dry (Can someone please show Mr. Ryan how to tie an apron?). Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society President Brian Antal, has made statements to the press stating that the charity is apolitical and that a campaign aide for Ryan received permission for the visit from a volunteer, rather than any person of authority at the soup kitchen.
Be that as it may, the backlash from this event is startling when you realize who is behind it. From Huffington Post:
Ryan supporters have now targeted Antal and his soup kitchen, Antal said, including making hundreds of angry phone calls. Some members of Antal’s volunteer staff have had to endure the barrage as well, he said. “The sad part is a lot of [the callers] want to hide behind anonymity,” he said, adding that if someone leaves their name and number he has tried to return their call. In addition to phone calls, people have posted a few choice words on the charity’s Facebook wall, including statements like “I hope you lose your tax [sic] emempt status,” Anyone who is thinking about donations to you should think twice” and “Shame on you Brian Antal!”
On the phone with HuffPost, Antal seemed worn out by all the vitriol. “Honesty, I really don’t need any more attention,” he said. “I really just want this to go away.”
Antal said doesn’t understand why donors would take out their frustration over the incident on those who can’t afford to pay for their own meals. “I’m a volunteer,’ he said. “I receive zero compensation. Withholding donations is only going to hurt the over 100,000 we serve annually.”
Conservative Paul Ryan supporters (are there any other kind?), probably fundamentalist Christians, are taking their anger out on a charity. If they are angry at Antal, he explains that he is a volunteer and doesn’t understand at all why people have chosen to attack the soup kitchen. If they are angry at Paul Ryan for schmoozing his way into a soup kitchen photo op, why hurt the poor? If they’re angry at the media for making their candidate look even worse than he normally does, why force mothers, fathers, veterans, children to suffer for THEIR indignation? Is that what Jesus would do?
No, of course not. The real Jesus, anyway, would not care if Antal is a Democrat. Dark-skinned, Jewish Jesus wouldn’t care that in the first hours following Paul Ryan’s make-believe charity work, some of the facts were either wrong or misrepresented. The actual Jesus would pretty much say “Stop being a bunch of tools and send this soup kitchen money in My name, Amen, you all make Me really tired.” Conservative Jesus is a completely different story.
Conservative Jesus believes that stepping over a homeless veteran on the way to your megachurch is just peachy, because obviously, that homeless veteran is a lazy slacker, part of the 47%. Save the fetus, starve the child? Awesome! Rape as another form of conception? Love it! Conservative Jesus is enjoying the boycott of a charity because Paul Ryan supporters believe their sociopath Ayn Rand loving candidate was slighted by a volunteer who might be a Democrat.
What should we call this? I know what I call it. Blatant, unadulterated hypocrisy. Think about it this way: a month before Thanksgiving and weeks before winter weather rears its head in Ohio, a bunch of self-righteous fundamentalists are doing something that will hurt the least of us. You know, the people the actual Jesus told Christians to care for and love. This agnostic is sending the Mahoning County St. Vincent de Paul Society a check today, while self-professed “Christians” make threatening phone calls and post boycott notices on a Facebook page.
The next time a fundamentalist, conservative “Xian” says they give more to charity than you, remind them that tithing every Sunday so Pastor Benny Hinn can get a new Mercedes isn’t exactly considered charitable giving. Then send a check to the Youngstown, Ohio St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen at the address below.
Mahoning County St. Vincent de Paul Society, P.O. Boc 224, Youngstown, Ohio 44501
Thanks to CBS News and Huffington Post for contributions to this article.