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September 15th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: 5 myths about poverty that Christians should renounce

The author with a Ghanaian woman who received an Opportunity International loan to run a daycare center and primary school.

Editor's Note: The son of missionary parents, Mark Lutz is Senior Vice President at Opportunity International, a non-profit microfinance organization, and author of the new book UnPoverty: Rich Lessons from the Working Poor.

By Mark Lutz, Special to CNN

Poverty is not an issue. It's people.

We hear about it, but do we really understand it? Myths about poverty abound, particularly among those of us bent on following Jesus' teaching about the poor and oppressed.

Myth 1: People are poor because they are lazy or stupid.

Poor people work incredibly hard, under harsh conditions, frequently seven days a week. With no welfare programs and no social networks, if they don’t work, they don’t eat. That’s reality.

My work in microfinance has taken me to some 50 countries. I’ve watched men making bricks in equatorial sun from morning till night in exchange for $10; women hauling five-gallon containers on their heads and in each hand every morning to water their garden-size farm; children rifling through trash for recyclables to exchange for a meal.

Despite their efforts, these hard-working people cannot get off their economic treadmills; they pass their generational poverty onto their children and grandchildren. Getting to know them as sisters and brothers, I can vouch that they are anything but lazy or stupid. The only reason for their life of misery and mine of relative luxury is where we were born.

Myth 2: Poor people want handouts.

We assume that a hungry person wants us to give them something to eat. Sure, if a mother’s children are hungry she’ll gladly accept a free meal. But what that person would much rather have is the opportunity to work and feed her family. Each time she accepts a handout she exchanges a portion of her dignity.

In the Bible, God instructs farmers not to harvest the corner of their crops, but to leave it for the poor. God didn’t tell them to reap it and give the money to the poor, but to leave it for the poor to pick and eat. They need food, but they also need and want an opportunity to work.

Every day some 25,000 people die from starvation. Disturbing as that may be, the real tragedy is that for 90 percent of them, there is no food shortage. They just can’t afford to buy available food. The appropriate response is not relief but development, including opportunities to work.

Myth 3: Our foremost responsibility is America’s poor.

The number one objection I hear to our work in the developing world is that we must first solve the problems in our own country. Yet half of humanity barely survives on $2 per day. And they don’t live here.

We live in a generous country where last year more than $300 billion was given to charity from voluntary donations. As grand as that is, less than five percent goes to international work, leaving 95 percent in our own country for our churches, university endowments and symphonies.

These are worthy causes, but charities that serve the wealthiest nation. I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant when in Matthew 25 he told his followers to serve “the least of these.”

Myth 4: Jesus said we will always have extreme poverty.

What Jesus said in Mark 14:7 was: “The poor you will always have with you.”

Jesus recognized that some will always have less than others. But the kind of abject poverty that over one billion people endure—those living on $1 per day—wouldn’t be tolerated by Jesus and should not exist today.

I honestly believe we can eradicate extreme poverty. And if we can, then we must.

Myth 5: Jesus was concerned primarily about spiritual poverty.

I grew up in South Africa, surrounded by missionaries. There was a subtle message that eternity is a lot longer than life. If someone is saved and bound for heaven, it doesn’t much matter how hungry their children are.

But when Jesus began his public ministry, he read his mission statement: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor… To set free the oppressed.” (Luke 4:18).

Though we must read on to understand the full gospel, if we seek to follow his example and teaching, we must bring good news to the poor and set free the oppressed. More than 2,000 verses in the Bible deal with the poor. Jesus had special solidarity with the poor and told us that if we love him, we will show it by caring for them.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Lutz.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • Poverty

soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. Realist

    I found out that some people are poor simply because they will spend every Nickel in their hand as soon as they get it. And NOT on things they need!!! Totally hand to mouth. Whether it is $5 or $5,000. They cannot be helped!

    September 15, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • things that make you go HMMM

      @Realist

      Get real. Not everyone is like that. You forgot to include those situations where they HAD to spend whatever they got in order to make it thru the day-to-day stuff. These are poor people, remember? No money coming in can have a strange effect on spending habits. Priorities get backed up. Bills pile up even though they don't have money. Too bad our financial systems have this effect.

      But money is, perhaps, more of the problem than poverty itself. Fix the nonsensical nature of money, get a handle on it, and make it work for everybody. Including those who have problems with spending. We have the technology don't we?

      Money is an idea, a concept, a delusion not unlike a religion with all the negative effects a religion can have when it runs a-muck.
      Regulation and control is virtually nonexistent which leads to horrible ab-uses. Corruption of people and government becomes guaranteed by the criminal nature of wealth used in this manner.

      So why would anyone want greed to run unchecked? Why would anyone think that this is a good thing to do?

      HMMM

      September 16, 2010 at 6:35 am |
  2. An

    Good preachin' !

    September 15, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  3. Mary

    I found that I fell into the trap of seeing the homeless due to mental problems or additiction as not worth my empathy because "it's their own fault". But then I realized that it is only by the grace of God that I was able to avoid those problems in my own life. We do have to be sensible in the ways we help all of our brothers and sisters, but we can't protect ourselves from feeling their pain by dismissing them with the myths the article writer explores

    September 15, 2010 at 11:03 am |
    • Dawn

      It's their own fault they have mental issues???

      September 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
    • Dave7

      Well said Mary.

      September 16, 2010 at 3:58 am |
  4. Reality

    Opportunities International like many "non-profits" invest some of the money they get from donations and government grants in the stock and bond markets. Strange that the IRS allows this because of the risks involved and since said interest, dividends and capital gains are not taxable. In the case of Operations International, in 2008 as per their IRS Form 990, they lost somewhere between $6,477,416 and $7,184,839 on these investments. That should be very, very disturbing to those who donate to this organization and to government regulators!!!!

    September 15, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  5. Mark from Middle River

    "How about an article, "Violence and Murder Myths Muslims Should Renounce?""

    I am glad other folks are noticing how they keep doing this on this blog. We get tons of pro-Muslim articles but when it comes to Christian based articles it is always some one shaking their finger in our face on how we should change or attacks on the Catholic church.

    In some ways I think that they really believe that they can change the views of folks that read and post on blogs ... lol.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mark, didn't we just discuss this on another article? There are many pro Christian articles on here... but no one cares about them. No one posts to them. Articles like these that are controversial always gain more attention. And articles about peaceful Islam are about as controversial as they get.
      Personally, I think Christians or more accurately those that call themselves the kind of christians this article is aimed at, need to be taken down a peg or two. People who claim to follow Christ but find all kinds of excuses not to act Christ-like need to be exposed for their hypocrisy. Especially regarding their condemnation of Islam. In heart and mind and prejudice and charity and violence, Islam and Christianity are the same. Their followers are the same. There are so-called christians and so-called muslims want to make the gap greater between the two. And quite frankly I'm sick of it. Much like the dems who attack repubs and the repubs who do the same. And let's not forget the teabaggers who do nothing but complain and perpetuate a stereotype of victim americans. If you haven't noticed, Islam is big news. And the revelations that Islam and Christianity are very similar is also news. And the persecution of muslims within our communities is also news. If the biggest complaint you have is that CNN is not publishing enough articles to butter up christians maybe going to a news site isn't what you want. Maybe going to a church is. Or you can just go to the articles about the Popemobile and tattooed pastor and leave the heavy lifting to the rest of us.

      September 15, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • Ron

      Frogist- you are so blind to your own hate...you act as if you speak for reasonable atheist. Like Reality, you are a tool!

      September 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Ron

      Oh, I see..... You are just an arrogant agitator. All talk .....no substance to your postings. Is that the smell of your ignorance....?

      Again.....Peace to you.... See.... I can totally criticize your post and still wish you peace in you life.... 🙂

      September 15, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Ron

      @pretenderofPeace- You certainly have fell into a bear trap. I wish only to antagonize the antagonist! You my peaceful warrior are to simple a target. I do not boast about coming in peace to those who do not understand it! Now go light some candles and chant away the pain and suffering my post have caused you. (While donning my favorite tie dye shirt) Peace to you my great pretender!

      September 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Frogist

      @peace2all and Ron: A tool and a fool in one day? How did I get so lucky?! 😉

      September 15, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
    • Dave7

      Ron
      I'm having trouble understanding your post – the "blind to your own hate" one. Could you explain? Thanks man.

      September 16, 2010 at 3:43 am |
    • peace2all

      @Ron

      Yet again.....Now it seems you're just irritating... everyone. Again, no substance or relevance to anything you post.

      Unless I see some kind of, at least high-school level assertion or argument from you, that we can go after..... Please, do us,as you can see from some of the other posters... Maybe even stay off these blogs...

      You are obviously filled with way too much hate-mongering and the willingness to be an agitator...

      Good-bye Ronnie.....

      September 16, 2010 at 5:12 am |
  6. Havildar

    Mark Lutz'z is right the biggest myth is that when Jesus talks about the "poor" he means 'poor in spirit'. Christianity is an Eastern Religion like most of the world's big religion. All of them talk about the physical poor among them and how to treat them with kindness and respect; something which the 'rightwing' loudmouths in our pulpits have forgotten.
    Republicans/Teapartybaggers/express/etc seem to forget, that the reason, why there is so much angry in them is that now they are suffering the fate, that they had planned for all others. Any republican using Medicare,Medicaid or Social Security are a bunch of liars. Tear up those cards and see if the RNC and the other loudmouths will provide you with heathcare when you are sick and dying.
    Thank God for the Democrats that gave the poor hard working true Americans these programs, over the party of greeds objection. Republicans/Teapartybaggers/express/etc are a party of "No Ideas", "No Solution", "the party of Fat Cat Wall Street Bankers and Bailouts with no strings attached" and are the party of Tax and Spend. Rob the poor to feed the rich is the Republican Mantra.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:41 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Riiight .... I am reporting you to Biden ... you didn't blame BUSH !!!

      You call yourself a good Democrat... for shame ...

      September 15, 2010 at 10:59 am |
    • k5150

      I'm a 44 year old Republican that has paid into Medicare and Social Security since 1984. When I retire in another 27 years I don't think it would be wrong for me to sign up for Medicare and Social Security after paying into it for 53 years. Problem is there probably won't be any money left in either program. I have a problem with people that don't want to work and expect the government to support them. Working in the social services field I see it everyday. Food stamps and Medicaid were intended for temporary assistance for those going through hard times until a person could get back on their feet, so to speak. Sadly, a lot of people using these programs think that it is the government's (tax payers) responsiblity to support them.

      September 15, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • NotWorkingForMeOrForYou

      @k5150

      As a disabled person, I resent your labeling me in such an amazingly stereotypical right-wingnut way.
      You don't want to help me live from day to day? Then come over here and blow my brains out so I don't have to listen to people like you.
      I would prefer death to my current existence, if only to help tight-assed prigs like yourself rake in the big bux you have earned by lying and cheating your way through these tough economic times that people like you created almost singlehandedly whenever you got the chance.
      I don't like being a burden, however small, on the fictional finances of this country, so kiII me. Please.
      I obviously do not deserve to live. God made me this way. Maybe he knows how to use a gun. Maybe he'll put me out of my misery once and for all.
      Lazy? Who'll give me a job when I'm unemployable? You work in the social sciences field? What a joke. You don't see people like me every day who pray for death. You probably work at some blue-collar job and listen to Glen Beck and Rush like they were the "working man's Messiahs" come to save your fake pension.

      Yeah. Come kill me now. I've been waiting to die for decades. It'll save you some of your precious money you love more than God. It'll save some of that good-ole healthcare you've been pretending to hate for my sake. Thanks for that, by the way.

      Wouldn't it be nice to just put all these sick desperate people like me out of the picture you have of what Rush thinks you should have??
      KiII the sick, the disabled, the elderly and the orphans. KiII them all so you can pat yourself on the back and tell yourself and your beer buddies that you finally made this country clean again.
      Then maybe you can finally balance the federal budget – something the right-wingnuts haven't been able to do in so long I can't even guess when the last time was.
      No taxes for you. No government for you. Nope. All you need is a gun, your God delusion, and some beer while you listen to AM Talk Radio and fantasize about Reagan and how he was so clever and smart and so much more intelligent than you.

      Yeah, wingnut. Come kiII me now. I hate having to live with people like you in the world, in my country, in my state, county, and in my city.
      You can have 'em, 'cause you've ruined them so bad that we're gonna be DECADES digging us out of the heIIhole you and your right-wingnut delusions put us in.
      It stinks here thanks to you. I would rather die than live next to you. People like you aren't real good on that whole "equal rights" thing. Maybe a slave or two could help you with that as you beat them and curse them in the name of your God because they just need some "discipline".
      Yeah. KiII me now. I didn't work like you did. I am so unworthy of life. I don't deserve to live.

      September 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • Frogist

      @k5150: But do those people you see abusing the system represent the majority of people on assistance? I doubt it. I don't have the statistics, but if you do please provide some to support your point of view.

      September 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
    • Dave7

      K5150
      So, if I understand what you said, the government programs that in which you will be involved in are O.K., and you gave some personal info (though I'm sure you could provide more about your personal situation) to help us understand why. But programs for strangers, whose situations are mostly unknown, are bad. Did I get that right?

      September 16, 2010 at 3:53 am |
  7. andy

    I'm tired of seeing ant-Christian articles on CNN, or anti any religion for that matter. I have helped work in the local missions in my hometown and this is certainly not how we feel. And please stop putting Republicans and Christians in the same category. This is a very badly thought-out piece of journalism.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:38 am |
    • Havildar

      Have you been to your local church? It is a good comparison for most Churches especially those "rightwing" churches. Seems to have forgotten to read their bible or fail to understand what they are reading or the History of how the Church fought for the "poor". (Real Poor) It was the Churches that set up excellent Hospitals and Universities without the stupid "Hang-ups" that one sees now.etc.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • andy

      You CAN'T put the right-wing and Christianity together, it's so wrong to tie one to the other. God doesn't belong to a political party!

      September 15, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • Frogist

      @andy: No, I can't put them together. But the right wing did. And a lot of churches didn't mind the association.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
    • Big T

      Too many people claim God for their own cause instead of asking God what is right.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
    • andy

      thats true, the Christians I know and have worked with do not treat people the way this article makes them out to look.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Dave7

      I don't think it's fair to Christians to group Christians and republicans together. True, many republicans claim to be Christians and try to use Jesus and the Bible to justify their political views, but they tend to be very selective when doing so. I can't imagine that most Christians feel very good about the actions and policies of the majority of our Republican elected officials. I also think many well meaning Christians are often distracted by a few social issues (things that I believe are personal and have more to do with our precious American freedoms than religion) and lose site of the larger picture.

      This next statement may make some heads explode- In my opinion President Obama appears, based on his actions, to be far more Christian than most Republicans who claim to be die hard Christians. I think he is just a little better at understanding how to keep his personal religious beliefs from his duties and oath to serve the American people. What do you think?

      September 16, 2010 at 1:06 am |
    • Darwi

      @Dave7
      My head feels fine. Maybe it's because I agree with you.

      September 16, 2010 at 1:31 am |
    • Frogist

      @andy: I don't understand what you mean. The article says christians need to renounce this... not that christians are this.

      @Dave7 : It is not often that you see the dems making that claim to superiority by equating morality with their party affiliation. But you see republicans and teabaggers do it often. Glenn Beck's rally is a good example. I wish that when people like the Palins and Becks and Gingriches etc etc of the world stand up and call themselves christians, the christians who disagree with them would stand up and say they are being hypcritical and using the name christian without being one. But more likely you will see other "christians" of their ilk joining in with their parody of kindness and fairness. They scare me more than any foreign terrorist. At least in the US we have freedom of speech. No one is threatening to kill you on our shores if you say Glenn Beck is an monopolisitic @ss, or Palin is a ditzy hypocrite, and the teabaggers are selfish victimising extremists. Yeah Jon Stewart says it but he's a jew so he doesn't count. 😉

      As for Mr Obama: I think he's actually trying to do something to help while the rest just snipe and deflect and block. I wish he would push harder and assert himself, then maybe we would get some more done. The people of this country need to have that smart, charismatic person they elected and not the image of stagnant govt that we seem to be given now.

      September 16, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  8. Big T

    Too many people around the world consider themselves Christian, but in name only. They belong to organized churches that teach a particular point of view on the New Testament without taking the whole into consideration. If people would read it themselves and contemplate what it means, Jesus would be proud.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • Dawn

      If people were to read the whole things for themselves, there'd be a lot more ex-Christians.
      The Bible is one messed up book! And you can't really say 'oh, well I just follow Jesus' teachings...' because Jesus wanted people to follow the OT teachings. Including stoning your children for misbehaving (Matthew 15).

      September 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • ohiogb

      Dawn, when you read Matt 15 you find that Jesus is not saying to stone the children, he's reminding the Pharisees that they are inconsistent in their own attempts to follow the letter of the OT laws while criticizing others of for their inconsistency. Jesus is clear that he came to fulfill the spirit of the OT law not to call his followers to obey it.

      September 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  9. Mark from Middle River

    "I think it's easier to attack Lutz's person than to take on his message (hypocritical or not) because it would require some of us to change ourselves."

    Edna- I really do not want to say this but in some ways Mr Lutz did sorta throw down the gauntlet on this one. From my view it is easy to shake your finger at a entire religious group saying they should denounce something. In some ways it is classic religious fodder and debate.

    Mr Lutz is no different than most religious folks that seem to focus more on wanting to change the guy or girl in the pew or prayer rug next to them than on relationships with God. I believe in helping the poor but I would hate to have someone chastising me on what was going through my head when I did such. I wonder how much the poor, which is many of us who fall way below Mr Lutz's tax bracket, really care. It is the same as those who say that folks who give or donate, since they can "write it off" on their taxes, they are only doing it for selfish reasons. According to Decarte there is nothing that we as humans do that is not for selfish reasons.

    So, Mr Lutz does it really matter in the grand scheme of the world why folks give?

    PS: see Reality, you can make non-cut and paste post that folks can agree with 🙂 I still disagree with most of your views but if your numbers are true, this dude is only 6k away from what Obama and the Dems consider to being an "rich"American.

    Hey Dave .... vote Republican !!

    September 15, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mark: I don't think he is chastising anyone who actually donates. He is chastising those of us who justify not donating for the reasons he listed. And he is pointing out that as a individuals we can do more internationally.
      As for what goes through our minds when we donate... If you call yourself a Christian what you think about the poor counts as much as what you do for them. If what goes through our minds is that we look at the poor as lesser, lazy, undeserving or ungrateful for our charity, we are not being Christ-like. Not being a christian, I still agree with the idea that putting down people as you throw cash at them is not good or helpful. It is unkind for one. But it also creates a separation of us vs them. If we can't see ourselves in their position we are less likely to work to solve the problems that cause poverty and less likely even to give charitably.
      Also $250 K is rich... I don't make anywhere near that kind of scratch. But if I did, I wouldn't mind giving some of it away. After all I give some of what little I have already.

      September 15, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • Dave7

      Mark River Guy
      Just Curious what your definition of rich is. ($$/year) thanks.

      September 16, 2010 at 3:31 am |
  10. Bill

    Poverty is usually caused by the government in power. It is the responsibility of the people to replace governments that do not serve their interests. The US can put pressure on illegitimate governments like Iran, but ultimately it is the people who must decide if they are going to tolerate the living conditions, and if changing them is worth shedding blood over.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:20 am |
    • maddog0127

      Wow, there are so many things wrong with this logic I'm not sure where to begin.

      September 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Dave7

      Yes there is.

      September 16, 2010 at 3:06 am |
  11. Jim Bob

    Just don't be like Rev Ike. It's harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than to pass a camel through the eye of a needle.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  12. DrEvil

    Nothing he claims about the poor applies to the poor in the United States. The poor are not hard working, the average number of hours worked per week for poor familiies is something like 17 hours. The poor in the US do not trade cans for something to eat. The poor in the US live better than the middle class do in about 99% of the countries in the world.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • Jim Bob

      Are there people who actually believe this?

      September 15, 2010 at 10:22 am |
    • Brian

      YES, the poor in this country live better than the poor in the rest of the work. But, I dare you to back-up your claim that the poor in America only work 17 hours a week. Bet you can't and you're just spewing hate.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • A Powers

      DrEvil, don't you have anything better to do than troll articles? Maybe go out in the garage and sit in the running car for a while, or something else useful to society.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:40 am |
    • Pondgirl

      And how many third world countries have YOU visited lately, and not for recreation only? Uhm...you should go and volunteer sometime, it would maybe open your eyes and your mind some. I have and I've seen and I've worked and I've learned. Put YOUR money and YOUR words where they count, try it and then reread what you are writing.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • pete

      Why do people always talk about the extremes in this blog. Some muslims hate christains, some christians hate black people, there are poor people who are lazy, but i don't think most would fit those categories. I actually think most poor/homeless (in the US) could be labled mentally ill. Which makes it tough to hold down a job.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • Bill

      I worked 40 hours per week at $18 per hour until the "Cheap Labor" crowd got my job outsourced. I now work 17-18 hours per week at $9 per hour. I have NO medical insurance. If you think I WANT to live this way, you should change your name to DrIdiot.
      The US should require that any country we trade with pay US level wages to their workers let raise other peoples standards of living and quit LOWERING ours. Better yet DrEvil why not kill yourself so I can have YOUR JOB, I am obviously more worthy of employment than YOU ARE.

      September 15, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • Diane

      I sort of have to agree with this comment. I volunteer at a legal clinic helping people living in poverty. A significant portion of them squander what money they have on cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, or cars they can't afford. They're on food stamps and/or disability, and some have even admitted to me that they'll continue taking government handouts even though they could probably work. Some people I see truly need the help, and I have no problem with those people receiving assistance. But there are a lot of people living in poverty who stay that way because of the choices they make. It's completely unfair to say that all poor people are hard working, down-on-their luck, people. Some are, but others are just deadbeats.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • Tom3573

      I agree with DrEvil. In third world countries there is absolute poverty. If you cant afford food, you WILL NOT get it, and you WILL die. Over there there is no food stamps, no social security, no safety net. Over there there is REAL poverty. there no money = no food. Here, what we call "poor" is that we cant afford what we want, or the foods we'd like to have. i bet you, that the majority of people in "poverty" in america can find a way to get food. it may not be tasty, it may be a little stale, but atleast you can get it. over there, food just isnt available to them. We have great things like food stamps ( a horrible waste of tax dollars since majority of the people on them waste them, and could afford food if they didnt smoke, drink, or other things not needed for survival.) that ensure that you will be able to eat, or there is good old fashioned charity. in a lot of places where there is deep poverty, there is no safety net, and that is true poverty. Ramen is 10 cents a package, and ive lived off it for long periods of time. get some. and if you dont agree just go look at the numbers, and data. its all right there at your fingertips

      September 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • maddog0127

      Actually, statistics show that around 70% of the homeless population in America due have moderate to sever mental disabilities and many of those are due to previous military experience. We can all thank Ronald Reagan for taking them out of mental hospitals and putting them on the streets.

      September 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • D

      This nonsense is exactly why this country is so screwed up. There are abuses in the system, but those can be fixed. The problem is when there TRULY are hungry people (and 2 in 10 Americans are), you would simply deny them any care and let them die just out of spite. And don't say you won't, you people do the EXACT same thing every day with health care in this country. And people still honestly believe these are the 'christians' and the religious majority in this country? They are about 'me' and greed folks NOTHING more, they are a complete abomination of religion.

      September 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • Dave7

      Diane,
      There is usually a lot more to the story than "bad choices" for those who are down and out. I know it's hard not to judge others sometimes, I guess we all do it. Great that you try to help volunteering.

      September 16, 2010 at 3:02 am |
    • cliff

      Actually, the American poor work zero hours thanks to our wonderful DEMO-CARE program. This program rewards people for not working, having children and total dependence on the government.
      Once again, thanks Libs.

      September 16, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  13. GodIsForImbeciles

    How about an article, "Violence and Murder Myths Muslims Should Renounce?"

    September 15, 2010 at 10:15 am |
    • Dave7

      Because I think almost all Muslims would. Just like most Catholics would renounce the acts of pedophiles. I don't think the same is true about some of these myths.

      September 16, 2010 at 2:50 am |
  14. Frogist

    I think it is important for america to have a more global view of things. People cloak themselves in a selfishness that they call capitalism which they equate with patriotism. It's the same as saying rich people are just better people. I mean if poor people were just lazy, I guess we have tons of lazy people around the country now with unemployment as high as it is. It's the same kind of sentiment that was in full force in the health care debate. I read an article in the newspaper where they interviewed someone who said he didn't mind having to pay a lot for his insurance or doctor bills because he could afford it. He said he didn't care about the people who couldn't afford it because they should just work harder. That was the same kind of talk that got bandied around to say we didn't need a public health care option. It's the same thing you hear in the debate about immigration. Immigrants just come here to collect welfare and not pay taxes. Except that's the furthest thing from the truth. It's the same talk when some americans talk about international poverty. It's a seperatist idea that just isn't working. Poverty is a contributor to piracy of the coast of africa, the drug trade in mexico and jamaica, terrorist activity in the middle east. Not to mention the fact that jobs have been shipped to foreign lands where they get paid a pittance because their economies are even worse off than ours. We can't say this isn't affecting us. But we bury our heads in the sand and pretend.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:13 am |
    • peace2all

      @Frogist

      Again..... Beautifully said.... Couldn't have said it 'any' better..... Wow.... you are a bloggin' fool nowadays..... Love it....! 🙂

      Peace....

      September 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • Ron

      So you can be reasonable...Stay away from religious rants "Popemobile..." (Further down the page). It comes across as crass and smells of liberal arrogance.

      Peace2All- Your user name makes me laugh because its so contradictory to your free-flowing antagonistic post. I was sure that it was intended to be a joke...surely...right? If you do believe yourself to be peaceful I apologize...it certainly doesn't come across that way. Perhaps you could change your name to "Peace2AllAccept..." Here's some homework...look up the word "Peace" then look up the word "All" and then see if that's who you really are. (and with a giant smile on my face...) Have a great day!

      September 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Ron

      Actually.....glad you got a good laugh and a smile...!

      Are you saying that one can vigorously debate and or disagree with someone, yet still not wish them Peace....?

      That *is* the case ...... and while I may vehemently disagree with your postings...... I will still wish you Peace..

      I am not selective in who I wish peace to....... well, o.k..... ocasssionally there are the radical extremist who want to dominate everybody and the world in the name of Jesus or Muhammed, are threatining harm to others.

      Those wing-nuts...sometimes it is very hard for me to wish them Peace.... but I give it my best...

      Your sarcasm however.."looking up peace and all"...... not very bright nor funny.... that is the best ya' got...!

      So, Ron....even you.... I wish Peace to....

      September 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
    • Ron

      Actually.....glad you got a good laugh and a smile...!

      Are you saying that one can vigorously debate and or disagree with someone, yet still not wish them Peace....?

      That *is* the case ...... and while I may vehemently disagree with your postings...... I will still wish you Peace..

      I am not selective in who I wish peace to....... well, o.k..... ocasssionally there are the radical extremist who want to dominate everybody and the world in the name of Jesus or Muhammed, are threatining harm to others.

      Those wing-nuts...sometimes it is very hard for me to wish them Peace.... but I give it my best...

      Your sarcasm however.."looking up peace and all"...... not very bright nor funny.... that is the best ya' got...!

      So, Ron....even you.... I wish Peace to....

      PeacefulWarrior-Breathe in...Breathe out.. your anger is surprising! I'm not sure if you noticed or not, I do not antagonize everyone, just the ones I really cannot stand. You, Bo(o)b and Reality are all d-bags as far as I'm concerned! I would love to see some substance from one of you tools! I love you...(I've got one hand in my pocket and the other one is giving the peace sign)

      September 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
    • Frogist

      @peace2all: Well I am a fool at any rate! 🙂 Thanks for the compliment, my friend.
      @Ron: And you say peace2all is the one full of anger? LOL! Here's a mirror. Enjoy!

      September 15, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Dave7

      Hey Ron,
      Before you give your friend's homework assignment out, I have one for you. Look up the difference between "accept" and "except". Unless I'm misunderstanding your post I think the assignment will help. (also grinning) Cheers!

      September 16, 2010 at 2:42 am |
    • peace2all

      @Ron

      I have yet to see you post 'anything' of substance at any time..... Angry..? This is getting hilarious now.... You're obviously a pompous, ignorant a** ! but your calling me, and others d-bags just shows your ignorance...again.... that's it...?

      All your postings seem to be antagonistic.....

      And...... YOU still didn't answer my question....! I am wishing Peace..... and making assertions and debating.. and you...? Nothing... still..!

      I am calling for peace.....even within spirited debates, of which i have had numerous postings over the last several months... But, can't say I have seen much from you.... apparently you just want to sit back and attack and engage in juvenile name calling.

      There is a name that others use for people like you on these blogs....."Troll"...

      Homework for you..... go re-take special ed classes specifically taught on social and people skills.... oh, and how to form a potentially interesting and cogent argument or debate...

      However, I gotta' say, if I and others have caused such an extremely negative and strong response in you, we obviously have pushed some kind of 'fundie' button or lack of 'intellect' button. Now that IS making me smile 🙂 You are most likely *extremely* religious and anti-intellectual, and probably believe in Jesus and the bible being the word of god. I think we got you pegged. So, I guess 'we gotcha'

      How about responding and making a well-thought out comment on the merits of an article. Or.... no... that would probably require a bit more in the IQ department.

      Anytime your little heart desires to debate any issue...... Just let me know.... I would be more than happy to go at it with you, you 'moron.' Wow... that felt good too. Hey Ron, you know this name calling is pretty good...thanks.!

      Well o.k. Ron..... No peace for you...

      September 16, 2010 at 5:05 am |
  15. MC

    If your statistics regarding the donations are correct, then I believe a quicker way to real results would be independently investigating the organizations (such as the Red Cross) receiving the donations to insure their accountability and focus is meeting the needs of the victims of the system we have in the US. Because of the erroneous assumption thrust upon us that because you are having hard times it is a result of a persons personal character, a catch 22 traps and hinders people from being employed. It should be against the law (and in some states it is) for employers to use Credit Checks / Reports to qualify for employment. Ofcourse if you have been laid off for any period of time your Credit is going to be negatively affected, and then if it's used against you, how are you going to get back on your feet financially without a job?

    September 15, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • Frogist

      @MC: I think the article is stating that of the money we donate, we mostly give that money to organisations that focus within our country. Only a fraction of that goes to international aid because we as americans are not donating to international causes. I don't think he was saying the money is being mismanaged by the charities themselves.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  16. aginghippy

    The biggest myth in this story is the fictional character, Jesus.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:01 am |
    • Jeff

      If you're viewing Jesus as a fictional character, you're mything out on a lot... 🙂

      September 15, 2010 at 10:08 am |
    • winner9909

      lol @ your name and that comment. Dare i say stereo typical too cool for conventional Religion hippy?

      September 15, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • dalis

      Dear aginghippy,

      In the context of this article, are you making this statement to absolve you of serving the poor? Of all the reasons not to believe in God...

      September 15, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
    • MandoZink

      I agree that the #1 myth here is Jesus.

      I also should share that I have a couple of friends who spend ALL of their free time helping the underpriveldged and the handicapped. BOTH are Atheists who do not proselytize.

      I believe the same rationalization that leads one to recognize the well-intended, but mistaken, attempts to explain the world through ancient mythologies also leads one to realize we must work together and help one another. Uplifting humanity through altruism is a rational conclusion of atheist reasoning. It is not a chore to earn points with Jesus, or Zeus, or whatever. Helping others is self-rewarding.

      September 16, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  17. Eda

    I never post comment but I think that some readers misunderstand: In the last section Lutz suggests that there has been too much focus on "spiritual poverty" and that Jesus' "mission statement" was about tangible change for the materially poor. No mixed message. As for Mr. Lutz's salary... I personally live out my Christian faith by living very simply (materially) but I have no way of knowing how Mr. Lutz spends his salary. I have had friends who have wanted a smaller salary (for example a friend who was chair of the philosophy department in a college) but his employer had certain salary policies and so he got what they gave them. He responded to this by donating away most of what he gets. Perhaps Lutz does likewise and perhaps he doesn't but then again, aren't there thousands of scientists, doctors, etc whose mission is likewise the uplift of the poor but who haven't yet made the connection that there own lifestyle might have to change as well? In any case, I think it's easier to attack Lutz's person than to take on his message (hypocritical or not) because it would require some of us to change ourselves.

    September 15, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • Frogist

      @Eda: Spot on! It is much easier to attack those who have set out to solve the problems than to offer solutions ourselves. Also... your friend wanted a SMALLER salary? Wish I had that problem! LOL! Good for him for putting the extra to good use.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:24 am |
    • Dave

      I think many of you are missing the point of what the person said about the salary. It's not that he's making so much money, it's that he's making so much money running a supposedly charitable organization. And doing it in the name of Christ. Give your money to the Red Cross, they help lots of people.

      September 15, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • Red Cross

      The CEO of the Red Cross makes over $500K a year and often "re-allocates" donations to other areas as they see fit. I wouldn't use them as a "model" charity.

      September 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • Dani

      Beautifully written. I don't think you caould have said this any better. Thank you!

      September 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Dani

      Beautifully written. I don't think you could have said this any better. Thank you!

      September 15, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  18. Griz

    I like how the guy starts out like he's all for helping the poor, but by the time you get to the end of his article, he has already changed his tune to say "But Jesus really meant spiritual poverty".
    So do we help the poor physically or spiritually?

    Mixed messages. Who would ever expect that from a religious person? It's something of a shock. I may have to sit down.

    September 15, 2010 at 9:37 am |
    • Kathy

      Griz, Jesus meant spiritual poverty, according to the article, was a myth, Myth No.5.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:50 am |
    • Griz

      @Kathy

      Thanks, I guess I was a little hasty there. But his messages are still mixed. I know you might not be seeing this the way I do.
      Just read his article over and over and pick it apart.
      And go to his website and look around.
      What he says is not what he is saying...if you can get my drift. He's a clever writer who was raised by missionary parents.
      He knows how to work the system and people, but there's something crucial missing from everything he says.
      I can't explain it better than that right now, sorry.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:59 am |
    • Sarah

      That's because you don't know what you're talking about. At least you were man/woman enough to apologize to Kathy.

      End of thread.

      September 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • Wolfen

      Griz: You are wrong on ALL counts. Your alleged ability to read the author's mind is demonstrably poor. You couldn't even read his actual words right.

      September 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  19. Reality

    Mr. Lutz on the other hand is not poor. As per guidestar.org, his salary for 2008 was $244,151/yr. Seven other managers at Opportunities International made on average $150,000/yr.

    September 15, 2010 at 9:02 am |
    • Kookla

      LOL

      Ahhh, I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning! Like napalm but without the carcinogens. *cough*

      September 15, 2010 at 9:19 am |
    • Tomek Jankowski

      I'm not sure you read this carefully; I don't see any hypocrisy here. Lutz isn't a monk who has taken vows of poverty, nor is he chastising the wealthy for being wealthy. He is merely saying we have a duty to our fellow humans mired in extreme poverty, that's all. If indeed he is making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, well, great for him. The truth is that even lower middle class Americans (and their fellow Westerners) live wealthy lives compared to how many in the Third World live. He is at least doing something to alleviate others' poverty. Why does his personal income have to be modest if he does so? Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are among the richest men on the planet and yet they are also great philanthropists who also help to alleviate poverty - they're following Lutz's direction, whether driven by Christian or other mores.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • Rebecca Pearce

      Poor people generally cannot help other poor people. You have no clue what this man spends his money on, but with his dedication to the poor, I would venture that a good portion of it is invested into eradicating poverty. I see no hypocrisy here. My husband and I make more money than we need to live on, and that allows us to contribute significantly to causes that are important to us,

      September 15, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • Drinks Champaign

      Opportunity International is effectively a multi-national bank. They create sustainable, fully functional banks that help form a financial infrastructure in developing countries. They do all of that by focusing on serving the poor.

      My challenge – find another multi-national bank with a senior vice-president who makes what Mr. Lutz does.

      September 15, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • Ron

      Reality- stick to copy paste propaganda. Anytime you venture out on your own...it's embarrassing!

      September 15, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • luvin'jesusandlife

      I don't see the relevance in bringin up the author's salary. He is a highly educated man with a lot of relevant experience. You can't get someone of that caliber to run an organization of this magnitude without appropriate compensation. I am a highly-paid professional and in order to get to this point in my career, I had to finance my own education and work long, hard hours. I would expect to be compensated in accordance with my background, education and experience. The money I make enables me to serve the poor – instead of vacation this year I spent a week in a Native-American village serving for Christ. If I didn't make what I do, I could never have done that. It is self-serving to criticize someone's message by pointing to the salary he brings in. @Reality what are you doing to help the poor?

      September 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Reality

      luvin'jesusandlife

      And the biggest contributor by far is who? The USA taxpayer!!! God (or Mother Nature) bless us!!!

      September 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Wolfen

      Reality: His gross income is irrelevant. Do you know what he gives to the poor? Do you know what portion of his travel is paid out of his own pocket? Since the answer to all of that is NO, your hypocrisy accusation is without evidence.

      September 15, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I don't think his income is irrelevant. Unlike others, Gates, Buffet, etc. his job is helping the poor directly and any income he makes directly decreases the funds available to the poor through his organization. In addition, he is paid from the contributions to the company which at a minimum gives him a additional non-altruistic reason to solicit donations and at worst is a conflict of interest.

      I'm not saying the guy isn't a decent guy, just that his compensation is a fair point of debate.

      September 15, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • Spencer

      Don;t just pick on him. Look at the United Way, one of the highest administrative expense ratios in the non-profit world – over 90% of your $1 goes to admin.

      September 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Matt

      It's not a sin or a crime to earn a good salary. I'm sure many people you do respect earn good money. The difference is what you do with it and how you spend your time. This man is helping people. He puts himself in conditions that you may never even imagine to help others. Do you honestly feel that he should not earn a good salary or he should give it away? Like that would somehow make him more genuine?

      September 16, 2010 at 8:59 am |
    • DC Buckeye

      I wonder if you find the salaries of pro athletes - who contribute virtually nothing to society - are equally as outrageous as the author's salary is . . . ?

      September 16, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  20. David Johnson

    The Republican Party would do away with enti tlement programs that help the poor. Some Republicans would do away with Social Security and Medicare. If you care about the poor and middle class, vote for the Dems in November.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:28 am |
    • James Swanson

      There were also governmental organizations for the poor 2000 years ago in Israel. The Romans handed out food to the poorest of the people in their realms. Jesus never said to give money to the government to give to the poor. So that argument is invalid. I do however believe that these organizations are doing a good job helping people in our country, but they wouldn't be necessary if followers of Jesus acted out his words daily.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:56 am |
    • pete

      republicans eat kittens and puppies? Thanks for the information. If i ever see Sarah Palin in my neighborhood i'll lock my doors!!!!

      September 15, 2010 at 10:15 am |
    • Frogist

      @James: Wow there's a technicality for you. We shouldn't help the poor thru gov't aid because Jesus didn't. Really? Is that how we're interpreting charity these days?

      September 15, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • No Apology

      Yes, vote for the Dems and the Middle class will be joining the poor.

      September 15, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • Kay

      An excellent article with great points! I'm going to save it to share with others. Thank you!

      September 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • John K

      The Democratic Party most definitely cares more about serving the poor. That's why they're trying their hardest to make as many people as poor as possible. The more who are poor, the more for them to serve and shepherd.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • bvilleyellowdog

      The GOP-Teabaggers are all about "what's mine is mine and to h*ll with you."
      Scan down – lot's of rationalizations – but the result is the same – selfish clods.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Randy

      You democrats are going to make us all poor.

      September 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jim

      I must be missing something....I don't see politics, republicans or democrats mentioned in the story? Focus, please, focus....ya can't solve the problem if you are focusing on the wrong one.....

      September 15, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
    • Mr. Bill

      James Swanson,

      Actually, Jesus said: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's". So I think even though you are splitting hairs, you are doing so inaccurately. No party in this country follows Christian teaching, (which, by the way, despite your protestation, call for caring for the poor). If they did, there would have been no Iraq; there would be no, or almost no abortion; no capital punishment, and no resistance to quality universal health care. Running through Christianity is a consistent ethic of respect for human life and dignity, and both parties fail in this regard.

      September 15, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • Geoz

      I agree, but perhaps this isn't the article to place in which to place that comment.

      September 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • Melissa

      The republican party would rather they all die than help them. Its a worthless party and for all their claims about fiscal responsibility, they sure wouldn't know anything about it.

      September 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
    • Jerry

      Exactly what part of "staying on-topic" is giving you the biggest problem? The article was about dispelling prevalent Christian myths regarding poverty in the world. It said nothing about politics or political parties of any stripe. Take your soapbox and go find another forum.

      September 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @bvilleyellowdog
      "The GOP-Teabaggers are all about 'what's mine is mine and to h*ll with you.'"
      As opposed to "what's yours is mine and to h*ll with you."?
      Not sure which is worse.

      September 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • Mike

      Typical Republican: I DON'T WANNA BE TAXED NO MORE I'M GONNA BE RICH ONE DAY

      *dies of an easily treatable disease due to no health insurance*

      September 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • TessaK

      You people drive me nuts. We have had polital parties since the dawn of the US, always changing (hense the vote every 4 years thing) and never, in 1 4yr period, causing the entire country to colapse into a heap of rubble.

      You don't like the current government, vote, and when you lose, or win...shut up. Do your rallying where it does the most good and for God sake, make your arguments about more then "so and so wants us to be poor" and "so and so just wants to be rich".

      September 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • Jeff C

      While the statement made about government welfare during the time of Christ has some merit, I believe that Republicans should take a good look at themselves and ask are they doing anything to stop poverty around the world, as I believe Christ would want his followers to do. It seems to me that the right-wing of this country is more focused on fire and brimstone issues that divide us like gay marriage and abortion just so they can avoid the fact that their primary reason for their economic platform is to feed people's greed.

      September 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
    • robrodriguez

      Conservatives give exponetially more to charity than liberals, this is a fact. So your point is pretty off-base. Republicans just don't want the gov't telling them how to spend their money, that's none of Obama's business. Democrats want life, liberty and the persuit of happiness, minus the libertry and happiness, because if I'm happy I must have too much.

      September 15, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
    • Minorkle

      Nothing in your post is true. Do a better job with your facts please.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
    • samgoober

      That is about the most-ridiculous statement I've read this evening. Obama's health care cut a half trillion from Medicare/Medicaid. Funny how you (in typical ignorant liberal fashion) neglected to mention that.

      September 16, 2010 at 12:38 am |
    • ccrayton

      i've seemed to notice lately that EVERY article or response is related back to partisan politics. A poll on peoples favorite color would illicit a firestorm of remarks of how much the republicans suck. I think its possible that extreme poverty in a foreign country could have nothing to do with dems or republicans in America. of course somebody will call me ignorant and say that everything has to do with politics.

      September 16, 2010 at 1:14 am |
    • Dave7

      to No Apologies- Great point! The Republicans are always fighting to level the playing field so the middle class have a fair chance at working their way up socioeconomic ladder. And why help the poor after all they've done to give them the opportunities the need to have a fighting chance. The Dems clearly don't want the middle class to do well.

      September 16, 2010 at 1:58 am |
    • Katie

      Hey Randy, I think you need to do your homework. The Republicans wiped out the middle class and have created a new "working poor" class. After 8 years of Bush, median income declined 4.2% and the number of people in poverty increased by over 8.2 million, or 26.1%. Over two-thirds of that increase occurred before the economic collapse of 2008. The number of children living in poverty increased by over 21%. If you think things are bad now, go ahead and elect your Tea Partiers, who twist Christ's words to justify their own experiment in social Darwinism. Some Christians they are!

      September 16, 2010 at 8:41 am |
    • stenn

      To SamGoober: The health care legislation does not cut traditional Medicare benefits but does cut Medicare Advantage -which uses private firms such as Humana and UnitedHealth Group to deliver Medicare benefits. Medicare Advantage payment rates will be frozen in 2011 and then gradually reduced giving companies time to adjust to the changes.
      Medicare will begin paying for annual wellness visits and increase reimbursements for primary care physicians.

      September 16, 2010 at 8:42 am |
    • James Swanson

      All I was saying is that there would be no need for governmental aid if Jesus-followers stepped up to the plate and took care of the poor and weak as Jesus did. I never said we shouldn't have taxes or use that money for the poor I actually think its great that tax money is set aside for these things.

      Mr. Bill....I agree with you completely about the parties in this country, but I think you are assuming a lot with the other assertions you are making about different policies in this country.

      September 16, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • bob

      I dont understand teh almost pathological hatred teh far right has for he lower economic and social classes. Its as if they say that these are inferior human beings and if tehy cant cut it with lazzif far tehy dont deserve a seat at the table.

      September 16, 2010 at 10:15 am |
    • FatSean

      Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Caesar wants to give food to the poor so he taxes his people. Jesus is telling us to support the social welfare programs by paying our taxes.

      September 16, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • Clark1b

      the Bible teaches that the church should help the needy ... it teaches that government has other responsibilities. the democrats seem to believe that separation of church and state doesn't matter when it comes to this area. I believe that the church isn't doing a good job in this area ... but also believe that government should not usurp the responsibilities of the church.

      September 16, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • cliff

      David: I am so glad you are a liberal/socialist/democrat.
      You make no sense and that is so typical of your "type" in today's America.
      cliff

      September 16, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
    • dnsmith

      Many of the posters missed a very important point. That being that we, by living with "charity begins at home", we tend to ignore the billion or so who are so much more needy all over the world.

      I do believe we should help the truly needy in our country. But I also believe that we must work to equalize (create parity) the economies of the world. This will not only eliminate the "call to eliminate outsourcing" but will create a much bigger world market. In addition, once there is parity in world economies, labor revolutions will eliminate many of the world's current bad labor practices (a reason some give to denounce outsourcing.)

      September 16, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Clark1b:
      Do you really believe that the gov't should not provide programs and assistance for the needy because it infringes on the separation of church and state? Is that what you're saying? I have no words...

      September 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • steve

      I wish they WOULD do away with social security, I could do better with the money if I could keep it. Why do they assume that I'm incapable of investing and growing my own money sufficiently to retire on? Why isn't everyone in the nation incensed at this notion that we NEED the government to do this for us? Do we really believe we're that helpless and incompetent?

      September 22, 2010 at 4:18 am |
    • ScottK

      Easy Plan To Fix Economy:
      1. Remove tax-free status of all religions and religious donations
      2. Let the Bush Tax cuts expire
      3. Let any small business with less than 25 employees get business loans directly from the Fed just as Banks do at the same rate the Banks get. Talk about a job creator.
      4. Lower the income tax for those below the poverty line ($22k for fam of 4) to 5% and Increase income tax on those who make over $10M annual to 30%
      5. Create a single payer healthcare system just like they have for House & Senate members so that as a nation we can negotiate less expensive medical costs & prescription drugs and limit the amount any provider/hospital/doctor can be sued to $500k.
      6. Use the world bank to help country's out of poverty, not push them further into it by forcing them into huge loans they cant pay for and spending it on contracts with our multi-nationals to privatize resources and services.
      7. Ban all private/corporate campaign donations, only individual voting citizens would be able to donate to a campaign which would be limited to $2500 per person and a website would list EVERY doner.
      *. Legalize and tax all schedule 1 & 2 drugs, just need to get a prescription from your doctor and head down to nearest drug store.

      I know its never going to happen, but its nice to dream...

      September 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • geoffm

      The Dems want to cancel all freedom and indiviual rights , if you care about freedom vote for whoever supports them it wont be the democrats they want to make us all slaves to the state.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • FormCritic

      David – One of the first rules of propaganda is "Don't be fooled by your own propaganda."

      You need to work on that one.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • Objecttothis

      Really? Politics has absolutely nothing to do with this article! You hurt your cause by putting a blanket statement over an entire group of people. Even if all social justice systems were done away with in the US you still have responsibility as an individual to help poor so get off your political soap box as if the government exists to assuage your responsibility.

      September 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • Nestor R. Bogoya

      Is interesting to read comments on which party would do better in helping the poor. I have always understood that the Republicans and the Democrats are pretty much like Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola in this matter. This is not about which of the two parties is better at taking care of the poor. It is about how real christians should behave and act with the poor. It has to do with being and doing the right thing for my neighbor no matter who that person is. It has to do how a real christian should behave and act within a corrupt government that oppresses people and maintain them poor. It is about us so called CHRISTIANS.

      November 22, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.