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Checkbook Stubs and Social Improvement

Written by Gary North on July 30, 2014

You can’t beat something with nothing.

I use this phrase all the time. I use it for a reason. The reason is simple: you can’t beat something with nothing.

Here is the problem: members of institutions that do not attempt to beat or replace something evil, because they have nothing to offer, are intensely envious against organizations that have in fact attempted to do something. The organizations that do nothing are committed to doing nothing. They are committed to doing nothing as a way of life. But they deeply resent the fact that other institutions are making significant gains, or at least token gains, in dealing with a particular problem.

Let us take the universal problem of alcoholism. This problem can be found in every society, at any point in its history. What has the church, synagogue, or mosque done to deal in a systematic fashion with the problem of alcoholism? The answer is clear: nothing.

People who attend worship services on a regular basis do not want to sit next to drunks, bums, and the general riffraff of society. They want to sit next to people who look pretty much like they do, dress pretty much like they do, and smell pretty much like they do. The riffraff of the world are well aware of this, so they don’t step foot inside churches, at least not during worship services. They may knock on the pastor’s door, trying to get a handout, but they know better than to come into the worship service. They are not welcome. People know they are not welcome.

This is nothing new. It has been true for centuries. It is why a few denominations support skid row rescue missions. But most do not.

So, in the great division of labor, the institutional churches, synagogues, and mosques defer to other organizations. But then when those organizations are successful, some members of the church, synagogue, or mosque complain that the organization is not run by, and especially not financed by, the church, synagogue, or mosque. The members of the religious groups do not want to fund the treatment centers. They do not want to interact with people who are afflicted by these problems. Yet they resent the fact that other organizations are interacting with such people — organizations that are independent of the church, synagogue, or mosque.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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