Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Capitalism stole my virginity

Anyway back to business: DPF has found an astonishing story about the Silver Ring Thing, involving a schoolgirl, her parents, a PR agency and a lingerie model, all the result of some power blogging. What's more, it is the gift that keeps on giving: in an update, the lingerie model is exposed as a Fascist who is obsessed with Michael Jackson.

Meanwhile, back at home, Sam Finnemore has found the simple way for families to reduce their debts: stop tithing. Anyone who has seen the vast and vulgar Pacific Island churches of South Auckland should realise the concrete results of low-income families who are pressured into giving huge proportions of their income to the church.

Rich has spotted an example of the NZ Herald's new subbing policy.

Dave has web comics a-plenty.

Finally, in case you are wondering, my title is that of a song by The International Noise Conspiracy

And here is the Tokyo Police Club, from Newmarket, Ontario:


Anonymous said...

How about "stop paying taxes"?

Funny how some on the left demand that people pay 20% plus to prop up state social services ( as well as numerous other organizations the state deems worthy) back this demand up with threats of violence, and then complain about other voluntary charities asking for a 10% voluntary donation from their members. I have never understood this; perhaps Paul or "Dr" Craig Y could explain this to me?

How about advocating an immediate 10% income tax cut? Then perhaps I might take your complains about the burden of tithing seriously.

stephen said...

But Matthew, if you read the article, some families are being pressured -- ie not volunteering -- into coughing up even more than 10%. (Although if they can't afford necessities, surely 1% would be too much).

No doubt there is an innocent and praiseworthy culture of tithing out there, but that's not what the article was about.

I'm also confused as to why only leftwing people would be concerned about poor people being coerced into giving money they can't afford.

Mmm, tasty red herrings.

Anonymous said...


I did not say that �only� left wing people were opposed to �poor people being coerced into giving money they can't afford� . What I pointed out was that many of them in fact support the poor being *forced* to give well in excess of that amount to the state. I am opposed to the poor being coerced into giving money beyond what they can afford. In fact I am opposed to people being *forced* to give money to most things. Which is one reasons why I am not left wing politically.

Moreover my point was not a �red herring� (I know what that term means btw) My point is that there is an inconsistency in the thinking of some people who push this line. They simultaneously state that its wrong for an organization to force poor people to give 10% and then support policies which force the poor to give well in excess of that. I believe that if one is rational one should not advocate contradictory things. Seeing I value reason and rationality, I criticize this advocacy.

Noting an apparent contradiction is not a �red herring�.

Paul said...

So, how about that 10% income tax reduction, then? All we need to do it cut the services for low income people and we can make wealthy people richer.

Sam Finnemore said...


Nice to see you found a use for the Herald story on tithing - whilst I don't know if I'd class the South Auckland churches as 'vulgar' (due to insufficient architectural training) I certainly oppose the public wringing of vulnerable people for money.

That Ministry of Truth posting is an absolutely epic piece of Internet detective work. Fantastic stuff!

Anonymous said...

I see Paul you don�t cut taxes because the money is used to pay for social services.

The problem is that most Churches use the money they gain from tithing to pay for similar services. They use this money to provide, schools, food banks, to give emergency grants, provide cheap housing etc.

So if a person stops tithing that also will result in a reduction of social services.

Hence the reason you give me for why the poor should not get a tax cut is also reason to not advise them to stop tithing. On the other hand if they should stop tithing even though this cuts social services, then it seems you can�t appeal to this as grounds to oppose a tax cut.

So if anything Paul, your response illustrates my point. This may be uncharitable. But I suspect the real issue here is not your opposition to poverty, nor is it your concern for social services. It�s simply hatred of churches. You are willing to have the poor give far more if the beneficiary is a secularist left wing state. And you are willing to cut social services if it�s a church that runs them.


stephen said...

"most Churches"

Perhaps so, but that does not seem to be the case with the South Auckland churches described in the article. The social services they provide apparently consist of short term loans at interest.

Matthew, are you actually interested in discussing that news story at all?

That's why I said red herring - you don't seem interested in the matter at hand.

Paul said...

Yes, "most churches." For a start, most churches do not practice tithing;it is a practice of evangelical, pentecostal, low churches.

I would like to know the basis of your claim that tithes are used for social services.

In any case, the article highlights the problems of Polynesian families, who are bullied into providing far more than 10%.

Anonymous said...

Matthew, I've come accross the "tithing is just like taxes" point before, and I never really got what the comparison was supposed to be.

Obviously they are similar in that people are being compelled to give a % of their income but, beyond that there are are a few differences that stretch the analogy into a rather fish like shape ( with a deeply pinkish hue).

With taxes one is able to vote for candidates that will relieve the burden, if such is your desire. The long proud history of the Libertarian movement attests to this. Tithes, not so much.

With taxes there is an accounting of how these are collected and spent, with the taxers and spenders being held accountable, both electorally and through the courts if they are are criminally corrupt. Churches, again, not so much.

If one really really objects to paying taxes, and cannot gain enough political support for this there is always the option of emigrating. There is little cost to this emigration in terms of being told that you are evil, that you will burn in hell, psychological estrangement from family or spiritual torment. All these costs apply if one decides not to tithe.

It looks like a red herring to me too.

Anonymous said...

Pascal's bookie

Your points apply to Churches.

First, in many denominations you can vote for the elders and even the minister. Second, just as a person can emigrate from a country a person can choose to leave a Church. Third, your suggestion that Churches do not keep an account of their finances and do not have to provide their members with an accounting is false. It may true of some Churches, just as its true of some governments. Moreover if your arguments were sound, this would show a disanalogy, not that my argument was a red hearing.

Moreover, you seem to misunderstand my argument. I am not claiming tithing is permissible because taxing is. I am claiming that a person cannot assert that asking people to provide 10% is oppressive if they at the same time ask the same people to pay more than this. There is a difference between arguing for a thesis and rebutting one argument against a thesis.

Paul’s comments are also false; it’s simply not true that tithing is only practised by evangelicals and Pentecostals. In fact the council of Trent advocated tithing, it is an ancient Christian practise that was ratified by Church councils in the middle ages and was practised by the Eastern Church. Instead of listening to uniformed media commentary a study of Church history would help here. Moreover I am surprised that Paul does not believe Churches provide social services, perhaps he should visit the low rent housing I stayed in Dunedin, the three private schools my kids attended. The numerous food bins my family have used at times as well as the several thousand dollars in charity I and other families have received from Churches, and Church sponsored organisations. He perhaps could talk to the doctors I know who have travelled to India to provide medical care for the poor, or to the volunteers who run camps for disadvantaged youth I have worked with. Or he could visit some private hospitals and rest homes. Or he could go to the anger management courses and apprenticeship assistance I witnessed a major Pentecostal church doing for the community and so on, all of which was provided by Churches, most of the time by evangelical ones.