Charity Misplaced...Maybe?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Bowser, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    So it's pretty common to see people here on the street corners with signs begging for help. There are so many of them that a person just can't afford to pass out dollar bills at every corner. I don't give to them very often, and there needs to be something about them that looks truly trustworthy before I reach into my pocket. In the past I've had people ask me for food, and that I don't mind. I'll buy someone a hamburger if they're starving, but when it comes to cash, well, there's no certainty where that money will go.

    So today I was leaving Home Depot and there was an Old Woman standing near the exit and holding a sign, asking for help. She truly looked pathetic, and, yes, I gave her a five. Even so, in the back of my mind, I wonder if I've been suckered. She didn't look like an old drug addict, and she did thank me. Nonetheless, I always feel uneasy about giving money to those folks. I mean, you want to help, but then again, maybe I'm just being snookered.

    There's also the possibility that I'm just supporting the problem by giving them money. In this woman's case, she looked beyond eligibility for employment--tired and worn out. But in many instances I see people who look capable. Is giving money to these people Charity Misplaced?
     
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  3. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    Being an old bleeding heart liberal I think that even if some of the people begging are not really needy if you are able to help one truly needy person it is worth it.
     
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  5. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    I feel much better when they ask for food. I've been approached twice: once in front of a McDonald's and once while waiting in the drive thru at another fast food establishment. For some reason I feel as though I've really done good in those situations. I hate to think I might be helping feed an addiction by giving cash.
     
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I think that's an eye of the beholder thing.

    I would note, though―and while I've said it before, I have not recently―that while I'm not Christian, I don't have any real beef with Jesus, and He'd probably be great to have a drink with. And if I look at the most part of His ministry not as a prescription for redemption and obedience and a ticket to Heaven, but, rather, a reflection on how to get along in society, an address of the perpetual tension between self and civilization, it really is remarkable what He was formulating in the context of His time. Regardless of its truth and accuracy in history, the tale of Jesus' ministry has its literary, philosophical, and anthropological value.

    I mention this because while I am wont to criticize people like Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee for making such ridiculous public shows of piety in order to be seen by others―and thus they have their rewards―or even the guy with the back-window sticker spattered with blood and a hastily scrawled fish with the slogan, "Unashamed!" our inward considerations of right, wrong, and otherwise relevant are something else entirely.

    Even into my lifetime it was popular among certain Christian quarters to recite the extrabiblical phrase about letting the money sweat in your hand. Similarly, the eye of the beholder is pretty much at the heart of keeping the business of your one's hands separate from one another. And in the story, we know where Jesus stands, but it is also true that he could be wrong.

    Still, the juxtaposition would frame the whole question functionally; to let the money sweat, certes, will help one avoid empowering comforts one disapproves of. To the other, though, is it as much to any one giving hand to keep the next beer or joint out of someone else's hand as, say, keeping food out of another's mouth because, well, for whatever reasons someone failed the judgment of the generous?

    I couldn't tell anyone else what to do, but I'm pretty certain of my own answer, and specifically because I can be wrong. And insofar as we might consider individual and society, preventing the one hand from knowing what the other is doing empowers giving, while letting the money sweat in one's hand empowers judgment; either path, arguably, has its merits according to how one considers individual, society, and purpose, i.e., the reason for the "rat race".
     
  8. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Not very definitive. I think charity is a good thing; however, when does it become a scam? There's no way of knowing the true nature of the request, which is why I generally don't give money to strangers on the street. As for Christian charity, I believe the Bible talks at length on the subject.

    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Charity/
     
  9. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    Donate money to the federal government for doing such a good job!


    (Forget where I heard that - think it was a stand up comedian.)



    I know a guy who all he does is pan handle (and also buys crack.) I don't know how you could donate locally, but if you wanted to donate to a charity, I'm sure there is one you could find easily

    I just googled this by name I don't think it is your country lol http://www.childrenswish.ca/
     
  10. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Donating to a local charity would be the smarter thing to do, but I sometimes think that a few have grown too large to actually qualify as a charity. There was a local scandal recently regarding the compensation that one director was receiving--six figures. Charity sometimes becomes an industry. Nonetheless, giving to a deserving organization would be the better thing to do..
     
  11. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    Homeless people do stay in churches during the winter.

    Donating to a local church could be one.
     
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  12. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Absolutely correct. They aren't nearly as coordinated as are the big charities, but they are out there serving the community. It's worth investigating. I picked up a booklet recently that does cover many of the local homeless outreach programs...very informative. Many are religious organizations.
     
  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I tend to go by the principle of "ask and ye shall receive". I carry a pocketful of looneys and tooneys for that purpose (and for Tim Hortons - anybody who's needy had better get between me and Tim Hortons).
     
  14. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. They must indicate they are hungry, to get anything from me. If they do say those "magic words" I offer to go with them to a fast food place and buy them a hamburger and drink. Not rarely they refuse this deal and ask for cash - occasionally cleverly saying that they need cash to buy diapers or baby food in grocery store. Usually when I say I have time to do that with you, they say "forget it" I'll ask some one else. In 21 years in Brazil, I remember buying baby food jars only once. - They were probably sold for cash.

    In Brazil I get asked most days for financial help, but end up buying some food only once per month or so. Some have a clever scheme - They show ID with their address in a neighboring city and ask for bus fare home. If near my house when this happens I ask for their name and home phone, telling them to wait for me to return, while I call their home to confirm their story. Never has one been waiting for my return. Before even trying the number, an LD call charge, I look out a window and see them walking away to try their scheme on someone else.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  15. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Giving food is the best method, I believe. When someone hits me up for chow near a hamburger joint, it's really easy to help without doubt about their motivations. Yet I've read stories where food was rejected after being offered, so it makes a person think there's a problem that sits behind the beggar. I think the time I was most discouraged was when I saw a young woman holding a sign asking for help, and before I had passed her on the street, she pulled out a cell phone and started talking. All this at a time when I couldn't afford one myself.
     
  16. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Once a man asked me for bus fare at a bus stop. I didn't have any change on me at the time because I have a monthly pass. Two minutes later, he got on a bus and paid his fare.

    I'm sure people do lie to me sometimes but I don't think it's good for my psyche to assume that everybody is lying. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they will die of starvation if I don't help them.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Just because he was able to scrape up the dollar and a half (or whatever the fare was) doesn't mean that he wasn't impoverished. If you had given him the $1.50, he might have been able to buy a little more meat to put in his stew that night.
     
  18. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. I'm saying that I don't really care if people lie to me. I was just surprised that he did it so transparently.
     
  19. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    It's stuff like that that sours people on giving. I've seen some uplifting videos and some disappointing videos on YouTube. From my perspective, begging looks a lot worse than holding a job, so if dishonest people are actually earning a meager living holding a sign at the street intersection, they apparently have never worked an actual job. If they had, they would know that it's much easier and much more profitable than asking for cash. Anyway, I think I will stop with the charitable contributions at the curb. Better to give to a local church or other worthy charitable organization that offers services to those in need.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Did he actually lie? Did he tell you that he didn't have enough money for bus fare? As I said, he may have had it but was hoping to spend it on food instead.
     
  21. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Well, he gave me the impression that he didn't have it.

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    That might not have been his intention. In any case, even if he did lie I didn't hold it against him. I'd give the same guy a buck tomorrow if I had it.
     
  22. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    That's your perspective, not theirs.

    I shudder at the idea of giving to a church. Too many of them try to save the soul while the body starves. If I give to an organization, it's a secular one.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It's not that simple. Many Christian churches (especially those not associated with the fundamentalist sects) take charity very seriously, and devote the majority of their budget to it. They seem to believe that this is what Jesus wanted.

    I wonder where they got that idea?

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