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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Conservatives hate the poor

If you haven't heard someone say that, I'm sure you often hear it implied, particularly in relation to conservative evangelicals. While I agree that other less important issues (i.e. gay marriage, Ten Commandments, etc) often get a disproportionate amount of play among conservative evangelicals, I've found that evangelical Christians often just do the work to help the poor rather than talk about it.

As some of you who read my piece on the Religious Right may recall, I am no fan of Pat Robertson, at least not anymore. I don't agree with him theologically and I don't agree with his vision of Christians in America. However, I do believe him to be a good man whose actions speak volumes. Unfortunately, many statements that he makes overshadow his work on behalf the poor.

I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight what Robertson is doing to help the poor. I make no apologies for Robertson but I think that people need to know the complete truth.

Pat Robertson founded Operation Blessing in 1978 for the following purpose:
" demonstrate God's love by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world.

In efforts to relieve human suffering we combat hunger, deprivation and physical affliction with the provision of food, clothing, shelter, medical care and other basic necessities of life. We also help facilitate the development of healthy, vibrant and self-sustaining communities by addressing larger issues of education, food security, potable water, employment, community health, and disaster mitigation projects. In every endeavor, OBI seeks to exemplify Christian compassion and benevolence while conforming to the highest standards of integrity."
According to Guidestar, Operation Blessing uses less than 3% of its charitable contributions for overhead. The rest go directly to programs to assist those in need. Also according to Guidestar, Operation Blessing accomplished the following in 2004:
  1. Delivered over 85 million pounds of food and other necessities to victims of poverty and disaster in 2004.
  2. Gave over 343,000 people access to clean water by building over 1,130 wells and cisterns.
  3. Mounted major disaster relief efforts to assist survivors of the Asia tsunami as well as brought hurricane relief and recovery to more than 261,000 Hurricane Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne survivors.
Here is a complete listing of the ways that Operation Blessing helps those in need.

This is just one example of an evangelical organization that is doing great work to alleviate poverty. Remember this next time you hear that conservatives hate the poor.

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