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December 22, 2010



It's a good season for Mencken quotes. Which is, of course, a fine thing.

Reading this, I was reminded of a passage from Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London on Salvation Army lodging houses:

"In some of them there is even a compulsory religious service once or twice a week, which the lodgers must attend or leave the house. The fact is that the Salvation Army are so in the habit of thinking themselves a charitable body that they cannot even run a lodging-house without making it stink of charity."


The problem with charity is that it seems to be needlessly entwined with humiliation.

You have to wonder about the faith of evangelicals, if they think you can buy belief with a few loafs of bread. I prefer the attitude of Quakers, or even many Catholic charities, which is that helping poor people is just something you should do; Gratitude being beside the point.

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