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Religious Groups Mobilize to use Japan for Publicity

This really gets old, but once again religious groups are putting lots of money toward using the earthquakes in Japan as a public relations stunt. Sure, there are helping the people there too, but they are doing it mainly out of a need to promote their ridiculous beliefs.

I remember seeing the commercials on television for Philip Morris. Because I didn’t smoke, I had no idea what they did. So when I saw their commercials, I thought they were a humanitarian group. They always showed someone doing some good deed. I remember seeing a female oil rig worker saying something like, “Philip Morris helps people” and/or “Thank you Philip Morris,” in one of the commercials. The commercial had nothing to do with smoking at all.

Religion is a little like that except that when they go to help people they also push their product, in this case religion. Could you imagine if Phillip Morris came to help those hurt in Japan and then took the opportunity to shoot a commercial and to really rub it in, they then handed out free cigarettes to those in need? That is what religion does.

I am happy they are there to help, but leave the PR machine, the free Bibles, and the Jesus talk at home. If they are there to help, they should just help instead of using tragedy as an opportunity for converts. It is immoral and unconscionable that religious people can’t understand that people who need help don’t want to be used as propaganda and don’t want to be marks for religious con-artists.

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  • http://thebrunettesblog.wordpress.com Ginny

    I don’t know, this goes too far for me. Most religious people I know truly believe that sharing their religion, as well as their wealth, will help people, so I don’t think it’s reasonable to object to their providing free Bibles and saying “Jesus loves you” as they give more material aid. As long as they aren’t pressuring people to accept their message, or discriminating in who they help, they’re not doing anything wrong.

    And your claim that they’re doing it mainly out of a need to promote their beliefs is unsubstantiated. Most church congregations are made up of people like you or me, people who feel compassion when they hear of a disaster and want to help the people who are suffering. They give through their church or other religious organizations because that’s what they’re used to doing, it’s the most present and immediate vehicle for giving. Attributing sinister motives to people acting out of a sense of decency — even if they’re doing it within a deeply flawed system — sounds an awful lot like prejudice.

    Attack the religious system. Attack the brainwashing that makes people feel that the best way to give is through a religious organization. Don’t attack the actual act of giving. If we don’t give credit where credit is due, then the people who accuse us of irrational bigotry are justified.

  • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

    It isn’t the giving of funds on the congregation level that ‘i take issue with. Those people assume that their donated money is going to help those in need. I take issue with the people from the churches who go and hand out bibles, push their beliefs, etc. I also take issue with church leaders (particularly mega-church leaders) who then use this tradegy as a way of raising more funds and as a PR campaign for their church. This to me in unconcionable and immoral.

    For example, during the Hati situation, Scientologies flew down there to help those in need and administered free personality tests to those in need. The public was completely outraged. Yet Christianity did the exact same thing and no one batted an eye. So let me ask you, if there is nothing wrong with Christians exploiting the Japanese earthquakes to spread their message of Jesus, is it okay for John Travolta and Tom Cruise to do the same? I’m calling Bull Shit on both Christians and Scientologists here. If they want to help, then they should leave their propaganda at home.

  • http://thebrunettesblog.wordpress.com Ginny

    I agree with all of that. Perhaps a link to, or more detailed description of, a particular group that you want to smack down would have made it clearer what exactly you were attacking.

  • Steve in SA

    Religious groups love to sweep in after a major disaster like this because it leaves people vulnerable to religious claims. Reason has been thrown out the window usually, and the people suffering from the disaster are looking for any “answers” they can get.

  • david

    If they didn’t think that they could convert people at their most vulnerable state, they wouldn’t go there at all. If they truly just wanted to help they would leave their bibles at home and leave their hands free to aid and comfort them in their time of need and not try and swoop in and fill the void left by tragedy with their selfish nonsense. Taking advantage of people in their most weakened state of vulnerability is a Christian tradition of the worst kind. Unconscionable and cold.

  • Bob Smith

    Yes, we are seeing the same thing here in NZ with the Christchurch Earthquake. We have had the “Thank god more people were not killed” crap. I agree, no place for religion.

  • Miranda

    Also, consider the cultural context. In Japan this kind of move would be considered to be in extremely bad taste, and rude. Most of the country is Shinto and/or Buddhist. While there is a Christian minority, the fact remains that most of these people will see an effort of proselytizing to be a slap in the face.