Dignified graft: Rick Warren's self serving subsidies

Dignified graft

by digby

So Rick Warren really went on TV and said that "subsidizing" poor people"robs them of their dignity?" On Easter?

I just love it when people who pay no taxes make this case. Especially when all they have to do is crook their fingers and millions of tax free dollars flow in to them --- no questions asked:

It’s been a heck of a year for mega-pastor/bestselling author/power broker Rick Warren of the enormous Saddleback Church. It started out with Warren’s invocation at the historic inauguration of one President Barack Obama - and it concludes with Warren asking his flock to cough up nearly $1 million in just two days to keep the church out of the red.

“Dear Saddleback Family,” begins today’s missive from Warren. “THIS IS AN URGENT LETTER unlike any I’ve written in 30 years. Please read all of it and get back to me in the next 48 hours.

“I have thrilling news to share with you below but first some seriously bad news: With 10% of our church family out of work due to the recession, our expenses in caring for our community in 2009 rose dramatically while our income stagnated. Still, with wise management, we’ve stayed close to our budget all year. Then… this last weekend the bottom dropped out.

“On the last weekend of 2009, our total offerings were less than half of what we normally receive – leaving us $900,000 in the red for the year, unless you help make up the difference today and tomorrow.”

The church does not make its financial information public, so it’s impossible to tell just how big of a hole in the boat this $900,000 represents. A spokeswoman for Warren said the church does not release detail on its finances, so it’s hard to put the shortfall in context. (Suffice to say it may not represent a terribly significant portion of Saddleback’s annual budget, and that his personal appeal may well close the hole, and then some.)

In his letter, Warren goes on to detail the church’s accomplishments for the year, and then says:

It’s obvious that your giving through your church family is providing more “bang for the buck” than anything else you could support. It is no wonder that our ministry was named the top religious newsmaker of 2009 as reported by Associated Press.
Click HERE right now to and give as large an end-of-the-year gift as you can to help avert this crisis. If we all do what God leads us to do, we’ll all be a part of a miracle.

Mail in your gift today. Gifts must be postmarked in 2009 to be posted as 2009 gifts for tax purposes. Mail to: 1 Saddleback Parkway, Lake Forest, CA 92630.

Drop your gift in the box at the front door of the Ministry Center at 1 Saddleback Parkway so you know for certain we get it TODAY or Thursday….

I love you so much. It is a deep privilege to be your pastor….

Yeah, I'm sure it is.

Of course his flock isn't exactly hurting for money either. Here are a couple of his famous followers --- who also fell on hard times when their multi-million dollar mortgage went underwater and they had to engineer a short sell. I'm sure they found some extra cash to pass on to Saddleback Church, however. Or somebody did. Warren apparently averted his "shortfall."

Nobody knows what it was used for, of course. But I guess we know it didn't go to "subsidizing" the poor and robbing them of their dignity, so there's that.