Support local houses of worship

There are no atheists in foxholes, it has been said. As many people remain holed-up at home on the COVID-19 battlefield, one wonders how many thoughts have turned to houses of worship.

You ought to be thinking about them, even if you’re an atheist or an agnostic. And you ought to be writing a check and sending it to a church or synagogue, even if you’re a non-believer.

There is a very, very good reason to do so, especially now.

My work has acquainted me with more individual churches and men and women of the cloth than I might have known otherwise. Some have told me their churches have been hurt badly by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Part of the reason is that thoughtful church leaders have canceled in-person services. That makes sense. But worship by electronic methods just isn’t the same. For one thing, it’s easier not to put anything in the collection plate when doing so requires a stamp.

It is understandable that contributions to houses of worship have dropped off drastically. Again, out of sight, out of mind as far as the collection plate goes.

And many people aren’t giving because they are scared stiff about their own personal finances.

How bad is it? One pastor told me his church’s collections are about 10% of normal. That won’t even pay the staff.

If you’re an atheist or agnostic, who cares?

You should. Stop and think: Do you know of a single house of worship that doesn’t do what its members can to help the less fortunate? The vast majority do. They feed the hungry, sometimes help house the homeless, even put clothes on the backs of those who can’t afford to buy their own.

They help sustain any number of other initiatives, ranging from after-school programs for kids to health care for low-income people.

All that may come crashing down because of the coronavirus. If you can’t pay the church electric bill, are you likely to be setting aside money for outside worthy causes?

Most agnostics and atheists I’ve known have considered themselves to be “humanists.” They worry about the less fortunate. They believe in the Golden Rule.

Adhering to it, for whatever reason, may mean helping out a house of worship during these trying times. They need our help to help others.

Perhaps you don’t care whether the Lord loves a cheerful giver. Consider this, then: So do thousands of people in our area who rely, at least in part, on the generosity of churches, temples, and other houses of worship.

Find a way to give, then, whether you attend services or not. Churches may not be important to you — but they are, in very concrete ways, to many in our communities.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.


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