Archives for the month of: October, 2013

Would you believe I’ve never seen a megachurch before?

I mean, I knew they existed – for those who don’t, they’re mostly what they sound like, large churches in the Midwest and West serving congregations of thousands. They usually have other services like a daycare, an attached school, and a professional staff.

In contrast, even though I’m not religious now, I was raised as a member of a small parish – maybe a hundred people, and fewer that came regularly. It was run by a group of volunteers and the priest.

I point this out because I think it’s the reason for the split in opinion on public welfare programs. One common belief in Middle America is that the church should take on the burden of caring for the sick and the poor, like it’s been doing all along, and do it better than the bureaucratic government.

To me, that’s completely alien. Maybe if the entire group (remember, 100 people total) completely devoted themselves to service they could take care of the whole town, but out of the few regulars? There wouldn’t be nearly enough to go around. So, I’m more likely to support government-based programs, since they’re the ones with the resources and manpower to pull it off.

But if you had a whole megachurch full of people, you actually could do a lot without involving the government. In fact, in a sense they would be in competition, since they each interfere with the other’s economy of scale. If that’s the church that you grew up in and the kind of church you automatically think of, no wonder you’re against government welfare.


I was just reading this story, about a mother of a first-grader who fractured her finger. The nurse misdiagnosed it because she “wasn’t showing enough pain”. The girl ended up with nerve damage because of this.

Now, I take this kind of thing very seriously. Nurses are supposed to be as professional as doctors, and that goes double for nurses who treat children. Maybe triple for school nurses – it’s not like the kids can go anywhere else.

Since I was angry anyway, I started imagining what I would do if I were the mother. I had a whole speech planned out.

“This kid lost forty pounds with nothing but willpower! He walked off a second-degree, 9 square inch burn! So don’t you dare tell me anything about ‘not showing enough pain’!”*

I got myself more and more outraged over this, to the point where I actually wanted to get up and yell it at someone, except … none of this ever happened to me. It might not have even happened at all, since no one fact-checks these stories. I made the whole thing up.

But the weirdest thing was I was just as upset as if it had.

*The fact that I cast Mr. Suspicious as the kid in this scenario is probably meaningful. He’s the least likely person I know to make up injuries.