pecaspers: a Blog in transition

September 4, 2010

…we can be so stupid sometimes…

Below is the text of an email a well-meaning Christian sadly forwarded to me:

While millions of Americans struggle to keep their homes and jobs, President Barack Obama can’t give your tax dollars away fast enough.

August 26, 2010

Dear XX-name-deleted-to-protect-the-guilty-XX,

According to the Associated Press, the Obama administration will give away nearly $6 million of American tax dollars to restore 63 historic and cultural sites, including Islamic mosques and minarets, in 55 nations. See the State Department document here.

This is an outrage! Our country is broke. And can you imagine what the ACLU and others on the secular left would say if these monies had been spent to repair Christian churches? They would be screaming “separation of church and state!” Funding Islam on foreign soil with American taxpayer money? Not a whimper.

The latest taxpayer givaway includes $76,000 for a 16th century mosque in China, $67,000 for a mosque in Pakistan, $77,000 to restore minarets in Nigeria and Mauritania, and $50,000 for an Islamic Monument in India.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. program to restore Islamic and other cultural sites in other countries is taxpayer money well spent.

Take Action

Ask your representative to immediately condemn this waste of taxpayer dollars and begin an investigation into why American taxpayers are footing the bill to rebuild Islamic mosques overseas.

It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.
American Family Association | P O Drawer 2440 | Tupelo, MS 38803 | 1-662-844-5036
Copyright © 2010 American Family Association. All Rights Reserved

Here is my well thought-out and researched, somewhat satirical response:

According to the State Department document found here, the Obama administration will give away nearly $6 million of American tax dollars to restore, conserve, document, and educate people about a wide variety of historically significant cultural treasures in 55 nations, including a significant number of ancient Christian sites.

This is an outrage!  Our country is broke, but more importantly about two thirds of the global population has never heard the gospel.  Can you imagine what true Christians who are passionate about the Great Commission could do if only they had been allowed to give those same dollars to living Christian churches instead of the government spending it on crumbling buildings?

What is only slightly less outrageous is that some Christian groups are circulating articles that would lead people to believe that a large portion of the $6 million is going to restore ancient Islamic sites.  In fact, there are only five (5) projects on this year’s list specifically relating to Islam: two mosques, two minarets, and one Islamic monument.  These projects total $271,691, a mere 4.56% of the funds doled out in this U.S. State Department fund.  On the other hand, there are nine (9) ancient Christian sites being preserved or restored at the total cost of $1,119,524, that’s 18.78%.  The largest price tag of these is $625,000 for the 11th-Century “Church of the Holy Redeemer” in Turkey; that’s more than twice what is being awarded to all five Islam related projects combined.

This program dates back to 2001.  In 2007, under the Bush administration, your tax dollars were spent on four Islam related sites–that’s only one less than the current administration.  I don’t recall anyone making much fuss about it then, however.  Find more information on the program here:

I’d appreciate it if you’d pass this on to everyone who mentions this issue in the next few days.

Below are the projects relating to ancient Christian history taken from the document linked to at the beginning of this article.
28. Macedonia: Conservation of Early Christian Frescoes from the Episcopal Basilica at Stobi – $72,600
30. Romania: Restoration of a 13th‐Century Fortified Church in the Transylvanian Village of Moardas – $39,185
31. Russian Federation: Restoration of the Late 17th‐Century Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign in Dubrovitsky – $81,990
49. Bolivia: Restoration of 17th‐ and 18th‐Century Colonial Chapels in Curahuara de Carangas – $41,079
52. El Salvador: Restoration of the Early 20th‐Century Cathedral of Santa Ana – $43,430
53. Guatemala: Restoration of the High Altar and Cloister of the Late 18th‐Century Convent of La Merced in Guatemala City – $94,827
56. Nicaragua: Restoration of the Mid‐18th‐Century Church of Mary Magdalene in Totogalpa – $90,243
58. Peru: Restoration of 17th‐ and 18th‐Century Paintings from the Compañia de Jesus Church in Arequipa – $31,170
61. Turkey: Conservation of the Remains of the 11th‐Century Surp Prikitch (Church of the Holy Redeemer) at Ani – $625,000

Total going to conserve or restore ancient church buildings: $1,119,524

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