Skip

"In God we Trust, all others pay cash...."
September 28, 2006 11:21 AM   Subscribe

ATMs for Jesus. A Georgia pastor has created a business that brings churches further into the digital age- for a few grand and a $50 monthly fee, now your congregation can have the convenience of a debit kiosk inside your church. (via Pandagon)
posted by XQUZYPHYR (90 comments total)

 
For some reason I'm reminded of this book where some guy was angry about...what was it? Oh, changing money in the temple. What was that called again?
posted by owenkun at 11:23 AM on September 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


WHy what a wonderful idea! They should serve drinks and open a casino while they're at it. If your church/synagogue/temple/mosque does this, look for a new one.
posted by Mister_A at 11:24 AM on September 28, 2006


Sweet - how about a robot confessional:
YOUR SINS ARE whirr whirr whirr FORGIVEN
posted by exogenous at 11:25 AM on September 28, 2006


Dumb of him to say ATM, since they don't dispense money at all.
posted by sciurus at 11:32 AM on September 28, 2006


Do Christians actually read the bible?

What would Jesus do? What would he do?
posted by chunking express at 11:32 AM on September 28, 2006


Ok, it's not wrong fo a church extort money from people under threat of eternal torture. but IF YOU GET ELECTRONICS INVOLVED!!!

If people really were religous they would just donat 10% of their income automatically by direct deposit.
posted by Megafly at 11:33 AM on September 28, 2006


The article talks about people doing that, Megafly.
posted by teferi at 11:33 AM on September 28, 2006


Do Christians actually read the bible?

Not much, they mainly make an idol of it and generally otherwise treat their traditions as fetishes.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:34 AM on September 28, 2006


Ha, I just came from a Pandagon discussion on this. I think you can make the case they're tacky (but honestly, have you seen most church decor??) but it's not that big a deal to use a card rather than a collection plate. Has nothing to do with changing money in the temple, either...it's a straightforward donation.

Over at Pandagon, the suggestion came up to put these in Planned Parenthoods and other worthy organizations' lobbies. OK by me.
posted by emjaybee at 11:37 AM on September 28, 2006


Direct deposit kills the sacrfice. Handing over cash/cheques makes it a lot more real.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:37 AM on September 28, 2006


exogenous - take a peek at the Lucas movie "THX-1138", and you'll see the confession booth with the rather tepid AI personality and the generic Jesus illuminated face image. I really love the scene where Robert Duvall/THX pukes inside of the booth. Precious stuff.
posted by dbiedny at 11:37 AM on September 28, 2006


I love to watch religion evolve.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:37 AM on September 28, 2006


Maybe Ra's al Ghul was right...
posted by Dreamghost at 11:38 AM on September 28, 2006


"And the sign said everybody welcome, come in, kneel down and pray;
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn't have a penny to pay;
So I pulled out a new shiny Visa, and I snagged me a Jackson or two;
I said 'here big J have a couple o' bucks, I'm cuttin' out to watch Scooby Doo!'"
posted by cog_nate at 11:42 AM on September 28, 2006 [2 favorites]



Ha, I just came from a Pandagon discussion on this. I think you can make the case they're tacky (but honestly, have you seen most church decor??) but it's not that big a deal to use a card rather than a collection plate. Has nothing to do with changing money in the temple, either...it's a straightforward donation.

I somewhat agree with you, but the line that sold me on how weird this was was the bit about how it has an added benefit of allowing your donation to earn airline miles.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:43 AM on September 28, 2006


Maybe Ra's al Ghul was right...

Maybe I should make that shirt in the tradition of Magneto Was Right.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:44 AM on September 28, 2006


Any excuse to make fun of Christians is now worthy of its own FPP, right? How, exactly, does this harm anyone? How, exactly, is this in conflict with the Bible? Churches need donations to remain active and influential. Less people carry cash since plastic is accepted everywhere and is more secure. So the Churches now accept more forms of payment. Big deal.

Oh wait...Jesus is Stoopid. Crazy Christians modernizing their churches is hypocritical. Believing in a higher being is so 20th Century! Does that about cover it?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:44 AM on September 28, 2006


I read the article. It is essentially, an electronic offering plate, no big deal and nothing really contradictory with the Bible. Only issue, and it appears they're fixing that, is that they're designed to take credit cards, so in effect, allowing people to offer what they don't have. That could be bad.

Other problem is due to the system, small percentages of the tithe are taken for transation fees. Boo.
posted by Atreides at 11:46 AM on September 28, 2006


The "Jesus flogging the money changers out of the temple" reference occurred to me immediately as well.

And then the second thing that occurred to me was the story of a black Baptist pastor in Atlanta in the fifties. The people in the congregation could not get decent banking services, such as loans and mortgages from the white men who ran the banks, and were at the mercy of loan sharks. So this pastor initiated the set up of a credit union. Also he intiated a number of other social programs and was instrumental in getting the "back seat of the bus" laws struck down.

It's all in the details.

But I do presume the credit union I mention was not located in the church.
posted by orange swan at 11:47 AM on September 28, 2006


Oh wait...Jesus is Stoopid. Crazy Christians modernizing their churches is hypocritical. Believing in a higher being is so 20th Century! Does that about cover it?

I'm a Christian and ATMs in the church squick me out. I won't attend any churches that sell things or that have required donations.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:49 AM on September 28, 2006


Do Christians actually read the bible?

Not much, they mainly make an idol of it and generally otherwise treat their traditions as fetishes.



Do Americans actually read the Constitution?

Not much, they mainly make an idol of the flag and generally otherwise treat their traditions as fetishes.


Direct deposit kills the sacrfice. Handing over cash/cheques makes it a lot more real.

Just like payroll deduction for income taxes and Social Security.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:49 AM on September 28, 2006


SeizeTheDay, some of the comments in this thread have been derisive, but I don't think the FPP itself was framed in that way. It's an interesting story, thus it merits an FPP.
posted by brundlefly at 11:50 AM on September 28, 2006


Not a bad analogy at all.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:50 AM on September 28, 2006


Why am I not surprised that the Pastor's corporation that produces these machines is for profit.

Come to think of it, most churches these days are for profit.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:55 AM on September 28, 2006


I agree, brundlefry. Poor word choice on my part.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:57 AM on September 28, 2006


p.s. I'm not going to make a for Prophet joke here, because I can't think of one. Otherwise, I would be all over the sum'bitch.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:57 AM on September 28, 2006


1. ATMs
2. ???
3. Prophet!
posted by brundlefly at 11:59 AM on September 28, 2006


*golfclap*
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:00 PM on September 28, 2006


Yeah... took the easy way out.
posted by brundlefly at 12:03 PM on September 28, 2006


I was raised Catholic and remember the bingo games on Wednesday night in the church basement. Some folks felt that gambling was wrong, but the Catholic old ladies kinda got a charge out of it.

Is that inherently different than putting slot machines on the back of the pews in the church itself? I think so. Gambling is gambling perhaps, but there sure seems to be a fundamental difference there somewhere.

Ditto for the credit cards and transaction fees and frequent flyer miles and the rest of it.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:03 PM on September 28, 2006


emjaybee writes "Has nothing to do with changing money in the temple, either...it's a straightforward donation."

This is arguable. The service provider is charging a monthly fee; this seems directly analogous to the money changers who charged a fee to change foreign currencies to facilitate tithing and the purchase of sacrificial animals. You could argue that the machine operator is changing electronic money or credit into money in the church's coffers and that he's doing it "in the temple". I don't know, your simple dismissal doesn't seem sufficient.

Of course, I think this kind of close parsing is ridiculous. Jesus' clear objection was to corruption, not to the abstract idea of changing money. If this kind of service can exist without corruption (and $50/month doesn't seem especially egregious), it's fine.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:05 PM on September 28, 2006


"This summer, Baker and his wife, Patty, began selling the devices to other churches through their for-profit company, SecureGive. They are its only employees, but a handful of contractors help them custom-tailor the machines for churches.

The Bakers charge between $2,000 and $5,000 for the kiosks, which come in a variety of configurations. They also collect a monthly subscription fee of up to $49.95 for licensing and support. And a card-processing company gets 1.9% of each transaction; a small cut of that fee goes to SecureGive.

... the idea takes off and makes the Bakers rich, Patty says they will thank the Lord — and give a significant sum to their church."
There is something off-putting about the church's preacher (and his wife) personally benefiting from of the tithing of others. I assume the church pays him a salary. Why not incorporate as a non-profit entity with the profit going directly to the church and/or charities of the congregations choosing?
posted by ericb at 12:05 PM on September 28, 2006


ericb writes "There is something off-putting about the church's preacher (and his wife) personally benefiting from of the tithing of others."

Hrm. Yeah, that is getting kind of questionable. Den of thieves, man. Den of thieves.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:09 PM on September 28, 2006


In high school, I made plans to start up the "Church of the Divine Profit", but never actually got around to it. Glad to see someone else has picked up the idea.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:13 PM on September 28, 2006


Something about an image of people standing in line at a giving kiosk like they're waiting around for their starbucks latte just kind of freaks me out a bit.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 12:15 PM on September 28, 2006


..which come in a variety of configurations.

Hmm.. I must have a filthy, filthy mind...
posted by c13 at 12:16 PM on September 28, 2006


cha-ching!
posted by dminor at 12:26 PM on September 28, 2006


The minister of the Congregational Church to which I went as a kid had a full-time job: Sunday services, visiting the sick and elderly, one-on-one counseling, marriage and couple counseling, running the youth fellowship, etc. He was provided a salary and parsonage for his family. His daily/weekly schedule always amazed me. In no way could I imagine he'd have the time to start-up a business, as well as tend to his other duties. I guess this brand of church is indeed far different -- apparently with the focus of the preacher's efforts and energies being directed at conducting Sunday services, allowing him to build a business on-the-side.
posted by ericb at 12:28 PM on September 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Something about an image of people standing in line at a giving kiosk like they're waiting around for their starbucks latte just kind of freaks me out a bit.

A lot of the so-called 'megachurches' have little gourmet coffee shops and gift shops in them.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:31 PM on September 28, 2006


Hey - I think it's great. Since most of these churches are totally modeled on a twisted reflection of our souless consumer culture in the first place, why not add electronic offering plates? And I'm sure, when Jesus comes back, and the Bakers show him their sweet new electronic ATM tithing machine, he'll be really appreciative.
Because Jesus was ALL ABOUT giving money to the church.
People were like, "Jesus, who should I give all my money to?"
And he always said, "Take it to the temple and give it to the temple priests!"

This is dumb.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:32 PM on September 28, 2006



posted by jonmc at 12:33 PM on September 28, 2006


I looked somewhat askance at the post and then realized I drive right past this church almost every day (It is right around the corner from the scene of this infamous hold-up). If I remember correctly (I have been unable to confirm it online) the same pastor caught a lot of heat locally because of his decision not to hold services last Christmas so that his congregation could stay home with their families. They have a website here with, as you might expect, an on-line giving link. What I find interesting is that this story is from the LA times; is this story really that interesting that a newspaper 2300 miles away would write about it? I also haven't seen it written up locally, but I could have missed it; anyway, this area is so full of churches that people are unlikely to bat an eye over a novel fundraising approach.
posted by TedW at 12:39 PM on September 28, 2006


"Any excuse to make fun of Christians is now worthy of its own FPP, right?"
And no thread is complete without the contribution of a crybaby christian. Oh, the persecution that modern christians endure - the romans may have thrown them to lions, but at least they weren't SARCASTIC.
posted by 2sheets at 12:41 PM on September 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


(I put the link to the church in the wrong spot, but I imagine y'all can figure it out)
posted by TedW at 12:41 PM on September 28, 2006


the problem with this system is (as Atreides said above) that it allows the congregation to donate from credit.

now, ahem, how do citi, chase, discover, et al. feel about this? the church rakes in the donation, they rake in the interest, the congregation.. well, the congregation loses hard.

they really should install at least a few one arm bandits in the nave.
posted by dminor at 12:43 PM on September 28, 2006


Any excuse to make fun of Christians is now worthy of its own FPP, right?

It's the megachuch/ATM people who are making a mockery of Christianity my friend.
posted by jonmc at 12:44 PM on September 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


The financial company my father works for has offered a service like this for years- Simply Giving. You designate how much to give, and it gets transferred every week. We use it because we don't always have the money to give what we want, but the system keeps track, without mucking in cash. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure there's something in the bible about not being showy about your faith-based actions (part of the reason evangelical craziness bothers me). Nobody has to see me put money in the plate to show I'm giving. That's not what it's about.
posted by potch at 12:44 PM on September 28, 2006


They have a website here

Yup -- a different brand of church than ye olde New England Congregational Church.

For the men of the church (Men's Ministries) they host golf tournaments, sports teams and motorcycle rides.

For the women (Women's Ministry) there's "Bible studies, interaction and fellowship, support groups, and spiritual formation).
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on September 28, 2006


Furthermore, we don't give because we have to, or look good in front of other people. We give because a very large percentage of our offering goes toward local, national, and global causes, in addition to upkeep and such at our church.
posted by potch at 12:48 PM on September 28, 2006


Garbage, garbage, garbage!!

Why are these "megachurches" even in existence? Organized religion and the rigid belief that there is only "one religion" or "one way" into heaven are the source of all of our military and terrorist problems of today and almost exclusively throughout history.

I'm sure they'll be able to make room in the Fourth Circle of Hell...and some maybe even the Eighth Circle, ditch number SEVEN for all of you, though, so that'll be neat!

Won't it?
posted by disgustipated at 12:48 PM on September 28, 2006


disgustipated: calm down, have some dip.
posted by jonmc at 12:49 PM on September 28, 2006


I don't like dip. I need a hooker.
posted by disgustipated at 12:50 PM on September 28, 2006


Wow. I have the feeling that 1/2 the posters in this thread literally know nothing about protestant religion in America.

Look, if a church wants to accept tithes, which every church does, they should be able to accept it in any form they wish.

Those of you screaming "money changing in the temple" show your shocking ignorance of the Bible.

First, American churches are not at all the same as the Holy Temple in Judaism. There are no high priests, therefore no "holy of holies" therefore no temple.

Jesus would probably have been equally pissed off if they were having basketball or doing crafts in the Holy Temple. This doesn't fit a protestant church, so quit trying to make it.

And, this has nothing to do with "money changing" unless you want to believe in transubstantiation of currency.

What if the kiosk were outside the front door of the church, would that be okay? What if you could do it via PayPal on their website, would that be okay?

Giving money to the church is either okay, or it isn't. How the METHOD of giving money even enters into the discussion shows how reactionary people can be.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:51 PM on September 28, 2006


Have some clam dip, then.
posted by jonmc at 12:51 PM on September 28, 2006


How the METHOD of giving money even enters into the discussion shows how reactionary people can be.

I dunno. I have no problem with people donating to whatever church they want to, but an ATM in the church just seems kind of blatant and undignified.
posted by jonmc at 12:53 PM on September 28, 2006


That sounds like a reasonable compromise, jonmc. Clam dip it is.
posted by disgustipated at 12:53 PM on September 28, 2006


I don't have any clam dip: will this do?:



or this?:


posted by jonmc at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2006


Giving money to the church is either okay, or it isn't. How the METHOD of giving money even enters into the discussion shows how reactionary people can be.

No, it's not that an ATM is per se forbidden (the book of Ejaculations 4:32) but that it promotes unhealthy habits and ideas about spirituality. I am equally uncomfortable with many "Christian bookstores" and $25 Jesus shirts that seem to elevate outward actions and making the "right" economic choices above sacrifice and charity.

These kinds of things are not, in and of themselves, wrong, of course, but they are part of a nominally Christian culture that emphasizes participation in that culture over honest adherance to Christ.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:00 PM on September 28, 2006


And no thread is complete without the contribution of a crybaby christian. Oh, the persecution that modern christians endure - the romans may have thrown them to lions, but at least they weren't SARCASTIC.

Seeing as how my parents are Hindu and I'm agnostic, I'm fairly certain that you're just an asshole. But my point was to preach religious tolerance (in whatever form that may be) and not to defend Christians specifically. They are modernizing their forms of accepting donations. There's nothing wrong with that.

I think what most people object to is the fact that you can find ATMs everywhere, from porno shops, to grocery stores, to bars and stripclubs, and now churches. While it does feel odd, it's also extremely progressive and if handled correctly, very efficient as well. Any form of accepting donations is susceptible to corruption, including collection plates. How is this any worse than passing around an open plate?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 1:01 PM on September 28, 2006


If it's wrong to install an ATM in a house of worship, they can just ask for His forgiveness.
posted by horsewithnoname at 1:06 PM on September 28, 2006


they can just ask for His forgiveness.

and make sure they get a reciept.
posted by jonmc at 1:08 PM on September 28, 2006


Would it be wrong for the Pastor and his wife to take a percentage of money out of the collection bowl and put it in their pockets as a "handling fee" before turning in the rest as a donation? Because in part that's what this involves. Are there any rules, laws, tax codes or standards of conduct that govern the handling of collections in the church?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:33 PM on September 28, 2006


Perhaps it should be clarified again that what is being installed is not the ATM you walk up to on the street, plug in card, out comes cash, and off you go.

They are machines which let a person use their debit/credit card to transfer money from their bank account to the church's account. Its a digital collection plate, albeit with questionable fees.
posted by Atreides at 1:49 PM on September 28, 2006


George_Spiggott: I spoke to a woman the other night on this very subject as we verified pre-payments for upcoming club functions.
She mentioned that she and her husband count the collection at a Roman Catholic parish. There must be other un-related people present at all times according to arch-diocesan rulings.
posted by Cranberry at 1:58 PM on September 28, 2006


It'd be cool if the ATMs dispensed special money with Jesus' picture instead of a Benjamin.
posted by DenOfSizer at 1:59 PM on September 28, 2006


Did I make that clear? There must always be at least two people present when money is processed, and they cannot be related.
posted by Cranberry at 2:00 PM on September 28, 2006


DenOfSizer: You are forgetting render unto Caesar etc.
posted by Cranberry at 2:01 PM on September 28, 2006


My objection -- and I'm a secular humanist, so take that for what it's worth -- is that this seems to decommunitize the act of tithing, changing from a truly humane act of coming together and providing for the church into an act of optimized flockular monetization.
posted by boo_radley at 2:02 PM on September 28, 2006


Wow. I have the feeling that 1/2 the posters in this thread literally know nothing about protestant religion in America.

I have attended plenty of protestant services. And they were tasteful. You dropped your money in a little bin as you went through the door. And you cared enough about the church and attending the service that you made sure you had some cash for Sunday because there weren't many ATMs in northern New England at the time.

And, and this is the important part, the only entity enriched by the giving was the parish. The priest didn't get a cut of the transaction, and neither did the owner of some company. No one got rich off that church.

Honestly, I thought that the money was for the cucumber sandwiches, cookies and tea that we usually got after church.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:03 PM on September 28, 2006


It'd be cool if the ATMs dispensed special money with Jesus' picture instead of a Benjamin.

JesusBuxTM! Redeemable at Our Redeemer Christian SuperStoreTM, featuring the deals of the Piscean age: coupons for expiation of three (3) venial sins each, Blood o' Christ red wine vinaigrette, OT Rapz Christian music CDs, and DuoMasters of the Universe two-headed Christ/Mammon action playset!
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:10 PM on September 28, 2006


And, and this is the important part, the only entity enriched by the giving was the parish.

Similarly, the workship companion at my church has a standard introduction before the baskets get passed -- something along the lines of "we are a community composed of nothing but ourselves." For me, it's a reminder that my donation helps keep my lil' church going.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:32 PM on September 28, 2006


I think tithing on credit is a horrible idea.
posted by frecklefaerie at 2:47 PM on September 28, 2006


Oh wait...Jesus is Stoopid. Crazy Christians modernizing their churches is hypocritical. Believing in a higher being is so 20th Century! Does that about cover it?

Yes. Welcome to reality.
posted by dopamine at 2:53 PM on September 28, 2006


Jesus would probably have been equally pissed off if they were having basketball or doing crafts in the Holy Temple. This doesn't fit a protestant church, so quit trying to make it.

Damn straight. Everyone knows Jesus wasn't protestant, but how many people know he was actually Jewish? Them Jews, eh? What crazy shit will they get up to next?
posted by Sparx at 3:24 PM on September 28, 2006


You are showing your profound lack of knowledge of the lesson of the Temple, Ynoxas.

It was precisely the fact that the money-changers were cheating out the worshippers for profit that he overturned their tables and chased them from the Temple.

The money-changers had basically insinuated themselves into the act of worship by reinforcing the notion that normal "walking around" money was not pure enough for sacrifice to God, and that they needed special temple coins. But you see, if you bought temple money with your mundane coins, you got a different rate than if you changed them back. The profiting of the money-changers on the backs of the people at worship was Jesus's beef.

Playing basketball or doing crafts would not have risen Jesus's ire, nothing could be further from the truth. We're not talking about kids shooting hoops in the Holy of Holies (whose curtain, the Bible says, was rent from top to bottom upon the death of Jesus), but there were plenty of social interactions in the courtyards.

Jesus didn't chase out the groups of friends talking together, having a good time in the courtyard -- he chased out the leeches who profited from their expression of worship.

And if you can't see how a so-called "man of God" and his for-profit company putting ATMs -- At a charge, mind you, not donated -- who also have surcharges (a percentage of which goes right into Mr. and Mrs. Of God's own pockets) as well as taking credit card payments (more profit-making in the temple courtyard) is doing anything BUT exactly what the money-changers were doing, you've been blinded by one of the worst lies told to American Christian's nowadays -- It's not only OK to be rich, it's a virtue.

That preacher is no Christian, he's a thief and a snake. Though I am a non-theist, if God existed, that pastor's eternal destiny is certain, and just as certainly opposite of what he thinks.
posted by chimaera at 3:56 PM on September 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


If the ATMs were surcharge-free, made only debit transactions, and were donated to the church to facilitate donations, I wouldn't have a problem with that.

But for-profit schemes in the church setting is theft. Not from the congregation, but from God. That is how I know that Mister Preacherman with the heavy pocketbook is no Christian. He's a stain.
posted by chimaera at 4:02 PM on September 28, 2006



posted by ericb at 4:07 PM on September 28, 2006


I'll give your money to Jesus for only half the price at which he's giving your money to Jesus.
posted by furtive at 4:24 PM on September 28, 2006


No problem with it, really.
posted by MarshallPoe at 4:52 PM on September 28, 2006


I'm reminded of Roger Zelazny's "Pray-o-mat" in "Lord of Light".
posted by Slothrup at 5:17 PM on September 28, 2006


"Sweet - how about a robot confessional:
YOUR SINS ARE whirr whirr whirr FORGIVEN"

My sketch comedy troupe did a skit on just this idea. You have no idea how hard it is to do a robotic Irish priest voice from inside a box (while still projecting to an entire theater) until you try.

I'll wait while you do so.
posted by Eideteker at 5:55 PM on September 28, 2006


hey cool!
posted by obeygiant at 7:05 PM on September 28, 2006


I'll wait while you do so.

Thanks a lot, it was humiliating.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:29 PM on September 28, 2006


luke 10:7 - "for the laborer is worthy of his hire" ... this is often interpreted by christians to defend pastors who are making money off the church, so don't be surprised if it's used as a defence for this

as for myself, i regard this as another example of how christianity is making itself easy and convenient for americans and their lifestyle

it is not my belief that christianity is supposed to be easy or convenient ... "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." ( Matthew 10:34)

but i prefer this ... gospel of thomas 2 ... "Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"

make of that what you will ... i think atms in church are rather tacky ... but it fits in well with the sound systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars, the churches that feel they must close on christmas and the congregations who, above all, must be comfortable in their worship and practice

chimaera, you are correct in your interpretation of the temple incident ... however, it's somewhat irrelevant, because many churches aren't temples anyway ...
posted by pyramid termite at 10:28 PM on September 28, 2006


Seems kind of odd, a middleman profiting from people tithing to a church. But if they're fully aware that credit card companies and the owner of the ATMs are recieving a cut... I wonder how this jives with the no work on Sunday ideal, though.

But I'd like to say, here and now, that The Onion can't use iTithe, because I just came up with it dammit.
posted by Talanvor at 11:02 PM on September 28, 2006


But for-profit schemes in the church setting is theft.

Every service that a church makes use of is from a for-profit company, whether it's the utilities or the piano tuning or the purchase of the choir robes and hymnals.

It seems fairly clear on this basis that if churches were simply taking debit/credit donations via their own merchant account set up through their banks, with the associated monthly and per transaction fees, no one could have an argument on the "for-profit" basis. (Nor would the word "scheme" be thrown around in a pejorative way.)

I also doubt highly that if churches were making use of some national network set up by Citi or Bank of America to facilitate tithes and offerings made via electronic fund transfers, it might be deemed tacky, but the fact that Citi or BoA was making money from the deal wouldn't be questioned.

Pastor and Mrs. Baker are entrepreneurs, who have developed a product for a target audience with which they are intimately familiar. There is no reason why a pastor cannot have additional employment beyond his pastoral role if his denomination/church board do not object and clearly the Stevens Creek Church has no objections. And as entrepreneurs, running a private business (in their capacity as private citizens) the profit that they make from that endeavor is their own, to do with as they see fit. As it happens, this pastor and his wife have pledged to donate a large portion of that profit to their church body. That's their prerogative.

Protestant pastors are not required to take vows of poverty, to take only enough income to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables. Christians aren't required to give their talents, abilities or services to the church for free to prove their devotion or fulfill a Biblical mandate. And most importantly, no church is required to buy this service. If a church decides that installation of a Giving Kiosk would increase annual donations by more than the $600+% in annual cost, then why shouldn't it be used? The philosophical objections of outsiders is hardly sufficient reason for SecureGive to change its business practices or for any church to decide against using their services if doing so would provide a benefit.
posted by Dreama at 12:46 AM on September 29, 2006



posted by sklero at 1:22 AM on September 29, 2006


Well least the pastor didn't swindle anyone: Priests 'took US church millions'.
posted by chunking express at 6:54 AM on September 29, 2006


A friend of mine attended a church that one week included a little number in its service. The minister gave a little talk about how important it was to give, and then some other played a rockin' little song on their electric guitars that featured the lyrics, "Open up your purse or God will put you under a curse."

Klassy!

My friend was so offended that she never went back to that church. A few other people she talked to on her way out the door felt the same way.

In principle, I don't have a problem with churches asking their congregations for money, but it must be subject to good taste and pragmatism, as all their other behaviour must be.
posted by orange swan at 6:41 AM on October 3, 2006


Priests 'took US church millions'.

Sigh... Just remembering the good old days when priests were the perverts and congressmen were the thieves.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:34 AM on October 5, 2006


« Older Making the Grade Without Being Graded   |   Free museum admission! Whee! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post