Looking to the Lord for a Loan
April 6, 2003 5:52 PM   Subscribe

10 Million Kids, 10 Years, 10 bucks Except that they ran out of money a little early. Hopefully, the Lord can spot them a few bucks.
posted by GernBlandston (33 comments total)
Shee, that's all they have to do? I had to memorize the whole damned passage in Exodus 19 (or was it 20?) to get some special badge in Bible camp. The "most valuable" prize I ever got was an Amy Grant tape for memorizing the names of the books of the Bible in order... including the Apocrypha.

Of course, there was always the cash for report cards gravy train.
posted by meep at 5:58 PM on April 6, 2003

People are going to rip on you for posting another "let's mock the xians" link. But I want to be the first to say that it IS, in fact, OK to mock THESE XIANS. Holy shit!
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:59 PM on April 6, 2003

Every day, I'm more and more amazed by just how much God doesn't exist.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:25 PM on April 6, 2003

The god I believe in isn't short of cash.
posted by nyxxxx at 6:25 PM on April 6, 2003

[Pirouetting gingerly around the religion issue....]

Is it ethical? practical? constructive? to offer money to children as a spur to learning?

And if you think offering cash dividends to a child for learning a task or a lesson is reasonable and effective, what do you think this practice says subliminally to the child about the relationship of money and education?

Just askin'.
posted by Dunvegan at 6:35 PM on April 6, 2003

The golden rule is important too:

He who has the gold makes the rules.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:40 PM on April 6, 2003

I got paid off as a kid if I did well on spelling tests, I suppose this is just a question of whether the parents want their kids learning *this* subject matter.

It certainly can't hurt, none of the bad aspects of Christianity are included in the 10 Commandments.
posted by tiamat at 6:57 PM on April 6, 2003

I'm coveting my neighbour's property RIGHT NOW.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:04 PM on April 6, 2003

I think I'll give my neighbour's kids $20 each to become atheists.

It'd be one less road obstacle when I pass the church they illegally (and dangerously) park infront of every sunday (and saturday).
posted by shepd at 7:27 PM on April 6, 2003

They ran out of money? Good. I read about this about a year ago, and the first thought I had was, bribery to learn about God. If "the word" isn't enough to convince young people, then maybe there is a problem with "the word" and not the fact that children aren't being paid to learn it.
posted by benjh at 7:28 PM on April 6, 2003

According the the Letter to Laura and Barbara Bush (apparently they have God's ear) linked on the site, we NEED to teach children the Ten Commandments to prevent them from becoming RADICAL ARABS. Who knew?
posted by mbt at 7:45 PM on April 6, 2003

I'm little confused, which version are kids suppossed to memorize? Like is the graven images thing part of the first commandment or is it the second?
posted by bobo123 at 7:50 PM on April 6, 2003

I don't bash Christianity as a whole; most Christians are well-meaning. However, I vehemently bash those who use it as a shield to hide their own ignorance and bigotry. In their letter to the Bush womenfolk, they write:

"The radical Arabs and the radical Moslems are targeting our young children. On the battlefield they are killing our young soldiers.

We are in a spiritual battle for the minds of our American children. We must win the minds of our children at an early age. We teach our children love. Their children throw rocks of hate."

Yep, nothing like donating to your local chapter of "Bigots for Christ." What I like is that they're whining about having to give $200,000 of their retirement money out, and expect that the government should somehow step in and fund this obviously religious exercise. Schmucks.

shepd: Great idea! I wonder how many hackles that'd raise...? I'd pitch in - heck, I'd throw in cash simply for agnosticism. "If you're unsure of your theology, you could win valuable prizes!"
posted by FormlessOne at 8:02 PM on April 6, 2003

The god I believe in isn't short of cash.

Damn Scientologists.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:03 PM on April 6, 2003

Nothing wrong with the 10 commandments? Except for #1 and #2, which are pretty much exclusionary towards other religions (one God as described in the Big Book, no graven images, no blasphemy ==> religious persecution, destruction of "idols" and censorship) and #6 (adultery), which is monogamy-centric (what do we do with those evil adulterers?), they are not particularly dangerous, but simply irrelevant. No killing, lying, stealing? Yeah, unless your respective religious leader condones it. No coveting, no work on Sunday? Gee, you really don't want to mess with capitalism.

The key fallacy underlying this bullshit campaign is that you can teach kids morality (or the twisted Xian pseudomorality) by telling them what to do. Generations of parents have believed that their children grow into normal adults if you tell them not to steal, hurt other children etc. - but the real transfer of values during childhood happens not on the rational but on the emotional, bonding level. It is the affection and love given to children that turns them into mature, controlled adults -- and it is the "Honor your father, mother and God or we'll spank your ass blue" authoritarian "love" that turns them into twisted fucks that start wars .. not that I'm implying anything.

You may laugh at these lunatics now - you won't be laughing when they've taken over your country. The Taliban had rules, too. Don't rape a woman before you've married her, for example.
posted by Eloquence at 8:08 PM on April 6, 2003

Ten dollars? Wouldn't they rather be rewarded with a big scoop of Star Spangled Ice Cream?

(Oh, and Eloquence, drop the Nietzschean straw man.)
posted by brownpau at 8:46 PM on April 6, 2003

"If you're unsure of your theology, you could win valuable prizes!"

I don't think that would be very expensive, unfortunately not too many Americans are unsure:
In views that diverge widely from those in other developed nations, about 45 percent of American adults take the Bible’s story of creation literally.
Only about one in 10 subscribe to a purely scientific explanation of evolution.
posted by Sirius at 8:51 PM on April 6, 2003

My deepest desire, long held in my heart, is that some day the human race as a whole will grow up just enough so that it can discard the emotional crutch we call religion.
posted by Cerebus at 8:54 PM on April 6, 2003

Metafilter: Drop that Nietzschean straw man!

Verily, my brothers, Zarathustra looked upon the new tagline, and asked, "Where is my eagle? Where is my...OW!"
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:58 PM on April 6, 2003

I'm going to hell.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:58 PM on April 6, 2003

I don't think this is a bad thing on principle (minus the letter about "our children could become rock-throwing ay-rabs without this!" -- I guess all the Christian Arabs in the Middle East would never find themselves in a rock-throwing riot, eh?). After all, which Jewish or Christian parent wouldn't want their kids to memorize the 10 commandments?

That said, this is $100 million! This is a staggering sum of money that can go a lot further towards doing good beyond bribing a bunch of middle class kids to memorize a few bible verses. Just as one example, plenty of communities have lots of other problems beyond a lack of knowledge of the 10 commandments that could really use the relief with a portion of the $100 million pie. There are, no doubt, a ton of other Christian causes that could make better use of the money.
posted by deanc at 9:20 PM on April 6, 2003

how about 10 million kids, 10 bucks, for every 100 points they add to their SAT score? that seems like something to work for...
posted by ruwan at 9:21 PM on April 6, 2003

Charlotte Brontë, a novelist of deep but sometimes unorthodox Christian faith, had fun with this sort of thing in Jane Eyre:

[The evangelical Calvinist Mr. Brocklehurst is quizzing young Jane on her Bible-reading habits.]

"And the Psalms? I hope you like them?"
"No, sir."
"No? oh, shocking! I have a little boy, younger than you, who knows six Psalms by heart: and when you ask him which he would rather have, a gingerbread-nut to eat or a verse of a Psalm to learn, he says: 'Oh! the verse of a Psalm! angels sing Psalms;' says he, 'I wish to be a little angel here below;' he then gets two nuts in recompense for his infant piety."
posted by thomas j wise at 9:32 PM on April 6, 2003

Oops, forgot to link to this convenient on-line edition of JE.
posted by thomas j wise at 9:34 PM on April 6, 2003

That is just sickening. What is going on that any adult believes you can pay children to learn values? They clearly have no idea of the difference between knowing something and being able to parrot it.
posted by dg at 9:51 PM on April 6, 2003

What??? I got no money for memorizing the Ten Commandments song!!! Do they pay this retroactively??

After me now, kids ...

Number one, we've just begun, God should be first in your life!
Number two, the idol rule, those graven images ... aren't nice!
Number three, God's name should be never spoken in jest!
Number four, the Sabbath's for your worship and your rest!
Number five, we all should strive to honor father and ... mother!
Number six, don't get your kicks from killing one a...nother!
Number seven, life can be heaven if you're true to your mate!
And I forget eight through ten. But I knew it when I was a kid! Damn. Just like my forty acres and a mule.

posted by grrarrgh00 at 10:26 PM on April 6, 2003

Is it ethical? practical? constructive? to offer money to children as a spur to learning?

My fourth grade teacher used to give us a dollar if we could recite all the helping (or linking.. I forget) verbs. To this day, I can still do it.

Am, is, are, was, were, can, could, shall, should, will, would, have, had, has, do, did, does, may, must, might, be, being, been.

So, ethical or not, it worked pretty well.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:40 PM on April 6, 2003

They ran out of money? Good.
They ran out of money because their program was highly successful. More kids submitted affidavits (forged perhaps) than the organizers had expected.

Or, maybe you realized all this and that was why you said, "Good", in which case, nevermind.

(Side note: I see nothing unethical in paying kids to learn something so long as what they learn is worth paying.)
posted by mischief at 1:23 AM on April 7, 2003

Some would argue that if society considers something important enough to learn, children shouldn't have to be paid to learn it.

Should we need to pay a child to learn that they shouldn't kill or steal? The traditional Christian concept is that you don't take your riches with you when you die and, thus, you should learn and live these lessons so that you will (in essence) receive your reward once you die.

This idea that the children should receive a reward in this life is actually, IMO, more in line with beliefs that don't acknowledge the existence of a higher power or an afterlife. The "do it for money" instead of "do it for God" plan is, well, an unpleasant perversion of Christianity.

Of course, there are no shortage of so-called Christian perverting the religion at the moment. I am thankful that not all Christians are like this.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:11 AM on April 7, 2003

I'd like to see an organization that encourages kids to learn the Bill of Rights by heart for free.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 8:34 AM on April 7, 2003

Zed: That would be counter-productive to their future roles as Bible-thumping, switch-pulling, semi-autonomous workers in the corporate machine.

Where did you ever get the idea that school was supposed to teach you how to think for yourself?
posted by Cerebus at 9:42 AM on April 7, 2003

none of the bad aspects of Christianity are included in the 10 Commandments.

the first two are exclusionary. The third, if taken literally, restricts artistic expression> 3. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 4th (sabbath) could be considered exclusionary. The 10th states that "thy neighbor" owns his wife and his slaves, which doesn't seem a positive value to suggest to kids. we could do better.

They ran out of money because their program was highly successful. More kids submitted affidavits (forged perhaps) than the organizers had expected.

That's how they put it on their website, but their initial goal was 10 million children in 10 years; it's been five years and only 17,500 children have submitted requests! Almost 1.8% on the way to the goal! woo hoo! (7500 of those were paid). To call themselves victims of success is a real stretch.
posted by mdn at 10:01 AM on April 7, 2003

Paying kids to memorize the Constitution. Now that I could rally behind.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:27 AM on April 7, 2003

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