Sell the Vatican, Feed the World

by Luke Muehlhauser on October 22, 2009 in Video

The expression on her face right before the word YES appears on the screen is priceless. Also, a great use of WIN.

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

drj October 22, 2009 at 6:02 am

Man she is cute.

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Reginald Selkirk October 22, 2009 at 6:05 am

It’s not just Catholics, of course. Consider all the money that goes into the opulent lifestyles of religious figures worldwide.

Deities churn gold into revenue for banks in India

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ayer October 22, 2009 at 7:07 am

She make a good point; moreover, all the big-hearted Hollywood celebrities should also divest themselves of their mansions, luxury autos, investments, 48-inch HD tv’s, etc. and give it all to the poor.

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Reginald Selkirk October 22, 2009 at 8:15 am

moreover, all the big-hearted Hollywood celebrities should also divest themselves of their mansions, luxury autos, investments, 48-inch HD tv’s, etc. and give it all to the poor.

That appears to be a total nonsequitur. Why should they do that? Actors get paid for their acting skills. Do you think that when people buy a ticket to watch a movie at the theatre they mistakenly think they are donating to a charity which will help poor people?

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ayer October 22, 2009 at 9:08 am

Selkirk: “That appears to be a total nonsequitur. Why should they do that? ”

Of course! Why should they donate to the poor? It’s so much easier to sit on their wealth and whine about how someone else should take care of it.

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Karl October 22, 2009 at 11:14 am

Well at least ayer agrees she makes a good point – that the Catholic Church’s most appropriate action would be to give away it’s enormous earthly wealth to solve world hunger. Who said atheists and theists can’t agree!

I do agree with the sentiment, ayer, in regards to hollywood celebs. But really, what can we expect from such people? The Catholic Church, with it’s high moral standards would obviously have to show the way by being the first to step forward.

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PR October 22, 2009 at 11:44 am

How much did she spend to fix those teeth? It seems that some of that and what she spent on her 48″ HD TV could also go to feed the poor. What do that say, charity starts at home? I think the Pope might take her more seriously if she set the example first. Somehow, I don’t think she’s that serious. It’s always easier to toss rocks at someone else’s glass house.

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one more clay figurine October 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm

ayer makes an excellent point. Instead of selling off a site of great historical and spiritual importance, let’s tear down all the corporations, which promote materialistic and consumerist lifestyles, and sell them off.

This idea is nothing new; who hasn’t thought of the first-class irony of the Vatican sitting on their wealth? We must consider though, who would buy the Vatican? Answer: some corporate hot-shot which will make the Basilica an amusement park. Of course, atheists already think it’s a place of amusement (in a different sense)…

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g October 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm

“Somehow, I don’t think she’s that serious” … No, really? She’s a comedian. She specializes in edgy taboo-breaking humour. Like, y’know, saying that the Pope should sell the Vatican and end world hunger because then he’ll get “all the pussy”. (Or, e.g., appearing on her boyfriend’s TV show with a video entitled “I’m fucking Matt Damon”.)

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Jake de Backer October 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm

The difference between the Catholic Church and Hollywood celebrities, and I can’t believe anyone actually has to say this, is the moral pretension’s the Church confers upon itself. Believing, as they have for the past 20 centuries that they have the final say concerning morality and the commitment to moral obligations. Who wouldn’t agree with Bill Maher’s observation in Religulous, that when Jesus preached to, for, and about the impoverished, he almost certainly did not have in mind for them anything remotely resembling the Vatican? Should we really be expecting the same moral obligation from those who claim that temporal wealth is irrelevant and that their treasure is “not of this world”, with those who call a press conference when their latest plastic surgery is display-ready?

To admonish others about the impious effects of materialism and superficiality while preying on the impecunious to cast your goblets in gold and custom tailor your outfits in only the most elaborate of linens, is not only dishonest to an incomprehensible magnitude, it’s also demonstrative of why Catholicism’s irrelevance is being more and more felt worldwide.

If I went about the world telling everyone I didn’t need food, I mean I like it cause it taste’s good, but my body is such that it produces it’s own nutrition from the sun. I was essentially receiving photosynthesis and that’s all I needed to survive comfortably, but I insisted on acquiring mountains of food, how would you and in particular, those who need some fucking food, feel about me? If I persisted in maintaining this food mountain while simultaneously offering approbation to those who gave away their food and possessions except what was requisite for survival, how would you feel about me? If I contracted artist’s to build sculptures of my favorite foods out of more food, all around my food palace, then paid them in food, would I still be invited to your birthday party?

You can’t have it both ways, so which one is it; You don’t need material possessions and in fact our infidel nature obsesses about material items which subtly steer’s us away from a closer relationship with the divine (Thus, “It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye..”) and therefore could do without the colossal collection of worldly goods, or, you do need the pomp and pageantry and as such, simply can not make do without your hand-woven flowing robes and fancy dishes? I mean, who would take you all seriously if you passed around communion with Costco brand grape juice in a plastic solo cup and read from Paul’s Letters in a Hanes t-shirt and a pair of flip-flops’s? We could all do without the institutional hypocrisy constantly on display in Catholicism in particular and Christianity in general.

Celebrities make no claims to moral superiority. Nor are they compelled to uphold proscriptions on safe-sex policies which are almost single handedly responsible for millions of deaths per year. Can celebrities orchestrate mass charities? Do some of them have the moral fiber to donate significant portions of their salary to the needs of others? Absolutely, and they do so without the condition that the recipient hears about the ancient, barbaric superstitions of bronze age Palestine, which is more than what can be said for the church when they send missionaries.

Reginald Selkirk, as he often does, got it completely right in evaluating and subsequently dismissing the non-sequitur as it was articulated by ayer. At least most celebrities make no attempt to cover their avaricious, materialistic, superficial, and manipulative nature. The same can not be said about the Church. Not because they aren’t all of those things and much more, but because they make a (piss poor, in my opinion) attempt to appear otherwise.

Yours in Christ,
J.

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ayer October 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm

de Backer: “Celebrities make no claims to moral superiority.”

Give me a break. Hollywood celebrities are constantly preening and preaching in their self-righteousness regarding one politically correct cause after another (see Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand, Oliver Stone, Richard Gere, George Clooney, Susan Sarandan, etc. etc. etc. In fact, I think the list of those who don’t preen morally would be shorter than the list of those who do).

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drj October 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm

If there were a comment of the month award on this blog, I’d have to say it goes to Jake De Backer. Nice!

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drj October 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Give me a break. Hollywood celebrities are constantly preening and preaching in their self-righteousness regarding one politically correct cause after another (see Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand, Oliver Stone, Richard Gere, George Clooney, Susan Sarandan, etc. etc. etc. In fact, I think the list of those who don’t preen morally would be shorter than the list of those who do).

Sure, celebrities preach, so what? The issue isn’t that one simply advocates a cause – its the blatant hypocrisy.

To paraphrase Sarah: “Thats a pretty ornate robe for a vow of poverty”. I’m pretty sure she hasnt taken a vow of poverty…

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Jeff H October 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm

I think that anyone who lives in a reasonable amount of luxury (which, to be honest, covers most people living in North America) has some sort of moral duty to use that wealth for the greater good. At the very least, I’d say they have a responsibility to use their wealth in a responsible way.

Recently I decided I was going to go out and get myself an iPod Touch. I had the money, and so I went out and got one for myself. Then, for the next twenty days or so, I lived in mental anguish, because I realized that the money I spent could have fed and clothed ten children for a month. And for what? So I can listen to fucking music when I walk outside? Like really, what kind of a lame-ass reason is that? So I ended up returning it. And I don’t say that to say, “Oh look at me, I’m so much more moral than you are,” I just think that people, religious or otherwise, should be taking a long, hard look at what they spend their money on, and realize that the luxuries they buy are bought at the expense of those who literally have nothing. We have such a keen view of our “rights and freedoms” and such a pathetic view of the responsibilities that come along with that.

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lukeprog October 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Jeff H,

Re: luxury, I agree.

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one more clay figurine October 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Sure, celebrities preach, so what?

Huh? All the Pope does is preach, and you don’t let him off the hook.

If this is a case on Silverman’s part to call on a hypocrisy on the Vatican, isn’t she in turn being hypocritical?

Look, I can agree the Vatican is pretty hypocritical, but think about all the money that goes into the luxuries we wastefully consume all the time (like Jeff H pointed out). What do you think is better to sell off: the corporations and Hollywood which churn out horrible music, crap movies and useless junk in order to get consumer-money, or a place of historical, cultural and spiritual signifance, which promotes charity and goodwill? Call it a non-sequitur all you want, but it’s worth thinking about.

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Jake de Backer October 22, 2009 at 5:32 pm

drj,

Not to turn this into a circle jerk, but I’m honored you feel that way, as I have continuously enjoyed reading your post’s the past few weeks. Thanks.

J.

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ayer October 22, 2009 at 5:39 pm

drj: “Sure, celebrities preach, so what? The issue isn’t that one simply advocates a cause – its the blatant hypocrisy.”

Then she and the other celebrities should address their own hypocrisy in talking up the virtue of giving to the poor while enjoying obscene amounts of conspicuous consumption themselves. Jeff. H. has the right idea.

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ildi October 22, 2009 at 5:39 pm

No self-respecting deity has a poor high priest caste. A deity worth being worshipped by the masses rewards the special few leaders in this existence as an example of what’s coming to everyone if they follow the proper path. This, of course, is different from worshipping filthy lucre like those nasty materialists do.

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Jake de Backer October 22, 2009 at 6:36 pm

“No self-respecting deity has a poor high priest caste.”

Good. We agree. The Judeo-Christian God is without self-respect. We’ve all been privy to God’s selection of “His” representatives here and so far, what a disappointing assembly.

“He rewards the special few leaders in this existence as an example of what’s coming to everyone if they follow the proper path.”

If he “rewards” the “special..leaders”, what does he do to the reprehensible “leaders”? You know, the one’s who feel their reproductive appendage belongs in pre-pubescent young men? Is he just towards them? Are the perpetrators divinely expostulated? Does he see to it the victims and their family’s are compensated at the expense of the perpetrator? Cause from what I’ve seen, it appears the Lord feels the punishment of anally raping a few dozen boys warrants a transfer to a new parish. That’ll teach ‘em. “It’s high time you set off to a new congregation my son, it appears you’ve already tapped all these anyway.”

Thanking my parents for not letting me become an alter boy,
J.

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ayer October 22, 2009 at 7:40 pm

““Somehow, I don’t think she’s that serious” … No, really? She’s a comedian. She specializes in edgy taboo-breaking humour. Like, y’know, saying that the Pope should sell the Vatican and end world hunger because then he’ll get “all the pussy”. (Or, e.g., appearing on her boyfriend’s TV show with a video entitled “I’m fucking Matt Damon”.)”

Yeah, regarding that part of the video: you stay classy, Sarah, you stay classy.

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lukeprog October 22, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Sarah Silverman is much funnier without class, I think.

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Aaron October 22, 2009 at 8:46 pm

If more Christians acted like this then it would be easier to take them seriously.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31j0eKMm7K8

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Hermes October 22, 2009 at 10:56 pm

What Silverman has said is not unique. I’ve said similar things before.

If the RCC can’t walk the walk, then it should STFU and stop hiding child rapists and stone walling even on the most trivial of things such as apology, starting with Michael O’Brien and those like him;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBi4sYK5rjI

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one more clay figurine October 22, 2009 at 11:53 pm

An aside: reading the YouTube comments for the video is flabbergasting. What’s with all the anti-Semitism? Do all Christians in America talk like this, or is this video just attracting the wrong crowd? If it’s the former, no wonder you guys have it against Christianity so much.

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Reginald Selkirk October 23, 2009 at 5:35 am

ayer: Then she and the other celebrities should address their own hypocrisy in talking up the virtue of giving to the poor while enjoying obscene amounts of conspicuous consumption themselves.

ayer should address his/her own hypocrisy. He/she is criticizing others, and yet he/she can obviously afford a computer on which he/she makes comments on this blog. Sell your computer! Sell your house! Sell your kidneys! And give all of the revenue to the poor, otherwise you obviously have no right to point out someone else’s hypocrisy.

one more clay figurine: who would buy the Vatican?

Liberace would be the most likely candidate, but he’s dead.

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ayer October 23, 2009 at 5:45 am

Selkirk: “ayer should address his/her own hypocrisy.”

I agree, we all should examine ourselves. And I will be glad to listen to the wisdom of Hollywood celebrities on this subject after they have done enough divestment and contributions so that they drop from the top 1% of wealth-holders and income-earners in the country, to, say, around the median level.

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ildi October 23, 2009 at 5:59 am

I guess you missed the part where being rich is part of the job description for Hollywood celebrities – not so much for his holiness the pope. Surely your irony meter is not that defective.

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ayer October 23, 2009 at 8:35 am

ildi: “I guess you missed the part where being rich is part of the job description for Hollywood celebrities ”

Nothing requires them to keep the money; you’ve heard of charitable contributions, right? The Hollywood crowd could make a big dent in global hunger–but then they might have to give up their luxury homes, luxury autos, etc.

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ildi October 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm

This deliberate obtuseness becomes you, ayer! It’s sweet in a sad, defensive sort of way…

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ayer October 23, 2009 at 6:12 pm

ildi,

I would be happy to provide clarification; how can I help you out in your understanding?

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ildi October 25, 2009 at 11:32 am

Well, ayer, when you can’t see the difference between the obscene wealth of someone who takes a vow of poverty and the riches of someone who went into their profession for the advertised fame and wealth, then I’m not sure what clarification you can provide? But, go ahead, explain how the riches of one group mitigates the blatant hypocrisy of the other?

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ayer October 25, 2009 at 12:01 pm

ildi,

If the Hollywood celebrities preached a view consistent with conspicuous consumption and accumulating wealth (a la Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good”) they would not be guilty of hypocrisy (just guilty of greed). But when they mount the soapbox to preach the virtues of giving to the poor and lecture others to do the same, then they had best lead by example or they are world-class hypocrites themselves. And their hypocrisy dwarfs that of the pope since they are padding their own bank accounts and indulging their own private frivolous materialism, not just living in a museum owned corporately by an organization.

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ildi October 25, 2009 at 12:39 pm

But when they mount the soapbox to preach the virtues of giving to the poor and lecture others to do the same

Maybe you’ve lost track of the point, here? No, actually, as I look back on the comment thread, you persisted in pretending not to get the point right off the bat. To refresh your memory, however, S.S. is not mounting the soapbox lecturing about giving to the poor.

they are padding their own bank accounts and indulging their own private frivolous materialism

You know for a fact that she doesn’t give to charity? What on earth do you have against frivolous materialism? Are you posting from a monk’s cell? Some would consider your use of a computer frivolous materialism.

By “padding their own bank accounts” you mean “earning it” as opposed to “shilling for it in church and on TV under false pretenses?”

She is mounting the soapbox mocking the hypocrisy of an organization being worth billions that identifies with the Jesus of the New Testament and his statements regarding poverty and the odds of a rich man getting into heaven.

Your deflection is analogous to the theists’ cry of “Stalin!” whenever the evils the Catholic church has perpetuated throughout history are brought up.

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ayer October 25, 2009 at 3:40 pm

ildi: “To refresh your memory, however, S.S. is not mounting the soapbox lecturing about giving to the poor.”

You’re saying she is telling Catholic Church to do something she is not in favor of personally (i.e., giving to the poor)?

ildi: “What on earth do you have against frivolous materialism?”

You’re in favor of frivolous materialism? Interesting.

“By “padding their own bank accounts” you mean “earning it” as opposed to “shilling for it in church and on TV under false pretenses?””

You mean after they have earned it something prohibits them from sharing it with the starving?

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ildi October 25, 2009 at 3:52 pm

I’m saying she is telling the Catholic Church to quit being hypocrites.

Again, what do you have against frivolous materialism? Does your god send you to hell if you enjoy your time on this earth?

Have you demonstrated anywhere in your deflection that the Hollywood wealthy don’t share any of their $$ with the starving?

Come on, just say it, ayer: “The pope is a hypocrite for maintaining a residence that is worth billions while taking an oath of poverty.” It will make you feel more honest (if not better).

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ayer October 25, 2009 at 5:03 pm

“Come on, just say it, ayer: “The pope is a hypocrite for maintaining a residence that is worth billions while taking an oath of poverty.” It will make you feel more honest (if not better).”

Actually, I said she had a good point in my first comment, if you go back and read that far. But those who live in a glass houses should not throw stones. The Hollywood level of conspicuous, ludicrous consumption is obvious, as is their self-righteous, hypocritical preening on behalf of “compassionate” causes. When they start walking the walk they will have the credibility to criticize others.

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ildi October 25, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Actually, I said she had a good point in my first comment

Oh, there it is! To repeat, you’re admitting that the pope is a hypocrite. Did that hurt so much?

When they start walking the walk they will have the credibility to criticize others.

Those damn Hollywood hypocrites! How dare they point out the plank in others’ eye when there may be a mote in their own! People must meet ayer’s standards for levels of acceptable frivolous materialism before they can criticize others!

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ayer October 25, 2009 at 6:10 pm

ildi: “Oh, there it is! To repeat, you’re admitting that the pope is a hypocrite. Did that hurt so much?”

Not at all. Why does it hurt you so much to criticize Hollywood celebrities? To recognize those people as moral guides is just sad. But I guess with atheists it’s catch as-catch-can when it comes to moral guidance.

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ildi October 25, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Ok, you’ve admitted the pope is a hypocrite.

One more time: the pope is a hypocrite.

Let’s move on to the interesting discussion of Hollywood celebrities. You see, I don’t think there is one single Hollywood celebrity stereotype. There are people who are Hollywood celebs who have good moral points to make, there are those who don’t give a flying f&*k and are just there to make as much money as they can until their fame fades away, then there are the young/naive ones who go through a serious party phase before they either burn out or grow up. Like any other profession, including the clergy, there are many reasons why people are attracted to becoming actors, and many ways people comport themselves as such.

Being a Hollywood celebrity does not automatically preclude one from being a moral guide, just as being a minister doesn’t automatically make you one. You seem to be lumping Sarah Silverman in the category of “bad” celebrity because you don’t like her humor, not because you seem to have any knowledge of her personal lifestyle, finances or charitable donations, if any. She may not be perfect, but she has more credibility as a moral guide than most TV evangelists.

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