Do you give to beggars?

Aug 26th, 2003, 11:08 AM
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Maybe he wanted them displayed not despite his failing to live up to them, but because he knows well that he has failed, and needed a reminder. I suppose he could have just scratched them out on a post-it note....

As to whether Moses' tablets constituted a breakage of the second commandment, you might want to take that one up with his boss. : - )

So religion should not be put on display? Yikes, there goes Sikh turbans, Tibetan prayer wheels, the Blue Mosque, Jewish prayer shawls, and the Vatican City....

Atheism is anyone's right to choose, but dear heaven, it'll make for a dull world....

Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 11:26 AM
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Typically no, I see the same people begging on the same corners and in the same parking lots on a daily basis. Sorry, just no excuse if you have 6 hours a day to stand around and ask for money. Go to McDonald's they are always hiring.
Not only that but I'm still young ans struggling myself. There are days that I count all my spare change for bus fare to work.
But occasionally some one will tell a bunch of good jokes or will be performing on the street. Now in that case If I really see what I like I'll toss them a few coins.
Jibboo is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 11:39 AM
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Some Christians. Very few, but SOME. Let's not make too many broad sweeping statements now deary.
Calamari is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 12:34 PM
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I have a real weakness for the ones who are also carting along animals--so "yes" I do.
in_wyoming is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 01:07 PM
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I don?t know but maybe I can bring a novel perspective to this thread in that I doubt , unlike me, whether any other posters on this forum have actually been homeless and lived on the streets.
A little over 12 years ago I lived on the streets for 3 months, and in a ?shelter? for a further six. I was lucky - I did not have a drink problem, I am educated beyond degree level, I am presentable and speak well. With the support of others, both charitable and governmental agencies, mental health services and a couple of lucky breaks I was able to get myself back on my feet again. Now that all seems like a world away? and indeed it is.

However I remain committed to homelessness causes, frequently and unapologetically give to beggars - even those whom I suspect will spend the money on drink and or drugs, and covenant a proportion of my income to charities dealing with this issue.
Dr_DoGood is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 01:08 PM
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So, to prick a few well floated balloonsbr />
1/ Anybody can end up on the streets.
2/ It is not necessarily the ?fault? of the individual.
3/ It can happen with absolutely alarming rapidity - the descent from working, economically active to homelessness and degredation.
4/ Most homeless people suffer from some form of mental illness (this was recently estimated in the UK at being in excess of 85%).
5/ No one, repeat no one, chooses homelessness - it is not a lifestyle that has any redeeming features.
6/ 60% of the homeless in the UK have an ongoing drink or drug problem.
7/ The ?Safety Net? has gaping holes which are only patched by the auspices of various charities and societies.
8/ There is nothing so much as being treated as an outcast from society as to make one withdraw from it and behave as one.
9/ For many homeless people drinking/drugs is a viable solution. And who are we to gainsay them?
10/ Re-read point 9 again and think about it.

Dr D.
Dr_DoGood is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 01:12 PM
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Thank you Dr D. I'm right with you.
sheila is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 01:24 PM
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I am stuck on #8. Good for you and your brave soul!
Calamari is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 01:51 PM
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What a good question. And what a lot of people have taken the time to give good and thoughtul responses.
This has been hard for me to deal with when we are traveling - especially in poor countries (Mexico springs to mind). It is hard to pass dirty, thin, hungry beggars with hopeless eyes when by the grace of God I have been blessed through no act of mine. Born in a rich country, to a good caring family, educated in a good public school where I was safe - all by the grace of God.
I try to handle it by giving money to musicians who are using their talent to try to survive. But sometimes I see those hopeless eyes and I feel that pull and I consider it a "God thing" as the kids say. Other times, like last week in New Mexico, when a strong healthy looking woman walked up to me as I left a grocery store (more guilt I guess) and asked for money, I feel ok saying "no".
And then sometimes I believe that the more you give, the more you get in some strange way.
What a hard question this is!
But thanks to Dr DoGood for making us think a little differently about it.
Brahmama is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 02:08 PM
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Dr. DoGood, your points remind me of a time that I will never forget when I was serving Thanksgiving dinner in a homeless shelter in Houston.

A man I was serving food with said that he worked the dinner every year because he himself had been homeless for a brief time. He reminded me that most people in America are only 2 paychecks from the street. It's so profoundly true when you really think about it. If one loses their job and has no family or friends to turn to, how long would one actually be able to support themselves with no income? About two weeks.

Statia is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 04:27 PM
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I seem to have allowed myself to get off the subject, my apologies.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 04:28 PM
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Interesting turns this thread took, huh?

Statia, I'm not sure how long ago it was that you were serving those dinners in Houston, but I'd like to thank you all the same. if it were some 20+ years ago, I may have had the fortune of being on the receiving end of that dinner. Houston was where I spent my nine months without a home and ate in those shelters from time to time. Bless you for that act, from the bottom of my heart.

Dr Do Good, thanks to you as well. You described the life of many in a very concise manner and with the benefit of experience. Indeed, very few have chosen homelessness. How one deals with desperation is truly unknown until you have no choice but to deal with it. I would follow trucks into loading areas and offer to load or unload for a few bucks. Kindness too comes from the strangest and most unexpected of places. For me, I was actually taken in and gotten on my feet by those in a biker group called the Hell's Angels. You just never know really but I do still have an affinity for Harleys.

Outstanding points. I'm with you. I remember a minister from my youth who told me this: "If anyone ever comes to you and insists they have the truth - run, do not walk. And this includes me". He went on to lead the success in giving away our church building to the Salvos to be used as a shelter. The congregation felt it was the right thing to do and started from scratch to build another.

He believed, as I do today, that the Bible (insert doctrine here) was and is a personal message to me. I also feel there is at least something to be learned from the other religions of the world. So as such, I am wary of the need to make belief a public affair. To try to achieve some consensus of what is to be honored in public places by captive audiences. To me, the need to make this a part of government, to institutionalize faith, lessens the effort some have made in seeking it out for themselves. I don't know if that's true, but that's how I feel about it. That aside from the fact that there are a billion different variations of the truth (and three.. count them... three versions of the Ten Commandments - Protestant, Catholic and Jewish versions are not the same). Wonder whose version is engraved in Alabama?
Clifton is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 04:41 PM
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Clifton, Your entire post gave me chills. I will admit, however, that my time of serving dinners in Houston for Thanksgiving every year was back in the late 80's and early 90's, but I thank you just the same. I'm glad to hear that you are back on your feet and helping me plan my trip to Ireland.

There are no homeless where I live now (which is a blessing), but I always enjoyed spending my Thanksgiving holiday "giving thanks" for what I had by helping those less fortunate. To me, that meant more than sitting at my own dinner stuffing my face.

I agree, very interesting thread with so many different perspectives.

Statia is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 05:19 PM
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It's so good to see so many compassionate people. Most are sheltered from seeing these people where they live. Here they are everywhere, on the park benches, under the bridges, some not begging, but given handouts. Since the shelters are in the neighborhood, many of us will leave warm clothing and boots on the fences. Don't confuse our homeless with some of the gypsies who beg in Europe.
cigalechanta is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 05:24 PM
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Well said cigalechanta.
Statia is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 06:37 PM
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My freshman year of college, we were required to complete a project of our choice over one of the holiday breaks. My choice was to sit in the swamps of southern Louisiana and keep a journal on the habits of certain birds.

Another student's project involved documenting his grandparents' lives. He taped himself interviewing them, and then wrote a rather fabulous paper about them, and all the wonderful things they had seen (televisions, the man on the moon, computers, etc, as well as a lot of social changes, too), throughout their lives.

Another student I knew chose to spend his holiday break as a homeless person in New York City, while keeping a journal of his experience(s). He later told me that it completely changed his perspective on homeless people and beggars. Thereafter, he said, he ALWAYS gave money to them, and donated a lot of time to a local charity.
BrimhamRocks is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 08:51 PM
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It depends. I used to feel so sorry for them all!

Then, one day, a comedian was being interviewed on TV. He mentioned that he was walking down a NYC street one day and threw his spare change in a cup. His companion, none other than Michael Jordan, said, Hey! If he can stand around asking for spare change, he can just as well stand around and say "Welcome to Wal-Mart" or "Welcome to McDonald's. How can I help you?"
djkbooks is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 09:04 PM
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As a general rule I don't because as has been mentioned I feel that most of the ones you run into are professional beggars and probably make a good living at it. But on one occasion at the Naples train station a young German girl approached me saying that she was stranded and needed money to buy a train ticket to get home. told her that I could not help her and proceeded to leave her behind. However, as I was leaving I noticed the sad look on her face and she appeared to be about to start crying. I felt so bad that I just gave her the euros she said she needed to buy her ticket. I'm pretty sure I was taken in, but sometimes your emotions take over your rational thinking and you just have to give in.
gatorbill is offline  
Aug 27th, 2003, 01:23 AM
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Dr. D,

I respectfully must disagree with you on one point. A small minority do choose homelessness. I am a registered nurse in San Francisco where we have a huge homeless population. A few patients I have cared for insist on returning to the streets despite our efforts to find them assistance. They were neither mentally ill nor substance abusers and had viable alternatives but chose otherwise. I would not have believed this could be true had they not told this to me personally.
KathrynT is offline  
Aug 27th, 2003, 03:54 AM
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I don't think you can advance your argument by becoming a kind of bully-on-behalf-of-the-homeless, Dr. D. In fact, I would do well to forget your self-righteous tirade the next time I'm filling out my chequebook for an agency: twould be a pity to let my profound irritation with your self-serving grandiosity unduly affect my judgment. Oh yes, that judgment that you want so badly to bully me out of exercising.

While all mental illness is a tragedy, not all tragedies are characterized by selflessness. In some forms of affliction, the sufferers murder their entire families before committing suicide. (In their minds, life for their families without them would be unbearable. Yup, Dr. D., I dare to 'gainsay' as you put it, a different opinion on the subject of the quality of their lives, sans their murderer.) I can just bring myself to believe that the person I'm thinking of wasn't evil, so believe me, I am not about to canonize him as a self-styled saint. Truly, you would do well in my eyes not to speak of your time afflicted as if it gave you similar status.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  

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