No, I mean it.
My grandmother made me promise I’d never pass a Salvation Army kettle without putting a quarter in. Grandma was a nasty old bird and this was her way of predicting I would end my days as a guest of that venerable Christian establishment. But SA is one of my favorite charities, anyway.
If you don’t like government programs but you think some degree of charity is a necessity in a civilized society, then you’re obliged to pony up. Many secular charities are run by people who reward themselves handsomely for being such caring souls (I’m saving up spittle and spleen for an eventual United Way is Evil screed). And many of them, like the animal charities, get themselves tied up in bad Lefty political causes.
The SA isn’t very glamorous or remunerative, so nobody joins who doesn’t really believe. And true believers live with the dreadful idea that Jesus sees every little thing they do (like Santa, but able to put the hurt on you for all eternity, not just one day a year). Probability of shenanigans under these circumstances: low.
It doesn’t chafe my shriveled atheist heart one bit that they preach to their customers. You want the soup, you pay for it. If they want you to pay by listening to the same old guff you’ve heard all your life, so be it. Perfectly healthy.
I figure in Adjusted Gross 2007 dollars, Granny’s quarter should be about a buck. As there’s a bell-ringer outside every supermarket on this continent, I must slip them dozens over the Christmas season. I get the extra benefit of the concomitant dozens of conversations with bell-ringers. We don’t rate Santas or people in uniform around here; all the kettles appear to be manned by cheerful dusky folk who, I suspect, are cyclical customers of the Army. Ringing the bell, part of the deal. It’s all good at Christmas.
So join me. Slip ’em a buck. Then close your eyes and think to yourself, “done, Weasel’s grandma! Oh, and…we’re still here, and you’re still…not!”
Charity. It just feels right.
Breaking the law cheered her right up, anyway.