No good deed goes unpunished, right? I got a taste of that after volunteering at a church I was invited to. I’ve never been hugely into institutionalized religion. I’ve done my stint. Not really something that feels comfortable to me. However, I like helping and volunteering and churches provide those opportunities.
So I work all the freaking time. Like 12 hour days, six days a week. I had just come off a day sort of like that and happened to have $115 in cash, an oddity for my wallet. My gas tank called out to me before making it to the church, so I stopped and pulled out $20 in cash, leaving the remaining $95 safely in my zipped wallet.
I went to the church. I sang. I wrapped gifts for underprivileged kids. It was fun and rewarding, if not slightly awkward with the forced merriment and back patting. After a few hours of this, I drove to Target to pick up a few things I needed. It was at that point I noticed the money missing from my wallet.
Now, despite my crazy working hours, I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination. This missing money made me first feel a bit numb and shocked, then confused, but as I pieced together the day I became sad. I know without a doubt that someone at the church stole it. It’s the only thing that fits in the timeline.
This violation of my private property and the theft of something I desperately need right now caused me a lot of worry. I contacted the pastor to see if I could reach out to the group and make a plea for it to be returned, no questions asked. Imagine my surprise as his call turned ever more condescending and accusatory toward me. I was the other in this situation and his flock would never perpetrate such a “high level of criminal activity.” Let me be clear. I have a pretty decent idea of who stole my money. A 12 year old girl had been sitting almost on top of my bag the whole time. My wallet was easily reached in my bag. I don’t feel like it was stolen with malice, just a bit of greed. The pastor then went on to insinuate that I was trying to leach money from him. Of course that was not my intent- I just wanted to give the person who stole my money the chance to return it.
This experience has reminded me some things in life. I’ve met “criminals” who are good people. I’ve met “God fearing Christians” who are some of the douchiest self righteous sinners. Morals and religion are not the same thing. They can exist quite separately from each other. Guess it’s time to find a nice group of atheists who want to do good deeds simply to be good.