Ever since the announcement of godman Sai Baba’s death in Puttaparthi on Sunday, the 24th of April, the most commonly seen defense of the life and actions of India’s most famous conman, on blogs and social media entries discussing his death, involves an appeal to the charity work that Sai Baba’s organization performed over the years.
Such a defense disregards a wider sociological understanding of the human condition and ignores the underlying causes of poverty. By their very nature religious groups and organizations conspire to perpetuate the conditions that they claim to solve. But addressing the Sai Baba apologists on this issue is for the most part a futile task. It requires a cursory knowledge of psychology and economics as well as the time and ability for sustained attention to complex, non-intuitive ideas.
So instead, in this post I employ a simple comparison to make my point.
|Made his billions by fraud, conning people and getting them to donate their valuables and time. The money comes from the sweat and blood of his donors. Estimated wealth in US $: between 9 and 13 billion.||Wealth originally stolen from the rest of the world through war and colonial conquest. Catholic donations from around the world replenish the Vatican coffers today. Estimated wealth in US $: between 10 and 15 billion.||Founder, CEO and largest shareholder of Microsoft, Gates owes his wealth to his contributions to society, not to the donations of others who have worked for it. Current worth (remaining) in US $: 60 billion|
|Did no actual work himself, except the rituals and blabberings necessary to amass an army of deluded volunteers.||Does no actual work himself, except the rituals and blabberings necessary to amass an army of deluded missionaries.||Has worked hard all his life, making intelligent investments and management decisions. Now works with non-profits.|
|Reported to have sexually abused numerous young boys; acts ranging from fondling to fellatio and sodomy.||Covered up multiple child-rapes by pedophile priests, and reassigned many of them.||Gates’ work saves children. The Children’s Vaccine Program is one of his latest ventures.|
|A tiny portion of Sai Baba’s ill-gotten fortune is used for charitable purposes.||A tiny portion of the ill-gotten Papal fortune is used for charitable purposes.||Has donated over $40 billion of his legitimately-earned wealth to charity, and has pledged to give away all of it before his death.|
|Receives enormous tax-breaks, import-duty exemptions, closed-door contracts and other governmental benefits.||The Vatican pays no taxes on returns from its vast investments in industry. It is the largest tax evader in Italy.||Only money set aside for charity is tax-free. Bill Gates’ personal fortune is taxed like the rest of our earnings are.|
|The Sathya Sai Central Trust is completely unaccountable. All dealings including governmental involvements are undisclosed, behind closed doors. Not legally required to abide by any guidelines, the unaccountable board of directors can hire, fire and conduct business with no transparency and no minutes or accounts available for audits. No one knows how much has actually been donated over the years, and how much of that has been embezzled by the goons.||The Vatican, a theocratic monarchy, has historically been completely unaccountable in its financial dealings. In recent years there has been a push for more transparency. A series of new laws were passed in late 2010 opening up the Vatican for limited audits, in response to a new wave of money laundering scandals. The Vatican still enjoys and practices a high level of protection from scrutiny of their financial statements.||The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is the largest transparently operated foundation in the world. It would not exist if not for the personal wealth of Gates. It is not a scheme to launder money (unlike many private foundations), because Gates started off with plenty of money, and is now giving it all away! The foundation is audited like all organizations should, and it makes all of its audits available online.|
|The Trust’s charity work is used as a propaganda tool to funnel more donations into the pockets of the fraud running the show. It is also used to promote the institutions and the nonsensical teachings of Sai Baba, and for defending a pedophile fraud on blogs and Facebook.||The charity work of the Church is a powerful propaganda tool. It serves to bring in billions in donations, to spread the religious doctrine of the Church and to defend the institution from criticism of its homophobia, anti-condom policy and history of human rights violations.||Bill Gates’ charity work is altruistically motivated. His foundation uses available scientific data and projections to best help humanity. The focus is long-term, addressing the root causes of iniquity. It relies not on mass delusion or propaganda but on reason and compassion.|
And let’s not forget, Bill Gates is an Atheist.