Saturday, February 22, 2014

I don't think agape means what you think it means

Agape (Greek) is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the four types of love in the bible.

When I see it used on signage, I think of agape - (of the mouth) wide open, esp. with surprise or wonder. Wonder at the misuse of the word.

Terry Firma of the Friendly Atheist posted on abuse at Agape Mission House and Agape Home Church in Los Angeles recently. It left my mouth agape in wonder.

The Christian proprietors of an assisted-living facility in Los Angeles stand accused of, among other things, retaliating against the disabled they served if their clients didn’t attend religious services.

Kang Won Lee and Jung Hwan Lee, husband and wife, own the two houses in Los Angeles’ historic Adams district that became the subject of a lawsuit filed by the office of L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer the other day. The Lees ran the two homes, Agape Mission House and Agape Home Church, as unlicensed facilities for the physically and mentally disabled, the city alleges. The couple had the properties licensed as charities.

Read more:

To summarize - Christians ran a charity that victimized physically and mentally disabled people. If run properly, these charities are the very definition of agape, if not, they can be pure evil. 

Swarms of flies filled the living areas. Broken furniture was scattered, bedroom doors were missing and plaster was falling off the walls, according to court documents.

Some residents slept in bunk beds, crowded into small rooms, with 1-inch pads instead of mattresses. One resident lived in a “storage room” and others in an attic.

On Tuesday, L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer said his office had filed a lawsuit against the two unlicensed assisted-care facilities for allegedly abusing their physically and mentally disabled residents by forcing them to live in “deplorable, overcrowded and substandard living conditions,” taking the residents’ government benefits.

Source:Residents are moved out of assisted care homes sued for alleged abuse (L.A. Times)

The owners of both units are pastor Kang Won Lee and his wife Jung Hwan Lee, stellar members of the Los Angeles Korean community. 

For those who do not know, residential homes can be a scam. Residents surrender their government assistance to the home, which then provide services. Homes are licensed to care for a limited number of residents, but in abuse cases they often crowd the house with 20 or 30 people who live in squalor. The residents never see any of the money they are entitled to, but are instead provided “services” that are supposed to help them recover or are meant to sustain their lives. In this case, living at an Agape center was like being sentenced to an unsupervised prison where the services were contingent on reading the bible and participating in other religious activities. When residents failed to cooperate, they were punished. 

I have visited Christian group homes that are subsidized by a larger Church. They were wonderful places. This story makes me sad, but at the same time if leaves me disappointed. I looked hard for condemnation from the Christian camp and found nothing.