My friend Debbie recently posted a link to an article on Facebook. As with all links posted to Facebook, her Wall post showed the headline and the first paragraph, like so:
WAUKESHA-- "These for profit companies take advantage of people's good nature," says Donations Manager at St. Vincent De Paul of Waukesha, Rod Colburn.
What follows is the conversation that ensued in the comments to that post, edited only to provide anonymity. I used the name "Takenoprisoners" because the user in question gave that as a middle name — one of at least eight people on Facebook with that middle name, interestingly.
Takenoprisoners Let me say, that if we think St.Vincent De Paul is not a profit driven organization in itself, then you should speak with the employees who work for very little to see to it SVDP is extremely profitable.
John Heaton Takenoprisoners, have you reported them for tax fraud? Or do you just mean that they bring in a lot of money through their stores?
Takenoprisoners I think I was very clear as to what I said! If they were taxable, they would not bitching about competitors.
John Heaton What you said was that they were profitable. But a non-profit organization is literally not allowed to be profitable. They can make money, but they have to take that money and use it to fulfill their program goals. So if you know that they are making a profit -- that is, taking the revenue their stores bring in and saving it or distributing it to shareholders or something like that -- then you need to report it because they're breaking the law. But if all you mean is that they bring in a lot of money from store sales, so what? They spent in excess of $10 million on services to the poor in the Madison diocese according tot he most recent annual report, and that money has to come somewhere.
Takenoprisoners Why don't you report them and stop defending the Catholic church for anything. If they wanted to help the poor, they could pay for every poor person in this country to improve with a simple sale of some the art gathering dust in the Vatican. SVDP used to be a whole different organization than it is now.
John Heaton Why would I report them? You're the one claiming to know that they're making a profit illegally. If you'd rather stay anonymous, just pass your evidence to me and I'll take care of it. But if you're speaking imprecisely or letting your justifiable distaste for much of what the Roman Catholic Church does to make false claims, you should just go ahead and say so. I won't think less of you for it.
Takenoprisoners Frankly John Heaton, I don't care what you think of me. I don't know you and I was talking with Debbie. If you take issue with what I wrote, why don't you go investigate it yourself and then take a position. I didn't "claim" anything, I wrote facts that I got from an employee.
Takenoprisoners PS if you keep this up, I will block you.
mrghoul Boy, that escalated quickly.
John Heaton What makes you think I care if I get blocked by someone I don't know and who is quite clearly talking out of his hat? I mean, here you are, a guy who takes no prisoners, in possession of facts that a well-known non-profit organization is, in fact, making a profit, thus violating the law, and all you do about is tell Debbie? I'll believe you wrote facts when I see you report your facts to someone in a position to do something about it.
At which point, as threatened, I was blocked. Woe is me.