Religious does not equal trustworthy

Brit backpackers Caroline Day and Mei-Yin Lee’s elation when they found out they won $574,000 soon turned to shock and dismay when it turned out the friendly chap at the newsagency, Chrishartato Ongkoputra or Chris Ong, had done the old switcheroo and submitted a claim form with their ticket and his name on it. NSW Lotteries paid him the money and he mysteriously left the country.

Day and Lee had to sue NSW Lotteries to get the money, which they did, and now the lottery and the newsagent (and the newsagent’s insurance company) are in court to see who’s liable. The newsagent Michael Pavellis admitted he didn’t check the form before sending it off, explaining:

He was a religious person; he went to church twice a week. I know it sounds strange after what has happened, but he was an active member of the church band. He was a well-liked person.

Classic blunder, assuming a religious person is trustworthy. There are plenty of people who display all the outward trappings of religiosity while being complete scoundrels or deviants.

We assume otherwise at our peril.

And let’s not forget modern, hip Christianity tells us God Wants You to be Rich and God Wants You to be Wealthy. (I never really understood that thing about rich men, camels and needles or why Jesus knocked over the moneylenders’ tables anyway.)

Surely Ong was just being a Good Christian.

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