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Letter: In Europe, greed seen as moral failure, he says

TO THE EDITOR: Many Europeans are outraged about the economic collapse that they feel was caused by the biggest bankers and the obscene bonuses that they paid themselves.

Many Americans are furious about the same thing, but in Europe the greed is seen as a fundamental moral failure. The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the church in England, has called on bankers to "repent" for their moral failure.

Incredibly, several bankers are defending themselves by saying that their outsized bonuses allowed them to donate to charity, thus proving their moral soundness.

Their charity defense reminds us of a story from Earl Long, former governor of Louisiana, about a rich man who died and showed up at the Pearly Gates demanding entry into heaven.

The gate keeping angel found that this rich man had been a selfish, no-good so-and-so his whole life. But the man said, "Wait a minute, I have a pattern of charitable giving." He said that he once tossed a nickel in a beggar's cup and also gave a poor woman he encountered who needed help a nickel. He also said there was a time when he put a nickel in the Salvation Army kettle.

Hearing all this, the angel turned to St. Peter and asked, "What do we do with this man?" And St. Peter said, "Give him back his 15 cents and tell him to go to h---."