Sunday, September 11, 2005

Where's the Love?

The following is in response to Kevin Elmer's commentary in the News-Leader.

Kevin Elmer's one-sided and utterly simplistic commentary in Sunday's paper left me wondering when so-called "conservative Christians" will ever cut the rhetoric, take off the blinders and view the world around them.

Elmer builds a flimsy argument that Islamic radicals love death over life, while we in the U.S. prefer the inverse - and then neatly concludes that this Islamic fatalism is the big difference between them and us. They love death; we love life.

I would argue that many Americans, even devout Christians like Rev. Pat Robbertson, are quite selective about their love of life. It depends on whose life it is - or the stage of development. From conception to birth, we're all about the sanctity of life - but for babies being born into abject poverty, like many of those left behind in New Orleans, well, they're on their own. We build bigger and better prisons to house those kinds of people. They aren't really part of the economy. They are expendable. Nixon advisor Henry Kissinger called them "eaters".

Mr. Elmer also states that 9/11 was the event that "ensured that (Al Qaida) would grow beyond a small group into an inspired movement." He might recall that the entire civilized world condemned the 9/11 attacks and rallied to support the U.S. No, it was the misguided U.S. invasion of Iraq that most certainly boosted the rolls of Islamic fanaticism - virtually every Mideast leader cautioned the Bush Administration on this.

I do agree that the victims of the 9/11 attacks "were not soldiers armed to protect . . . they were innocent." But are the 25,000 Iraqi civilians who have died since the U.S. invasion of their country any less innocent? When asked about civilian casualties, an American general said, "We don't do body counts." Where's the love?

It's always great to hear somebody cheerleading about how the U.S. is the greatest nation in the world. USA! USA ! But right now, after the veneer has been stripped away in New Orleans and with the continuing death and destruction in Iraq, I don't think we're gaining many converts worldwide.


Anonymous said...

You have hit it square on the head. Anyone who wants to view what happened in 2000 and since needs to visit the web site of the Project for the New American Century. Look who signed their 1997 manifesto. Ask yourself who co-opted the American government in 2000. Who stole the election in '00 and '04. It is the first time in my lifetime that an organization has gained control of our country. As much as I hate to admit it, Pat Buchanan was correct in his 2004 book, "Where the Right Went Wrong".

Jacke M. said...

Ozarks Angel writes:

"I would argue that many Americans, even devout Christians like Rev. Pat Robbertson, are quite selective about their love of life. It depends on whose life it is - or the stage of development. From conception to birth, we're all about the sanctity of life - but for babies being born into abject poverty, like many of those left behind in New Orleans, well, they're on their own."

I'm not going to defend Robertson (with one b) but I have seen this argument so many times that I would like to respond to it. The claim is made that "conservative" Christians (btw, I do not like the media label of "conservative" Christian, a simple reference to a Christian will do) are all about life except the lives of those who live in poverty and that they care nothing about or for them.

This simply is not the case, as amply demonstrated by the outpouring of charitable activity by the Christian Community at large. For instance from "redtravelmaster" posted at "The Daily Kos," who appears to have been affected by Katrina:

"My impression is that the United Methodist Churches and various Baptist Groups have the most prominent relief efforts here. But they are also the most numerous denominations in my area and I think overall their church properties fared best. I can say that 10 of 21 Catholic churches were badly damaged and I have not seen much of a relief presence by them. So if you have a United Methodist Church or Baptist church in your area, you may want to contact them first.

One volunteer organization, "Convoy for Hope," is providing transportation for supplies. From what I have been told by local volunteers, they will get a truck to pickup donated materials from a church somewhere in the US and bring them on down to the coast to a church here.

We have distrubution centers scatted around Jackson county, and ALL of them are organized by the churches here. Some only operate on Saturday/Sundays, others are weekday operations. There are also church groups coming door-to-door in our neighborhoods asking people what they need and delivering on the spot. Seriously, one group visited my neighborhood yesterday, the people in the truck had come down from South Carolina to help.

These relief centers are operating from under fragile cloth canopies in parking lots and on church properties."

You can view it for yourself here:

From the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief 2005 Fact Sheet:

"Disaster relief units are owned and staffed by Southern Baptist churches, regional Baptist associations, and state Baptist conventions. Volunteer teams respond to disasters within their own state and work cooperatively with other states in larger emergencies. Teams also work overseas when the International Mission Board requests help.

The first Southern Baptist Disaster Relief response can be traced to 1967 when a small group of Texas volunteers helped victims of Hurricane Beulah by serving hot food cooked on small "buddy burners." In 2004, Southern Baptist volunteers responded to 193 named disasters, prepared 3,500,596 meals, repaired 2,683 homes, and removed debris from 10,704 yards. All assistance is provided to individuals and communities free of charge."

Read more about it here:

There are Christian associations and organizations across this country who have provided financial and "hands on relief" to victims of hurricane Katrina.

Before you make these broad and totally misinformed statements, you should spend a little time looking into what the Salvation Army has done to assist those affected by the hurricanes and Convoy of Hope and the many, many other Christian associations and organizations who have donated their money and time to aid those who have suffered such extreme losses. Thank you.

RSmith said...

The label "Christian Conservative" was Mr. Elmer's own, not mine. He described himself as such for the News-Leader editorial board. I agree that many Christians are not conservative, but once Christian evangelicals crawled into bed with the Republican Party, the GOP has felt obliged to claim the entire religion as their own. Maybe you can stand up and prove them wrong - would be refreshing. Regarding relief efforts - I think everybody applauds the Salvation Army and Convoy of Hope's work, and the others you mention are certainly worthy of praise.

Jacke M. said...

M. Goodman, I was referring more to your comment that even devout Christians are choicy about their love of life. You seem to imply that babies born into abject poverty don't concern devout Christians, that many of those deemed "poor" in New Orleans are on their own and the devout Christians of the world do not care about them, that is what I was addressing, not the single brief reference I made to the use of "conservative" being associated with Christian. If you are now professing to sing the praises of the Salvation Army and Convoy of Hope why do you make the duplicitous statement that even devout Christians care nothing about the poor? It makes no sense to me.

I often find that those of the liberal or secular persuasion believe that because conservatives believe in aiding the poor by a different method than just throwing unearned and unmonitored money at them that they don't care about them at all. This is a very shallow and generalized view that, in my opinion, is just incorrect.

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