Skip to comments.Christian right's compassion deficit
Posted on 12/30/2004 8:23:47 PM PST by cfhBAMA
More than 100,000 dead in south Asia, but it's business as usual at the web sites of America's Christian right organizations
It took President Bush three days to ready himself to go before the television cameras and make a public statement about Sunday's devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck southern Asia. Even though he was late, and much more money will be needed, the president pledged at least $35 million in aid to the victims of the disaster. But, as of December 30, some of the president's major family-values constituents have yet to be heard from: It's business as usual at the web sites of the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and the Coral Ridge Ministries. These powerful and well-funded political Christian fundamentalist organizations appear to be suffering from a compassion deficit. Organizations which are amazingly quick to organize to fight against same-sex marriage, a woman's right to choose, and embryonic stem cell research are missing in action when it comes to responding to the disaster in southern Asia. None of their web sites are actively soliciting aid for the victims of the earthquake/tsunami.
In fact, there is no mention of the giant earthquake and tsunami that devastated southern Asia. There are no headlines about the dead, injured or the tremendous damage; there are no urgent appeals for donations; there are no phone numbers to call; there are no links to organizations collecting money and providing aid for the victims.
Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand were among the countries hardest hit by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which sent huge waves that smashed boats, uprooted trees and destroyed structures from Malaysia to Africa, the Associated Press (AP) reported. As of Thursday, the death toll had soared to more than 114,000, millions were homeless from the disaster, and many more were still unaccounted for.
The web sites of the same organizations that organized a campaign to block Arlen Specter from ascending to the chairmanship of Senate Judiciary Committee within hours of his post-election night warning to President Bush about radically conservative judicial nominees are now silent.
At the Reverend Donald Wildmon's Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA) web site, the preferred cause -- and top story -- concerns the upcoming battle over the president's judicial appointees. The AFA hasn't forgotten about gays and lesbians: Under the headline "P&G Chairman Gives Thousands to Promote Homosexual Agenda" the AFA claims that "A.G. Lafley, CEO of Procter & Gamble, recently gave $5,163 in P&G stock to help the homosexual community repeal a law in Cincinnati that prohibited giving special rights to homosexuals."
The web site also salutes the Rev. Wildmon for being named one of "10 Who Made a Mark on Marketing" in 2004, featured in the December 20 issue of Advertising Age.
"Like him or hate him, this family-values crusader is having a big impact on marketing," the magazine states. "Although his American Family Association has been around for more than 20 years, the influence of Wildmon's group, which targets advertisers in TV shows it finds offensive via its 200,000-strong One Million Moms and One Million Dads e-mail network, is growing. Most recently, AFA convinced Lowe's and Tyson to pull their advertising from ABC's hottest new property, 'Desperate Housewives.'"
As of Wednesday evening I hadn't received any e-mail alerts regarding the earthquake from either the One Million Moms or the One Million Dads. The "current issue" at One Million Moms and Dads is a campaign to get the Burlington Coat Factory to cease advertising on "Life as We Know It" and "Desperate Housewives," television programs the AFA finds objectionable.
Over at the Family Research Council's web site, the powerful Washington, DC,-based family-values lobbying group is outraged that Christians are getting cheated out of Christmas, with two stories, "Is the Grinch Stealing Christmas?" and "Merry BAH HUMBUG-mas!" focusing on this. There are no alerts about the earthquake/tsunami.
At the Christian Coalition's (CC) web site, the organization's president, Roberta Combs, is busy thanking CC supporters for their "time and effort in getting millions of Christian Coalition voter guides (English & Spanish) distributed to your family, friends, churches, Christian bookstores and neighborhoods all across America."
Family.org, the web site of Dr. James Dobson's Colorado Springs, Colorado-based multi-media mega-ministry, Focus on the Family, is all over the map with its features: From messages to "remember Focus on the Family in your year-end giving," to helpful hints on how to survive Christmas without "The Lord of the Rings," to movie reviews of "Fat Albert" (thumbs up), "The Aviator (thumbs down), "Meet the Fockers" (a disappointed thumbs down), and "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (a reluctant thumbs up).
First and foremost, Concerned Women for America (CWA) wants you to know "The Truth About Alfred Kinsey." The twenty-five year-old organization, which bills itself as "the nation's largest public policy women's organization," is also offering a "Special Christmas Feature" from Dr. Beverly LaHaye, founder of the organization, and Dr. Janice Crouse. But not a word on the earthquake/tsunami.
Coral Ridge Ministries (CRM), Dr. D. James Kennedy's Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based operation, is also looking in other directions. At its web site there are advertisements for the CRM's upcoming Reclaiming America For Christ Conference, which will be held in mid-February, and for several of Dr. Kennedy's sermons.
At townhall.com, the mother of all conservative web sites and "the first truly interactive community on the Internet to bring Internet users, conservative public policy organizations, congressional staff, and political activists together under the broad umbrella of 'conservative' thoughts, ideas and actions," current headlines are totally absent earthquake/tsunami news. Here are the top five stories as of December 29: "Reggie White, defender of faith -- on and off the field"; "Focus should shift from testing to teaching"; "False friends"; "Cheap drugs or safe drugs?"; and "European court forces Microsoft to alter its products."
Over at falwell.com, the Rev. Jerry Falwell is explaining "The True Meaning of Christmas," recruiting for his new organization, The Moral Majority Coalition, and soliciting cruisers for a late July sojourn aboard the Queen Mary II.
While many Christian evangelical organizations have rushed to help the victims, why aren't the nation's major religious right political groups -- quick to claim the moral high-ground at every opportunity -- putting their organizational muscle to good use? Why hasn't the devastation from the earthquake/tsunami been on the radar screens of these groups? Are they all on a values vacation?
Alot of christian websites are pretty low budget operations they are probably all on Christmas/New Years break.
The Vatican pledged 25 million in aid.
Hmmm! What ever happened to all those "judge not" bible verses that liberals love so much. The people that think christians should not jusge (aka keep their opinions to themselves) have no problem judging christians.
Very interesting. I went on the websites...author is accurate in his observations.
The only article about the earthquakes\tsunamis, on the Workingforchange home page, is THIS one.
And I wonder how much Berkowitz has given? Christiandom, flawed as it is, is the salt of the Earth. We give more, on and off the books, than anyone else on Earth.
I'm wondering what the "party of compassion" is doing. What is the Heinz foundation doing, the Soros foundation doing ? My guess is the Sierra Club is actually celebrating fewer humans on the planet.
oops....sorry...there was 1 more article...but no donation solicitations, no links to donor sites etc....
Exactly....we gave to the SALVATION ARMY...it's already geared up to help....not our Presbyterian Church or its whole organization....
These organizations are in a position to do something...ackowledge what happened, ask for prayers and direct people to Christian organizations that are serving the relief aid.
Sorry, this is article is an accurate criticism on this case. It is not fair in that it does not include Christian organizations that ARE donating. Maybe Falwell, et al just want the money --donations--coming in to them. As you can tell, I'm not a fan of Falwell and a few of the others. They give Chritianity a bad name with their money hungry style.
As accurate as irrelevant? That would be a high degre of accuracy indeed!
Why should we give to middleman organizations, expecting them to give to the charities to give to the people who need the aid? Why not give directly to the charities that give to the people who need the aid? Sure, the middleman organizations won't make feel good headlines, but the people who need it would get it faster and that's what SHOULD count. "Christian right" representatives, in the form of demoninational charities, are already over there helping. I guess they don't count.
I sponsor a child through Christian Children's Fund, one of the oldest and most trustworthy charities and it IS set up, unlike the political activist groups he mentions, to deliver water, food and clothing where it is needed. When my next statement arrives, I'm going to give a respectable donation. CCF is one of those charities that is there for the long haul. I'm sure they already have programs set up in all of the affected countries.
Perhaps the websites are not up to date, but the programming is all calling for donations for Asia, as are the pulpits. Operation Blessing and Save the Children Fund already have charity organizations on the ground. They've been there for years helping. Donations to them are wise...they don't have to waste money creating infrastructure on the ground...it's already in place. This is nothing but a smear against Christians.
"What is the Heinz foundation doing, the Soros foundation doing".
Paying for recounts in Washington and Ohio I would bet. Got to keep counting till you get it democratically right.
If you're good friends with these people would you please ask that guy who keeps begging me for money to put shoes on that little bare-footed tyke or pick her up and carry her?
This author has problems and needs prayer.
Catholic Relief Services, Lutheran World Relief, the Bnai Brith and Church World Service (affiliated with over 30 denominations) must be chopped liver...though they sound suspiciously like the president's idea of "faith based charities" and at least partially representative of the "Christian right".
I don't know what other websites you were on, but the auther is highly INACCURATE in his observations. Another Christian organization representative of the "Christian right" is Samaritan's Purse.
Yet yet another organization representative of this shadowy "Christian right"...which we also gave to.
What's the ACLU doing about the tsunami? What's the NAACP doing about the tsumani? What's the Democratic National Committee (Terry McAwful at your service!) doing about the tsunami?
What's NOW doing about the tsunami? What's Emily's List doing about the tsunami? What are all the homosexual organizations doing about the tsunami?
Pointing fingers at people is not a successful way to accomplish anything. Rejection comes quick.
>>Are they all on a values vacation?<<
Maybe webmasters are slow on the uptake due to the holiday?
Speaking as a Christian right-wing conservative, news reached me via email the very night the news broke. My Christian church was rallying the troops to send money and disaster relief to various missionaries who are already located in the disaster zone and calling for help.
So to the author -- We're waaay ahead of you, pal!
What's Bill Berkowitz doing?
You have a good point. Since the finger-pointing started, exactly what are leftist groups doing?
Thanks Bob, this article is so nuts, and so representative of leftist thinking. It's like asking what my 86 year old auntie is doing about the tsunami. Nothing, because as several FReepers have pointed out about the organizations mentioned by this author, she is not in a position to do anything.
Sounds like you answered your own question
Islamic nations have a disaster the whole world is screaming that enough help isn't being sent fast enough from Christians... yet all I hear about are Christian's and Christian Organizations sending people and help. I still haven't heard much from the Islamic States re: their donations -- and most of them have a whole bucketload of money and are much closer.
Ohfercryinoutloud...........what utter bovine feces.
Who is this idiot, anyway, and why in the hell should anyone care what this drooler has to say (utter lies, by the way.....should see my email inbox)??
Go back to DU,cretin!
Did same sex-marriage, abortion and embryonic stem cell research come out of NOWHERE to become important issues 5 days ago?
What is this guy talking about?
Sleeping trolls awakening like zombies at midnight!
No mention of World Vision, a Christian group which helps worldwide in situations like this, and won't pocket the aid like the U.N. or local governments.
What a load of horse hockey. These groups don't need to load up their websites with information about places to donate because they know that the "Christian Right" already knows the organizations that can help the most. They've been giving to them for years.
It is amazing how the liberals have tried to make this a poke in the eye to 'compassionate conservatism', and all they've done is make themselves look petty and STOOPID!
Seems so. :-(
Seems that the earthquake shook up the troll rock and some came out from under.
They must also have received the memo from the DNC to beat the President up on this. I wonder if the author will repeat his comments about Kofi Annan in tomorrow's paper, since he also wasn't heard from for three days because he was at a ski resort. I, for one, won't be holding my breath.
I guess they think that the President coming out to stand in front of the cameras and talk about the situation is the only way to 'help'. They can't conceive of the fact that he'd been on the phone for the previous 2 and a half days with the leaders of those countries actually arranging for things to get DONE! He didn't need the ego stroke of jumping in front of the camera immediately, making the situation all about him, as x42 would have done.