Learning from the Sin of Sodom - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-30-2010, 10:45 AM   #1
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Strong Badia
Posts: 3,429
Local Time: 05:42 AM
Learning from the Sin of Sodom

Thoughts?

Op-Ed Columnist - Learning From the Sin of Sodom - NYTimes.com

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF The New York Times
Op-Ed Columnist

For most of the last century, save-the-worlders were primarily Democrats and liberals. In contrast, many Republicans and religious conservatives denounced government aid programs, with Senator Jesse Helms calling them “money down a rat hole.”

Over the last decade, however, that divide has dissolved, in ways that many Americans haven’t noticed or appreciated. Evangelicals have become the new internationalists, pushing successfully for new American programs against AIDS and malaria, and doing superb work on issues from human trafficking in India to mass rape in Congo.

A pop quiz: What’s the largest U.S.-based international relief and development organization?

It’s not Save the Children, and it’s not CARE — both terrific secular organizations. Rather, it’s World Vision, a Seattle-based Christian organization (with strong evangelical roots) whose budget has roughly tripled over the last decade.

World Vision now has 40,000 staff members in nearly 100 countries. That’s more staff members than CARE, Save the Children and the worldwide operations of the United States Agency for International Development — combined.

A growing number of conservative Christians are explicitly and self-critically acknowledging that to be “pro-life” must mean more than opposing abortion. The head of World Vision in the United States, Richard Stearns, begins his fascinating book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” with an account of a visit a decade ago to Uganda, where he met a 13-year-old AIDS orphan who was raising his younger brothers by himself.

“What sickened me most was this question: where was the Church?” he writes. “Where were the followers of Jesus Christ in the midst of perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time? Surely the Church should have been caring for these ‘orphans and widows in their distress.’ (James 1:27). Shouldn’t the pulpits across America have flamed with exhortations to rush to the front lines of compassion?

“How have we missed it so tragically, when even rock stars and Hollywood actors seem to understand?”

Mr. Stearns argues that evangelicals were often so focused on sexual morality and a personal relationship with God that they ignored the needy. He writes laceratingly about “a Church that had the wealth to build great sanctuaries but lacked the will to build schools, hospitals, and clinics.”
In one striking passage, Mr. Stearns quotes the prophet Ezekiel as saying that the great sin of the people of Sodom wasn’t so much that they were promiscuous or gay as that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)

Hmm. Imagine if sodomy laws could be used to punish the stingy, unconcerned rich!

The American view of evangelicals is still shaped by preening television blowhards and hypocrites who seem obsessed with gays and fetuses. One study cited in the book found that even among churchgoers ages 16 to 29, the descriptions most associated with Christianity were “antihomosexual,” “judgmental,” “too involved in politics,” and “hypocritical.”

Some conservative Christians reinforced the worst view of themselves by inspiring Ugandan homophobes who backed a bill that would punish gays with life imprisonment or execution. Ditto for the Vatican, whose hostility to condoms contributes to the AIDS epidemic. But there’s more to the picture: I’ve also seen many Catholic nuns and priests heroically caring for AIDS patients — even quietly handing out condoms.

One of the most inspiring figures I’ve met while covering Congo’s brutal civil war is a determined Polish nun in the terrifying hinterland, feeding orphans, standing up to drunken soldiers and comforting survivors — all in a war zone. I came back and decided: I want to grow up and become a Polish nun.

Some Americans assume that religious groups offer aid to entice converts. That’s incorrect. Today, groups like World Vision ban the use of aid to lure anyone into a religious conversation.

Some liberals are pushing to end the longtime practice (it’s a myth that this started with President George W. Bush) of channeling American aid through faith-based organizations. That change would be a catastrophe. In Haiti, more than half of food distributions go through religious groups like World Vision that have indispensable networks on the ground. We mustn’t make Haitians the casualties in our cultural wars.

A root problem is a liberal snobbishness toward faith-based organizations. Those doing the sneering typically give away far less money than evangelicals. They’re also less likely to spend vacations volunteering at, say, a school or a clinic in Rwanda.

If secular liberals can give up some of their snootiness, and if evangelicals can retire some of their sanctimony, then we all might succeed together in making greater progress against common enemies of humanity, like illiteracy, human trafficking and maternal mortality.
__________________

__________________
nathan1977 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 12:45 PM   #2
BVS
Blue Crack Supplier
 
BVS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: between my head and heart
Posts: 40,655
Local Time: 11:42 PM
On one hand I do think he's right that Conservative Christians are slowly coming around, and that pro-life does mean more than opposing abortion.

But I'm still hesitant about the channeling of tax dollars through faith-based organizations.
__________________

__________________
BVS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 01:22 PM   #3
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,473
Local Time: 12:42 AM
we can all absolutely stand and applaud the relief work done.

but one wonders, where were the Christians when AIDS was killing gays, Haitians, and IV drug users in the 1980s?
__________________
Irvine511 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 01:54 PM   #4
Blue Crack Addict
 
PhilsFan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Standing on the shore, facing east.
Posts: 18,863
Local Time: 12:42 AM
I applaud the relief work done. But anyone who wants to pimp those stats also has to completely and unequivocally denounce Rush Limbaugh's comments on Haiti relief efforts, and I have a feeling the people who would want to cite this Christian relief group as something good that conservative Christians are doing wouldn't dare denounce their man Rush. Which creates, yet again, another case of hypocrisy.
__________________
PhilsFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 02:00 PM   #5
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,473
Local Time: 12:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilsFan View Post
I applaud the relief work done. But anyone who wants to pimp those stats also has to completely and unequivocally denounce Rush Limbaugh's comments on Haiti relief efforts, and I have a feeling the people who would want to cite this Christian relief group as something good that conservative Christians are doing wouldn't dare denounce their man Rush. Which creates, yet again, another case of hypocrisy.


i don't think either Kristof nor Nathan are fans of Rush. just to be clear.
__________________
Irvine511 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 02:02 PM   #6
Blue Crack Addict
 
PhilsFan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Standing on the shore, facing east.
Posts: 18,863
Local Time: 12:42 AM
Nor do I. I'm merely predicting that fans of Rush will pimp this as a debate piece in that whole vague "seculars vs. Christians" debate that randomly pops up, and I will laugh at that hypocrisy when it occurs (and then probably cry).
__________________
PhilsFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 02:04 PM   #7
Refugee
 
AliEnvy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 2,320
Local Time: 05:42 AM
Quote:
In one striking passage, Mr. Stearns quotes the prophet Ezekiel as saying that the great sin of the people of Sodom wasn’t so much that they were promiscuous or gay as that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)


Quote:
If secular liberals can give up some of their snootiness, and if evangelicals can retire some of their sanctimony, then we all might succeed together in making greater progress against common enemies of humanity, like illiteracy, human trafficking and maternal mortality.
Absolutely.

Government aid should continue to be distributed through both secular and faith-based channels (which really is the thrust of the article) not one or the other.
__________________
AliEnvy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 05:35 PM   #8
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Strong Badia
Posts: 3,429
Local Time: 05:42 AM
Rush and Olbermann in my mind are two sides of the same coin.

Entertainers.

And neither I find particularly entertaining.

Consider Rush's comments on Haiti denounced.
__________________
nathan1977 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 06:11 PM   #9
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: The American Resistance
Posts: 4,754
Local Time: 11:42 PM
Well, it's not like American Christians haven't been doing these things for hundreds of years through missionary work, clothing collections, The Salvation Army, monetary donations and so on. But, if in a computerized world it's becoming more organized... great.
__________________
INDY500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 06:17 PM   #10
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,473
Local Time: 12:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
Well, it's not like American Christians haven't been doing these things for hundreds of years through missionary work, clothing collections, The Salvation Army, monetary donations and so on. But, if in a computerized world it's becoming more organized... great.


only American Christians?
__________________
Irvine511 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 06:27 PM   #11
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: The American Resistance
Posts: 4,754
Local Time: 11:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
only American Christians?
That's what the article was about wasn't it? Didn't really want to rehash the entire history of global Christian philanthropy from the Good Samaritan, through church supported hospitals and orphanages to today's efforts.
__________________
INDY500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 08:32 PM   #12
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,272
Local Time: 12:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
Well, it's not like American Christians haven't been doing these things for hundreds of years through missionary work,
There are few things that leave as big of a distaste in my mouth as missionary work.
__________________
anitram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 08:55 PM   #13
Acrobat
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 476
Local Time: 01:42 AM
That was a great article, thanks. Two things come to mind:

1. I generally agree with the notion that many liberal/progressives are good at thinking and talking about how the world could be better, but are not always as ready with the checkbook as some of those whom they consider closed-minded.

2. ...and this probably deserves its own thread... That aspect of Christianity, and those stories of Jesus, that essentially command Christians to care for the poor, disabled, etc. is one that the lords of the far right are worried about (especially as the economy has tanked and the rich/poor divide grows wider every year). Those people in charge of the Republican/conservative movement that are only interested in money/tax issues (and don't care much at all about abortion, etc.) have harnessed the power of great numbers of Christians by appealing to their "religious" issues. But they know that the real message of Jesus Christ may be more threatening to pure capitalism and kill or be killed economic society.

So, we have heard in recent months (from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc.) a growing pre-emptive strike on that issue. Limbaugh has cast any discussion of WWJD? (what would Jesus do?), as applied to the U.S. political/economic system, as being the first steps to "class warfare" as he puts it. He has said some truly nasty stuff. Glenn Beck's program has been even more ferocious lately. He doesn't even try to disguise it. He has gone directly after the priests and pastors, telling his listeners to protest and demand the resignation of any minister who talks up the "social activism" of Jesus' teachings. This past week he has gone seemingly directly after the Catholic Church, and even managed to give a darker-skinned face to our hatred (so we can feel better about hating Jesus' message). He said that this brand of "Christian" social activism is coming from Latin American christians (i.e. Catholics) out of the communist and social regimes of Central America, etc. (I think it goes back easily over more than a hundred years to the Irish Catholic priests and nuns. But Glenn Beck knows he can't target them. He picked the Latin American immigrants because he thinks people will find them easier to hate.)

The Catholic Church has been much maligned lately, and no doubt much of it is very well deserved. In fact, I think they've lost me forever. But before we assign them "to the ash bin of history", I think it is worth noting that the world will sorely miss their role in advocating for the poor and less fortunate. That part of the Catholic Church was and remains genuine, unselfish, and heroic. I hope they can get their act together. I remember when the western world was congratulating itself not long after the fall of the Soviet Union and communism. Much credit went to Pope John Paul II who lived under that Soviet boot in Poland and he knew its oppression of the human spirit first hand. However, while accepting their compliments, he stated that it was good that communism was defeated, but he cautioned against unthinking embracement of pure capitalism to the exclusion of those people in society who just can't compete (for whatever reason). In other words, I think he was saying that capitalism is a far better system, but it has the potential to trample those among us who are "the least of my brothers", and that we need to make sure our society provides for them (and not necessarily with the beggers, orphanages, and poorhouses of the 19th and early 20th century). We can do better than that.

That meandered a little off topic, but I thought it was worth saying.
__________________
Knuckle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 09:08 PM   #14
War Child
 
ShipOfFools's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 814
Local Time: 01:42 AM
I think the problem is that a lot of Christians...don't act Christian. The message I grew up with when I thought of Christianity was the story of The Good Samaritan. That contrasts with the people that think homosexuality is a disease, not something that you can't control, and support war and violence against those that oppose their views.

It's this, more than anything, that drove me away from Christianity. I still believe in it, somewhat, but as a supporter of gay rights and as someone who believes in pro-choice, I don't seem to fit well within that church anymore.
__________________
ShipOfFools is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 11:38 PM   #15
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,473
Local Time: 12:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
That's what the article was about wasn't it? Didn't really want to rehash the entire history of global Christian philanthropy from the Good Samaritan, through church supported hospitals and orphanages to today's efforts.


didn't you just say it effectively enough right there?
__________________

__________________
Irvine511 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com