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A Prayer for Haiti

In case you've been locked away from media today, the impoverished Caribbean island of Haiti has been devastated by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake which struck near, and largely destroyed, the capitol city of Port-au-Prince. Thousands are thought dead, infrastructure has collapsed and the country is largely without electricity - all indicators that disease, hunger and desperation are staged to kill many more without a rapid response.

We offer our heartfelt prayers for the dead and mourning.

If you'd like to help save lives, may I recommend donating here.

Categories > Ashbrook Center

Discussions - 13 Comments

There's been a huge blow to leadership, too. The head of the UN Mission's body was found, his chief deputy is missing, the body of the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince has been found in his office, and one of his deputies are still missing, and the President of the Senate has stopped responding to calls from rescuers trying to to dig him out of the rubble that was Parliament.

I'm hoping that Christian NLT bloggers and commenters will also be chastising Pat Robertson for his despicable comments regarding the Haiti tragedy.

(and hopefully we'll hear some critiques of Limbaugh's incredibly lame "analysis" of Obama & the Haiti earthquake, as well)

Everything that need be said on Robertson is said well here. Otherwise, sometimes, silence is deafening.

Scanlon . . . you never cease to amaze and disappoint all in one fell swoop. Good God, man. Is this really the time to make hay?

[Um....if you want to be asking "Is this really the time to make hay?" then, again, it probably makes more sense to ask Robertson and Limbaugh, both of whom claim a few more conservative ears and eyes than I do.]

I will say though, Julie, that you've never disappointed me.

I'm Christian and I have no friggin idea who that guy is.

Julie, I'm also surprised that, rather than make the bass-ackwards assertion that I was making political hay of the disaster (Did I somehow make Robertson or Limbaugh say the things that they did?), you didn't question the original post's (potentially) "guilt-inducing plea ['If you'd like to help save lives'] for help to folks who are doing their level-best to be good and charitable in their daily lives" or describe the NLT blogger's "concern for people so far removed from your real sphere of influence." as "more than a little off-putting."

From one of your worst posts ever:

Or is the difference here simply that Haiti's close enough to care, but Myanmar wasn't?

Owl - Unless you are very young and/or have read little about religion and politics in contemporary America, I find it rather hard to believe that you've not heard of Pat Robertson. The man can be seen on his 700 Club (part of his CBN - Christian Broadcasting Network - I'm guessing you could get it where you live) literally everywhere in the US and in many locales around the world. He made a presidential run in 1988 which got considerable serious attention. He started Regent University, a school which provided a noticeably large portion of influential staffers in the GWBush administration. Robertson is undeniably an influential public voice for many conservative Christians. You've really never heard of him?

Haiti is not at all far removed from the American sphere of influence, Scanlon. It is intimately tied to our own history. It is close. We can do more good there than we could in a lot of more removed places and, in ways that are sensible and possible, we ought to try. And it is more our responsibility than it is, say Myanmar's, as they are our neighbors . . . yes. I find nothing "guilt inducing" in the original post from Adams which simply passed along good information to people who (like me) were wondering where a reliable and useful place to send help might be.

I do still sympathize with the Roger Kimball post about Myanmar -- the larger point of which was NOT that we should not feel compelled to help people half a world away, but that endless talk and hand-wringing from those who do not think we "do enough" check-writing is cloying and condescending. The American people are amazingly generous and good and they always do step up to the plate in ways that ought to shame those who suggest they otherwise. I dare you to say the same.

I was a year old during the 1988 election. I had never heard of the Bush-Robertson nexus; if that's true its interesting. But then, I don't inform my politics with whatever TV evangelists say.

"I was a year old during the 1988 election. "

Owl . . . ouch! Also read the link to Infinite Monkeys above in my first post.

You haven't missed much not knowing about PR . . . and the fact that you don't know about him ought to tell Scanlon more than he cares to acknowledge about the practical trajectory of American conservatism since '88. Conservatives have always tended to do a better job of discrediting and ignoring their fools than Liberals have done . . . but there's no denying that fools crop up on both sides with more frequency than either should desire. The real test is what you do with them.

Owl, you might not inform YOUR personal politics with whatever televangelists say, but the fact is that Robertson has been rather influential within conservative Christian politics, and continues to be to this day. Read up on the 700 Club (serving several continents) and the Christian Coalition - the CC claims 2.5 million supporters. Regarding the Bush-Robertson nexus, see here:

As for Julie's claim that "conservatives have always tended to do a better job of discrediting and ignoring their fools than Liberals have done," I suppose all the evidence one needs of that is Ashbrook's honoring of Glenn Beck at the Ashbrook Memorial Dinner, Steven Hayward's promotion (disguised as a very mild, half-hearted critique) of Beck, and... I was about to mention Limbaugh and Coulter as the superstar speakers at CPAC, but lo and behold, I see Glenn "FEMA Camps!" Beck is going to be the keynote speaker for this year's conference. [You NLT-Ashbrookers can boast that you had him first!] Yes, you conservatives sure do a fine job of discrediting and ignoring your fools. Wonder if Beck will try to make some bizarre, convoluted "point" by pulling George Will up on stage and dousing him with a prop can of gasoline? Lucianne Goldberg's son will stroke his beard pensively and chuckle his approval.

Oh, and let's not forget eminently reasonable and level-headed Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and the Tea Party folks (I believe Dr. Schramm spoke at a rally for a Mansfield Tea Party group, no?) - the ones who warned Obama that they came to DC unarmed... "this time".

I knew he would not take that dare . . . more fun to swim in the sewers, I guess.

Julie, your "dare" (I guess I'm lucky you didn't "triple-dog dare" me!) was silly and sprang from your wild (mis)interpretation of Kimball's piece, which never gets into the topic of check-writing, or even direct aid, at all.

I don't know how you could delude yourself that Kimball's piece has the "larger point ...NOT that we should not feel compelled to help people half a world away" when he starts it with:

"I haven’t given a moment’s thought to the carnage in Myanmar."

then proceeds to explain why that's entirely fine, then concludes with:

"The moral? It is easy but fundamentally hypocritical to pretend to care about 10,000 (or 50,000 or 1,000,000) strangers. It is harder, and also more beneficial to the world, to care about oneself and one’s family and friends."

So, unless you have family or friends in Haiti, then I think your new attitude towards that country - as opposed to the more detached one you presumably had towards the victims of Haiti (since you did, and still do, sympathize with Kimball's defense of such detachment) - is odd.

But perhaps all of this is based on your loyalty to the NLT team. Mr. Paulette (NOT Mr. Adams, btw, in case you still haven't noticed) made a post with "heartfelt prayers" and said that "if If you'd like to help save lives, may I recommend donating here." So you had to forget how Kimball was "probably right" with his "pith and wit about the all-too-earnest and all-too-easy compassion that (sadly) characterizes much of the talk surrounding disaster relief." - for Myanmar.

If anyone was "swim[ming] in the sewers" I would have to say it was Kimball - I thought it then, and I still do now. His references to Dickens, John Stuart Mill, and Sir James Stephen don't make that any more dignified.

(Correction - In my last comment, in the graf starting with "So" the 2nd Haiti should be Myanmar, of course.)

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