Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Question of Social Justice

Lately I've noticed what, to me is a disturbing trend. Every time I read an article on-line about someone doing good things, the article is followed by comments from naysayers who are critical of those who try to make the world a better place. Maybe it's nothing new, but is becoming more obvious because of our interactive world.

The most recent example is the story of Tara Livesay. She is part of an amazing family living in Port au Prince, Haiti. The Livesays are a family filled with compassion (a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering). Tara Livesay set out to raise $5,200 to help severely malnourished children in Haiti. When she was done, she had raised over $63,000 (that number is still on the rise since this article was written). Read about her here.

The comments following these types of stories seem to have a common theme; others are not as important as us. Read the comments following the article about Tara, and you will see remarks like, "Why not help the children in the US? Why are we always so willing to help other countries but yet we forget that we have families here that struggle?" Or this gem, "Haitians won their independence some 205 years ago, not that long after we won our independence. If they can't get their act together in that time I suggest it is unlikely that they ever will on their own."

In a separate article about Compassion International's president, Wess Stafford recently, rather than appreciate what he's doing to help children living in poverty, some wrote comments like, "How many poverty stricken children in the USA does this ministry help?" "More promotional evangelicalism hidden as a new report." "I could point out a number of areas in the US where children are going hungry but that wouldn't matter 'cause they're Americans."

Here is my response:

• Different people find different causes to be important to them. If we all supported the same cause there would be far less balance and justice in this world.

• Just because people like Tara and Wess are helping those who are suffering abroad, that does not stop you from helping those who need help where you are.

• I think we should support those who get off the couch, and do something good, rather than criticize them from the comfort of our living room.

Here's what I want to know from you.
• Do you really think that poverty in the U.S. is as bad as it is in Haiti or other impoverished countries?

• Do you believe that we should only take care of people in our own country, and let people abroad fend for themselves?

• What cause do you believe in?