Thursday, January 13, 2005

How Dare They Proselytize?

The Washington Post is reporting, as newsworthy, the fact that WorldHelp, a Christian relief organization, will evangelize while providing tsunami relief in Indonesia. Their insidious plan is to run an orphanage in a Christian environment.

WorldHelp, as to be expected, is reacting defensively. According to the Post, WorldHelp (presumably under pressure) has removed from its website an earlier appeal to take advantage of this opportunity to "plant Christian principles as early as possible" in the 300 Muslim children, all under 12, who were orphaned by the tsunami. Indeed, when I checked their website, the portion devoted to tsunami relief made no mention of spreading the gospel. Apart from a brief mention that some churches it helped plant (in India) had been destroyed, it could have been an appeal from NOW or MADD or the AARP for their relief efforts.

Also according to the Post, Franklin Graham has offered assurances that his organization, criticized for offering the gospel in addition to relief in Central America in 1998 and in Iraq, has made great efforts to be "sensitive to local concerns."

I missed the Pauline epistle that taught us to avoid spreading the gospel to non-believers and to instead be "sensitive to local concerns."

The Post also wrote, approvingly, that "many of the larger [Christian relief organizations] -- such as WorldVision, Catholic Relief Services and Church World Service -- have policies against proselytizing."

Shame on those organizations.

It is not enough that victims see that Christians are nice people. They will also see that many humanists providing relief are nice people. Christian relief organizations must do more, no matter if feathers are ruffled, they must present the gospel. (Now what they don't have to do is get the children to say a magic prayer, but that, as they say, is a whole "nother" story.)

Now, I agree that first you need to attend to the victims’ needs of medicine, food, clothing, and shelter. But if that were all that I was interested in, I’d give my money to the Red Cross; it has more experience and better infrastructure. When I contribute money to a Christian relief organization, it is with the expectation that they find time to present the gospel.

The repulsive Indonesian government, which deserves to be Coulterized, but which which, alas, was itself spared the ravages of the tsunami, will no doubt move against the organization that the Washington Post has outed. The Post can be proud their assistance.

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