Downtown Port-Au-Prince after the massive earthquake in Haiti.
My friends Carolyn and Doug are incredible people, and I don’t think I’ve ever looked up to two people more. Doug and Carolyn work in a church, and if you’ve ever worked in a church you know that all kinds of needy people use (and abuse) the church with handout requests. Droves of people come to the church with a sob story of some kind, and literally expect the church to give them money. Here’s an example:
A man came into the church and said that he needed money for gas to go home to care for his wife in Texas. So, the pastor offered to personally go and fill up his car for him and buy him any supplies needed for the trip. (Quite generous, if you ask me.) The guy flat-out refused. He said that he just needed the money, and left hurling empty threats at the people who “wouldn’t help him”.
There are thousands of examples just like this, and the storyline is always the same. They have a need, but it usually just comes down to wanting cash. They take advantage of the Church’s helpfulness and reputation of helping the needy.
So, it naturally came as quite a surprise to Carolyn when an older woman came in with her grandson, asking if there was any work around the church that she could do to get a place to live for her and her grandson.
When homeless people come to the church, they typically never ask for work, and they almost always ask for just money.
So instead of just giving the homeless woman money to pay her bill–which they did–Carolyn offered her own house for the two to live while they got back on their feet. She literally welcomed two complete strangers into her home to live for a few months.
Now contrast that with something that happened yesterday.
A man claimed the Haiti earthquakes were due to the people being “cursed” because of a “pact made with the devil”:
Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal.
Aside from how ridiculous and downright crazy Pat Robertson sounded, his comments did absolutely nothing except catapult his own name. In a time when a whole country of people are looking for relief, Pat condemned them. (It’s estimated the death toll could rise to 500,00, half of Haiti’s population.)
I don’t think I would mind Pat’s stupidity if he actually did something about the problem. Contrast that with someone like Carolyn. Carolyn is doing what Pat should be doing as a “religous” thought leader: helping people. Not making stupid-ass prophecies and taking a holier-than-thou stance.
Statements like Robertson’s (and others) really pissed me off yesterday. I can’t think of anything much worse than someone using catastrophes as a way to generate attention.
We should think long and hard about Haiti. What if the roles were reversed? The best part about being rich (compared to the rest of the world) is that we are in a position to give. To help others that can’t help themselves. (Apparently people were miffed at the White House’s website redirecting people to organizations like the Red Cross.)
Even if you don’t have any money, you can still give. It cost Doug and Carolyn $0 to open up her home to complete strangers. Love costs nothing.
You don’t have to fly to Haiti to help with relief efforts. You don’t have to donate large amounts of money. You just have to be open to giving, whether that’s your time or money.
But we shouldn’t stand by and do the worst thing of all: Nothing.
Ok, rant = over :) We’ll be bringing you your regularly scheduled programming shortly…