Friday, September 17, 2010


An earthquake devastates Haiti and the world is moved to come to their aid. Billions

of dollars are donated. In less than a week, a celebrity telethon is organized by George

Clooney. Millions are raised. A tsunami hits southeast Asia. Once again hearts are touched

and billions donated. Presidents Bush and Clinton join forces to come to the region's

assistance. The worst floods in Pakistan's history have inundated large sections of that

country. Parts are totally inaccessible. Waterborne diseases are spreading and the death toll

is rising. The Pakistani government, like the Haitian government, is inept at delivering aid.

Yet, donations to help the people of Pakistan don't even come close to the amounts raised in

either Haiti or for the tsunami victims. Why?

Pakistan is a Muslim nation. Americans seem to have a negative view of Islam; although

if they knew as much about Islam as they do Christianity, they are not tremendously well

informed. Islam is not popular; but the victims of the tsunami were Muslim too and yet the

outpouring of sympathy and help was quick and substantial. Religion would not seem to be

a reason donations are lagging for the people of Pakistan. So, what is it?

I don't like Pakistan. A Pakistani scientist, A.Q. Quan, became the Johnny Appleseed of

the nuclear proliferation movement. He sold nuclear weapon technology to North Korea,

Libya, and other outlaw nations. He was never punished and is considered a hero in Pakistan.

Pakistan formed the Taliban to take over and rule Afghanistan in order to counter India's

influence in the country. Pakistan's intelligence service has close ties to terrorist groups and

has orchestrated attacks throughout Kashmir, as well as attacks on the Indian parliament and

the city of Mumbai. American intelligence agencies believe Pakistan has tipped off terrorists

so they can avoid U.S. raids or attacks. Pakistan gave bin Laden and Mullah Omar safe haven

in their country and Americans have died because of that sanctuary. Recently, Pakistan

arrested several top Taliban leaders. Allegedly, they were cracking down on terrorism and

helping their American allies. In reality, it turns out the arrests were for holding preliminary

talks with Afghan leaders about some sort of peace agreement. Pakistan does not want a peace

deal because it would benefit India. My feelings about Pakistan are not unique. Pakistan does

not evoke much sympathy in the West. It is a nation whose cooperation we have to buy. The

U.S. is much closer to India than to Pakistan. We have to bribe the Pakistani government to

go after al Qaeda. We have to beg them to shut down the terrorist safe havens. Pakistan has

nuclear weapons and we are frightened these weapons could fall into the hands of extremists,

so we are nice to them. We give them billions of tax dollars in aid. At the end of the day, most

Americans, and maybe most nations, say a pox on their house and hearts are hardened to their

plight. Is this the reason help for flood victims has been so slow in coming?

It's wrong. While Christians like to think of their religion being superior to Islam; the

essence of Christianity is the command to love God with all your heart, all your soul, and to

love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 25 says the key to salvation is what you do for the

least of your brothers and sisters. The hero of Jesus's parable about loving one's neighbors is

a Samaritan. Samaritans were hated by the Jews. Samaritans were religiously unclean and

heretics. Samaritans were the lowest of the low right there with lepers. Yet, it is a Samaritan

who cares for a Jew and saves his life. The question which prompted the parable of the Good

Samaritan was "...who is our neighbor?"

Christianity is the most radical philosophy of living ever articulated. To be a Christian,

and no one has to be one, you have to love your enemies, forgive an infinite number of times,

turn the other cheek, get rid of all of your possessions, take care of the weakest and least

among you, and take up your cross and follow Jesus. In a Christian universe, the meek inherit

the earth, peacemakers are blessed, and the poor in spirit earn the kingdom of heaven. How

does this jibe with the lack of sympathy and aid for the victims of the floods in Pakistan?

We are debating the nature of Islam every day in the news. Attacks are increasing on

mosques around the country. A proposed Islamic Center in New York is creating civil unrest.

A "Christian" minister threatened to burn copies of the Quran and fundamentalist Christian

leaders have labeled Islam a religion of violence. While casting aspersions upon the Muslims,

the "Christian" West has been unwilling to open their hearts or wallets to fellow human beings

enduring unspeakable tragedy and horror. How do you square that circle?

Only you know what is in your heart. Perhaps it is worth spending a few minutes

wondering why the humanitarian response to the disaster in Pakistan has been so muted and

reserved. Maybe you have a different answer. However, for those who want to say this nation

was founded on Christian principles, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. What do you

think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals. Please send them to

NOTE: Often more than one blog is posted at a time, so be sure to check for previous blogs.


  1. Christianity - like nearly all the great religions in existence - for me has it's good and bad.

    For me, the most powerful concept that has come from the Christian faith (among all the varieties offered) has been "imitatio christi" or the challenge to realize one's deepest personal meaning - with the same courage and same self-sacrifice shown by Jesus.

    And the worst concept for me that has come from the Christian faith - is the concept of "original sin" and that each of us are guilty for some crime none of us committed - or that we are guilty simply because we are alive.

    I say - we are blessed because we are alive, and we do not have to justify our existence.

  2. Most of the teachings of Christianity are not really understood by the general public despite the majority claiming to be Christian.

    The most misunderstood tenet is the forgiveness doctrine. Christianity does not compel we forgive anyone who is not asking for forgiveness. Even God requires we ask Him in order to receive His forgiveness.

    As for Pakistan, it makes sense for the U.S. to flood (excuse me) Pakistan with relief. We owe them for risking the destabilization of their government by joining our "war on terror". They have been more than generous with us in granting territorial access for us to carry out killing. Supporting Pakistan makes political and humanitarian sense. However, I am glad that Hollywood is not garnering publicity by mixing in this one. This is clearly a government job. Pakistan is dangerous territory.

    Why hasn't more coverage been given? For one, the badlands of Pakistan are not nearly as accessible as Port Au Prince.

    Yes, we should be doing more. I think. I can't say for sure because I do not fully know what exactly is being done. And that too is "Christian" in the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.