Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A faithful response to disaster

One theologian responded to this tsunami by saying,
I wonder what would happen if we put even half the ingenuity, technology, and resources into finding ways to get disaster relief to the incomprehensibly high number of people affected by yesterday's tsunami as we put into striking back at those suspected to be our enemies.

On the surface, this is one of those statements taken by our culture to be self-evidently moral. But is it truly moral? In this time of tragedy, is this our proper repentance...confessing that we have spent too much money on national defense?

Such a claim meshes nicely with current cultural dogma, true. [After all, war is wrong, right?] But on closer review, it looks more like superficial moralizing than real repentance. Our age has taken certain realities as self-evident truths, ‘truths’ which flow ‘subliminally like an intravenous solution’ through our cultural consciousness: so ‘general and self-evident that it is enough to merely invoke them'* and one is considered moral.

To repeat cultural mantras based on politically-correct *truths* is not repentance -- it is moralism, but not morality.

So, when I see someone act as if the proper response to this tragedy is to decrease the military spending/action of the U.S.A., I take a closer look. Such a claim glosses over several deeper realities:

1. It is our vast military budget that has enabled us to respond so proactively.

Who is doing the immediate heavy lifting, the brutal physical and logistical elements of intervention? Don't look now, but it is the U.S. military, coupled with the Aussies -- ironically, both most invested in the humanitarian war effort in Iraq. And the U.N.? The Diplomad frames the irony well:

Well, dear friends, we're now into the tenth day of the tsunami crisis and in this battered corner of Asia, the UN is nowhere to be seen -- unless you count at meetings, in five-star hotels, and holding press conferences.

Aussies and Yanks continue to carry the overwhelming bulk of the burden, but some other fine folks also have jumped in: e.g., the New Zealanders have provided C-130 lift and an excellent and much-needed potable water distribution system; the Singaporeans have provided great helo support; the Indians have a hospital ship taking position off Sumatra. Spain and Netherlands have sent aircraft with supplies.

The UN continues to send its best product, bureaucrats.

Two Dutch diplomats give a reality-check as well, in a January 2 report from Aceh:

The US military has arrived and is clearly establishing its presence everywhere in Banda Aceh. They completely have taken over the military hospital, which was a mess until yesterday but is now completely up and running. They brought big stocks of medicines, materials for the operation room, teams of doctors, water and food. Most of the patients who were lying in the hospital untreated for a week have undergone medical treatment by the US teams by this afternoon. US military have unloaded lots of heavy vehicles and organize the logistics with Indonesian military near the airport. A big camp is being set up at a major square in the town. Huge generators are ready to provide electricity. US helicopters fly to places which haven't been reached for the whole week and drop food. The impression it makes on the people is also highly positive; finally something happens in the city of Banda Aceh and finally it seems some people are in control and are doing something. No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground.

Mark Steyn adds this response to U.N.'s Egeland and others, who [in the spirit of that theologian] blamed U.S. for "stinginess":
If America were to emulate Ireland and Norway, there'd be a lot more dead Indonesians and Sri Lankans. Mr Eddison may not have noticed, but the actual relief effort going on right now is being done by the Yanks: it's the USAF and a couple of diverted naval groups shuttling in food and medicine, with solid help from the Aussies, Singapore and a couple of others. The Irish can't fly in relief supplies, because they don't have any C-130s. All they can do is wait for the UN to swing by and pick up their cheque.

The Americans send the UN the occasional postal order, too. In fact, 40 per cent of Egeland's budget comes from Washington, which suggests the Europeans aren't being quite as "proportionate" as Mr Eddison thinks. But, when disaster strikes, what matters is not whether your cheque is "prompt", but whether you are. For all the money lavished on them, the UN is hard to rouse to action. Egeland's full-time round-the-clock 24/7 Big Humanitarians are conspicuous by their all but total absence on the ground.

Indeed, there is much more that could be posted here, on facts and figures of actual efforts on the ground -- and the reality that a strong defense is necessary to the ability to create great wealth [i.e. true humanitarian premise]. But thank God for the U.S. military! Knee-jerk moralisms regarding U.S. military budget have nothing to do with true repentance. But there is more...

2. The tsunami tragedy still pales in comparison to the Darfur genocide.

The U.N., which has been vested with intervention in Darfur, has been so inept and opportunistic that only the most naive or wilfully blind can consider its action moral. Bureacracy, back-room deals, unwillfulness to confront Islamo-fascist, murdering, raping gangs, appropriation of young girls to serve as U.N. 'peacekeepers' sex slaves, usage of turmoil to line layers of U.N. pockets: God, have mercy!

And the pure numbers are beyond distressing. The U.N. moralizes over the tsunami victims, but turns a blind eye to the staggering greater proportions of Sudanese victims.

Booker Rising carries this quote from Democratic Peace:
Unlike their urgency to provide aid and support to the current tidal wave survivors, the so-called international community, enshrined in that dictator's haven, the United Nations, mumbled about the killing in the Sudan, passed ineffective resolutions, made incompetent statements about the situation, and in effect did nothing. Now we have Darfur [region where the Arabized Muslim government has killed more than 370,000 black people], an added democidal crisis. Again, the UN shows it[s] incompetence and the power of its member dictators to prevent effective action.

In other words, we are still faced with a Darfur crisis where U.N. immorality makes it unwilling to act, still selling Sudanese souls for exact situation where real military intervention is needed in order to save lives.

And yet theologians are willing to frame tsunami repentance in terms of the U.S. military budget!

The genocide of Darfur alone shows the superficial fatality of that moralism. But there is more...

3. Those who treat U.S. military spending as immoral, generally support the abortion genocide.

If human life matters, as this tsunami reveals, then repentance is something far more foundational than interpretations of military spending and action. Those who have died in Darfur at the hands of Islamo-fascist gangs, those who have died in Iraq at the hands of Islamo-fascist terrorists, and those who have died in Southeast Asia in this 'pure event' tsunami...are but a drop in the bucket to those killed by current abortion -- killing abetted by moralizing theologians.

Theologians who fault U.S. military spending do so on the premise that spending less in war and more in *humanitarian* efforts will save lives. On a logical level, that claim is very suspect, but it becomes fatal when it is mixed with religious justification of abortion: their actions give lie to their religious claim, to the deadly detriment of our culture and world: it is not life at first principle at all...

Black Genocide
documents what abortion has done to the Black community alone:
Between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 Blacks were lynched in the U.S. That number is surpassed in less than 3 days by abortion.

1,452 African-American children are killed each day by the heinous act of abortion.

Today, 3 out of 5 pregnant African-American women will abort their child.

Since 1973 there has been over 13 million Black children killed and their precious mothers victimized by the U.S. abortion industry.

With 1/3 of all abortions performed on Black women, the abortion industry has received over 4,000,000,000 (yes, billion) dollars from the Black community.

Imago Dei is trashed in praxis by theologians who defend this evil, regardless of their high-sounding words of 'socially conscious' and 'progressive' concern.

As Kierkegaard would put it, such actions prove their theology a pretext.

A true response of repentance is far, far more foundational than any cultural moralism! True repentance strikes at the heart of our personal, pet justifications, our defended sins and failures and *little* disobediences -- rationalized concessions to the dark Spirit of the Age.

Sarah Yehoved Rigler calls for repentance in distinctly Jewish terms, that Christians should echo:
A person stealing $100 in Tel Aviv lowers the moral fiber in Mexico City and could encourage massive embezzlement in Melbourne. Conversely, a person [praying] in Haifa may avert an auto accident in London or prevent complications during open-heart surgery in Los Angeles. The spiritual channels of effect run far below the surface, untraceable but powerful.

Spiritual forces, like ocean waves, do not lose their power over distance.

Judaism...teaches the concept of teshuva [or repentance]. Teshuva means that a person can regret and change his/her mode of conduct, and when s/he does, the past actions are spiritually erased. In fact, if one does teshuva from pure love of God, the subterranean channel, the river of fire, turns into a positive force, a river of sweet water.

This is [a faithful] response to disaster. The Talmud says that when one suffers, one should scrutinize one's deeds, implying that teshuva for wrong conduct can change one's fortune. And what if one is not directly affected, but only hears about a disaster that occurred in a distant place? The Talmud asserts that if a person even hears about a disaster such as an earthquake, one must relate to the tragedy by examining one's own deeds.

A faithful response to disaster avoids the politically correct moralisms that pass as morality in our society. A faithful response to disaster goes deep into the eyes that look at us in the mirror.

We must hear what the Spirit of God speaks to us, and heed.

Repentance is not knee-jerk, throwaway lines about political offices, the U.S. military, Congress, peace activists or war defenders.

It's really about you and me, bending the utter humility before the God of Life [2 Chronicles 7:14].

It is there that life will be defended and renewed.



Patrick O'Hannigan said...

Well put, Loy. Thank you for this. I've linked your post at my own blog.

A related thought or two that you would appreciate can be found here.

Loy Mershimer said...

Thanks a lot, Patrick!

And for the articles. I appreciate the depth of your thought in relation to the disaster...