Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shame on ME? Really?

There's a post making the rounds on Facebook these days that begins "SHAME ON YOU AMERICA!!! ".  It goes on to decry the "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon and criticize Americans for sending aid to Haiti when in our own country children are going to bed without food, elderly are going without meds, and mentally ill are going without treatment.  I haven't commented on any of these posts yet, but here's my response: (and since my blog now feeds into my Facebook account, anyone who wants to can read it)

My first reaction is to wonder what are YOU doing specifically to help the needy in America?  What percentage of YOUR income are you donating to charity? 10%? 5%? 1%?  Less than 1%?  None of my business?  Fair enough.  But neither is it your business to lecture me on what I coose to do with my own money. How much of your time are you volunteering to assist the homeless, the hungry, the destitute?  I'd be willing to bet that the individuals who give to Haiti probably also give to causes here in America.  It's possible to do both. 

Have you not seen the collapsed orphanages with crying toddlers and wailing babies lying on the ground, babies dying because they have no formula?  Are you that heartless that you will refuse to help them because "we need to take care of our own first"?  I'm pretty sure there are no orphanages in America where kids are dying because of a lack of food.

Does every single person in America need to have a roof over their heads, clothing on their backs, and food in their bellies before you would even consider giving to someone else?  It's NEVER going to happen.  Sadly, there will always be people in need in every nation on the planet.  We live in a broken world.

There are resources available for the needy in America.  Kids going to bed hungry?  As a foster parent, I know a thing or two about assistance for needy kids, at least here in Texas.  Babies get formula, baby food, and juice.  Kids up to age 5 receive milk, eggs, juice, cereal, bread/tortillas/rice, peanut butter/beans, cheese, and fruits/vegetables.  No gourmet meals, but certainly enough healthy basics to supplement what parents can provide on their own.  Not to mention kids can get free breakfast and lunch at school, even in the summer.

If you don't want to give to the people of Haiti, fine.  That's your CHOICE.  But please don't heap "shame" on those of us who have made our CHOICE to give.

Someone made the comment that the Haitians should help themselves.  Really?  Do you realize Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere?  You can honestly look at those suffering people and not feel any compassion?   Look, I consider several of you individuals who have made these comments to be friends.  And I know for a fact that you are kind, loving, generous individuals.  And of course I still love you.  I just feel so strongly that we need to reach out during this horrific disaster and help the hurting people of Haiti and it grieves my heart to see people making callous remarks about the situation.

On the other side, over the past two weeks I've been so encouraged to see many, many generous bloggers who are making donations based on the number of comments on their blogs.  One of them is Jamie who's taking comments through Friday at noon.  Go check it out.  She also has links to a few other bloggers who are doing the same.

With that, I'll just end with a Scripture that really sums it up for me:

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 
The the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' and the King will answer them, 'Truly I say to you , as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' " - Matthew 25:34-40.