Monday, 23 August 2010

Selective compassion.

There has been a lot of rain today in Sarasota. We received over 3 ½ inches in about 12 hours. There has been some local flooding, but none which has driven people from their homes.

I like rain (‘tis a particularly strange pleasure for folks born in England), and I am grateful for every drop which falls in oft-times parched Florida.

It has been bearable. Nonetheless, I have been a bit grumpy, since it’s been hard to walk with my dog in some of today’s torrential downpours.

I was delivered from my grumpiness when, as I walked in the rain, some muse reminded me of the disastrous floods in Pakistan. I have read about those floods, but since I (almost) never watch television, I had no visuals to remind me of the horror which is being endured by more than 14 million members of God’s family in Pakistan.

“Why”, I asked myself, “have you had no compassion for the suffering people of Pakistan?”

As I dug deeper into my thoughts I, to my alarm, found that I was thinking thus:
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First: that so much relief money is wasted because of corruption.

Second: that Pakistanis are somehow “less worthy” of aid than others.

Third: that despite all the monies we devoted to Haitian people after the 2010 earthquake, not much has gotten better there, so why should we give money to Pakistan?

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Then I moved my thinking to another plane. 

Here is what I thought:

First: that American politics and politicians are also mired in corruption. Truly we have the best Congress that money can buy.

Second: that “worthiness” is an odd modifier of compassion. Surely a Pakistani baby is as worthy as any new-born in any nation.

Third: that despite all the monies we gave for humanitarian relief in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina in 2005, parts of that City are still blighted and un-restored. The Mayor of that City says that it will be at least another five years before the task is completed

I think that it is perverse of me to condemn the people of Haiti because they have not been able to accomplish in 8 months for their country, what we Americans have been unable to do in 5 years for just one City. 

I also know that the suffering  people of Pakistan are as needful of aid as were the citizens of New Orleans.

Sad as it is  I also note that in the Church which I attend, I have not heard one word about the tragedy of the floods in Pakistan.

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