Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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The Far Right's "Compassion Deficit"


I've been reading various rumblings around the Net- in both blogs and mainstream sources about the apparent 'compassion deficit' displayed by the Extreme Right in reaction to last week's tsunami disaster. Not all Christians are guilty of this- the moderates and non-Dominionists are pouring help and money into helping these people recover. But it's clear that the Dominionist dominated Right has a compassion deficit.

Here are some articles and excerpts that back that up. You can decide for yourself.

From the always interesting Lean Left blog (introduced to me by [info]ladyegreen comes this discussion of Dominionist/Religious Right tribalism, highlighted by this excerpt from the Rush Limbaugh show:

"CALLER: (Giggle) Well, I was pretty upset and even getting madder the more coverage I watched, and I was thinking, 'Why am I not feeling so charitable, and I'm seeing all these bodies,' and then I see this picture on the Internet that was sent to me, and it was them carrying a body along in Sri Lanka, it said Galle, G-a-l-l-e, Sri Lanka and they had a crowd of people watching and this guy in the middle is standing there looking at the body wearing an Osama bin Laden T-shirt.

RUSH: I saw that picture.

CALLER: And I thought, it just validated the way I felt and I thought these are the same people that were the cheerleaders on 9/11, and we're going to go rebuild their world for them.

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: Now, I love President Bush. I respect him. I voted for him, but when I saw him come out and I realized they were asking for more money --

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: -- I got even madder, and I thought, 'I don't think we should be asked to give any more.' "

Sigh...Another blog, Digby's "Hullaballoo", lists several websites and their observations of the Dominionist reaction to the disaster. One of the best is a Working For Change article that has an eye-opening rundown of various high-level Dominionist sites and their near-total lack of a reaction, or even their negative reactions.

More than 100,000 dead in south Asia, but it's business as usual at the web sites of America's Christian right organizations

It took President Bush three days to ready himself to go before the television cameras and make a public statement about Sunday's devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck southern Asia. Even though he was late, and much more money will be needed, the president pledged at least $35 million in aid to the victims of the disaster. But, as of December 30, some of the president's major family-values constituents have yet to be heard from: It's business as usual at the web sites of the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and the Coral Ridge Ministries.

These powerful and well-funded political Christian fundamentalist organizations appear to be suffering from a compassion deficit. Organizations which are amazingly quick to organize to fight against same-sex marriage, a woman's right to choose, and embryonic stem cell research are missing in action when it comes to responding to the disaster in southern Asia. None of their web sites are actively soliciting aid for the victims of the earthquake/tsunami.

In fact, there is no mention of the giant earthquake and tsunami that devastated southern Asia. There are no headlines about the dead, injured or the tremendous damage; there are no urgent appeals for donations; there are no phone numbers to call; there are no links to organizations collecting money and providing aid for the victims.

Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand were among the countries hardest hit by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which sent huge waves that smashed boats, uprooted trees and destroyed structures from Malaysia to Africa, the Associated Press (AP) reported. As of Thursday, the death toll had soared to more than 114,000, millions were homeless from the disaster, and many more were still unaccounted for.

The web sites of the same organizations that organized a campaign to block Arlen Specter from ascending to the chairmanship of Senate Judiciary Committee within hours of his post-election night warning to President Bush about radically conservative judicial nominees are now silent.

The list is long, and includes such sites as "American Family Association", "Family Research Council", "Focus on the Family", "Coral Ridge Ministries", "Christian Coalition" and Falwell.com. There are links to these sites on Working For Change. As of this post, none of them had anything at all about helping out the tsunami victims. I checked them myself.

Americablog goes one step further, and for comparison, lists websites of left and liberal sites who do have appeals up on their sites for the tsunami victims.

Just for yucks, I decided to check out the Web sites of the "religious left."

- The Interfaith Alliance, the coalition of progressive religious groups meant to serve as a counterforce to the religious right, has an appeal for money for tsunami victims at the top of their site. http://www.interfaithalliance.org

- Soulforce, the gay answer to the religious right, has a massive urgent appeal for Tsunami aid at the top of their page. http://www.soulforce.org/

- The Metropolitan Community Church, the largest gay church, has an urgent fundraising appeal at the top of their site. http://www.mccchurch.org/

- The United Church of Christ, which recently found itself in hot water over it's pro-gay pro-inclusion ad campaign, has an appeal for money to help the tsunami victims at the top of its site. http://www.ucc.org/index3.html

- The Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism (I'd call them the Jews' response to the religious right, though the RAC was around before the religious right) has a big appeal at the top of their site. http://rac.org/index.cfm?

There you have it. Dominionists love to holler about their faith and how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and will gleefully hammer on their superior 'moral values', but apparently their compassion is inversely proportional to their claims of righteousness. Jesus himself would weep.