Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haiti, Hedonism and Capitilism...

Ok, I hope that the Hope4Haiti telethon raises a ton of money...that would be a great result. I'm not trying to be a scrooge about that...any help is needed at this time.

My issues are that I wish I could cheer louder but I'm not a fan of actors and sports figures who make obscene and in my mind immoral amounts of money off a economic system that breeds the very injustices that perpetuate this kind of inequitable reality. Why are actors who more than not, represent the worst about ourselves...lifted up as our mouthpieces in times like these? Yah, I get the celebrity thing and how they can stimulate more giving etc...but as principle, it frustrates me.

It would be like John Edwards becoming the spokesman for Focus on the Family. I just don't by it.

Yes, I know they give lots of money and that becomes the over arching excuse for each and every institution or individual that seems to be living in contradiction to their actions. This idea that it doesn't matter how I make millions because I might give a lot. The means to the end, do not seem to matter anymore. I have a problem with that.

We say things like...hey, Americans give more than anyone else on the planet. Which is true in dollar amount...but not per ca-pita.

Example, regarding Haiti...taking all money given so far by Americans, it averages out to:
.40 cents per person.

Canadians give $3 dollars per person

So we give more, true...but only from a certain point of view. This kind of accounting justifies so much around these types of events. So, do I sound cranky and finger pointy...yes, I am sure from a certain angle, I do.

But Justice is as important as mercy, in these types of things.

Do what you can, with what you got...I'm all for that....but think and act.
Check out Charity Navigator to make sure the org you are giving to, is acting responsible with the money it is getting. I did that yesterday in researching where our church giving will go to...and I discovered some things that will alter where I am going to give that money. Do your home work.

It's like giving to the can give money to a drunk and facilitate the addiction or...give it to the folks that help the drunk get free from their addiction. Which is a better use of that money?

I wouldn't give to some of those orgs represented last night because the work they do or the world view they promote doesn't help the long term issues in my opinion. Why throw money into the hands of some orgs that will rebuild a culture with the very foundations that promote the crumbling of healthy culture?

These issues go into many areas....we could talk about the Catholic churches culpability in all of this, with their stance and teaching on family planning in Haiti. Or the historical realities regarding agriculture and the export and import issues with the USA and Haiti. We could talk about national Debt forgiveness and the reparations possibly needed sense the USA has benefited economically in the past from the slave trade issues, France and the sanctions that went along with all that. Not to mention all the political history between us and Haiti.

In the end, I feel an inner sense of contradiction; like when I saw the big Cruise line ships docking in Haiti this week. All the vacationers pouring off the boats to swim, jet ski, gorge themselves on seafood buffets on Haiti's white sand beaches...oh, and all that's perfectly ok, because these ships bring supplies and relief and hey, they employ locals or other poor folks from around the Caribbean. I could not jump off the boat and play in the ocean there...knowing the realities that are taking place a few miles away.

But in the end...that has always been true, to some degree or another...So in the end, the light falls on me again...and my need to repent of participating in a culture of excess, fantasy and unrestrained hedonism and consumerism.

The fact of all that hits me, as I watch multi-millionaires dressed up in philanthropist garb...asking me to give whatever I can to the poor.

I'm sorry...the whole thing reeks of hypocrisy and its convicting, on a very deep level both, personal and public.

1 comment:

Wes said...

Josie is baking chocolate chip cookies with her Dad today. On Monday she's setting up a table at the entrance to her daycare and selling them at 2 for a buck. All the money she makes will go to the Red Cross for Haiti relief. Her idea, not mine. I agree 100% with what you say in your post Eric. I pose this wuestion for you... when was the last time you heard of a celebrity donating time or money or their "celbrityhood" to help out the poor and underpriviledged IN THIS COUNTRY? I'm not talking about the inner city, I'm talking about the back hills of Appalachia, the Ozarks of Arkansas and the abandoned farms of Texas, etc where squatters have set up house. These people are the truly forgotten poor. No one seems to give a rip about them. Not "sexy" enough and even if a celebrity was to help not a single network would give it any play. Again, not "sexy" enough and to be brutally honest with you, a lot of the poor in this country are white. Angelina Jolie holding a malnourished white orphan from Mississippi isn't nearly as news worthy as her holding a malnourished African orphan, is it?