One of the benefits to writing on an all-inclusive site about religion like Patheos is that I’m surrounded by several really incredible bloggers. The downside is that some of them say things that are craaaaaaaazy.
Speaking about the Christian missionaries who contracted Ebola, Gene Veith (also a professor at Patrick Henry College) says that they’re doing incredible work. He’s not wrong there — I agree that they delivered much-needed medical care, putting their own lives in jeopardy, even if I have a problem with missionaries who proselytize.
But then he goes on to claim that Christians are the only people who make that sort of sacrifice:
In many places in the world, the only modern medical care available is provided by Christian missionaries. Thus, the main people fighting the Ebola epidemic in Africa are missionaries and the hospitals they operate. Some of these missionaries are themselves getting Ebola. And yet they don’t stop serving.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget the service of other religions that present themselves as being compassionate — Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism — as well as atheists, with their benevolence and humanism. Oh, wait. They don’t do any of this. It’s just the Christians.
Wow. That’s Joe Klein-level bullshittery.
Someone should introduce Veith to handy little tool called “The Google.”
Commenter Brian Westley did the work for him and found plenty of examples to disprove his point.
There’s Islamic Relief USA, which provides “emergency disaster relief when it is needed, and spearheads development projects in multiple sectors, including education, income generation, orphan support, health and nutrition, and water and sanitation.”
There’s Buddhist Global Relief, which sponsors “projects that promote hunger relief for poor communities around the world.”
There’s Sewa International USA, a “Hindu faith-based humanitarian non-profit service organization.”
And there’s Foundation Beyond Belief, the group I work with, which financially supports organizations around the world that do humanitarian work and, yes, even sends “missionaries” around the world to do service projects.
Obviously, these groups don’t have anywhere near the level of resources as Christian organizations do. But it doesn’t mean they’re not there. We’re all doing whatever we can to help those less fortunate. To suggest that only Christians have the capacity to help others, to care about people they’ve never met, and to travel to remote locations to provide important services is a slap in the face to every decent non-Christian out there.
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