December 28, 2004


Asian Disaster Relief Via Evangelical Agency (Scott Ott, Scrappleface)


Billions in Aid Needed for Devastated Areas..."

A note to ScrappleFace readers from Scott Ott:

In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami which has struck people around the Bay of Bengal, in addition to your prayers for the victims' families you may be looking for a trustworthy organization through which you can help with disaster relief. Other bloggers have provided links to the Red Cross, UN agencies and Indian government agencies, but if you're interested in giving through an agency that is committed to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ through effective disaster relief, read on...

I have worked, briefly, side-by-side with crews from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief during a flood in Missouri and after the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief crews are organized, energetic and effective. They bring not only food, water, shelter and cleaning supplies to victims quickly, but they bring the kind of comfort that can only come from a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. They do not discriminate on any basis. Their help is freely available to all, without a litmus test or sermon.

Although I'm no longer a Southern Baptist, this morning I spoke with Terry Henderson, director of disaster relief for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and with an employee of the International Missions Board of the SBC. As of about 10:30 a.m. Eastern they told me that the SBC has people on the ground in the disaster region conducting needs assessment. Their work is complicated by the fact that many Christian missionaries in predominantly-Muslim countries must be discrete in order to avoid arrest and even death.

I encouraged Mr. Henderson to set up a PayPal account to receive donations, however, I'm guessing that a large organization like the SBC is unlikely to do this.

UPDATE: Here's the link where you can make a donation to Disaster Relief using your credit card.

Here's the link to the Disaster Relief website (It's technically part of the SBC's North American Missions Board (NAMB) but its ministry is global).

In the meantime, if you want to give now through an evangelical disaster relief agency, here are two options--one offline and one online:

1) Send a check to Disaster Relief (memo: "Asia Tsunami") to the following address:
Disaster Relief
Southern Baptist Convention
Box 6767
Richmond, VA 23233

100 percent of your tax-deductible contribution will go to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

2) If you would rather give by PayPal now, instead of waiting for SBC to get a PayPal link (which, as I said, may not happen), I have prevailed upon the board of missions of the Bible Fellowship Church, the denomination to which I belong, to set up a PayPal link and then forward contributions to SBC Disaster Relief and/or other reliable Christian disaster relief organizations. Bible Fellowship Church Board of Missions will keep none of the money and will send you a receipt for tax purposes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 28, 2004 9:20 AM

I'd trust them more than the RC

Posted by: Sandy P at December 28, 2004 12:11 PM

h yes, we're all secularists now.

The proper Christian response to an earthquake was stated by the Jesuit Gabriel Malagrida after the Lisbon earthquake in 1755:

'Learn, O Lisbon, that the destroyers of our houses . . . the cause of the death of so many . . . are your abominable sins, and not . . . natural phenomena . . . It is scandalous to pretend the earthquake was just a natural event, for if that be true, there is no need to repent and to try to avert the wrath of God ... It is necessary to devote all our strength and purpose to the task of repentance.'

Father Malagrida wasn't just a-woofin' neither. The Jesuits attempted to prevent the Portuguese government from feeding and clothing the survivors, or treating the injured.

Quoted from Jelle Zeilinga de Boer & Donald Sanders; 'Earthquakes in Human History,' just out from Princeton U.P. I happened to be reading the chapter on the Lisbon quake when I heard the radio broadcast of the Sumatran event.

I bet nobody, outside the Jack Chick ministry, had the first thought, God is punishing the Christians in Aceh . . . or did he mean the Buddhists in Thailand . . . the Moslems in Malaysia, the Hindus in Bengal?

It's nice to see some evolution toward naturalistic reactions.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 28, 2004 1:18 PM

See, Harry, I was all set to make a nice point about rationalism, Voltaire and Candide, and then you went and satirized your own post.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 28, 2004 1:27 PM

Actually, the Acehans assume it is divine retribution and there's some possibility that the disaster will work against the variouis violent insurgencies which have wiped out any infrastructure that might have helped deal with this kind of disaster. It certainly looks like God's handiwork.

Posted by: oj at December 28, 2004 2:26 PM

The great part about being a Secularist is that you can forget about your own intellectual past while you bring up every improper thing any believer said, even if it was centuries ago and a person that has no relevance to what a present day "fundamentalist" cares about or believes in. Talk about your strawmen.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 28, 2004 4:04 PM

If you looked around you, you'd find that millions of American Christians do subscribe to the Jack Chick view.

They don't get much attention from the MSM, because nowadays they are not able to interfere with works of mercy too much; but they are just as disgusting as they ever were.

In 1755, John Wesley was among those who thought the Lisbon quake was a message from God. I don't know what clever thing David was going to say about Voltaire, but Voltaire himself said that if god was going to punish sinners, he ought to have leveled Paris.

Orrin's post just confirms my view that Jack Chickism is way more prevalent than most Americans would like to think.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 28, 2004 4:45 PM


Everyone should have leveled Paris.

Chick's right, it's just not likely to be imminent.

Posted by: oj at December 28, 2004 5:57 PM


Some days it is so obvious that you were raised a Catholic. How about we all just call a truce, put a sock in it and take out our checkbooks if we can. If some want to pray as well, I hope you won't put your checkbook away in protest.

Posted by: Peter B at December 28, 2004 6:10 PM

You guys don't accept compliments very gracefully.

I think it's wonderful that Christians are behaving so decently.

But they're not behaving the Christians have usually behaved.

For once, Orrin is the most orthodox among us. Who'da thunk it?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 28, 2004 8:48 PM


This is how Christians have always behaved--the Jesuits failed to stop Christians from helping.

Posted by: oj at December 28, 2004 8:58 PM

Harry, at no point in my theological studies was I taught that the policies and practices of 18th Century Jesuits represented orthodox Christian teaching. Far from acting like good secularists now, we people of faith are just putting our faith into practice (ala James 2 & Matthew 25), behaving as people of faith ought to be behaving. Your backhanded compliment makes your unresolved anger toward the Catholic Church so very clear. Please give it a rest, this event is bigger than your beef with the Church.

Posted by: Dave W. at December 28, 2004 11:23 PM

One of the ironies of Harry's self-presentation here, and he's convinced me that it's accurate, is that with one glaring exception, he's leading the life his Catholic school teachers would have wished for him, and one in which they can take some pride.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 29, 2004 8:53 AM


The most amusing irony of the Atheist is his insistence that he can derive exactly the same morality as Judeo-Christianity, just without reference to God.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2004 9:14 AM

You're right, David.

The problem, and you guys just don't get it, is that it was all about 'do as I say, not as I do.'

Nothing unusual or distinctively Christian about that.

The problem arises when the 'do as I say' crowd actually holds power (as it did in Portugal -- the part of the story I did not tell is that the king, died, Pombal was ejected and the Jesuits came back, resulting in the miserable position of the Portuguese since) rather than merely occupying a pulpit.

You might want to listen to good advice, but you want to keep it out of your government.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 29, 2004 3:05 PM

The deficiencies of a Roman Catholic diocese and its school system in Tennessee in the '50s are a little outside the scope of my responsibility or concern.

You might want to listen to good advice, but you want to keep it out of your government. Our government's guiding principle.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 29, 2004 3:35 PM

The only European nation that had a better 20th century than Portugal was Spain.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2004 3:45 PM