Thursday, November 3, 2005
Forms of terror
Sadly, deaths may already, this Friday afternoon, be laid at the door of Hurricane Rita. Yet these — over thirty elderly persons dead in a bus inferno in jammed evacuation traffic, like those dead because they could not evacuate New Orleans ahead of Katrina — are victims of neglect as much as of the storm. In New Orleans, from neglect to provide public transportation or to think of those who might need it. In the evacuation ahead of Rita, from neglected and/or ancient equipment in a community and state where public transportation and its buses, and even school buses, were allowed to founder; where gas-guzzling private cars are the order of “everyone who counts.”
Who counts in Oregon? Who counts in Hood River County? What transit options have our elderly and infirm in an area-wide emergency?
Terror comes in many forms. There is also everyday terror. Consider the security of knowing you can get to your job, to specialized health care, to college classes when you need these. Let’s support both emergency and everyday security preparations for *real* security for our relatives and neighbors – health care and housing and adequate rural-urban (and expanded intracounty) public transit — because, as we have now seen, terror does not come only from the barrel of a weapon.
Christians do serve
Some of the letters to the editor last week seemed to ask where are Christians during this disaster. They are where they have been for centuries in the thick of disaster, many times first on the scene and distributing aid and supplies, along with others of all faiths.
I happen to be a United Methodist, but I am sure those of other faiths can say much the same thing. Our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is on the scene of any disaster, almost immediately; the staff’s wages are paid from the regular budget, allowing every penny donated for a particular disaster to go to those who need it. They are at work alongside the many volunteers who go there to help.
Besides the publicized disasters in the world, UMCOR has people working in all parts of the world to ease famine, loss of homes and property from natural causes and from wars.
Our local United Methodist churches have made health kits, school supply kits, toys for children in Iraq and hundreds of other projects over the years, as most churches do. We have taken offerings for the 9-11 attack and the present Gulf-area disaster, as well as many others.
Perhaps people who are not involved in a faith community don’t realize this. Also churches all around the hurricane area have opened their buildings to those in need.
I would like to hear more about what our own local faith organizations are doing. But where are the Christians in this disaster? Where they have always been, serving those who are unable to care for themselves. Showing God’s love of all people.