The summertime floods have devastated Pakistan—inundating one-fifth of the country, displacing millions, destroying and altering landscapes. But in other ways the floods changed very little. The country was already facing a perilous humanitarian and social situation. The floods have led some to wonder whether there is a future for the country.
An old insurance company term for natural disasters is “acts of God,” which unfortunately links the Holy One with everything awful and unforeseen that can befall humanity, as if God were not just capricious but wrathful and cruel.
The initial humanitarian response to the January 12 earthquake in Haiti has been impressive. Within weeks, Americans pledged over $500 million to the relief effort, almost equaling their response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It’s been estimated that half of all American families have donated to Haiti relief.
The Holy Cross Hospital and an affiliated nursing school in Leogane, Haiti, have been approved to receive a $200,000 grant from the Louisville-based Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. The hospital was described as destroyed in news reports, but the nursing school began operating as a makeshift hospital quickly after the January 12 earthquake struck.
Appeals for the world’s banking leaders to cancel the remaining foreign debt owed by earthquake-devastated Haiti were made in late January by the leader of the World Council of Churches and by a newly founded alliance of U.S. Christian leaders.
A new position to coordinate efforts against institutional sexism and sexual misconduct in the United Methodist Church has been handed to a man by the denomination’s Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Darryl Stephens, a deacon and a visiting assistant professor of Christian social ethics at the UMC-related Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, will start full-time on April 27.
Iowa bishops from three denominations have demanded an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy in the wake of a government raid on a large kosher slaughterhouse and allegations of worker mistreatment during relief efforts after June’s floods.