‘We’re all responsible for one another’

Darrell Dow: “Disaster Relief”

When we look down at this scene what would we see Jesus doing amidst the chaos and heartbreak? Can you see him standing at a shelter handing out food and blankets? Easily. In your mind’s eye is he healing the sick and comforting the frightened? Of course. Can you picture him opening the church doors and welcoming in people who need shelter? Without a doubt.

But can you even in your darkest imaginings think of him standing off to one side sermonizing about how it is these people or their parents who have sinned and brought this calamity to pass? Can you see him so completely paranoid of giving a “social gospel” that he is completely unprepared to offer anything in the way of help but moralistic platitudes? Can we in our wildest dreams imagine a self-righteous Christ waggling his finger in the faces of the homeless and hurting and telling them that what they really need is a heavenly home later instead of compassion right now.

Elizabeth Kaeton: “Saints and Hurricanes”

I expect churches to open their doors, providing warmth and companionship and food and an opportunity to recharge cell phones and lap tops to people. That’s a given. That’s the very least I expect from churches — to be the “sanctuary” they claim to be. No one gets any “brownie” points from me for doing the basic minimum requirements of what you claim to be all about in the first place.

And, I keep waiting to hear stories or see pictures of bishops, sleeves rolled up, handing out diapers or juice to inner city women who are stranded in their dark apartments or water and a hot meal to fragile elderly who are also cold and alone.

Nothing yet. I hope I’m not too terribly disappointed. …

At one church in Morristown, NJ, word of mouth has spread that the church has opened its doors to the community. Before anyone knew it, members of the church were coming to the church from their warm, safe homes, bringing food and blankets, some staying to cook and serve meals or occupy children with art projects, or just talk with those who are lonely or apprehensive.

One priest I know gathered up warm blankets and distributed them to parishioners and their neighbors, but then, she spent the night with one parishioner who was afraid and alone. I can’t imagine anything colder than being in a home or apartment without heat or electricity and being afraid and alone. Apparently, neither could this priest, so she did for her parishioner what she could only hope someone would do for her.

Chauncey DeVega: “Racial Framing and Superstorm Sandy: A Black Mother Begs for Help While Her Children Drown”

Glenda Moore’s loss of her two children is a horrible example of how implicit and subconscious racial bias can impact a white person’s level of empathy and sympathy towards African-Americans. A woman cried, begged, and screamed for help while her children drowned. A decision was made by a white neighborhood that this type of person, in that gendered body, with that skin color, was not worthy of assistance.

For 12 hours she pleaded for help. Her children died. Students of race and politics often discuss these matters in the abstract, and through examples grounded in a careful study of social and political institutions, as well as Power. The death of Glenda Moore’s children, and her treatment that evening by the people in that neighborhood, is an example of racial immorality on the most personal level.

Rachel Barenblatt: “Sodom and Gomorrah, Hurricane Sandy, and God”

Jewish tradition calls us to be the hands of God in caring for one another. To feed and clothe the widow and the orphan, those who are powerless. To permit the hungry to glean. On these matters, Torah’s voice rings clear.

And this is a test which the communities of Gomorrah and Sodom fail. Dramatically. Lot is unwilling to give up his two visitors, but he offers his daughters instead — a calculus I cannot imagine.

When and how are we complicit in pushing away the damage which our choices may create? Anyone would agree that it’s wrong to sacrifice one’s daughters to an angry mob, but does it seem okay to allow pollution to flow downriver to someone else’s town, or to allow the poorest to build their homes on flood plains or behind the levees which are in the weakest repair?

The tough news is that we’re all responsible for one another. The good news is that we’re all responsible for one another. There’s always something we can do.

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  • “The weird hipster fans then proceed to congregate, doing little, while they could be doing something useful somewhere else.”

    that’s pure  conjecture on your part. The point is he is using what celebrity he has for the cause.  They need volunteers so whatever you can do to get more people to the place is good.

    Again,I’m not saying no organization is needed.  Look, have you ever seen those charity ratings where they show how much of your money goes to helping the people? At a certain point “organization” becomes redundant and it’s just an excuse to extract funds needed for something else.

    the best charity would be one where 100% went to the cause.

  •  > the best charity would be one where 100% went to the cause.
    (shrug) The best charity would be one that so thoroughly addressed the root cause of the cause that no further funding of it was required. But nice as that might be, I accept that in the real world that’s just not how it works.


    Again,I’m not saying no organization is needed.
    Excellent. At first it seemed you were saying precisely that.

    Yes, organization is necessary, and therefore having people manage that organization is important. I’m glad we agree.

    > At a certain point “organization” becomes redundant and it’s just an excuse to extract funds needed for something else.

    Absolutely agreed. If a charity is spending half its revenue on overhead, something has gone wrong.

  • *sings quietly to himself* 3 months of winter coolness, and awesome holidays…

  • Tricksterson

    Funny you should mention Guilligan’s Island.  IIRC  one of the early episodes has them doing exactly that, running around, pretty much every man and woman for himself with the Skipper haplessly trying to get them to cooperate until an oncoming hurricane makes them realize that, to quote a certain other deserted island TV series, they have to “live togeether or die alone”.

  • We are part of western civilization. We are not going to go crazy if we don’t have The Professor telling us what to do. We’re not Gilligan, we’re all the Professor.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So if you drove down to New York to help, what would you do? How would you know you would be doing something that the people of New York need done? How would you know you weren’t duplicating someone else’s effort?

  • Horseman Bree

    Although about 50 of the above posts spend huge amounts of energy berating each other for having the wrong view of government, the original article was actually about whether the churches were helping anyone in the aftermath of Sandy.

    The least the noisemakers could do would be to get into a developing organisation like the Occupy movement and actually go do something.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/nyregion/where-fema-fell-short-occupy-sandy-was-there.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (and don’t , for f888’s sake spend any more time quibbling about whether a Lady Bic pen writes underwater better than a government-issue one)

    I notice they are working out of churches, so the answer to the original question (remember that?) is offered.

    If you can’t work with a group that works in a church, then go find an atheist place that might be helpful – but those in need won’t care one way or theoother.

  • P J Evans

     Actually, I think the original point was that some of the largest churches aren’t doing anything to help.

  • Lori


    that’s pure  conjecture on your part. 

    As is the majority of what you’ve been saying. What’s your point?


    The point is he is using what
    celebrity he has for the cause.  They need volunteers so whatever you
    can do to get more people to the place is good.  

    They need useful volunteers, so no, simply getting people to show up somewhere is not automatically good. It sounds like Hipster Dude’s heart is in the right place and that may have resulted in some real good being done. It may also have been a total waste of time. Worst case scenario, it was actually detrimental and therefore worse than useless.

    The fact that Hipster Dude’s effort give you a warm fuzzy doesn’t mean that it was a great idea.

  • Lori


    We are part of western civilization. We are not going to go crazy if we
    don’t have The Professor telling us what to do. We’re not Gilligan,
    we’re all the Professor.   

    Now you’ve added weird arrogance to your ignorance. We are not all the Professor by virtue of living in a Western nation. You certainly aren’t.

    Also, a person does not have to go “crazy” to be useless or worse than useless in an emergency.

    You know nothing about emergencies. Nothing. You need to stop talking.

    I take back what I said earlier, no matter how stringy you’d be, we would eat you first—-to shut you up before we all died of the dumb.

  • Amaryllis

    where the fuck [does Chris Hadrick] get the idea that the Egyptians were miserable and paranoid?

    I checked his link. From Rose Wilder Lane, that’s who. A Randian libertarian by any other name is still wrong.


    This is how the city of Rameses was described by the poet Paibes – Its
    fields are full of all good things and it has provisions and sustenance
    every day. Its channels abound in fish and its lakes in birds. Its
    plots are green with herbage and its banks bear dates. Its granaries are
    overflowing with barley and wheat and they reach unto the sky. Fruits
    and fish are there for sustenance and wine from the vineyards of Kankeme
    surpassing honey. He who dwells there is happy: and there the humble
    man is like the great elsewhere.

  •  That sure sounds like a nice place to be, not at all the hellhole Hadrick claims it was.

  • But to Hadrick, that *is* a hellhole.  He doesn’t want to rely on granaries and international trade.  He wants to Do It All Himself.  And he doesn’t understand why we are content to let other people do whatever they do best while we do whatever we do best and everyone benefits.

  • U.S. Set to Sponsor National Health Insurance Plans

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will soon take on a new role as the sponsor of at least two nationwide health insurance plans to be operated under contract with the federal government and offered to consumers in every state.

    These multistate plans were included in President Obama’s health care law
    as a substitute for a pure government-run health insurance program —
    the public option sought by many liberal Democrats and reviled by
    Republicans. Supporters of the national plans say they will increase
    competition in state health insurance markets, many of which are
    dominated by a handful of companies.

    Looks like Obama’s suggested plan of letting people buy into the same plan currently offered to federal employees will finally come to fruition :D

    Robert E. Moffit, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said he worried that “the nationwide health plans, operating under terms and conditions set by the federal government, will become the robust public option that liberals always wanted.”


  • Amaryllis

     You’re right, Chris probably would have ideological objections. The
    “Ramses” referred to is the Pharaoh Ramses II, known as “The Great,”
    famous for keeping whole villages employed throughout his long reign in
    building or re-building temples, and tombs, and monuments, and new
    towns. To the glory of his name, sure, but at  least the  people got jobs and food and art out of the deal.

    But to hear some people talk, a government paycheck for building a road or a canal or a public building, is still a government paycheck:  theft and mooching and dependence and general hellhole-ness, by definition

    Ramses’ kingdom didn’t last, of course; nothing lasts forever. One of Ramses’ other names was Ozymandias, and we know what a later poet had to say about him.

  • Your reputation is fine; MLP set out from the beginning to have a multi-level appeal to children and their parents and does an awesome job of it.

    The flaw in your plan is that even children have a higher level of comprehension and empathy.

  • Tricksterson

    Libertarian yes, Randian no (Not all libertarians are Randroids).  First of all she predated Rand which functionally meant that to Rand she didn’t exist since she basically maintained that she and her philosophy sprung full grown from the head of Aristotle.  Second, she was a Christian, big no-no in Rand’s book.

  • Tricksterson

    But did Lane consider it a hellhole?  Doesn’t sound like it.  The only thing of RWL’s I’ve read was The Discovery of Freedom and that was a looong time ago.

  • Tricksterson

    My bad, not predated, contemporary of, which to Rand would mean a competitor (although she was friends, for awhile, with Isabel Patterson, the other “founding mother of libertarianism”)