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The Haiti Question

  • November 29, -0001
So many questions swirl up from the rubble of the Haiti earthquake that it almost seems presumptuous to pick one as somehow of most significance. How can a country become and remain so impoverished? What kind of leaders allow this to happen, while they aggrandandize themselves on the back of their neighors' squalor? Why is the world so urgent to rush to Haiti's aid now when the disaster of Haiti has been around for many years and is largely ignored?

These are important questions, and someone should be trying to answer them. But I have a larger question, and I think it is the most significant one we can raise about the earthquake in Haiti because it has worldwide implications. We live in a secular age, where, everywhere in the developed world, school children are raised to believe that "survival of the fittest" is the law of the jungle, the central thread - sometimes referred to as "natural selection" - of the doctrine of evolution, and the only true explanation of human origins, development, and history. Oh really?

If that's the case, why are the nations of the developed world so suddenly inconsistent with this most firmly entrenched value? Why, in the face of Haiti's disaster and suffering, aren't they circling the island like buzzards, waiting for the weak and impoverished to die off, so someone somewhere can turn this place into a money-making resort paradise? If "natural selection" is, indeed, the order of the universe, then it would seem that "nature" has made its "selection." Now, instead of coming to comfort, feed, heal, and rebuild, the nations of the world should be kicking the last remaining Haitians off the island and snapping up the spoils for themselves. That is, if they really believed all that "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest" stuff.

But they don't. Deep inside we are moved to compassion for sufferers because we are made in the image of God, Who has compassion for the poor and suffering, and we cannot help but be like Him when push comes to shove in a tragic place like Haiti. The human community ceases to be the crude, gene-driven beasts they otherwise trumpet themselves to be and becomes the next best thing to angels in the face of tragedies like this because it's who we are, what we are, and what we know we must do - love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

The outpouring of compassion for the people of Haiti will continue until the last home is rebuilt and the last wound healed. And this is as it should be, and as it always will be, because we are not merely higher forms of animals. We are the image-bearers of a God Who cares, loves, has compassion, heals, and redeems.

T. M. Moore

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