Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


Haiti’s agony

posted by Rod Dreher

I apologize for having been away from the keys all day. I’m in New York doing Templeton stuff, and haven’t been able to find a wifi connection at the places I’ve been. I woke up this morning to the terrible news from Haiti. The latest from the NYT:

Calling the death toll “unimaginable” as he surveyed the wreckage, Haiti’s president, René Préval, said he had no idea where he would sleep. Schools, hospitals and a prison collapsed. Sixteen United Nations peacekeepers were killed and at least 140 United Nations workers were missing, including the chief of its mission, Hédi Annabi. The city’s archbishop, Msgr. Joseph Serge Miot, was feared dead.
And the poor who define this nation squatted in the streets, some hurt and bloody, many more without food and water, close to piles of covered corpses and rubble. Limbs protruded from disintegrated concrete, muffled cries emanated from deep inside the wrecks of buildings — many of them poorly constructed in the first place — as Haiti struggled to grasp the unknown toll from its worst earthquake in more than 200 years.

I would recommend to you the Christian theologian David Bentley Hart’s two reflections upon the theological meaning of the catastrophic tsunami of 2004 ago (see first here, then here). Excerpt:

When confronted by the sheer savage immensity of worldly suffering–when we see the entire littoral rim of the Indian Ocean strewn with tens of thousands of corpses, a third of them children’s–no Christian is licensed to utter odious banalities about God’s inscrutable counsels or blasphemous suggestions that all this mysteriously serves God’s good ends. We are permitted only to hate death and waste and the imbecile forces of chance that shatter living souls, to believe that creation is in agony in its bonds, to see this world as divided between two kingdoms–knowing all the while that it is only charity that can sustain us against “fate,” and that must do so until the end of days.

I don’t see much use in theodicy in the face of what the poor Haitians are enduring. I see only the impetus to act to relieve their pain. If you want to give, here is information for how to donate to the Red Cross’s Haitian relief fund. Please, do the right thing for these poorest of the world’s poor, who now have less than nothing.



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AnotherBeliever

posted January 14, 2010 at 12:19 am


It’s a terrible situation. It really is of the same order of magnitude as that December tsunami several years back!
I’m just glad that the entire Nepali Army UN Peacekeeping detachment is safe: my sister-in-law’s cousin is serving with them and the whole family in Kathmandu’s been pretty upset at the news from Haiti.



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MH

posted January 14, 2010 at 10:34 am


Rod, this text “If you want to give, here is information for how to donate to the Red Cross’s Haitian relief fund” doesn’t appear to be hyper linked anywhere. I would assume just going to http://www.redcross.org/ will do the trick.
Besides the Red Cross does anyone know of some other relief organizations? I’m not saying don’t give to the Red Cross, but during emergencies other charities often don’t get the resources they need too.



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Kris D

posted January 14, 2010 at 11:22 am


Catholic Relief Services is on the ground in Haiti – check out http://crs.org/



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Richard Bottoms

posted January 14, 2010 at 11:48 am


Ah, the modern GOP.
Well, it didn’t take long for conservative firebrand Rush Limbaugh to use the crisis in Haiti to attack President Obama politically. On his radio show yesterday Limbaugh said the earthquake in Haiti will play right into Obama’s hands by allowing him to play up his “compassionate” and “humanitarian” credentials, and that the President will use this crisis to “boost his credibility with the black community.”
As if that weren’t enough, Limbaugh also pivoted off a caller who complained about Obama directing the public to the White House website to find charitable organizations operating in Haiti to promote a conspiracy theory that finding these charities via the White House website puts your money at risk of not reaching Haitians.



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Charles Cosimano

posted January 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm


Just another example to prove that while there may have been a designer, it is a mistake to believe that he was intelligent. The earth was clearly put together by someone who flunked engineering school. If a car were made with the flaws that the earth has in its basic construction, it would be on continous recall.



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Alicia

posted January 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm


The quote by David Bentley Hart is exactly right. I woke up this morning in my small but comfortable apartment, and was reminded as I watched the Today Show (while getting ready for work) how darned lucky I am to have a job, a roof over my head, and a life. Those who try and use this disaster to score political or religious points are truly warped and unhappy people.



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Your Name

posted January 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm


How dumb do you have to be to confuse an individual with an organization?
Apparently you have to be close to the Bottoms percentile.



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kevin s.

posted January 14, 2010 at 2:52 pm


Rush is a radio host who has a daily show discussing politics, so that’s what he did. Conan O’Brien, a comedian spent his monologue bashing NBC, and said nothing of the earthquake, because he’s a comedian, and that’s what he does.
Using Rush as an example of the heartlessness of “the GOP” is no less political than anything Rush has said. Your comment does nothing, at all, in any way shape or form, to depoliticize the issue. It does precisely the opposite. You, Richard, are politicizing this tragedy.



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Richard Bottoms

posted January 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm


Ah, the modern GOP.
Well, it didn’t take long for conservative firebrand Rush Limbaugh to use the crisis in Haiti to attack President Obama politically. On his radio show yesterday Limbaugh said the earthquake in Haiti will play right into Obama’s hands by allowing him to play up his “compassionate” and “humanitarian” credentials, and that the President will use this crisis to “boost his credibility with the black community.”
As if that weren’t enough, Limbaugh also pivoted off a caller who complained about Obama directing the public to the White House website to find charitable organizations operating in Haiti to promote a conspiracy theory that finding these charities via the White House website puts your money at risk of not reaching Haitians.



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Major Wootton

posted January 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm


Real action to help, and reference to discussions like Hart’s, will, along with more important things, help to offset Pat Robertson’s dubious remark.



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Brian L

posted January 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm


Charles, to take a point of view and argue only part of it is a bit dishonest. If one holds the biblical belief in the Judeo-Christian God as creator of the world, then the related belief that creation is broken and corrupted as a result of the fall of man into is at play as well. Traditional Christian doctrine holds that the very disasters we see are creation crying out for restoration.
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:22-23 http://ref.ly/Ro8.22
Disaster does not equal proof that the Creator is not intelligent.



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Jon

posted January 15, 2010 at 6:40 am


Re: the related belief that creation is broken and corrupted as a result of the fall of man into is at play as well.
I am not sure I agree that “creation” (that is the physical universe) is broken, as opposed to human nature alone being corrupted. Perhaps the problem is that due to our own falleness we experience creation as broken because we no longer it within it properly.



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