Recently, the local news has run two similar stories about the Missouri Lutheran Synod donating money and sending help to disaster victims in the Phillipines and those who lost their homes in the tornado in Illinois. The news was very specific to mention that the funds and help were only going to Lutheran families. The story about the Phillipines went so far as to point out that the number of Lutherans in the Phillipines is comparatively small considering the population. A friend of mine was flipping out about this and how wrong it was. Trying to give the benefit of the doubt, I pointed out that they may be specifically helping registered members of their synod because they already know who and where they are and it’s a matter of practicality and speed. Does anyone know if this is the case, or is there an actual theological or philosophical reason for the Synod to only help other Lutherans? Is it the general practice to only help other Lutherans, or is this a special incident? I don’t think the news gave the Synod a very fair shake and it seemed to me that they deliberately took a “good story” and made it controversial.
This isn’t the typical practice - for example the LCMS ( with other Lutheran bodies) have done an exemplary job in their Malaria campaign that is for all peoples. So much so that $10 will keep a family free from Malaria for five years.
What I understand from the situation in the Philippines is that the moneys are going to Lutheran churches initially as a distribution channel because the LCMS is unsure if going through other channels would be both quick and cost effective. It’s a touchy subject, but the concern is that some of the NGOs are either not-thrify or are poor managers of funds.
Makes good sense to me. A lot of donar dollars can be wrapped up in poor management.
Better to give to a charity where you know your money in a specific situation will be well utilized.
Precisely this. The Philippines rank 105 of 176 countries when it comes to corruption. The safest way to make sure that LCMS money is truly helping people is to go through our sister churches and charities already there. On a practical note, these are the people who can be most readily found in places that have had their infrastructure destroyed by the typhoon.
This is what I suspected, though the news made it sound as if the money was only going to Lutheran victims. In the case of the tornado, they specifically said that only 13 families were getting help from the Synod. My friend was raised in the Lutheran Church and is now against “organized religion”. (I wonder how many disaster victims have ever been helped by disorganized religion?)
Strangely enough I have not heard of much giving by the disorganized religion denomination…good point
Thanks for the laugh, Mary.
Allegra, do you happen to know the news source that reported this so terribly?
I’m pretty sure it was the local Fox News on channel 2 in both cases, although the tornado might have been channel 5.
The ignorance about religion by so many in the media is so great it must be willful. I have had my words absolutely mangled by reporters, so ineptitude also comes into play. Iknew a man in the TV news business and the average story is subjected to hours of editing. Any error that remains in the story is evidence of the lack of knowledge that exists in the average news room.
Well that’s just sad IMO – not that you were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, of course, but that your friend was unwilling to do so.
I wonder if anyone has ever done a research study comparing news coverage of conservative denominations’ charities (e.g. the LCMS) with news coverage of liberal denominations’ charities (e.g. the ELCA).
No, there’s an unspoken universal rule we can only place the CC under a microscope. Gods check and balance to keep the honest, well, honest.
I’m certain we all know what the results would be… But I’d still be interested in seeing concrete numbers (though I’m not sure how coverage quality could be quantified - it’s just one of those qualitative “know it when you see it” sort of things).
Meanwhile, I did stumble across this article. Just shows that we LCMSers bring aid, help and the Gospel to everyone - not just our fellow Lutherans. We wouldn’t exactly be fulfilling the Great Commission if we didn’t!
It could have been a tornado, a flood or a hurricane. This time, it was an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that changed the lives of millions when it rocked the central region of Chile at 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2010.
The quake, one of the strongest ever recorded, sped up the earth’s rotation and shifted the earth’s axis nearly three inches. The subsequent tsunami and multiple strong aftershocks added insult to further injury. Thousands were crushed as buildings collapsed on top of them; whole families were washed away as the ocean rushed in and out. Some 700 lives were lost and 1.5 million homes and other buildings were damaged beyond repair, leaving countless thousands suddenly homeless.
As Lutherans in northern Chile watched the news reports with the rest of the world, they could not stand idle. With few people and fewer resources, the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile (ILC-Chile) quickly and carefully organized to respond.
What could they do? What difference could they make? The church leaders determined to assemble teams that would make the 350-mile journey to the region at the epicenter of the earthquake.
Each team, made up of a variety of volunteers with particular skills, among them medical, psychological and construction workers, also would include a Lutheran pastor.
The Rev. Christian Rautenberg, president of the ILC-Chile, explained that it was a priority to send in pastors who could provide soul care, both for the volunteers who would surely see and experience horrific suffering as well as for the victims of the earthquake whose lives were forever changed.
When the Lutherans arrived in the cities of Talca and Constitución, the people were stunned — “Why would you come so far to help us? We are not Lutheran, there are no Lutherans here, why did you come?”
“Because of Christ Jesus and His mercy for us on the cross,” explained the Lutherans.
Today, almost three years later, the Lutherans are still there bearing mercy in rich and wonderful ways. In fact, in each of these cities, there is a new congregation gathered around a Lutheran altar, pulpit and font, along with a community center that provides mercy and care to help people get back on their feet through job training, children’s programs and other services. Baptisms and confirmations have resulted.
Well, I do have a hunch.
Frankly, the charities of both are ignored until at such time as the media can find fault to bring down Christ.
As much as I’m unhappy with the leadership of the ELCA, the people in the pews are generally good and caring folk, and the ELCA and LCMS both have been doing great work in Africa against malaria - you’ll never hear about it in the news. But you will hear about any wayward ELCA pastors showing up in a Gay Pride show behind a spandex clad man in a bat-man cape.