When I woke up this morning, I was welcomed by Ann Coulter’s lovely smile on a news website. Not my first choice to start off the day, but she wrote a column that did catch my attention. The headline? “Ebola Doc’s Condition Downgraded to ‘Idiotic'”. Wow. So basically, anyone who helps anyone, and it happens to involve personal sacrifice, is “idiotic”.
At the risk of giving her any more attention than she already is receiving, here is the original article. Read at your own risk, I am not responsible for any emotional outbursts that may follow.
Coulter starts by claiming that “Whatever good Dr. Kent Brantly did in Liberia has now been overwhelmed by the more than $2 million already paid by the Christian charities Samaritan’s Purse and SIM USA just to fly him and his nurse home…”, and “…his humanitarian trip has cost a Christian charity much more than any services he rendered.”. First off, ya think maybe, just maybe, these organizations, who serve in the third world “disease-ridden cesspools” (her words, not mine) have insurance and plans in place to deal with such situations? More important, are we to avoid any danger in life that might cost us, whether financially or emotionally? In other words Ann, you are saying that no one should drive to work tomorrow. If someone gets in a car accident (which is FAR more likely than someone catching Ebola, even if they are “marinating…in medieval diseases of the Third World”), the medical cost of treating their injuries, or Heaven forbid, burying them, costs much more than the services they would have rendered at work that day, or the salary they would have earned. Gosh, that really brings up a great point. I just don’t think we can take that risk. OK everyone, let’s all work from home, in a fallout shelter or perhaps a cave, from now on. And nobody should ever travel to Africa again. Ever.
The next claim is American Christians should minister only to Americans, citing Deuteronomy 15:11, “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.'” So, today in America, who is our brother? What is our land? People living in our neighborhood? In the same city? State? What about immigrants? What about illegal immigrants? They are living in our land, but to so many, are NOT our “brother”. Besides, most people who do serve overseas have served in the United States. Extensively. Very few people wake up one day and think, “Gee, I think I will go to Africa today and start serving others! What a fun new idea!”. Ann implies that once we leave the safety of the United States, we are prone to Ebola, and any range of cesspool induced disease. Apparently, the good ol’ USA is 100% safe.
Zavala County, just up the road from where Dr. Brantly and his family lives, is one of the poorest counties in the nation. That’s one fact in Coulter’s article that is actually true. She wonders why Dr. Brantly didn’t choose to serve there? (And who’s to say he didn’t?) Where it was safe and Ebola free? Where there was zero risk of him ever getting sick, or washed off the highway in a flash flood, or bitten by a rattlesnake while going from house to house to see who needed a dose of his so called “Christian narcissism”? There is danger everywhere. Living a life in fear is not going to advance anyone in life. We currently live outside the United States, surrounded by diseases that have all but been erradicated in the Western world. We are also the fourth safest city in the world. There are risks, and rewards, anywhere you go.
Whenever the United States offers aid to another nation, or a relief worker gets attention for going overseas, there is a huge outburst of, “Why don’t we take care of our own first?” If 42% of residents in Zavala County are below the poverty line, then reasonably, at least 42% of the town is getting government help in one form or another. The government, with all it’s flaws, doe a pretty good job, maybe too good of a job at times, of helping those in need. Outside of the government, hundreds of organizations, both Christian and secular, offer programs to assist those who want to improve themselves. Coulter throws out some frightening numbers, as proof that American Christians aren’t serving enough. “About 15,000 people are murdered in the U.S. every year. More than 38,000 die of drug overdoses, half of them from prescription drugs. More than 40 percent of babies are born out of wedlock. Despite the runaway success of “midnight basketball,” a healthy chunk of those children go on to murder other children, rape grandmothers, bury little girls alive — and then eat a sandwich”. Tragic numbers, I agree. But there is no excuse. If you are blessed to live in the United States, you have help. You just have to decide to accept it. It may not be easy, you actually have to work for it instead of expecting a handout, but it’s there.
Unfortunately, in the majority of the world, you can have all the desire and drive to change or improve yourself, but there are no programs, there is no government assistance, there is no hope. Places such as Liberia, where the average income is about $400 a year. Guess what. Some people who serve overseas are narcissistic. Some do it for attention, as Ann Coulter claims. They want to tell everyone about their heroic efforts, and their “unusual drive to help the less fortunate”. They want pictures of them hugging a Third World kid whose name they’ll never know. But, thousands do it to honestly help others, and we never hear anything about them. They go to “risky” places to help people, where there is no other help available. Guess what. Some people, Christians and non-Christians alike, who serve within the United States are narcissistic. Some do it for attention, a free t-shirt, and an instagram photo. Thousands do it to help others as well, without the thought of being “heroic”. God calls us in Mark 16:15 to “go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel” just as much as He commands us to help our brothers. If all of us serve in one capacity or another, we are all obedient to the individual desires and callings God has put in our hearts. And there’s nothing idiotic about serving each other.