Beyond Made-for-TV Aid | Sojourners

Beyond Made-for-TV Aid

It only took a few days of international criticism to transform President Bush'

It only took a few days of international criticism to transform President Bush’s tsunami aid package from a $15 million bone thrown from the back porch of the Crawford ranch to a $350 million made-for-TV model of international cooperation—complete with guest stars George H. W. and Bill Clinton.

With polls demonstrating the mutual enmity between the U.S. and the Muslim populations, perhaps administration pragmatists got religion (the good news kind) and decided that Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount suggestion to "do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27) suddenly seemed applicable to the current dispensation. Aid given to civilians in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, could turn potential enemies in the war on terror into friends. Or at least swing them to neutral.

Of course, such faith-based initiatives are but filthy rags compared to the gospel according to East Timor. Among the poorest nations in the world, it pledged $50,000 in aid for Indonesia—the country that had brutally occupied East Timor for 24 years following a U.S.-aided invasion in 1975. Truly, I tell you, they have given more than those who have contributed out of their abundance (Mark 12:43-44).

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Sojourners Magazine March 2005
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