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Why is it that the same people seem to get hit, over and over, in various ways? Why Haiti - so poor, so oppressed, so desperate. Haven't they enough to bear? We, in California, just had a 6.5 quake and hardly anyone was hurt and as far as i can tell none of the damage was more than ... inconvenient. It's such a contrast. The old, Puritan way of looking at things would say that God gives wealth to those who are worthy and so those who aren't simply deserve what they get. I certainly don't buy that - I hope most people no longer do - but the truth is that perhaps this belief is, to some degree, at the bottom of what goes on in disasters. Poor people in New Orleans were left to suffer third-world country conditions in the superdome. Poor people in Haiti are vulnerable because their entire lives are ... unsupported. They don't have houses, they don't have running water, they don't have sanitary facilities, they have very limited access to medical services, food, etc. And, to some degree, we all seem to believe that old Puritan adage that God gives to those who deserve. I don't say this to try to just create controversy - I am looking at myself as well. If we, as a society, are not putting our money and political support behind support services for all then it seems to me that we are, at least implicitly, supporting that Puritan belief. Any one of us, at any time, could suddenly find ourselves on the street. Having been there, I know that in those circumstances, at least in this country, it is VERY difficult not to believe, yourself, that if you were a good, a worthy person you would NOT be on the street. If you doubt this would be true to you, try talking to a homeless person as if you and they were on an equal footing. If you are really honest, I think you will find it very difficult.
So... that's what Haiti makes me think of. It makes me think of us - of how God works through us, and how we all continue to suffer for the ways in which we choose not to confront our deeper beliefs - individual and cultural both.