Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Bell Just Tolled for New Orleans Too

Well since I lasted posted on Monday, a lot has changed in New Orleans. Monday night and Tuesday morning we all were breathing sighs of relief that, at least, the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans had been spared the worst of Katrina's wrath.

Back then, I tried to make a point that natural disasters and tragedies were not the wrath of some dyspeptic god, but were random acts with no rhyme or reason. That was in answer to all the many times that a small number of Evangelicals such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Franklin Graham had made silly claims that either their prayer warriors had prevented a hurricane from ravaging their part of the country, or even worse, had claimed that areas which were severly damaged had brought it upon themselves because their citizens were: 1) not proper Christian believers; 2) were tolerant of gays, femininists, and liberals; or 3) had in some other way grievously offended God.

My point, earlier, was that the red-state Bible Belt certainly hadn't been spared by Katrina, while the French Quarter, long an oasis of tolerance to gays, political liberalism, and downright libertine fun had made out better than their more uptight, conservative neighbors.

Although that turned out not to be true, my basic point in that post, which was that nobody, regardless of their belief system or behavior, is immune to random catastrophe is still valid.

So, the only real question now is how do we help the victims in any way we can? Truly, in tragedy of this magnitude, it doesn't matter whether a person is from a blue state or a red state, is aDemocrat or Republican; or is a Christian or non-Christian. All that does matter is the fact that there are some hurting humans out there in desperate need. And the resources of all the major charities are going to be stretched very thin by this catastrophe.

There are many websites out there with information on where to give. And I also want to urge any reader who comes here to please give whatever you can to help others. This is the time to be united because in this international age, where we are connected everywhere by the Internet, we are all global citizens. We all share a basic humanity and that must include compassion.

The very best link that I could find is this one to The New York Times. It's the most comprehensive listing of charities and The Times is continually updating it. It has grown since I first looked at it this morning. So, you'll be able to pick which charity to donate to and know that your money is going to a reputable organization that you feel comfortable with.

Don't skip the first link to Charity Navigator, which gives good advice on how to pick a legitimate charity and avoid getting ripped off. Sadly, there will be a lot of con artists out there seeking to take advantage of others' misery. Giving to a scam artist just wastes your money because it doesn't go to the folks who really need it, so please avoid that by researching and arming yourself with knowledge. And please donate generously. I know I will.

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