In many arenas, such as blogs, e-forums, letters, and speeches, Christian beliefs are questioned, challenged, and even mocked. This is especially true of the beliefs and practices of evangelical conservative Christians in America. According to some, conservative Christians are no different than fascists or Taliban. See, for instance, Rosie O’Donnell’s characterization of Christians as “radical” and as dangerous as “radical Islam.”
Comments such as these are not true and are based on either mischaracterizations or outright bias-filled deceptions. I would very much be surprised to find any organizations in America that have contributed more to the well-being of humanity than Christians, conservative or not, responding to this hurting world with the compassion of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Motivated by no more than to follow the example of the Jesus, the Son of God, Christian men and women have given selflessly of themselves and their resources throughout the history of America.
One case in point is this year’s special project of the American Baptist Women (ABW) (a mission support society) of the American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky (ABC/IN-KY). Their highlight this year is HOPE UNLIMITED for CHILDREN. The following info is taken from their website:
Life on the Street:
* The numbers, alone, tell us there is a problem: In Brazil, there are from 7-8 million children between the ages of 5 and 18 living on the streets, and by all standards, in extreme poverty.
* Both girls and boys face the same challenges for survival – begging: sleeping under cardboard, sheets of tin or bridges; using their wits to escape the assaults of the police and others on the streets. They exhibit extraordinary amounts of fear, distrust and an inability to relate to others.
* Children of the street are involved in robberies, drug sales, petty theft, prostitution, and gang activity. Young street girls commonly use prostitution as a way of supporting themselves.
* Life ends early for children on the streets. One respected study indicated that up to 62% of girls living on the street commit suicide or are brutally murdered. Few live to age 25 if they stay on the streets more than 10 years.
* Almost all street youth use drugs, mostly solvents and inhalants. Resultant brain damage and mental problems further complicate their lives. One teen mother was observed sharing her glue soaked sleeve with her crying infant.
* AIDS is now a ticking time bomb, making its rounds among the children. Many street children have reported incidents of rape. Most are sexually active and almost half are forced to have sex. Almost 60% of kids between the ages of 7 to 12 are forced to have anal intercourse.
* Youngsters who were once looked upon as deserving of compassion and sympathy are now viewed at best as a nuisance, and at worst, as a danger to public safety -- future criminals who ought to be locked up.
* In the early 1990s, because of their drug use, predatory crimes, and general unacceptability, street children were the targets of local vigilante groups, drug gangs, and police "death squads." Thousands of street children were systematically rounded up and murdered.
* All of this tragically violates everything God intended for these children. Only initiatives like that offered by Hope Unlimited can provide comprehensive solutions.
Through Christian compassion and response, this issue is being addressed. Similarly, thousands of other Christian ministries have been established worldwide to share the salvation from God through the sacrifice of Jesus, to address the plights of those in poverty, and to bring hope to a sin-plagued world. This, indeed, is Christianity in its most “radical” application. Do not be misled or deterred by those who seek to do harm to the reality of the meaning and mission of followers of the Lamb of God. For more information about the specific ministry of Hope Unlimited, follow the link to their website.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35 (NIV)