A CONSERVATIVE DEFENSE: Of International Aid – Yes, It Can Be Done The Right Way

Written by Wes Walker on October 25, 2015

So, you know someone with a trendy “Free Tibet” logo on a bumper sticker, do you? Or someone who’s really vocal about the “Save Darfur” message?

Have they weighed in on Mosul yet? Maybe not. Let me set the background for you.

The remoteness of a story so far away can make it seem sterile and surreal. So, as you read this, imagine someone that you know facing this choice. A young family — perhaps your own, or someone you care about — thrust suddenly into an impossible situation.

Because in Mosul, life for so many truly changed in one day.

The impossible choice they faced caused 100,000 people from that single city to be displaced — literally — overnight. Convert, pay a fine, or run for your very lives.

And many did run. The left behind homes, valuables, businesses, and fled with only their lives.

Others faced the taxes. Jizya, it’s called.

How much was that tax? Quoting one article … roughly a year’s wages, £5,200.  Not everyone who remained could pay up. So, they were executed.

Even those who stayed had it bad. One jihadi received dental treatment. The dentist said don’t worry about payment, just leave.

The jihadi thought it would be a violation of Sharia to accept treatment without paying. So — payment was given. It was in the form of a young girl (think: sex slave) who had been kidnapped from her family.

His choice: accept the macabre “payment”, or be shot. (See the same article.) He took the girl, intending to do the only possible right thing: he found her family and tried to reunite them.

They said “keep her”. She’s no longer a virgin, so they don’t want her. How many more stories are there like that girl’s?

Where is the outrage? The compassion?

Aside from crushing those monsters militarily, what can — or even should — be done?

Typically, we demand our government “do something”. Large quantities of resources are sent over with sometimes dubious results. Remember the Red Cross earthquake relief in Haiti? Half a billion dollars and only six permanent homes?

I explain my reasons more fully in my book, but simply put, there actually is a better way.

The problem when a large corporate entity (a country, an agency, whatever) takes large-scale actions they can often get amazing things done but something is lost in the process.

By contrast, when a private individual, or even a small group gets together to give some targeted help — in whatever sense or situation “help” might be offered — both giver and receiver are known to each other.

It is too easy to passively receive a handout from an agency, without realizing individual people themselves gave up something to supply that need.

Likewise it is easy, just signing a cheque, to “check off” the charity box from your “to do list”.

Signing the cheque does not bridge you to the name, or even the city or village that charity might be helping. This is true whether you are helping a retiree, or an orphan; building a water project, or a clinic. But what can make charity better?

Instead of an impersonal “let’s hope the government gets involved” mentality, what if we took a more personal — and more redemptive approach?

When you can, make the bridge between the giver and the receiver as direct as possible, so that the recipient doesn’t diminish the giver to some government cash cow (“ask Lesko!”). If a person voluntarily gave to a cause, it’s a gift, a special kindness.

Apply this, not just to international situations like Mosul, but even local charity, however great or small. If it’s someone giving of their time, talent, and treasure, for someone else’s benefit, that’s wonderfully redemptive.

This process ultimately humanizes both the giver and the receiver.  It elevates the process from a mere transaction by a government agency, to a personal act of kindness. People who see it as such, are less likely to take it for granted. Are more likely to appreciate it, and may even look forward to the day that they, too, can “pay it forward”.

How do we apply this redemptive model to situations like this one?

First off, those of you who pray, do so.

Next, identify what need you are intending to help with. Is someone already doing that? Is there some way you can get involved? Are some types of help more effective than others? Do you have any incorrect assumptions?

Also, the more directly you are involved, the more you will sense the “ownership” of it.

Remember all in those war-torn-areas, but the Christians in particular have been targeted. Keep them in prayer. Consider what areas you feel drawn to help with.

Remember: Jesus cared deeply about the poor. And we should, too. It’s part of His legacy.

But He never, EVER, said it was Rome’s job. It was always the church that fed the widows, adopted the orphaned, visited plague victims.

Maybe if the Church stepped up and did what it was called to, some of the Big-government programs we complain about might become redundant.

Just think of the win-win.

A smaller government with us all more free, and a direct, caring outreach that is redemptive rather than entitlement-culture in nature.

Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sfthq/2779050544//

Share if you think it’s time to rethink the way we do “international aid”.