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The Christian right's compassion deficit

It took President Bush three days to ready himself to go before the 
television cameras and make a public statement about Sunday's 
devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck southern Asia. Even 
though he was late, and much more money will be needed, the president 
pledged at least $35 million in aid to the victims of the disaster. 
But, as of December 30, some of the president's major family-values 
constituents have yet to be heard from: It's business as usual at the 
web sites of the American Family Association, the Family Research 
Council, the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Concerned 
Women for America, and the Coral Ridge Ministries. 
These powerful and well-funded political Christian fundamentalist 
organizations appear to be suffering from a compassion deficit. 
Organizations which are amazingly quick to organize to fight against 
same-sex marriage, a woman's right to choose, and embryonic stem cell 
research are missing in action when it comes to responding to the 
disaster in southern Asia. None of their web sites are actively 
soliciting aid for the victims of the earthquake/tsunami. 

In fact, there is no mention of the giant earthquake and tsunami that 
devastated southern Asia. There are no headlines about the dead, 
injured or the tremendous damage; there are no urgent appeals for 
donations; there are no phone numbers to call; there are no links to 
organizations collecting money and providing aid for the victims. 

Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand were among the countries 
hardest hit by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which sent huge waves 
that smashed boats, uprooted trees and destroyed structures from 
Malaysia to Africa, the Associated Press (AP) reported. As of 
Thursday, the death toll had soared to more than 114,000, millions 
were homeless from the disaster, and many more were still unaccounted 

The web sites of the same organizations that organized a campaign to 
block Arlen Specter from ascending to the chairmanship of Senate 
Judiciary Committee within hours of his post-election night warning 
to President Bush about radically conservative judicial nominees are 
now silent. 

At the Reverend Donald Wildmon's Mississippi-based American Family 
Association (AFA) web site, the preferred cause -- and top story -- 
concerns the upcoming battle over the president's judicial 
appointees. The AFA hasn't forgotten about gays and lesbians: Under 
the headline "P&G Chairman Gives Thousands to Promote Homosexual 
Agenda" the AFA claims that "A.G. Lafley, CEO of Procter & Gamble, 
recently gave $5,163 in P&G stock to help the homosexual community 
repeal a law in Cincinnati that prohibited giving special rights to 

The web site also salutes the Rev. Wildmon for being named one of "10 
Who Made a Mark on Marketing" in 2004, featured in the December 20 
issue of Advertising Age. 

"Like him or hate him, this family-values crusader is having a big 
impact on marketing," the magazine states. "Although his American 
Family Association has been around for more than 20 years, the 
influence of Wildmon's group, which targets advertisers in TV shows 
it finds offensive via its 200,000-strong One Million Moms and One 
Million Dads e-mail network, is growing. Most recently, AFA convinced 
Lowe's and Tyson to pull their advertising from ABC's hottest new 
property, 'Desperate Housewives.'"

As of Wednesday evening I hadn't received any e-mail alerts regarding 
the earthquake from either the One Million Moms or the One Million 
Dads. The "current issue" at One Million Moms and Dads is a campaign 
to get the Burlington Coat Factory to cease advertising on "Life as 
We Know It" and "Desperate Housewives," television programs the AFA 
finds objectionable. 

Over at the Family Research Council's web site, the powerful 
Washington, DC,-based family-values lobbying group is outraged that 
Christians are getting cheated out of Christmas, with two 
stories, "Is the Grinch Stealing Christmas?" and "Merry BAH HUMBUG-
mas!" focusing on this. There are no alerts about the 

At the Christian Coalition's (CC) web site, the organization's 
president, Roberta Combs, is busy thanking CC supporters for 
their "time and effort in getting millions of Christian Coalition 
voter guides (English & Spanish) distributed to your family, friends, 
churches, Christian bookstores and neighborhoods all across America.", the web site of Dr. James Dobson's Colorado Springs, 
Colorado-based multi-media mega-ministry, Focus on the Family, is all 
over the map with its features: From messages to "remember Focus on 
the Family in your year-end giving," to helpful hints on how to 
survive Christmas without "The Lord of the Rings," to movie reviews 
of "Fat Albert" (thumbs up), "The Aviator (thumbs down), "Meet the 
Fockers" (a disappointed thumbs down), and "Lemony Snicket's A Series 
of Unfortunate Events (a reluctant thumbs up). 

First and foremost, Concerned Women for America (CWA) wants you to 
know "The Truth About Alfred Kinsey." The twenty-five year-old 
organization, which bills itself as "the nation's largest public 
policy women's organization," is also offering a "Special Christmas 
Feature" from Dr. Beverly LaHaye, founder of the organization, and 
Dr. Janice Crouse. But not a word on the earthquake/tsunami. 

Coral Ridge Ministries (CRM), Dr. D. James Kennedy's Fort Lauderdale, 
Florida-based operation, is also looking in other directions. At its 
web site there are advertisements for the CRM's upcoming Reclaiming 
America For Christ Conference, which will be held in mid-February, 
and for several of Dr. Kennedy's sermons. 

At, the mother of all conservative web sites and "the 
first truly interactive community on the Internet to bring Internet 
users, conservative public policy organizations, congressional staff, 
and political activists together under the broad umbrella 
of 'conservative' thoughts, ideas and actions," current headlines are 
totally absent earthquake/tsunami news. Here are the top five stories 
as of December 29: "Reggie White, defender of faith -- on and off the 
field"; "Focus should shift from testing to teaching"; "False 
friends"; "Cheap drugs or safe drugs?"; and "European court forces 
Microsoft to alter its products." 

Over at, the Rev. Jerry Falwell is explaining "The True 
Meaning of Christmas," recruiting for his new organization, The Moral 
Majority Coalition, and soliciting cruisers for a late July sojourn 
aboard the Queen Mary II. 

While many Christian evangelical organizations have rushed to help 
the victims, why aren't the nation's major religious right political 
groups -- quick to claim the moral high-ground at every opportunity --
 putting their organizational muscle to good use? Why hasn't the 
devastation from the earthquake/tsunami been on the radar screens of 
these groups? Are they all on a values vacation?
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