November 4, 2005

Religious Beliefs Interfere With Hurricane Relief

Religion is often celebrated as a factor which motivates people to do good (as if simple compassion for one's fellow human requires belief in an imaginary sky daddy). However, this story from Florida's NBC2 News shows another side. Southern Baptist relief workers are refusing to distribute water to hurricane victims because the water was donated to the Red Cross by Anheuser-Busch. Why? The report doesn't make that clear. In fact, it sounds like the church representatives were not interested in discussing their reasons.

According to one Southern Baptist volunteer, "The pastor didn't want to hand out the Budweiser cans to people and that's his prerogative and I back him 100-percent." Again, it is important to note that these "Budweiser cans" contained water. When asked about their reasons, the same volunteer quoted above said, "Why do you want to make that the issue? That's not the issue. The issue is that we're here trying to help people." Interesting except that I'm not sure how refusing to provide water because of what is probably a faith-based objection is helpful.

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