14 Jan 2010Blog

Haiti — No time to pray

by Jonathan

A very good friend mine wrote these words in the form of a letter which he is sending to various Canadian newspaper editors. I’m quoting him here because I also find that people are far too quick to recommend prayer as a viable solution in many of the articles I read about the situation in Haiti.

The tears flow freely this morning as I watch the devastation that is Haiti. But my tears and blood begin to boil when I hear seemingly every report end with the refrain that we all must pray for the people of Haiti.

This is no time to pray.

This is a time to ask why nine million people are living on a patch of ground fit for a half million. Time to ask why more than half of the tropical island of Hispaniola is a treed paradise and the remainder is a dust wasteland – and why the line between the two is visible from space. It’s time to ask the Pope, who has the gall to ask us all to donate, what the issue is again with the targeted use of some delicate rubber or other means of contraception.

Its time to review humanity’s relation to its landbase. What happens when the population exceeds the carrying capacity of given patch of land. What happens in Afghanistan? What happens in Somalia? In Yemen? Gaza? Rwanda? Chad? Do people deforest the land of whatever fuel energy remains, build the hovels that poverty allows and die under the rubble with the first gust of wind or shaking of the ground? If they are lucky, yes. If they are not, the machetes, machine guns, or rape gangs get them or turn them into child soldiers for the next round of horror.

It is time to face up to the fact that praying is not producing results. We prayed for Haiti four times lately when hurricanes decimated that country while leaving other countries that still had trees to hold the hillsides. Those prayers, if heard, were answered with a 7.0 quake.

This is no time to pray.