The Power of the Middle. It took some chiding for President Obama to finally visit flood-ravaged Louisiana. Donald Trump flew in for a photo-op. But the real story there is neighbor helping neighbor.Nearly a third of the homes in Baton Rouge were affected by the flood. Many residents did not have flood insurance. Some of the uninsured dropped flood insurance because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) re-drew flood maps in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and sent letters to thousands of Louisiana residents telling them they no longer needed flood insurance.
But where FEMA failed, the “Cajun Navy” has sailed to the rescue. Thousands of Louisianans paddled their own way to safety, and then started helping their neighbors. And Christian relief organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and the Southern Baptist Convention have mobilized a massive response.
Amusing Ourselves To Death. If you want to measure the cultural temperature of a modern country, take a look at movie box office receipts. The number one movie at the box office last week was “Don’t Breathe,” a movie that one reviewer described as “a muscular exercise in brutal, relentless peril.” “Kubo and the Two Strings” is the only family-friendly fare in the top five, and while the movie is visually stunning and has no overtly objectionable material, its worldview is not friendly toward Christianity, with overt nods to Eastern Mysticism. “Ben-Hur” cemented its reputation as one of the worst box-office disasters in recent history. It has pulled in only $20 million against a production budget of $100 million. When you add marketing and other expenses, that number will likely double. Hopefully this dismal performance won’t kill Christian-themed movies, though it’s hard to imagine that it won’t have a dampening effect. Also of interest: Dinesh D’Souza’s “Hillary’s America” has pulled in only $12 million, far less than his previous politically themed documentaries.
World Vision Suspended. Germany and Australia have suspended funding for World Vision. The decision comes after Israel accused World Vision’s Gaza director of funneling $7.2 million to Hamas. Mindy Belz, who covers international affairs for WORLD, said, “Basically, what we’re learning from this story, as we have with other exposés involving the group, is that World Vision operates as a government proxy for aid more than as a Christian humanitarian organization.”
China Syndrome. The human rights organization Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has filed an official complaint against China with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, showing that “coercive population control continues under the new Two-Child Policy.” Read the full text of the Complaint here. According to Reggie Littlejohn, the organization’s founder and president, China’s well-publicized announcement that it had moved from a One-Child Policy to a Two-Child Policy has not ended forced abortions or sterilizations in the country. “Characterizing this latest modification as ‘abandoning’ the One-Child Policy is misleading,” she said. Reggie Littlejohn was a speaker at the Colson Center’s Wilberforce Weekend, held in April. For more information about next year’s event: www.wilberforceweekend.org
Warren Cole Smith is an investigative journalist and author as well as the Colson Center vice president for mission advancement.