Wednesday, September 2, 2009

CROP Hunger Walk

March of Dimes, CROP Hunger Walk, Muscular Dystrophy Telethon - staples of the community-wide fundraisers many of us experienced annually in our youth. As American as mom and apple pie. They all seem innocent enough; just a sincere desire to help the less fortunate who suffer from disease, disability and disaster. Recently the CROP Hunger Walk came across my desk once again and I became curious about its background. Where did it actually originate? Is it connected with some church organization? I knew so little about it. For those who have been curious about the same questions and may be thinking of participating, the following is provided by way of disclosure.

CROP Hunger Walk
describes itself as "Neighbors walking together to take a stand against hunger in our world. Together we raise awareness and funds for international relief and development, as well as local hunger-fighting." Fair enough. Sounds like another relief organization. CROP, by the way, is not a 'stand alone' organizaion, however. It is a subsidiary of the parent organization Church World Service. In very small print at the bottom of their web page the following brief line is offered by way of explanation as to the purpose of the organization: "Church World Service works with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world." Although short, this sentence tells much. As opposed to just a simple relief agency, CWS obviously involves itself in political issues as well. Which should be no surprise when one traces CWS to its parent organization the National Council of Churches. Founded in 1950, they describe themselves, in turn, as "the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's member faith groups — from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches — include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation."

A careful examination of the last two websites will quickly reveal the unique agenda of boilerplate liberal Christianity: eco-justice issues, global warming, women's issues, ecumenical relations, universal health care, etc. Now don't get me wrong. They also address issues of poverty and hunger. But beware. This is not simply a relief agency. It is a political advocacy and relief agency, whose agenda is distinctly directed by politically and religiously liberal influences.

You can read for yourself the articles they include and see what they represent. They speak for themselves.

I did not find much help at LCMS website regarding the background and purpose of the CROP Hunger Walk. This is surprising considering that many LCMS parishes probably participate in it. After doing an internal search I did find this statement regarding the NCC: "The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod does not belong to either the National Council of Churches (NCC) or to the World Council of Churches (WCC). However, on the recommendation of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations, the Executive Director participates in the NCC's Faith and Order Commission as a representative from a nonmember church body. At the request of the synodical President, the Executive Director generally attends WCC assemblies as an observer." Interestingly I also found a link to Church World Service under the heading "Disaster." Specifically it was the Church World Service Emergency Response Program.

In terms of agencies that we can and should support to help the poor and hungry and displaced, I can think of no better one than LCMS World Relief and Human Care. Rev. Matt Harrison is doing a wonderful job here and above all I trust his theological discretion.

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