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1 - New Wineskins or New Wine? The Evolution of Ecumenical Humanitarian Assistance

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

The Evolution of Ecumenical Humanitarian Assistance

Elizabeth G. Ferris

THIS IS THE story of the global ecumenical movement and the way it has structured its philanthropic action in response to the needs of the world—and the needs of its members. In particular, it is the story of six decades of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and its many related organizations as they have grappled with the question of Christian responsibility to the poor and needy, to refugees, and to victims of floods, tsunamis, and earthquakes. The focus of this essay is on ecumenical humanitarian response—a term that perhaps needs some unpacking. An “ecumenical response” is one in which churches work together in their humanitarian action and see themselves as part of the global movement toward Christian unity. “Humanitarian response” refers to those actions toward people in immediate need or for people who are victims of conflicts, natural disasters, or oppressive governments. In its ideal form, humanitarian work is shaped by the basic principles of humanity, independence, impartiality, and neutrality.

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7 - Religious Philanthropies and Government Social Programs

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

Sheila S. Kennedy

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE partnered with a wide variety of religious philanthropies for many decades, and, for most of that time, those partnerships have garnered relatively little attention or comment. That state of affairs changed rather abruptly in 1996 with the passage of Section 104 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA).1

PRWORA was the first of a series of legislative acts that are usually referred to collectively as “charitable choice” laws. They were promoted as efforts to encourage greater numbers of religious charities (euphemistically labeled “faith-based organizations”2) to work with agencies of government to provide social services to the needy. The original charitable choice measures were buried within the massive welfare reform bill signed into law by President Clinton; however, when George W. Bush was elected president in 2000, he unveiled (with a good deal of fanfare) a new “faith-based initiative,” incorporating and building on charitable choice legislation. The initiative was frequently described as a centerpiece of the Bush administration’s domestic policy.

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4 - Heartbroken for God's World: The Story of Bob Pierce, Founder of World Vision and Samaritan's Purse

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

The Story of Bob Pierce, Founder of World Vision and Samaritan's Purse

David P. King

AS FOUNDER OF both World Vision and Samaritan's Purse, Bob Pierce may rank as the leading religious philanthropist of the twentieth century. He first visited China as an evangelist in 1947. Upon his arrival, a Dutch Reformed missionary, Tena Hoelkeboer, invited him to preach to her school of four hundred Chinese girls. Pierce agreed, but, the day after his short evangelistic sermon, one of Hoelkeboer's students, White Jade, informed her father that she had converted to Christianity. Her father's response was to throw her out of the house. Hoelkeboer, distressed at the prospect of taking on yet another orphan, demanded of Pierce, “What are you going to do about it?”1 Pierce gave Hoelkeboer ten dollars, all the money he had, and promised to send more each month on his return to the United States. After his return home, Pierce recounted the story to his American audiences, and it continues to be retold as the origin of both World Vision and Samaritan's Purse. Pierce's initial overseas encounter changed him. He had gone as a young American evangelist but returned as a missionary ambassador, bringing both the spiritual and physical needs of the world to the attention of American evangelicals.2

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10 - Myth vs. Reality: Muslim American Philanthropy since 9/11

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

Muslim American Philanthropy since 9/11

Shariq A. Siddiqui

THERE ARE DEFINING moments in our lives. I remember my parents describing the moment they first heard that John F. Kennedy was assassinated and when my professors talked about the moment Martin Luther King, Jr., or Robert Kennedy was killed. I was amazed by their memory and used to be thankful that such an event had not occurred in my generation's lifetime. That changed on September 11, 2001.

As I watched the horrific images on television, praying that the perpetrators were not Muslims, I knew that this moment was significant, but I did not realize that it would be a defining moment for Muslim Americans. The lives of Muslim Americans were changed in profound ways on that day. Many have argued that the events that followed due to the tragedy of 9/11 have had a negative effect on Muslim Americans and especially their philanthropic activity. In order to understand the impact on Muslim American philanthropy after September11, 2001, it is important first to understand Islamic philanthropy, learn about Muslim American history, and explore who Muslim Americans are before looking into their philanthropic activities.

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2 - Religious Ambivalence in Jewish American Philanthropy

NoContributor Indiana University Press ePub

Shaul Kelner

PASSOVER 1967. AFTER an outcry of protest in the West, the Soviet Union had eased restrictions on the baking and import of unleavened bread, restrictions that had been designed to stamp out the last vestiges of Russian Jewry's observance of the springtime festival of the matzoh. Responding to the policy change, the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry (AJCSJ), an umbrella group of twenty-five of the largest Jewish nonprofit organizations in the United States, revised the Passover seder supplement that it had first published the year before. The new text, written to be read aloud in homes and synagogues during the meal in which Jews ceremonially recount the biblical Exodus story, dropped all reference to the Soviets’ ban on matzoh. Instead, it invoked Passover's general theme of liberation from bondage to contrast the religious freedoms enjoyed by American Jews with the religious and cultural oppression that the Jews of the USSR were being forced to endure. With millions of copies circulated in the national media and through synagogues across the country, the 1967 text read as follows:

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