Christian Aid Organization Advises Against Proselytizing During Hurricane Relief

September 5, 2005

Source: Ekklesia

On September 5, 2005 the Ekklesia reported, "As relief finally arrives in places devastated by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi, Christians have been reminded that they should not use aid as a cynical tool for winning vulnerable people over to their religious convictions... In January 2005, some missionaries were accused of exploiting tsunami victims in the sensitive Indonesian province of Aceh. Concern was also expressed at the use of Christian tracts telling people to 'prepare for death.' The group that produced these has come up with a similar leaflet for use in areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina. In religiously plural or non-Christian areas, [Tom Palakudiyil, who has run the international agency Christian Aid’s response to several emergencies in Asia] says that 'an aggressive display of a group’s commitment to Christianity flagrantly disregards people’s own strongly held personal beliefs and risks exploiting people in a crisis.' Insensitive proselytism also goes against what Jesus himself would have wanted, adds the aid worker. But he stresses that faith can be a great help to people facing trauma, and that there are appropriate ways in which this can be expressed."