Christian humanitarian aid
Christian humanitarian aid is work performed by Christian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to alleviate the suffering of people around the world. Charity is a concept of great importance in Christianity. Humanitarian aid occurs in areas where some churches choose to invest time and money in the spirit of compassion.
The modern concept of Christian humanitarian aid is based on teachings from the Bible. Charity and providing assistance to the poor are concepts established in the Old Testament. According to Exodus, part of one's tithe was devoted to the needy (orphans, widows, foreigners). In the New Testament, Jesus taught much about the subject of charity. In the Sermon on the Mount, he called for people to help not only friends but also enemies, as well as those rejected by society, such as people with disabilities. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, he described the medical care paid by a Samaritan to a Jew (both peoples were enemies), as a model of love for his neighbor. Paul of Tarsus has also raised funds for the underprivileged.
Dating back as early as the Middle Ages, Catholic monasteries and monastic orders have a long tradition of providing charity, asylum, and assistance to the poor. Protestant churches established the Department of Deacons responsible for helping the poor. Missionary societies of the 18th and 19th centuries often offered humanitarian assistance in addition to their main activity of evangelism.
In the 19th century, the first Christian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) began emerging. YMCA, a Protestant NGO, was created in 1844 in London. Caritas, a Catholic NGO, was founded in Cologne in 1897. The entrepreneurial culture of Evangelical churches also led to their creation of multiple NGOs.
Like the humanitarian movement, Christian NGOs attracted more attention in the 1970s. Some Christian NGOs, such as those run by evangelical doctors providing medical assistance in impoverished countries, are recognized for their contributions to development.
Features and Benefits
- Affiliation with a Christian religious organization
- Explicit references to a Christian religion in its statutes
- Financial support from a Christian religious organization
- Selection of its Board of Directors or teams based on Christian principles or religious affiliation
- Decision-making based on Christian religious principles
Affiliation with local Christian churches across the world often make it possible for Christian NGOs to work in countries or regions that are otherwise difficult for governmental or international organizations to access. The international network of many Christian religions allows their NGOs to gather significant funding and publicity to promote their humanitarian actions across the world.
In some Christian NGOs, the staff is not only Christian. However, common spiritual values are a common feature among Christian NGO employees and volunteers. According to Christian aid workers, their commitment is motivated by spiritual values of compassion and mercy. In some NGOs, such as Mercy Ships, all employees are volunteers and have to pay for accommodation and food, as well as work for free.
The majority of Christian NGOs help everyone, regardless of religion. With the growth of secularization in some countries, some Christian NGOs have downplayed their religious identity. In some NGOs this depends on the cultural context of the national antenna.
Contrary to certain clichés, many Evangelical NGOs do not mix humanitarian and evangelization. But on the other hand, some evangelical NGOs can not provide help without accompanying evangelization. The diversity of evangelical movements makes both scenarios possible. In some parts of the world, as on the African continent, local culture places a great deal of importance on spiritual things, which makes it difficult for some people to understand or accept the work of Humanitarian NGOs that do not display their religious identity.
Results and budgets
In 2007, Christian NGOs comprised 57.4% of the NGOs affiliated with the United Nations.
According to a British study by Elizabeth Ferris, published in 2005 in the periodical International Review of the Red Cross", Christian NGOs have large budgets and provide considerable financial support worldwide. This same study gives the following figures:
- NGOs related to the World Council of Churches and those of the group of Caritas Internationalis spend over a billion dollars a year in aid and development.
- The Lutheran World Federation has a budget of $73 million for aid and development.
- According to a 1953 study, religious NGOs gave 90% of the assistance provided after World War II.
- According to William Headley of (Catholic Relief Services), 1/3 of the persons living with AIDS in the world are treated with the help of the Catholic Church.
According to sociologist Sébastien Fath, Evangelical churches and their respective NGOs develop an international humanitarian entrepreneurship that influences policy decisions. Therefore, they are unavoidable geopolitical players in the humanitarian field.
International Catholic Organizations
International Protestant Organizations
At the level of international Protestant humanitarian NGO, there are church-related organizations such as Lutheran World Relief and United Methodist Committee on Relief. The largest NGO humanitarian Protestant international not directly attached to a church is the YMCA.
International Evangelical Organizations
Among the most important Evangelical Christian Humanitarian NGO are International Justice Mission, Food for the Hungry, Prison Fellowship International, Samaritan's Purse, Mercy Ships, World Vision International.
Problems and critics
- Conflicts of collaboration have occurred between Catholic NGOs and non-confessional NGOs in the fight against AIDS, mainly because of different views on the use of condoms.
- In Bangladesh, some Christian NGOs are criticized for their activity of evangelism. According to the sociologist Geoffrey Martin, there is no overall policy, but some employees of Christian NGOs distribute bibles to the people they assist. Evangelical aid has been criticized by more traditional Christian NGOs because they have not separated evangelism and humanitarian aid, which could affect all Christian humanitarian NGOs.
- It has been difficult for some Christian and Muslim NGOs to collaborate.
- In areas of armed conflict, some Christian NGOs have been criticized for not respecting the principle of neutrality.
- Some have criticized the actions of Mother Teresa as "an imperialist enterprise of the Catholic Church, against an Eastern population, in an oriental city" and a "cult of suffering" little concerned about hygiene .
- According to Tamsin Bradley, who performed a study in Rajasthan (India), faith and compassion occasionally result in members of Christian NGOs overlooking the actual needs of people they assist, as well as their long-term needs.
- Christian Buckley, Ryan Dobson, Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross, Moody Publishers, USA, 2010
- Michael Barnett, Janice Gross Stein, Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism, Oxford University Press, UK, 2012
- Bruno Duriez, François Mabille, Kathy Rousselet, Les ONG confessionnelles: Religions et action internationale, Editions L'Harmattan, France, 2007
- Elizabeth Ferris, "Faith-based and secular humanitarian organizations", International Review of the Red Cross 87, 858 (2005), pages 311-325
- Christopher L. Pallas, "Canterbury to Cameroon: a new partnership between faiths and the World Bank", Development in Practice 15, 5 (2005)
- Christian Buckley, Ryan Dobson, Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross, Moody Publishers, USA, 2010, p. 15
- Frank M. Loewenberg, From Charity To Social Justice, Transaction Publishers, USA, 2001, p. 148
- Luke 6:35
- Luke 14:14
- Brian D. Lepard, Rethinking Humanitarian Intervention: A Fresh Legal Approach Based on Fundamental Ethical Principles in International Law and World Religions, Penn State Press, USA, 2010, p. 46
- CHESTER, Tim, La responsabilité du chrétien face à la pauvreté, Marne-la-Vallée, Farel, 2006, p.19-20
- Michael Barnett, Janice Gross Stein, Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism, Oxford University Press, UK, 2012, p. 67
- E. Ferris, Faith-based and secular humanitarian organizations, International Review of the Red Cross 87, 858 (2005), pages 311-325
- J. Gordon Melton, Encyclopedia of Protestantism, Infobase Publishing, USA, 2005, p. 591
- Yves Beigbeder, The Role and Statuts of International Humanitarian Volunteers and Organizations: The Right and Duty to Humanitarian Assistance, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Belgium, 1991, p. 218
- E. Fayner, World Vision:l'ONG la plus riche au monde Archived 2015-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, Témoignage chrétien, October 21, 2010
- Voir, par exemple, La Suisse reconnaît l'apport des ONG chrétiennes, christianismeaujourdhui.info, Switzerland, August 22 2011
- Prime Minister's Office, Churches network wins Big Society Award, UK, 3 June 2013
- N. Kristof, A Little respect for Dr. Foster, The New York Times, USA, March 28, 2015
- Michael Barnett, Janice Gross Stein, Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism, Oxford University Press, UK, 2012, p. 46
- Michael Barnett, Janice Gross Stein, Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism, Oxford University Press, UK, 2012, p. 128-129
- Frederick Klaits, The Request and the Gift in Religious and Humanitarian Endeavors, Springer, USA, 2017, p. 12
- Brian Steensland, Philip Goff, The New Evangelical Social Engagement, Oxford University Press USA, USA, 2014, p. 84
- Michael Barnett, Janice Gross Stein, Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism, Oxford University Press, UK, 2012, p. 125
- RTS, Le navire-hôpital d'une ONG suisse offre des soins à Madagascar, rts.ch, Swiss, February 01, 2015
- E. Ferris, "Faith-based and secular humanitarian organizations", International Review of the Red Cross 87, 858 (2005), p.317
- Stanley D. Brunn, The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics, Springer, USA, 2015, p. 3118
- THOMAS J DAVIS, Religion in Philanthropic Organizations: Family, Friend, Foe?, Indiana University Press, USA, 2013, p. XVIII
- Verna, G., Le comportement des ONG engagées dans l’aide humanitaire : Selon leur culture d’origine et les pressions politiques subies, Revue Anthropologie et Sociétés, Volume 31, Numéro 2, Université Laval, Canada, 2007, p. 32-33
- Bruno Duriez, François Mabille, Kathy Rousselet, Les ONG confessionnelles: Religions et action internationale, Editions L'Harmattan, France, 2007, p. 31
- Sébastien Fath, Dieu XXL, la révolution des mégachurches, Édition Autrement, France, 2008, p. 42, 116
- Stanley D. Brunn, The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics, Springer, USA, 2015, p. 2932
- Elliott Abrams, The Influence of Faith: Religious Groups and U.S. Foreign Policy, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, USA, 2002, p. 181
- Immanuel Ness, Encyclopedia of American Social Movements, Routledge , USA, 2015, p. 968
- Brian Steensland, Philip Goff, The New Evangelical Social Engagement, Oxford University Press USA, USA, 2014, p. 243
- Wendy Murray Zoba, The Beliefnet Guide To Evangelical Christianity, Three Leaves Press, USA, 2005, p. XX
- L. Ferrari, "Catholic and Non-Catholic NGOs Fighting HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa: Issue Framing and Collaboration", International Relations 25(1) (2011), pages 85-107
- C. Benedetti, "Islamic and Christian Inspired Relief NGOs: Between Tactical Collaboration And Strategic Diffidence ? Archived 2014-12-26 at the Wayback Machine", Journal of International Development 18 (2006), pages 849–859
- K. Schultz A Critic's Lonely Quest: Revealing the Whole Truth About Mother Teresa, New York Times, August 26, 2016
- Tamsin Bradley, Does Compassion Bring Results? a Critical Perspective on Faith and Development,Culture and Religion 6 (3) (2005), pages 337-351
Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at fr:Humanitaire chrétien; see its history for attribution.