Saturday, January 7, 2006


Each day I watch the news on television or read it on the internet, and each day I am more and more disappointed. No, that isn't enough. I am actually sickened by what I see... and what I don't see. This morning, for example, I can go to the CNN website and read about Ariel Sharon. That makes sense, because the man was a world leader and his illness will have world consequences. Additional news on the site, though, tells me that a shark killed a woman, Lindsay Lohan admits to drug use, and some unknown hip-hop artist assaulted a cop.

So what is missing? A flashy red banner that says "AP reports 38,000 people killed each month in Congo." If you know to look for the article, or you go to an international site like the London Free Press, you can find the details. Apparently, civil war in the country rages on, and these people are killed as a direct result of the fighting or, more commonly, dying from simple preventable diseases. There is no infrastructure in the country, so there is no healthcare. Nothing. If you cut yourself and it becomes infected, you are going to die. There are no doctors, no hospitals, and no medicine.

This is just the latest example of our news in this country turning itself into entertainment, instead of providing real-time, important information. While I feel for the families of the coal miners in West Virginia, I think the media completely turned that story into a spectacle. (Actually, I think the miners' families would agree.) Did we really need continual coverage, with reporters sticking microphones into every face that walked by asking, "how does it feel?" How the hell do you think it feels? Just tell me what is happening, without 24/7 coverage of breathy reporters trying to milk a tragic situation for everything they can.

And while the media's attention was focused exclusively on the coal miners, turning the lives of every worried and grieving family member and friend into a media circus, thousands more people died in the Congo. Remember? 38,000 people EVERY MONTH! But what do we care? They are "over there," wherever that may be. They are all black, poor, and indistinguishable from one another. They don't make good TV, and people won't sit and watch for hours if we keep showing them. Culture of Life? Yeah, right. Where are all the churches and pro-lifers when these people are dying? I'll tell you where they are. Too busy protesting an abortion clinic, fighting to keep gays from getting married, or worried about The Book of Daniel airing on NBC.

Should there be an afterlife, you can bet I will have plenty to answer for to God about the way I have lived my life. But I cannot imagine standing before God as a self-proclaimed born again Christian who ignored the suffering of the poor and imperiled among us. May God show them more mercy than they have shown their fellow human beings.

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