Members of a Jewish advocacy organization founded in 1906 have written a response to an editorial by The New York Times supporting a bill that would provide FEMA aid to houses of worship.
Bobby Lapin, chairman of the American Jewish Committee's legal committee, and Marc D. Stern, general counsel for the AJC, wrote a column published Wednesday regarding the matter.
"Disaster relief is an expression of social solidarity with victims, not a sophisticated method of transferring responsibility for sustaining religious institutions from the collection plate to the tax collector, the core point of separating church and state," wrote Lapin and Stern. more >>
A bill that would allow houses of worship to receive federal disaster aid easily passed Wednesday in the House of Representatives.
The "Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act" was passed under suspension of the rules, which meant it needed a two-thirds vote for passage. It easily met that threshold with 354 members voting in favor and only 72 voting against the bill. The bill will have to be passed in the Senate and signed by the president for it to become law.
As families across the nation prepare their Thanksgiving Day dinners, victims of Hurricane Sandy can be thankful for the more than 1.2 million meals that have been served to them by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers since the storm hit.
In all, over 1,200 SBDR volunteers from 34 states and Canada have responded to provide disaster relief following the superstorm that ravaged the East Coast, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) reports in a disaster relief update on its website. These volunteers have also reported that 56 people have made professions of faith in Jesus Christ as a result of the organization's work.
But victims of the storm aren't the only ones who are glad the SBDR team is lending a helping hand. more >>
NEW YORK – Over two weeks after Hurricane Sandy ravaged beachfront areas in New York and New Jersey, churches have remained at ground zero providing aid to those who were affected the most by the storm.
Residents of Staten Island, N.Y., one of the areas hardest hit by Sandy, have seen the body of Christ unite during this time, putting denominational affiliation and theological perspectives aside to help those suffering.
Pastor Daniel Delgado, a first responder to Sandy and executive director of Third Day Missions, is a witness to this new unification. more >>
Nearly two weeks after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the northeast, more than 200,000 in the region still do not know when the lights will come on.
Hundreds of residents protested outside the Long Island Power Authority, frustrated by its slow response to outages, The Associated Press reported. LIPA has indicated that some of the 130,000 blacked out homes and businesses the utility serves may not have power restored until the end of Tuesday.
"We are sitting in a cold house. No one comes by," John Mangin, a resident of Levittown, N.Y., was quoted as saying. "There should be criminal charges against the CEO and the executive board of LIPA for failure to do their jobs," added Mangin, who was among 300 people protesting in front of LIPA's office in Hicksville, N.Y. more >>
New York City, my town, was just hit by the fiercest storm ever in its 400-year history. There are huge personal and material losses. Dozens died in the storm – men, women and children –and others saw their life-savings washed away by an ocean "surge." This Hurricane Sandy truly was an awesome disaster of "Biblical proportions." A whopping 40,000 lost their homes in the City alone, and thousands of businesses were destroyed, universities forced to close for a week, and millions of people were without heat or light for many days. In neighboring New Jersey the destruction was greater. Present estimates are more than $40 billion in property destruction, total in New York and New Jersey – and certainly not at all accounting for the many deaths, injuries and personal suffering, where there is no calculation or compensation.
Even for a City accustomed to doing things BIG, the Hurricane Sandy was enormously overwhelming. And the whole population of 25 million in the New York City metropolitan area is suffering measurably. With gasoline shipments delayed for days, it takes 4-5 hours waiting in line for people to get a few gallons of gas for their electric generators or cars – sometimes only to find out that that gas station has just run out of fuel again! People are on edge, stressed, at the ends of their ropes, depressed, despairing, and even dangerous. When I merely drove by a long line of dozens of cars waiting for gas station service – on my way to get a couple bags of ice to preserve some food at home – an officer of the law nearly had a heart attack when for a second he thought I might try to cut in line. It is like a bit of the "wild west" here in New York City, the Big Apple!
Natural disasters that are the toughest barriers for people to believe in the God of the Bible – the living God, the God of grace, compassion, and salvation. Within a temporal framework, people question how an all-loving God could allow for such levels of human danger and suffering. And yet, without comparison, the Bible is utterly realistic about this world. Unlike the scriptures of the various world religions, the Bible depicts a temporal world of stunning unfairness. Evil people often prosper. There is no "karma law" balancing out the good and bad; there is no suggestion that the best people never suffer. Often the Godliest people go through the worst physical trauma. Often, the good even die young – as even with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ himself. more >>