With U.S. funding, nongovernmental organizations have helped immunize millions of babies. Thanks to debt relief, most African children are in school, and in the last six years the number of people receiving HIV/AIDS medicines in developing countries has increased tenfold. Our country provides assistance through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. But the world has changed dramatically since then. It's time for the U.S. to get smarter about how it delivers foreign aid.
“I take the ones I can afford and then trust in the Lord.” —Robert Brown, 60, from North Carolina, who has heart disease and emphysema, on coping with the rising cost of prescription drugs
I’m not the only preacher who wonders occasionally about the logic of the Sunday lectionary readings. Why is this text included but not that one? I usually conclude that someone wiser than I is choosing these texts and that the logic of it will be revealed to me if I stay with the texts long enough.
When I was in southern Ethiopia in 1994, I watched truck after truck roll into a community with food aid. I asked a farmer if the harvest had been bad. He told me he had an abundant harvest of tomatoes and onions—cash crops. Because of all the food aid they were receiving, he could use his land to make some extra cash—and his family would eat wheat from America. That same year I could purchase corn oil at the local grocery store—in big metal containers labeled "A gift from the people of America." I resented having to pay for what was clearly intended to be food aid.