From the Editor

Regimes that should trouble us

Michael L. Sherer

Michael L. Sherer

With starvation overseas, we also have hunger at home.

During his State of the Union Address, our president included North Korea in a triumvirate which he labeled an “axis of evil.”

Sometimes leaders say things they later wish they hadn’t, even if they remain convinced they spoke the truth. In this case, the speech set up a situation in which our leader confronted a lot of angry South Koreans when he visited in their country.

During the president’s visit to the Korean peninsula, he was challenged by some in the citizenry there to explain why he included North Korea in an “axis of evil.” His reply was, “I’m troubled by a regime that tolerates starvation.”

All of us should be so troubled. But a conversation with someone like Tammy Walhof, the coordinator in Minnesota for the Christian hunger lobby Bread for the World (BFW), might be enlightening. Walhof says there is no real “starvation” in the U.S., but plenty of unnecessary hunger. As it turns out, both our president and many of us who live in this “land of plenty” are content to tolerate, if not starvation, certainly the hunger or hunger-risk of 31 million Americans (12 million of them children).

If the president is truly “troubled by a regime that tolerates starvation,” dare we hope that means the executive branch now intends to support with greater zeal such efforts as those designed by BFW and other anti-hunger agencies?

Walhof says it wouldn’t take much to eliminate hunger in the United States. She sees as key the providing of decent wages for all Americans (see also the article at right). For those who believe raising people’s wages might hurt the economy, Walhof offers this interesting thought: “With higher wages, more people will become better consumers. And that will help the economy.”

Churches, including a lot of Lutheran ones, have been feeding hungry people for a long time. It’s a way for believers to say, “We’re troubled by a regime that tolerates hunger.” That includes the regime whose flag we’ve all been waving lately.