After the Asian tsunami last December, the outpouring of help, rescue, and relief efforts assured many that God was good despite the disaster. But the chaos into which New Orleans has fallen is so disturbing that it makes a convincing argument for either God's absence or man's depravity.

News reports abound with stories of death, rape, murder, and theft. "Thursday saw tens of thousands being evacuated by bus to Houston from the hot and stinking Superdome. Fistfights and fires erupted amid a seething sea of tense, suffering people who waited in lines that stretched a half-mile to board yellow school buses. The looting continued."

The Associated Press reports, "By Thursday evening, 11 hours after the military began evacuating the Superdome, the arena held 10,000 more people than it did at dawn. Evacuees from across the city swelled the crowd to about 30,000 because they believed the arena was the best place to get a ride out of town."

"Hoodlums" have shot at rescue helicopters sent to evacuate people stranded on rooftops and in hospitals that can no longer take care of patients. At the New Orleans Convention Center, 15,000 to 20,000 people took a shelter only to find lawlessness. When a helicopter arrived to drop off food and water the thronging crowd was so thick it couldn't land. Instead the helicopter dropped supplies from the air.

Tunku Varadarajan in The Wall Street Journal writes:

Physical strength has suddenly become more important than knowledge, or education. Everything smells.
For Americans, this is humbling, and aggravating. … There has been a descent so clear into indecency that one must address it as pressingly as the breakdown of the city's levees. It is as if the moral and civic "levees," too, were overwhelmed ...
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Weblog
Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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