The Evacuation Of The Titanic: Model Of Christian Charity?

Titanic-lifeboats-onlook-sinkingThe homophobes at Truth In Action are really, really into the RMS Titanic's sinking centennial. In The Truth That Transforms, the film, Truth In Action likened America to the doomed boat and gays to the iceberg that sank it. On Truth That Transforms, the website, the ministry has resurrected a clip of deceased minister Dr. D. James Kennedy likening the whole world to the Titanic and Christians to the lucky folk who escaped on lifeboats. And on Truth That Transforms, the radio show, the ministry press-ganged the Titanic tragedy into an advertisement for traditional Christian morality. RightWingWatch transcribed the relevant quotes:

People that were on board the deck of the Titanic at that time were individuals that grew up in a culture which was distinctively Christian in its perspective of the role of men and women and there’s an interesting contrast because in the year 1898 a French vessel called La Bourgogne sunk and when it sunk the sailors and the officers literally threw women and children into the water, beat them over the head, and the men lived and the women died. It sent shockwaves throughout the entire world, people said, ‘how could such a thing happen?’ And in trying to understand why that happened, the commentary was, they grew up in a culture that embraced evolution, it was the struggle of the survival of the fittest, they grew up in the culture of the French Revolution which had rejected biblical Christianity and embraced paganism and the consequences were that men treat women horrifically.

Now we flash forward to the year 2012 and this year our president has finally taken us over the abyss and we have full-fledged commitment to women in the frontlines of combat in overseas battles, we need to understand that that’s the first time in the history of the West that any nation has formally endorsed such a thing and it represents a radical departure from the values that were on board the ship in 1912.

… Evolution says the struggle of the survival of the fittest, there are no differences between men and women, there is no charity, there is no deference, and in an evolutionary world feminism reaches its height and we see no distinctions. The result is babies are killed en masse, women are treated like chattel and men no longer take on their masculine role as defenders.

… all of which warrants a brief corrective. Darwinian natural selection isn't opposed to altruism, since altruistic populations will tend to be more successful and leave more offspring. Anyway, if some unnaturally cerebral person was thinking about Darwinian reproductive strategies onboard a fast-sinking ship with too few life boats in the middle of an icy ocean, that individual would probably want to save as many women as possible. (One man and 1,000 women could conceivably have 1,000 children in a year; one woman and 1,000 men could probably have only one.)

But Truth In Action's point is ridiculous for more obvious reasons than those — most notably, that the evacuation of the Titanic is a terrible advertisement for a Christian model of charity, or for any model at all. Despite the vessel's astounding shortage of lifeboats, what lifeboats there were mostly departed the ship at far less than full capacity. Some were only half full. And those who survived were mostly wealthy first- and second-class passengers, while those in steerage tended to drown. It's hard to imagine Jesus approving.