Regular readers know of my view that anyone who follows the Great Commandment and Summary of the Law is a Christian, be s/he Episcopalian, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Jew, Muslim, Hindu . . . . Some have derided this view as mere Rotary Club theology.
I don’t know much about the Rotary Club. They apparently emphasize service to others and a high ethical standard, as exemplified by their Four-Way Test of the things we think, say, or do. An April 12 Wall Street Journal editorial ($) notes the Rotary Club’s pivotal role in essentially wiping out polio from the world:
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Salk polio vaccine. Poliomyelitis, also know as infantile paralysis, used to be one of childhood's most feared diseases. . . . Today polio has disappeared from the Americas, Europe and the Western Pacific and is nearly gone from the rest of the world.
A too-little known part of this feat is the role played by Rotary, the international businessman's club, which 20 years ago adopted the goal of wiping out the disease. Rotary understood that medical breakthroughs are worthless unless people aren't afraid to immunize their children and efficient delivery systems exist to get the vaccine to them. And so it mobilized its members in 30,100 clubs in 166 countries to make it happen.
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An economist of our acquaintance calls Rotary's effort the most successful private health-care initiative ever. A vaccine-company CEO recently volunteered to us that the work of Rotary and the Gates Foundation, both private groups, has been more effective than any government in promoting vaccines to save lives. It's become fashionable in some quarters to deride civic volunteerism, but Rotary's unsung polio effort deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
If that’s “Rotary Club theology,” we could do worse — and often do.