There are more than 7,000 rare diseases in the world, almost all of which lack any type of medical treatment. Were every religious congregation in the world to “adopt” a disease and do what it can to help find and provide a cure for that one disease, it is quite possible that the hundreds of millions of people (in aggregate across all rare diseases) could be helped in small and large ways.
I think that it is very possible that organized religions can put away their ideological differences and work cooperatively through information sharing, advocating, raising monies, and demanding progress from governments and corporations to fight rare diseases. After all, most of these diseases are genetic in origin and more than 50% of those who suffer from rare diseases are children. And, central values in the organized religions are showing compassion, helping, and supporting those in need.
I am not naive enough to believe that religions, religious leaders, and religious congregations working together in small ways is enough to solve religious bigotry, the hot points in Jerusalem, or prevent future ethnic-religious cleansing by horrible people deceiving their own citizens. But let’s at least try to start in the small ways of learning about one or two rare diseases and pooling creativity, resources, and prayers for the energy and stamina to find cures. Religious congregations and their energy directed by the desire to help are almost unstoppable forces.
February 28 is Rare Disease Day.
It is also a day when the religious peoples of the world can unite to plan to make small and large steps to acknowledge and cure at least some of the rare diseases.
I pray that it will happen.
And should you not believe in organized religions, I hope you will nonetheless join in an organized search for effective treatments.
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