For decades, the United States has spent billions on aid for countries in need. Under the Trump administration, though, questions have been raised about the necessity of continuing with programs aimed at helping strangers in other countries.

Tufts University’s Heather D. Curtis explains how, back in the late 19th century, a widely read Christian newspaper, the Christian Herald, influenced American charity abroad. By using first-hand accounts and “photographs of calamities” from missionaries across the globe, the newspaper moved Americans into donating millions toward international aid efforts.

And as the United Nations observes the International Day of Charity this week to raise awareness on giving, Curtis argues the newspaper’s case for “extending compassion beyond national borders” is worth remembering.

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Top story

An illustration from the Christian Herald showing famine-hit people in India. Courtesy of the Christian Herald Association, New York

How American Christian media promoted charity abroad

Heather D. Curtis, Tufts University

For International Day of Charity on Sept. 5, a history of how the Christian Herald mobilized Americans in the late 19th century to give millions for the relief of global suffering.

Science + Technology

  • Stop calling it a choice: Biological factors drive homosexuality

    Bill Sullivan, Indiana University

    A new study of nearly 500,000 individuals finds that many genes affect same-sex behavior, including newly identified candidates that may regulate smell and sex hormones.

  • Evolution doesn’t proceed in a straight line – so why draw it that way?

    Quentin Wheeler, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Antonio G. Valdecasas, CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas; Cristina Cánovas, CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

    If you go by editorial cartoons and T-shirts, you might have the impression that evolution proceeds as an orderly march toward a preordained finish line. But that's not right at all.

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