The following is a response I have written to a specific question Bill Maher asked Governor Mike Huckabee on last week’s edition of the Governor’s hit Fox News TV show. Maher asked why “God allows pain and suffering?” Maher went on to specifically reference children born with “that terrible cleft lip.” In the link above you can see that Governor Huckabee gave a very good answer for the short time he had but since the question hit home to me I wanted to respond in my own way:
To Bill Maher,
My name is Brian Donegan. I am 26 years old and from Lawrenceville, GA I served as a blogger, volunteer, and Meetup organizer for the Presidential campaign of Governor Mike Huckabee. As a big fan of his I never miss watching his new television show and on a recent episode he interviewed you and had a very civil discussion on religion. During the discussion you asked the question “Why does God allow pain and suffering if he is supposed to love us?” Specifically you went on to ask “Why are children born with that terrible cleft lip?” The question tugged at my heart because it definitely hit close to home. I’d like to answer your question but first I’d like to tell you my story.
I was born “physically challenged” with many birth defects. the most pronounced of these is my lack of sight (I am legally blind). I was also born with a cleft lip and palate, a pituitary dysfunction, missing joints on some of my fingers, no sense of smell (in fact no nose at all just a hole where it should be) among others. Despite testing negative for every known disease and disorder in 1982, my doctors gave me six weeks to live. If I was blessed to live longer they said I’d be a “vegetable.” At two month old I caught pneumonia and was rushed back to the hospital. After that my heart began to fail and my skin started turning blue. I was rushed into ICU. On thanksgiving of 1982 I underwent emergency surgery. Through the care of my surgeons, the love of my parents and family, and the blessings of God I survived. Life is very precious to me and if I ever need a reminder all I have to do is look at the scar on my right wrist where my IV had to be placed.
I have taken the challenges thrown my way and tried to impact my community and world in a positive way. I’ve dedicated myself to a lifetime of service for causes greater than my own self interest. i have been blessed beyond belief and I want to “Spread My Wealth Around.” While my “wealth” may not be large in dollars and cents, I have a lot to spread around. It’s called love for my fellow man. I have no way to know how long I will be blessed to live on this earth but I try to make each day count by spreading it around to everyone I know and “paying it forward.” While it may seem daunting even a smile, a kind word, and a hug can help someone in a big way.
Thank you for conducting a very civil and fascinating discussion with Governor Huckabee on faith and for reading a response that has come from my heart.