Okay to Traffic in Children Or Kidnap them if You're a Baptist Missionary?


Okay to Traffic in Children Or Kidnap them if You're a Baptist Missionary?

2 February 2010 at 1:12:57 PM

I saw part of this on the news last night. Apparently some people from Idaho went to Haiti, and instead of getting permission to legally take children out of the country, they just up and were taking it upon themselves to take them across the border. Naturally, the Haiti prime minister was upset, and the 10 people from this church in Meridian, ID are parking their butts in jail.

Guess what. You have to obey the law. What makes these people think anyone is drawn to those who think their beliefs trump the law?

The church seems to think that these missionaries were falsely arrested. From their splash page.

A ten member church team traveled to Haiti to help rescue children from one or more orphanages that had been devastated in the earthquake on January 12. The children were being taken to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic where they could be cared for and have their medical and emotional needs attended to. Our team was falsely arrested today and we are doing everything we can from this end to clear up the misunderstanding that has occurred in Port au Prince.

What\'s the problem with this?  They didn\'t have documention for all the kids being taken out of the country and some of them weren\'t actually orphans. What is it about these that these missionaries don\'t understand???

Clint Henry, pastor of the 890-member Central Valley church, the largest Southern Baptist church in Idaho, spent much of his weekend in media interviews insisting his church members did not intend to do anything wrong.

"The intent of our group being down there is exactly the opposite of the kind of thing that is being reported," Henry said on CBS News. "We were not trying to traffic children. We were simply trying to minister to a desperate situation there in that country. We had a facility that could be used to do that temporarily, so we went down there with the very best of intentions, and it\'s very unfortunate at the way things have turned out."

The Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention issued a statement Feb. 1 describing Central Valley as a "missions-minded church" that has involved numerous members in mission trips around the world and Henry as "one of our finest pastors."

"We have no doubt that the mission team had nothing but the best intentions for the children of Haiti," Rob Lee, executive director of the two-state convention, said in the statement.

So. It\'s okay to break the law as long as you do it with the best of intentions. Maybe these people need to go off to some other country and form their own theocracy where the rule of law doesn\'t mean anything but God talking to them in the shower does.

Let\'s turn this around. What if, during hurricane Katrina, people had come from some other country and scooped up kids that were in an orphanage and tried to take them out of the country without proper documentation? Would that be okay?

The government and established child welfare agencies are trying to slow Haitian adoptions amid fears that parentless or lost children are more vulnerable than ever to being seized and sold. Without proper documents and concerted efforts to track down their parents, they could be forever separated from family members able and willing to care for them. Bellerive\'s personal authorization is now required for the departure of any child.

The orphanage where the children were later taken said some of the kids have living parents, who were apparently told the children were going on a holiday from the post-quake misery.

The church group\'s own mission statement said it planned to spend only hours in the devastated capital, quickly identifying children without immediate families and busing them to a rented hotel in the Dominican Republic without bothering to get permission from the Haitian government.

More from jobsanger who I, again, agree with.

Those arrested are now afraid that the Haitian (and maybe American) government is going to try and make an example out of them. That\'s exactly what should happen. Taking children illegally and without permission is indeed "kidnapping" -- and that\'s what they did.

Yup. Because God does not trump the law in this country nor in Haiti.

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1 - salon   3 Feb 2010 @ 1:44:43 PM 

Have to add to this because these missionaries were more than misguided-from Jezebel

Just one more reason-read the whole thing.

2. Their plans were ill-conceived - at every level.

Before they even left the US, the Central Valley missionaries were already encountering problems. According to the New York Times, their non profit organization- started in service of the children the group attempted to save - never got off the ground:

An empty house in an unfinished subdivision in Meridian, Idaho, is listed on the nonprofit incorporation papers filed in Idaho for the organization. The address was listed in November on papers Laura Silsby filed to establish New Life as a nonprofit. Two days after the papers were filed, records show, Ms. Silsby sold the house at a substantial loss.

Signs in front of the house on Tuesday offered it for sale as a foreclosed property.

In addition to the shaky beginnings, it is unclear if the promised orphanage in Haiti would have ever come to fruition. The NYT notes that it was difficult to trace the group's activities in the Dominican Republic. While the missionaries claimed they were in the process of buying land and building a facility, an official only recalls a stalled discussion. With no base in the United States, and no clear location in the Dominican Republic, where were the children supposed to stay?

The children were also found without passports - one wonders if they had any identification on them at all. What would have happened if some of the children somehow got separated?

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