Thursday, February 4, 2010

Port au Prince of Peace

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The Baptist missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 children have been indicted in Haiti, and of course it's become a sideshow. The MSNBC clip above doesn't reassure me, considering its slant. According to this reporter (who can't pronounce "Port au Prince" correctly -- it's not "ow" but closer to "oh"), the children's parents are now saying they gave their children to the missionaries, with promises that they'd be able to see them later on. But the missionaries keep sticking their feet in it, claiming that they were looking for children who were orphaned or had been "abandoned" by living parents, and these children clearly don't fit those criteria. Even if the missionaries weren't "trafficking," they still appear to have been careless of legalities and ethical concerns, waving around flyers for their Dominican orphanage, with a color picture of a swimming pool, in front of desperate parents. Their lawyer is now trying to claim the missionaries were "duped" by their Haitian confederates into thinking they had the proper papers, though previous reports have them admitting that they had no papers and didn't think they needed any.

And I still can't help wondering if taking the kids across the border into another country, away from their families, is really the most cost-effective way of giving them the "help" the missionaries say they were trying, in their bumbling, well-intentioned way to provide. As I suggested before, it sounds like they just thought this was an easy way to get some free children they could indoctrinate into their particular cult, blithely ignoring the fact that they were already Christians.

Their leader babbles that they trust in God, the same God who killed over 150,000 Haitians with that earthquake. "Most of the Americans, who have been in jail since last Friday, were covered with severe mosquito bites," the MSNBC story reports. "The prosecutor asked them at one point if they wanted to see a doctor." That's not how Christian tales of martyrdom are supposed to go: God is supposed to protect his agents in prison from all harm, like Daniel in the lions' den. I don't think they should be convicted of kidnapping, and I doubt that the US government will allow them to languish in a Haitian jail for long anyway. Just kicking them out of the country with a warning, and letting them know that there are other ways to help the poor than taking away their children, should be enough. We'll see how it turns out.