2.05.2010

My Kneejerk Thoughts about the Imprisoned Missionaries in Haiti

You have likely heard or read or seen reports about the ten American missionaries arrested in Haiti for trying to cross over into the Dominican Republic with a busload of "orphans". It turned out that some of the kids weren't orphans at all and had been given to the missionaries by their parents in the hope that they would have a better life in the US.

Now, I do not doubt that their intentions were good and honorable and they thought that they were doing the right thing by removing these kids from a disaster of epic proportions.

However, how they did it was incredibly stupid and/or naive of them. They were told by various relief workers not to try and take the kids, that the paperwork needed to be taken care of and that just taking the kids was a bad, bad idea.

Which is why they are now sitting in a Haitian jail. And they could sit there for months before their trial even begins.

Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons generally does not end especially well. And yes, I am intentionally not going to touch the whole missionary thing. Well, maybe not too much. Would there be such hand wringing over their fate if they were unaffiliated with a religious group?

My issue with the whole concept of the missionary is that they are on a mission, from God supposedly but more likely from someone who claims to speak for him/her/it, to convert heathens to the One True Way. Which completely ignores the heathens previous belief system because, of course, its wrong.
The Lausanne Congress of 1974, defined the term, related to Christian mission as, "to form a viable indigenous church-planting movement."
Not all missionaries seek to overwrite the belief systems of people they visit. Some intend on bringing medicine, education and economic structure (but wait! Isn't money the root of all evil? Couldn't introducing an economic structure be seen as sowing the seeds of a culture's destruction?).

I have no problem with religion, per se. I have a big problem with people deciding that their religion is The Right One and that all other religions are false and must therefore be converted to The Right One. Why do I have a problem with this? Because there's absolutely no possible way to know which religion, if any, is The Right One. It is all a cosmic crapshoot. Maybe the indigenous religious beliefs being subverted by the missionaries is The Right One and those well-meaning missionaries have now consigned The Chosen Ones to an eternity of torment and suffering for straying off the path?

I have a problem with people assuming their beliefs are right without any rational means to prove them so. And I have an even bigger problem with people taking their belief and mashing it over other people's as if one is more righteous than the other.

Anyway, here's my kneejerk summation of the imprisoned missionaries in Haiti: Just because you thought you were doing the right thing does not mean you were actually doing the right thing. You were trying to remove 33 children from their country of origin without proper authority in the midst of the nation's worst disaster. That could easily be construed as predation for your God.

God may have mercy on your souls but it is foolishness to expect the Haitian government to look at your actions with such a kind and understanding light.
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