Ten American missionaries were been charged with human trafficking after trying to spirit (pun intended) 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic Friday night, claiming at the border that the children were orphans (that a number of these children claimed to not be orphans notwithstanding).
“God is the one who called us to come here and we just really believed that this was his purpose,” said Carla Thompson, another member of the group, which called itself the New Life Children’s Refuge.
The Reverend Clint Henry of the Central Valley Baptist Church in Idaho to which the group belongs also protested their innocence, saying their intention was “upright and pure”.
I couldn’t care less what their motives were for doing something clearly wrong. Belief in a deity does not give ANYONE carte blanche to flout international law. There is no indication that this group made any attempt whatsover to reunite any of these children with family, the first thing they should have done. Nor is religion any excuse for not contacting authorities to state their intentions.
The president and CEO of Plan Canada says concerns are growing over illegal child trafficking, and no matter how well intentioned people are, it is important to safeguard children during such an emergency by watching the borders and remaining vigilant about unaccompanied children.
Plan Canada President and CEO Rosemary McCarney says she’s not sure if the accused were attempting to engage in child trafficking. But even if they weren’t, just by taking the children away, they could do them more harm than good.
“Whether this is trafficking or not, it puts children at risk,” McCarney told Canada AM from Toronto. “Because even well-intentioned people who remove children from their communities and their country, by crossing borders, it makes it almost impossible for us to track them and find their parents and extended families and caring adults who could take care of these children.”
McCarney said her group aims to help families stay united, not send children away.
“Our job is to support the Haitian communities so that they can look after their children,” she said.
The New Life Children’s Refuge charity says it is “dedicated to rescuing, loving and caring for orphaned, abandoned and impoverished Haitian and Dominican children, demonstrating God’s love and helping each child find healing, hope, joy and new life in Christ”. In other words, it is at least as much about forcing their beliefs on a captive audience as it is to feed, house and clothe them. I would say more so.
After the earthquake, their mission statement took a more sinister turn: “…rescue Haitian orphans abandoned on the streets, makeshift hospitals or from collapsed orphanages in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, and bring them to New Life Children’s Refuge in Cabarete, Dominican Republic.” Nowhere in their manifesto is there anything about working with authorities or reunification of the children they find with families. This is about indoctrination of captives, not providing aid.
Some have called these people ‘misguided’. They’re wrong. They knew exactly what they were doing. They unilateraly and without consulting experts decided they (because their god ‘speaks’ to them) know better than anyone else. Had they been successful, it would have been next to impossible to track these children in order to reunite them with family. And the reason they didn’t contact authorities is because they knew their actions would have been stopped. And for damn good reason. They were taking advantage of the chaos produced by the earthquake for their own (not their purported) purposes. Nothing less. Honestly, I see nothing to differentiate what these people say from what was being said in Jonestown before the Kool-Aid. Religion does NOT override well-reasoned international laws or principles.
When asked about the charges against them, several in the group simply responded to ABC News, “Philippians 1.” The Bible’s first chapter of Philippians chronicles the apostle Paul’s time in prison for preaching the gospel.
Cry me a river. This trying to drum up sympathy by claiming they are being oppressed due to their religion is crap. And if their religion does involve the kidnapping of children, violating international laws on the trafficking of children and making it nearly impossible for these children to keep in touch with family, I say oppress them in the same manner we oppress the belief that pedophilia is acceptable because one is a priest.
The ten Baptist missionaries will likely be tried in the US, as the quake has essentially destroyed the infrastructure necessary for a trial. I hope jurers aren’t snowed by the irrelevant religious aspects of this. If UNICEF did anything similar (not that they would) I would not be any less harsh on them. But this tragedy is attracting wacko groups who, because they are “well-meaning”, are completely blind to the harm they cause. Intentions are nothing without reason. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Religion is no guarantor of good behavior, and is often used as an excuse for bad behavior.