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[From CTV news]

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.

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24 Comments

    • adoubtersramblings
    • Posted February 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm
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    if history has proven anything, it’s that any act can be justified by evoking the ‘god told me to’ clause.

    These people are pathetic!

    • Indeed. My trust in the religious to look out for the interests of others has long since vanished. There is no question that this was a self-serving action in the guise of helping people.

  1. I agree. If you do something wrong or illegal, wrapping your action in the veil of religion does not make it right.

  2. ok, first of all your argument is totally biased and misleading.

    The missionaries had all of the proper documentation from the Dominican authorities and they believed that it was enough. They should have realized that they needed documentation from the Haitian gov. but they overlooked that. What they did was against the law but please try to present the entire situation instead of blatantly misleading your audience. I know that you are following the atheistic guidelines for misleading people, even if you do not realize it.

    Evangelical Christians were the firs on the scene to help in Haiti and they will be the last to leave (doing much more work than any secular nongovernmental organization and better work than any governmental organization).

    The atheists just sit back and criticize like always.

  3. Evangelical Christians were the firs on the scene to help in Haiti and they will be the last to leave (doing much more work than any secular nongovernmental organization and better work than any governmental organization).

    Bullshit! Doctors Without Borders, the International Red Cross and various United Nations aid organizations were there. These aren’t secular organizations? Your prejudicial assertion that “atheists just sit back and criticize like always” is soundly rejected.

    What these evangelical so-called aid agencies do is interfere with real aid agencies that know what they are doing. And unlike secular agencies, their primary purpose is not to provide aid. It is to prosthyletize. How much money do these ‘organizations’ (I use the term loosely) waste on their propoganda that could be used to provide real aid, the type that measurably improves these unfortunate people’s dire situation?

    And SHAME on these ten fools. These people knew damn well that not all of the children they were trying to smuggle were NOT orphans. And how much money would they have made from adoption fees, I wonder? If their intent was really to help these people, their actions were amateurish at best. They were doing more harm than good because they had no idea what they were doing. I have not heard one thing to indicate that they would ever intended to reunite any of these children with their families and thus they would have been complicite in furthering human tragedy in Haiti. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. In other words, good intentions are irrelevant if they result in bad behavior.

    Not to mention that such groups are quick to take advantage of human tragedy in order to spread their mind virus. If they didn’t have an agenda to do so, they wouldn’t spend dollar one on things that have no measurable benefit like bibles. I don’t see Doctors Without Borders or the Red Cross distributing such crud.

    In essence, groups like these Baptists sell their aid. Secular aid organizations give their aid for free without any expectation of getting anything in return. Which one is truly the more noble?

  4. So quick to criticize and spin. I am glad that there are agencies that are nonreligious and yet still helping victims. I did not say that there were no nonreligious groups. There you go again with your blatant bias to religion, you let it cloud your train of thought and cause you to see what is not there.

    Plus, do you really believe that there are no religious people on the Doctors without Borders team?

    You and your atheists friends are the best critics of people who are on the ground working (New Orleans was the same way with Katrina, Baptist Christians were the first on the scene and many of them are still there even after all others have long left).

    How much of the UN’s money is wasted by going into pockets instead of real aide. The Christians on the ground donate much of their money without the world having to hear about it unlike the hypocrites who wants the trumpets to sound at the “amount” that they give. I doubt you have ever been involved with disaster relief but I have and I have seen it first hand, the fact that Evangelical Christians are the best at providing care, especially the spiritual care that hurting people need in such an emotional time.

    you wrote “I have not heard one thing to indicate that they would ever intended to reunite any of these children with their families”

    You have not heard their intentions so you are making accusations based on your biased opinion which is not worth much.

    As far as money goes, do you know how much money (their own personal money) they spent to get to Haiti and then the money (not counting time and effort) they spent while there? Shame on you for judging them without knowing all of the evidence (you are a typical atheist, against anything religious no matter how much good it does).

  5. So quick to criticize and spin.

    And you’re not? Whatever. And, yes. I AM quick to criticize where criticism is warranted and justifiable. We should ALL be. I don’t care that they were religious, but I recognize that their motivations were religious and blinded them to the problems that they are going to cause not only for these children, but the families to which they belong. This group had no business transporting these children away from family.

    Plus, do you really believe that there are no religious people on the Doctors without Borders team?

    Do you really believe that there are no atheists serving with Doctors Without Borders? Actually, you probably do. You’d be incredibly wrong.

    How much of the UN’s money is wasted by going into pockets instead of real aide. The Christians on the ground donate much of their money without the world having to hear about it unlike the hypocrites who wants the trumpets to sound at the “amount” that they give.

    Please provide the data backing up your first sentence. And Christians don’t trumpet their do-gooding??? Oh, please! Now THAT’S being a hypocrite!

    You have not heard their intentions so you are making accusations based on your biased opinion which is not worth much.

    Actually, I’ve been listening. They’re not talking. Hence, my statement is factually correct. I can’t say the same for you.

    As far as money goes, do you know how much money (their own personal money) they spent to get to Haiti and then the money (not counting time and effort) they spent while there?

    No, and I couldn’t care less. What concerns me is their actions, not how much they spend. As I said, they were interfering with real aid organizations that don’t waste their time and money spreading worthless propoganda and don’t sell their aid by expecting that these people listen to their fairy tales and believe in them.

    Shame on you for blindly making excuses for the actions of these amateurs.

  6. I use criticize in the negative form only, and not constructive. I guess finger pointing would have been a more adequate term.

    I did not spin anything, just completed the blatant misinformation in the post.

    Can you read? I never said that atheists do not help, man you will stop at nothing to spin what is written in black and white, even to the point where you jump over the information and then claim that it is no there.

    Back up your argument with evidence about Christians supposedly wasting money. I will back up mine because it has already been raised and proven (the waste that is, on behalf of the UN).

    Did you know that they (the missionaries) had the proper documentation of the Dominican Republic? Did you bother to mention that? Once again, you left out information that is very important in order to mislead the audience.

    Once again, Christians are the ones who are the first on the scene, the last to leave, and bring healing both physically and more important spiritually. I know that you cannot admit that even though it is fact. Atheists are the best who criticize the relief efforts of Christians from the comforts of their own homes in front of their computers.

    Have you ever done any disaster relief work? Please answer that for me and be honest for once in your life.

  7. I use criticize in the negative form only, and not constructive. I guess finger pointing would have been a more adequate term.

    Stopping people form removing children from their families IS constructive. What these people were doing was harmful.

    Can you read? I never said that atheists do not help, man you will stop at nothing to spin what is written in black and white, even to the point where you jump over the information and then claim that it is no there.

    I would ask you the same question-

    The atheists just sit back and criticize like always.

    Gee. I wonder who wrote that then suffered short-term memory loss?

    Did you know that they (the missionaries) had the proper documentation of the Dominican Republic?

    Did you know they didn’t have the requisite documentation from the government of Haiti? I couldn’t give a rats ass if they did or did not. What they were doing was removing these children from family, something real aid organizations go out of their way to avoid, and for good reasons. And I am under no illusions that they wouldn’t have pulled their conversion stunt on these children, something secular organizations (and even religious members of these organizations recognize how wrong this is) on their captive audience. Jim Jones did the same thing in Jonestown.

    You have completely avoided the following point – Do you know what the odds are that these children would ever see their families again had this group succeeded in removing them from Haiti? Not good. If that is not doing harm, then I don’t know what is.

    Have you ever done any disaster relief work? Please answer that for me and be honest for once in your life.

    No, I haven’t. I give money to professionals who know how to do this. Unlike the ten that got arrested (and you), I recognize that I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to go about giving aid without unintentionally doing harm like these ten were about to. The insinuation that I am a constant liar (how Christian of you…) just got your ass blocked from my blog.

    Congratulations, bigot.

    • adoubtersramblings
    • Posted February 11, 2010 at 2:57 pm
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    • Reply

    Wow! that was a impressive interchange!

    • You should see the one over here. My brother and I are tag-teaming an anti-homosexual bigot trying to masquerade as a compassionate person. Get in on the fun!

        • adoubtersramblings
        • Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm
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        Holy cow! I left a comment over there, but it got shifted up higher in the comment thread. Hopefully you can find it.

        Man, You can REALLY argue a point. What’s your background? I wish I had a tenth of that skill! LOL! Very very well done!

      • Yeah, that happened to me too.

        If you hear and respond to the same arguments over, and over, and over… the answers will get more and more refined. The guys at The Non-prophets say the same thing, and it’s happened to me too. Plus I read one heck of a lot. I can give you some good suggestions for reading material on a lot of different subjects, like metaphysical naturalism (I finally abandoned methodological naturalism – I could no longer even accept the possibility of anything supernatural…), evolution, cosmology, history, philosopy… Arm yourself with knowledge and look at other’s views. But, of course, stay away from the sophistry of the likes of Ravi Zacharias. I picked up his recent book, which is supposedly an answer to the New Atheists (but it doesn’t seem to be to any question we have ever asked…) and I suddenly had the need for a whole package of Gravol. I mean, seriously. Atheism was the cause for his suicide attempt? He could pin it down to one single cause? I doubt it. And why aren’t the sidewalks littered with atheists who have decided to end their lives like so much pigeon crap? I LOVE life. I think atheism gives me far more reason to love this one life that I know I have and make it as wonderful as I can, not hope for a better one after this crappy one if I’m a good boy. Yeesh. Do believers not know how much they cheapen life?

        Anyhoo, you begin to form your own synthesis, and the more you think about it and divest it of inconsistencies and dogmatic thinking. It’s also good to have a passion for the subject matter. My brother’s passion, for example, is palpable from his response to Lauri’s hypocrisy. I’m not fond of it either. I also go nuts when people tell me that the evidence for Jesus is overwhelming. A few years ago, I knew there was a problem with that statement. I now realize after reading Ehrman, Callaghan and Helms that there isn’t one shred of evidence for Jesus as a person, let alone the miracle worker he is claimed to be in the gospels.

        It’s also easier when one has access to a university library’s publications at one’s fingertips. Being armed with peer-reviewed data is like the effect of a minigun on “common sense” (which is commonly nonsense) and baseless opinion.

        And I do have a bit of a science background (a PhD in chemistry and neurochemistry, but mostly I do MRI stuff – I’m imaging a cow knee as I write this), so critical thinking is literally a way of life for me. A sarcastic wit helps too. You should see me when I’m REALLY mean. Lauri was just a warm up. But she is a bigot. No question of that.

    • What? You’re proud of the fact that only two of the eight were charged with trafficking of children and the other eight were just following orders? If such was your intention, it’s not omething I would be trumpeting….

      Regardless if even all ten were released, what all ten did was morally reprehensible and inexcusable for the reasons I outlined above.

      Your updatete is noted but isn’t at all relevant to whether their actions were right or wrong. In this there is no doubt at all. The actions of this group were clearly and demonstrably beyond the pale and my condemnation stands.

  8. Not only do you show your spitefulness, you show your ignorance and lack of care for facts and updates for this story. Had you bothered to read the entire story at the link I provided, you would’ve read that parents admitted to willfully handing over their children to the missionaries. When is it a crime when the parents give permission?

    Also, for all 10, all charges actually were dropped and they were freed: http://in.christiantoday.com/articles/haiti-drops-kidnapping-charges-against-nine-us-christians/5285.htm

    Of the last missionary, while any charges of “child trafficking” were dropped, she only faced conviction for arranging irregular travel: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100518/haiti-convicts-then-frees-jailed-us-volunteer/index.html However, she was immediately freed for time served: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/17/laura-silsby-us-missionar_n_579644.html

    You could have easily found all this information had you bothered to care. But you don’t care. You have your smear job, you’re sticking with it, and facts be damned.

  9. You should change your handle to “Shamelessly Ignorant.”

    • Wow. Your wit is overwhelming. I am vanquished. Your logic is impeccable, as well. Completely refutes everything I’ve said. Well done.

      Actually, you’ve added nothing to the discussion, can’t back up your own position with even an incoherent argument (let alone a coherent one) and have demonstrated your own deep-seated ignorance. If you can’t articulate why you disagree, why should I listen to you? You’ve certainly said nothing that gives me pause, not to mention any reason to change my mind. Till then, you are dismissed.

  10. Oh, look. You haven’t approved my comment before that last one. The one that actually DOES coherently back my position and refutes yours. Why am I not surprised?

  11. Also, for all 10, all charges actually were dropped and they were freed…

    You don’t get it, do you? I DON’T CARE!!! The actions of these people were morally reprehensible. That they were freed is IRRELEVANT. One hardly needs to break the law to do harm by acting unethically. And they DID contravene international laws.

    And, no. I don’t necessarily update my posts. Call it a failing.

    You’ve pointed out that these ten have been freed. Big deal. What you haven’t done is show why the actions of these ten idiots (yes- they ARE idiots, their motives notwithstanding) were actually doing any good. I’ve shown how real harm can result from such irresponsible actions and my condemnation of these people stands. Amateurs would do well to let experienced aid groups such as Doctors Without Borders and the International Red Cross do their work without interference. Members of these organizations wouldn’t even think to pull this kind of stunt. They’re hardly better than those Scientology nutjobs that went down there.

  12. I know you don’t care. People so filled with hate never care about facts. Explain to me how trying to help children who were handed over to this group by their parents after a devastating earthquake is “morally reprehensible.” Obviously the Haitian government didn’t find that to be the case.

    • First, the group lied to DR border guards and claimed all the children were orphans (none of them were) and had no proper documentation. This is exactly what child smugglers do and is a clear violation of international laws governing such matters. It’s obvious that the Haitian prosecution attorneys felt there was a case to be made for this. The reason the judge released them was because he believed there was no criminal intent, not because they didn’t break any law (they did). But what you fail to notice is that my blog entry did not deal with their legal culpability, but the moral culpability of this group. Somehow, you see their release (a legal matter) as a sign that their actions were moral. This is prima facie absurd.

      Second, (if you actually had read the blog entry you would already have seen this) real aid groups would never separate children from their parents. Not even when the parents wish it. Not EVER. Why? Because the likelihood of reuniting them with their families rapidly decreases when this happens. If this isn’t harm, I don’t know what is.

      Third, they were being taken to a compound in the DR. Are you going to tell me that the children would then not receive a course in indoctrination into Christianity? All too often Christian aid groups opportunistically prey on the desperate and try to sell their belief system from a position of power. This is morally reprehensible and hardly the altruistic motive you are trying to sell me. Again, no secular aid group would provide help with any expectation of anything in return. If it’s all about helping, why distribute bibles at all, an action which doesn’t clothe, feed or shelter anyone? It’s a waste of already limited cargo space that could be used items which accomplish these things.

      What you think of as hate is actually righteous indignation. I don’t doubt that the intention of these ten was to help, and that they are generally decent people. But what they call help and what I see they were doing are completely different. Their actions interfered with aid groups providing real and measurable help. And any mitigating factors due to their desire to help is totally overridden by the potential harm that could (and likely would) result from what they did. If they didn’t see that, they should get out of the way of professional aid groups. If they did, then these ten are beyond my contempt.

      You see their intentions as the only factor, ignoring all three of the above points. This is a self-evidently myopic view that I reject. Wanting to help and acting on that to produce benefit to those who need it are two entirely separate issues, and you don’t seem to have at all considered the latter. Their inexperience and foolishness got them into hot water, and if there’s a lesson here it’s that amateurs should stay home and support aid organizations whose members do this for a living. The motives of these ten were clearly not altrustic at all, but were selfish and poorly thought out.

      My condemnation still stands unchallenged.

  13. “Third, they were being taken to a compound in the DR. Are you going to tell me that the children would then not receive a course in indoctrination into Christianity? All too often Christian aid groups opportunistically prey on the desperate and try to sell their belief system from a position of power.”

    This is obviously your primary issue with the group. Everything else is just fluff you’ve come up with in an attempt to have something legitimate to complain about.

  14. Yeah, fluff that every secular aid group considers of prime importance. Whatever.

    And, yeah. I have a problem with the religious indoctrination of children by taking advantage of tragic circumstances. I would have a problem with that even if it were an atheist group doing it. The interesting thing is, you never see that happening in secular aid groups! For religious ones, it’s commonplace and it doesn’t even occur to them that it is unethical in the extreme. I take it you are admitting that this indoctrination would happen. I accept your surrender. If you agree that it’s okay to do this, the problem is you and those like you, not me.

    Your opinion is noted and rejected. This group – and others! – went with the object of brainwashing children, opportunistically taking advantage of unimaginable tragedy to their own ends. If their motives were truly altruistic, they would not be trying to sell their beliefs on others at all.

    Let me tell you something- aid is about helping those in need, not about helping oneself by taking advantage of their need. The question is, why don’t YOU have a problem with that?


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