When Christians Go To Jail

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I've been watching this story for the last week, and my heart strings have been pulled in more than one direction.  What a predicament?  Evidently 10 members of a Baptist church in Idaho decided to go and rescue some of the orphans from the Haiti disaster. 

Seems innocent enough right?

Everyone in the Western hemisphere wants to go down there an help, so what in the world might be the problem when people of the Lord want to go and give their time, energy, and presumably financial resources to rescue children?

The other part of me knows the Haitian point of view. 

Since Jamie and I have been involved in international adoption, we've been privy to seeing a lot of governmental systems.  We've sat with Chinese regulators, Rwandan family departments, and I even took 60 kids to Guatemala to live with orphans in Guatemala city. 

What the world isn't understanding in this story is something quite vicious.  Even though it looks innocent on the outside, and it seems like these 10 Baptists had good intentions; there are rules set up for adoption and relief organizations for a reason.

Child trafficking, sex slavery, and the labor business is something we don't think about here in the U.S.  But it's a REAL deal on the international stage.  Haiti is a breeding ground for the darkest members of humanity to reer their ugly heads and take advantage of the children.  Trafficking kids is big business, and I've seen homes in southeast Asia where girls are thrown to the curb because they've contracted AIDS.  They were taking from their homes, forced into prostitution,  used as a resource to make money, and then when they got sick, they were forgotten about. 

This is the real world America. 

We can't just go and break all the rules of the international community just because our heart strings get pulled.  There are systems.  There are agencies.  There are regulators that could have set these 10 up for success.  But instead, we try to take the "great white American hope" to other countries, and we think everything is going to be O.K. if they do it our way.  WE MUST BE CAREFUL TO SERVE THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE, not just running to do whatever WE think.

Can you imagine 10 Haitians coming to New York the day after 9-11 and trying to gather the child victims of 9-11 to move them to Canada? 

Can you imagine 10 Mexicans arriving in Oklahoma city the day after the bombing, scooping up the children of tragedy to take them to Mexico City?

What would we do if 10 Cubans arrived on the coast of Louisiana after Katrina and were caught with 30 children on their way out to "rescue them?"

I'm not saying these 10 Baptists don't have the greatest heart in the world, we'll see what happens after their trial.  But Americans need to think about the rest of the world before we inject our own opinions about what we think is right in a situation like this. 

There are organizations trying to coordinate the relief.
There are people trying to make sure the airports stay open, the ports are free to dock, and the food is distributed. 
If you're heart tells you to go and give, or maybe even stronger; if you hear God tell you to go, remember He is a God of order, not of confusion.  Make sure you are above board, registered with an official agency, and give everything you feel like you need to give.  God knows they need it right now.

If the 10 are innocent, I'm so sorry they are in this situation, and I will continue to pray for them and their families.  But, this should be lesson that rings loud and clear to the people of America.  When you go to help someone, make sure they want the help before you subvert the systems in place.  Unfortunately the evil people of the world require us to be above reproach, even in our relief efforts. 

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for saying what I have been thinking as well. I understand good intentions but there are laws and regulations for a good reason. It is very difficult to feel completely sorry for these people when they decided to bypass every law out there under the assumption that their good efforts superceded the rules. While I think it is sad that they are being imprisoned in a less than ideal situation, I hope it is a lesson to others to work within the law instead of side stepping around it.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Andy. It was a good read and got me thinking. You know it’s funny, the modern western world and the western world of the early modern period in history have long felt this way. This burden. That we are right and good and we can help people so so thoroughly. But you are right. We really need to consider other cultures and have a global perspective. not just assume our own cultural norms are infallibly right.

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