The plight of the jailed Baptist missionaries in Haiti is a metaphor for much bigger problems.
First, there is the corruption in the Haitian government. Then, there seems to be anti-Christian sentiment on the part of all involved. Finally, there is ignorance in the American media, whose myopic, America-centric mind-set for years has missed the crimes against humanity that have ravaged this poor nation.
There is an irony to all of this. Christian missionaries have been among the very few who ever really have cared about Haiti.
Catholic Relief, World Concern, Mercy Corps, and a thousand smaller groups have been living on this troubled island trying to get the American government or the media to recognize the plight of the children, the destitute communities and the rampant, violent corruption.
In the shadow of the earthquake, this island is now being discovered by young journalists, descending on Haiti and reporting how this sudden earthquake has caused such poverty, starvation, and violence.
Most of the journalists timidly and carefully venture a few miles into Port Au Prince to get their stories before retreating back to their safe enclosed base with porta-potties, bottled water, and acres of cameras, lights, and fellow journalists, roughing it for a few hours before the flight back to New York.
One network wanted us to believe that the relief teams were racist because they had saved a white Christian worker from the rubble of a luxury hotel and not found a black woman who had called on a cell phone from an apartment building.
The television network carefully spliced in a scene of an excited, white, born-again Christian wife from Colorado Springs, exclaiming, “Praise God!” as she heard that her husband had been found alive. The reporter saw this racism as shameful.
Somehow the network missed a rather obvious point. The American relief effort is being led and coordinated by our government, led by an African-American president.
Had an American journalist from the offended network been trapped in the same hotel, my guess is that we would have tried to reach her, regardless of her race or religion.
The fact is, one could have encountered dying bodies, orphans on the street, starvation for years in Haiti. In more peaceful times, I have seen people defecate on the sidewalk outside the presidential palace.
The swimming pool at a nearby “luxury” hotel is often green with fungus, while the most reliable drugstore on the island routinely sells expired medicines.
In 1988, I wrote a memo to president-elect George H.W. Bush, which pleaded that it was morally wrong for the richest nation in the world to be so geographically close to one of the poorest. They tried again when the son, George W. Bush, was elected. But nobody cared about Haiti except those “bigoted” Christians.
I learned that one of the dirty little secrets of the American State Department is that hundreds of American missionaries languishing in prisons all over the world. These Southern Baptists in Haiti are actually the lucky ones — at least we know they are there.
Now, the prime minister of Haiti tells us that they are surely guilty. They tried to smuggle orphans out of the country. And some of the orphans turned out to have parents. But it is hard to find racism in any of this. A black minister arranged for the transfers and provided the signed papers.
And they did not leave the country; they presented themselves and their papers at the border. So why not tell them that this is insufficient and send them back for better documentation?
Well, the prime minister tells us, there are people trafficking in child sex slaves.
Oh my. Is that what is going on here? Then where is the Justice Department? Why haven’t they descended on the Meridian Central Valley Baptist Church in Idaho and confiscated their computers and revealed the child porn and the lists of Southern Baptists clients in Idaho, waiting for their sex slaves from Haiti?
Why hasn’t the Southern Baptist Convention "dis-fellowshipped" these perverts?
Because the attorney general knows, President Barack Obama knows, Prime Minister Max Bellerive knows, and the SBC knows that these are not child traffickers at all. They are Christian workers who are guilty of naiveté, and of caring about the plight of children, and trying to start an orphanage on the other side of the island in the Dominican Republic.
And they are ignorant of how bribes dictate business in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Indeed, the Baptist 10 had to fire their own lawyer who said that $60,000 would get them out “tomorrow.”
Now, here are my questions. Where is the president on this? If these people are sex traffickers, let’s hear the details.
If not, haven’t we given enough money to Haiti to justify a little latitude for some naive Baptists who let their hearts get out ahead of their heads?
Where is the State Department? Where is Hillary Clinton?
And where are Sens. Mike Crapo and James Risch of Idaho? No self-respecting Christian should ever vote for either one again.
And where is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant religion in America? Don’t his own people count for something?
If he won’t stand up now when will he ever stand up for something? Where is Rick Warren? Where is Fox News?
The 10 detainees passed a note to NBC saying that “We fear for our lives. There is corruption and extortion.” Well, well, they are getting a little smarter.
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