We all know that Christians are commanded to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), and as a rule, they generally feel compelled to convert as many people as possible to their own form of their religion. Abandoned and orphaned children in post-earthquake Haiti must have seemed like “easy pickings” to an Idaho Baptist church, so it looks like they went there and scooped some of them up. They’re now, understandably, in a heap of trouble because they tried it. The (UK) Guardian reports on this missionary venture (WebCite cached article):

American church group held after trying to take children out of Haiti

A group of 10 American Baptists were being held in Port-au-Prince today after trying to take 33 children out of Haiti.

The church group, most of them from Idaho, allegedly lacked the proper documents when they were arrested on Friday night in a bus along with children aged from two months to 12 years who had survived the earthquake.

The group said they were setting up an orphanage across the border in the Dominican Republic.

Their motives, they insist, were nothing but pure:

“In this chaos the government is in right now we were just trying to do the right thing,” the group’s spokeswoman, Laura Silsby, said at the judicial police headquarters in Port-au-Prince, where the Americans were being held pending a hearing tomorrow before a judge.

The Baptists’ Haitian Orphan Rescue Mission was described as an effort to save abandoned, traumatised children. They wanted to take 100 children by bus to a 45-room hotel at Cabarete, a beach resort in the Dominican Republic, that they were converting into an orphanage, Silsby told the AP.

The problem is that this sort of thing is kinda illegal at the moment, in Haiti, and for very good reason:

However, the Americans – the first known to be taken into custody since the 12 January quake – are now in the middle of a political firestorm in Haiti, where government leaders have suspended adoptions amid fears that parentless or lost children are more vulnerable than ever to child trafficking. …

Haiti has imposed new controls on adoptions since the earthquake, which left thousands of children parentless or separated from their families. The government now requires the prime minister Max Bellerive to personally authorise the departure of any child as a way to prevent child trafficking.

The Baptist church group insists they aren’t up to no good, though, and points out that they had “inside help”:

Silsby said the group, including members from Texas and Kansas, only had the best of intentions and paid no money for the children, whom she said they obtained from the Haitian pastor Jean Sanbil, of the Sharing Jesus Ministries.

As the Guardian goes on to say, these Baptists were ignorant of this rule, and in fact, had never bothered even trying to get any kind of clearance from the Haitian government:

Silsby said they had documents from the Dominican government, but did not seek any paperwork from the Haitian authorities before taking the children to the border.

Here, we call that “breaking the law for Jesus.” Not that it would be a new phenomenon, there are always religious folk who think their metaphysical beliefs entitle them to break laws. It’s one thing to believe one is supposed to “make disciples of all nations”; it’s quite another to just round up children whose parents are missing and just haul them away to raise them into the Baptist faith.

Hat tip: Skeptics & Heretics forum and Anti-Bible forum (both on Delphi Forums).

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