Thursday, February 4, 2010

Misguided Missionaries

One of the purposes of this blog is to comment on news items, trying to put them into perspective. A news item I want to comment on is the story of a group of missionaries who tried to transport some Haitian children across the border into the Dominican Republic. They were stopped at the border because they didn’t have the proper documentation, and ended up in a Haitian jail accused of child trafficking.

So what happened? I don’t know if anybody knows for sure, but apparently those missionaries were trying to rescue these kids and place them in an orphanage in the DR. But why didn’t they have the proper documentation? Several possibilities come to mind:

They may have just been ignorant of the process, which is fairly involved. If they didn’t have anybody with them who knows the language, then they were essentially helpless. Moral: know what you’re doing, get somebody who knows the system to help you, know the language.

They may have been tricked by a scam artist who claimed to be helping them get the necessary paperwork but wasn’t. Same moral as above.

They may have been naïve and assumed they could take these kids across the border, especially since it was still on the island of Hispaniola. Same moral as above.

The other possibility is that they may have been overly zealous to help these kids, and they didn’t use common sense and good judgment. They may have felt the end justifies the means. We as Christians are to obey civil authorities, and civil disobedience should be only against unfair, dangerous, or oppressive laws (Nazi persecution of the Jews comes to mind). If a Christian is to do something, it must be done legally, correctly, and in a way that brings glory to God, not shame.

I can’t judge what happened in this case, so I’ll keep an open mind until all the facts have been presented. But hopefully the foregoing discussion will help you in your efforts to do the right thing.

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