Sunday, February 7, 2010

Good Intentions or Good Excuse?

In the wake of the earthquake that struck Haiti, 10 American missionaries were arrested for kidnapping. We’ve heard countless stories of how this earthquake has devastated the capital of Haiti. Songs have been made and stories have been told in an effort to rally support and aid for Haiti. Some have even left their homes in various countries and on various continents in order to physically lend a hand to Haiti. Of the 10 Americans that were arrested some belong to a Baptist church that’s based in Idaho. As I read this article my heart was broken a little by the thought of someone even seeking prosecution against a group that means no harm. I guess the question that resonates over and over in my mind is: “Does a natural disaster like this one trump certain laws and traditions?” If your city lies in ruins and the reality of the life’s temporality is shaken, what exactly is more important? Laws or lives?

Not only does this case involve Americans but it was also suggested that the case be tried on American soil. It disturbs me that there is even a case to be considered for American justice. Many headlines depicted Haiti as relying on faith and God to get them through this horrible disaster. Yet they seek to arrest and convict the saints sent to them for help. In the midst of devastation should man’s need for social order override the needs of those that are suffering? Can Haiti be so hell-bent on legalities that the children and families are forced to suffer further? I propose that in instances like these that measures of “good faith” should trump minor legalities.

So here’s my advice to fellow Americans and others. Remember the instance with the 2 Korean-American journalists trespassing into North Korea? Well let’s just remember that if we aren’t in America we are guests. Behave as such!


OldPantherGSU said...
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OldPantherGSU said...

I must respond to the implied assumptions that were made in this review/comments item. The claim that the ten individuals meant no harm is just not supported by the facts. Take the one documented issue that they told authorities, and seemingly news reporters, that the children were from an orphanage and were being processed for adoption. The revealed fact is that the children were taken from families under the influence of promises of grand living in the Dominican Republic and the USA. The children had the printed material in their pockets when ‘rescued’ at the border. (I know you may not agree with the term rescued but the fact shows they were taken under false pretenses.
To call these people ‘saints’ is an insult to people that have earned the designation of saint, either in general usage as in protestant churches or by official designation. These people elevated themselves above the law. They held that they rather than other people knew what was right for these children living 2000 miles away. Is there no poverty in Idaho or Oregon? Why could they not do benevolent work with out lying?
I must be emphatic that ‘good faith’ never justifies breaking the law, or at least be willing to accept the punishment and then fight to change the law. And those girls in Korea should still be there breaking big rocks into little rocks (or do you not know the reference to hard labor on the rock pile?).
You do not go to another country, or another state, or another community because you know better than the people that living there as to how they should run their society. You can try to educate people, but you can not take action against the law.

Dallas M said...

I would have to say that in the mist of chaos that was caused by the earthquake in Haiti there are still rules and regulations that must be followed. While the missionaries had it in their hearts to help the victims of this tragedy, kidnapping people was taking it a bit too far. So many people are displaced as of now and with missionaries kidnapping people does not make the situation any better. And to hold the trial on American soil will probably, in my opinion, allow the missionaries to walk away free of their crimes. I understand that people have uprooted from their homes in order to help the people of Haiti, but they should still remember that they are a guest in this country and should respect the restrictions placed on them.

David said...
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David I said...

I have to agree with what was said before by Dallas, there are still rules and regulations that must be followed in the wake of a catastrophic event. While Haiti may not be as developed as our own country, it does not mean that those who volunteered to help can break the laws that have been established within their borders. We would not allow foreign missionaries to come into the United States after a catastrophe and “kidnap” children who may have been orphaned. Thus, there is no reason why Americans should be allowed to do this in other countries. While these missionaries may have been trying to aid those in need, they should have followed the rules that are in place before practicing their own “good faith.”

Rachel B said...

I don’t wish to beat a dead horse here, but I’m also in disagreement with this post. Kidnapping is kidnapping is kidnapping. Committing a crime based on moral or religious grounds, in this case specifically Christian, does not excuse the fact that these people lured children under false pretenses to join them and move across the nation’s borderlines. In my opinion, it appears that these 10 individuals are operating under the assumption that Americans can do no wrong. By this I mean to say that if things were reversed and an impoverished city in the United States suffered from a catastrophic disaster and 10 Haitian missionaries came to “rescue” or “save” children this would cause uproar even greater than the current one. Furthermore, despite the fact that these 10 are American citizens, they committed a crime on Haitian soil. Because of this reason, they will have to be tried in Haiti and cannot be extradited back to the United States. Therefore, this is not simply a “minor legality” as previously stated in the original post, but what is considered a major crime and despite the “good intentions” of the kidnappers, it seems ludicrous to suggest that in this situation the law should be ignored or “swept under the rug.”