Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
When the story of 10 Americans being held in Haiti for illegally trying to take 33 children across the Dominican border was first reported and quotes from the group’s incarcerated spokesperson, Laura Silsby began to come out, I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My first thought was: what a bunch of stupid morons.
Silsby, 40, of Boise, Idaho told the AP that she hadn’t been following news reports (of the biggest natural disaster in recent western hemispheric history) and didn’t think she needed Haitian permission to take them — the children ranging from 2 months to 12 years — out of the country.
First of all, what person would think that taking anyone’s children, anywhere without permission would ever be okay? Secondly, Haiti halted new international adoptions after the earthquake, obviously foreseeing the problems with children separated from their parents after the disaster.
One would think, prior to boarding a plane in Idaho, the group would have considered this and thought: Haiti halted adoptions, we are bussing kids out of the country without the Haitian Government’s permission, maybe this isn’t a good idea?
1 + 1 = 2.
Giving the group and Ms. Silsby the benefit of the doubt, I thought they must just be simple folk living in an Idaho vacuum, no television, Blackberries, radio or internet. Maybe they lacked some common sense. Naturally that must be the case.
However, I am quite sure that Ms. Silsby has a Blackberry, a television and bucket-loads of common sense. She is the founder and CEO of PersonalShopper.com, and was named 2006 International Businesswoman of the Year.
Her e-commerce website has been touted by Dr. Phil, Joan Lunden and yes, even Tony Danza. She is not the insular bumpkin her I didn’t know we needed documentation comments suggest.
“God wanted us to come here to help children, we are convinced of that,” Laura Silsby said Monday from her jail cell: “Our hearts were in the right place.”
Ms. Silsby continues with her comments to the AP, saying the group only had the best intentions and paid no money for the children, and that child trafficking”is exactly what we are trying to combat.”
I don’t get the impression that this group of Americans were trying to sell children – more will come out in the investigative wash. However, what they did was just as bad. They assume, incorrectly, that their religion is right and applicable to all people everywhere around the world. That they, because of their beliefs, can come into a country and take people’s children because their “hearts were in the right place.”
The Reverend Clint Henry of the Central Valley Baptist Church – one of the churches involved in this operation, told the AP, “One of the reasons that our church wanted to help is because we believe that Christ has asked us to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world, and that includes children.”
After the 10 Americans were taken into custody, Rev. Henry went on to lead his congregation back in Idaho in prayer for the detainees: “Help them as they seek to resist the accusations of Satan and the lies that he would want them to believe and the fears that he would want to plant in their heart.” (AP via Yahoo News)
Pat Robertson, another Baptist, also referenced Satan’s work in Haiti in his idiotic claim that the earthquake was a result of their pact with “the Devil”.
Aside from the obviously arrogant assumptions that the members of this mission made, and Haiti’s delicate history with child trafficking, the parading of deities and demons throughout Haiti’s landscape by Christian Americans is troubling to say the very least.
This belief that one’s mission is sound based on the direction of a Supreme Being is potentially counter productive to the efforts of legitimate children’s aid agencies.
In a press release regarding the alleged trafficking of the 33 children, Save the Children Child Protection expert Karen Flanagan said, “The instinct to swoop in and rescue children may be a natural impulse, but it cannot be the solution for the tens of thousands of children left vulnerable by the Haiti earthquake.” Save the Children is working to uncover, along with the Haitian Government and the UN, and gather information surrounding this incident.
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