February 5, 2010


The devastating January 12th earthquake in Haiti has left Port Au Prince in ruins and the death toll is unofficially estimated at 200,000. We've seen pictures of total destruction and chaos, but there have also been amazing stories of survival and the triumph of the human spirit.

Amid the myriad tragedies that continue in Haiti, the story of these 10 Baptist missionaries from the New Life Children’s Refuge has the makings of a giant tragedy all on it's own.

Kidnappers for Jesus? A group of Evangelical church folk from Idaho, led by personal shopper Laura Silsby, Executive Director and founder of New Life Children Refuge, descended upon the earthquake ravaged country of Haiti last week, to snatch and grab 100 orphans off of the streets and from orphanages. The Baptist group’s mission statement was to “share God’s love with these precious children, helping them heal and find new life in Christ.” However, they were only able to “gather” up 33, some of whom weren’t even orphans. The evangelical do-gooders became alleged kidnappers and child traffickers when they loaded the Haitian “orphans” on a bus and attempted to take them across the border to the Dominican Republic to the New Life Refuge orphanage, with no documents from the Haitian government. Well, the so-called orphanage turns out to be a 45-room hotel at Cabarete, a beach resort in the Dominican Republic that the group was renting.

This is the part that makes my blood boil. These "missionaries" believe that they were sent by God and that perhaps somehow their faith put them above the law:

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive says the ten Americans, although they may have had good intentions, are “kidnappers.” “God is the one who called us to come here and we just really believed that this was his purpose,” said Carla Thompson, one of the group’s arrested members.

The misguided Baptist church group, with their proselytizing “Great Commission” to save the souls of children from a deeply Catholic country, has also exposed the controversial practices of evangelical missionaries, who seek to religiously convert the recipients of their charity. The two Idaho Baptist churches supporting the mission, Central Valley Baptist Church and the East Side Baptist Church, made their intentions clear. Read on...

I believe that every person on this planet should have the right to worship (or not) in any way they see fit, but the actions of these misguided people clearly illustrate the dangers of religious zealotry. I sourced this post from this article at Chattah Box and I highly recommend clicking through and reading the whole thing. It is well sourced and digs deep into just how this entire thing started and more background on the people involved -- most notably, it's leader Laura Silsby, who appears to have a long history of bad judgment.

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