Ten American missionaries from an Idaho Baptist church may face criminal charges for human "trafficking" after they tried to fly 33 Haitian children illegally out of the disaster-stricken country. While Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive has called the Americans "kidnappers," the missionaries claim they were just trying to help orphans (at least one child, it turns out, has a living parent) and "do the right thing." Has this incident been blown out of proportion? (Watch an AP report about Baptists' Haitian adoptions)
The Baptists should be freed: With "up to one million" orphaned children in Haiti, says Will Heaven in the Daily Telegraph, this is no time to let a fear of "bureaucracy" prevent good Samaritans from lending a hand.
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These people must be stopped: The missionaries may just be "well-intentioned fools for Jesus," says Arthur G Broadhurst at Alternet, but they might have had some darker motive. It wouldn't be the first time "religious fundamentalists" tried to capitalize on a disaster to pull a fast one.
The missionaries meant well — but they were wrong: You can't fault this Christian group for its "natural impulse" to save children, said Deb Barry of Save the Children, as quoted by the Associated Press. But impetuously swooping in and snatching children is no solution; in chaos like this, would-be rescuers are bound to scoop up "orphans" whose parents have actually survived.
Haiti needs to focus on its larger crisis, not this: Debating when adoption becomes abduction is the last thing the ill-equipped, understaffed Haitian government should be tackling, says Matthew Clark in the Chistian Science Monitor. This overblown "international incident" could derail the daunting chore of "caring for the one million left homeless by the quake."
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