By Doug Wead
The plight of the jailed Baptist missionaries in Haiti is a metaphor for three much bigger problems. For one, there is the corruption in the Haitian government. Then, there is the virulent anti-Christian mood that now has free reign in Obama’s State Department. And finally, there is the ignorance of the American media, whose myopic, American centric mindset has for years missed the crimes against humanity that have ravaged this poor nation.
There is an irony to all of this. Christian missionaries have been among the very few who have ever really cared about Haiti. Catholic Relief, World Concern, Mercy Corps and a thousand smaller groups have been living among the poorest of the poor on this troubled island trying to get the American government or the media to recognize the plight of the children, the destitute communities and the rampant, violent corruption.
In the shadow of the earthquake, this island is now being discovered by young journalists, descending on Haiti and reporting back how this sudden earthquake has caused such poverty, starvation and violence. And oh, the smell of the dying bodies. Most of the journalists timidly and carefully venture a few miles into Port Au Prince to get their story before retreating back to their safe enclosed base with porta-potties, bottled water and acres of cameras, lights and fellow journalists, roughing it for a few hours before the flight back to New York.
One network wanted us to believe that the relief teams were racist because they had saved a white Christian worker from the rubble of a luxury hotel and not found a Black woman who had called on a cell phone from an apartment building. The television network, known among screenwriters for prohibiting the use of the name” Jesus” or “God” from the air, carefully spliced in a scene of an excited, white, born again Christian wife from Colorado Springs, exclaiming, “Praise God!” as she heard that her husband had been found alive. The reporter saw this racism as shameful.
Somehow the network missed a rather obvious point. The American relief effort is being led and coordinated by our government, led by an African American president. Had an American journalist from the offended network been trapped in the same hotel, my guess is that we would have tried to reach her, regardless of her race or religion.
The fact is, one could have encountered dying bodies, orphans on the street, starvation for years in Haiti, although not this bad. In more peaceful times I have seen people defecate on the sidewalk outside the presidential palace. The swimming pool at a nearby “luxury” hotel is often green with fungus, while the most reliable drug store on the island routinely sells expired medicines. This is the Haiti that existed before the earthquake made it a ratings hit for stunned, hysterical, oxygen deprived television journalists, gasping into their microphones.
In 1988 I wrote a memo to president elect George H. W. Bush in behalf of Christian organizations which pleaded that it was morally wrong for the richest nation in the world to be so geographically close to one of the poorest. They tried again when the son, George W. Bush was elected. But nobody cared about Haiti except those “bigoted” Christians until the recent earthquake and headlines guaranteed that caring would translate into public credit.
The State Department was rife with “screw the Christians” when I worked in the White House. I once got a frantic call from the wife of the David Livingston Foundation. Her husband had been arrested and thrown into prison upon landing in Ghana. It took days to unravel the mystery. The government wanted some of that money they were using to feed the poor.
The young man at the State Department told me that the local government was perfectly justified in jailing the American aid worker. He was printing literature showing starving people and it hurts the Ghanaian tourist trade.
“I’ll tell the president you said that,” I responded and then he changed his tune.
We got the American relief worker transferred to “house arrest” at his hotel room, which allowed him to have bottled water and the blood pressure medicine that saved his life. He paid a bribe and left the country. “Oh, and thanks for caring about our orphans.”
I was to learn that one of the dirty little secrets of the American State Department is that there are hundreds of American Missionaries languishing in prisons all over the world. These Southern Baptists in Haiti are actually the lucky ones, at least we know they are there.
Now, the Prime Minister of Haiti tells us that they are surely guilty. They tried to smuggle orphans out of the country. And some of the orphans turned out to have parents. But it is hard to find racism in any of this. A Black minister arranged for the transfers and provided the signed papers.
And remember, they did not leave the country, they presented themselves and their papers at the border. So why not tell them that this is insufficient and send them back for better documentation? Well, the prime minister tells us, there are people trafficking in child sex slaves.
Oh my. Is that what is going on here? Then where is the Justice Department? Why haven’t they descended on the Meridian Central Valley Baptist Church in Idaho and confiscated their computers and revealed the child porn and the lists of Southern Baptists clients in Idaho, waiting for their sex slaves form Haiti? Why hasn’t the Southern Baptist Convention dis-fellowshipped these perverts?
Because the Attorney General knows, President Barack Obama knows, Prime Minister Max Bellerive knows, and the SBC knows that these are not child traffickers at all. They are ignorant white Christian workers who are guilty of naiveté, and of caring about the plight of children, and trying to start an orphanage on the other side of the island in the Dominican Republic. And they are also ignorant of how bribes dictate business in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Indeed, the Baptist ten had to fire their own lawyer who said that $60,000 would get them out “tomorrow.” So now, the PM must act like this is a real case, and there must be due process, all to protect “His Corruptness” from being exposed by those pesky journalists, who are just barely one step behind the Baptist ten in their wide eyed ignorance of island politics.
Now, here are my questions. Where is the President on this? If these people are sex traffickers let’s hear the details. If not, haven’t we given enough money to Haiti to justify a little latitude for some naive Baptists who let their hearts get out ahead of their heads?
Where is the State Department? Well, we know the answer to that one. But where is Hillary Clinton?
And where are Senators Mike Crapo and James Risch of Idaho? No self respecting Christian should ever vote for either one again.
And where is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant religion in America? Doesn’t his own people count for something? If he won’t stand up now when will he ever stand up for something? Where is Rick Warren? Where is FOX television?
The ten detainees passed a note to NBC saying that “We fear for our lives. There is corruption and extortion.” Well, well, they are getting a little smarter.
The real story is not that some naïve Baptist couch potatoes in Idaho decided to start trafficking in child sex slaves from Haiti. The real story is that Christian Americans have poured out their hearts and their pocketbooks to feed the dying on that island and the local government wants its share, the Obama administration doesn’t care about people who “cling to their religion” and some media moguls in residential Connecticut are horrified that Christians are looking soooo good. The Baptist ten are only pawns.