Suffer the Little Children

The Washington Post is reporting (link via AMERICAblog) that a Christian missionary group based in Virginia has airlifted 300 Indonesian children left orphaned after the tsunamis to the capital city of Jakarta, from their home in the Muslim province of Banda Aceh. The group, WorldHelp, says that it intends to raise them in a Christian orphanage which it, apparently, has yet to build. They are, however, currently attempting to raise funds for the project.

According to their Foreign Ministry spokesman, Indonesia has no knowledge of this airlift, and finds it unlikely that any Indonesian official would have approved the airlift, as there exists a ban on the adoption of Acehnese children orphaned by the disaster.

This leaves one of two possibilities: either WorldHelp does not have 300 children in its care, but is using the claim to pilfer funds out of Evangelical Christians’ pockets for the proposed orphanage, or an American Christian missionary group has just committed a mass kidnapping. Unfortunately for the children, it appears to be the latter.
"These are children who are unclaimed or unwanted. We are not trying to rip them apart from any existing family members and change their culture and change their customs," [WorldHelp’s president Rev. Vernon Brewer] said. "These children are going to be raised in a Christian environment. That's no guarantee they will choose to be Christians."
Taking in children who are arguably unclaimed or unwanted, despite a ban on their adoption, versus plain, old-fashioned kidnapping is really a distinction without a difference. What makes WorldHelp, who has, on the lives of these children, managed to raise a mere $70,000 for their collective care, think that they can better provide for them than the children’s own people and/or government is an utter mystery. By their own admission, they need an additional $350,000 to build the orphanage. There is no indication of how they will sustain the housing and nutritional needs of 300 children in the interim.

I imagine they believe Jesus will provide.

And why wouldn’t he, what with 300 new converts about to be indoctrinated? The audacity of Brewer and his group is mind-boggling. They are not, according to Brewer, seeking to “change their culture and change their customs,” but they want to raise Muslim children “in a Christian environment.” Religion is inextricably intertwined with one’s culture and customs, a fact of which Brewer cannot possibly be ignorant, or he wouldn’t be so keen to "plant Christian principles as early as possible" in the 300 children, some of which are as old as 12.

This is truly contemptible behavior. Being Christian does not always make you right. Being American does not always make you right. And being an American Christian does not give you the right to take into your possession 300 children with no evident means to care for them aside from a ghoulish plan to brainwash the Allah right out of their heads, and no respect whatsoever for the culture from which they were stolen or the laws of the country in which they reside.

Brewer and his asinine gang of zealous accomplices can define this any way they want, but when they claim to hope that the children’s conversion to Christ “could become the foothold to reach the Aceh people,” they’re doing little more than using these children to further their own ends. It isn’t acceptable when children are trafficked by child pornographers for the same reason, so why should we excuse the same behavior simply because it’s done in the name of one man’s God?



WorldHelp has dropped its plans. Of course, not before it reinforced the notion that Americans are interested in orchestrating a Christian crusade against the world, and against Muslims in particular.
"This confirms some of our worst fears that certain missionary groups would exploit the tragedy and the earthquake to enter into these areas and convert people through use of a disproportionate power relationship," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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