The Irony of the "Haiti Hostages"
Fox News reports that the Judge in the "Idaho Baptists - Haitian Government" affair, has recommended that the 10 folks from Idaho be released. One can only assume that they will be, which will end the current controversy over their actions.
It's been interesting to watch the evangelical reaction to the detention of the "Baptists from Idaho". It's made me wonder whether it was evangelicals in general, or just us Baptists (who were authors of most of the comments I saw).
The heat seems to be off, now that the judge recommended they be released. But whatever impressions were made, by our public reactions, will remain, I'm afraid.
What I heard mostly was an outcry that their motives were good so they shouldn't have been arrested. Forget the fact that they were in a foreign nation, one that everyone seems to think/have thought was corrupt, and that they violated that nation's laws; their motives were OK so let them go. And on more than one blog comment stream, and article, I pointed out that, had they been some foreign nationals invading a U.S.A. slum, trying to take 30 children out of our nation to "give them a better life", we'd expect our government to step in and stop it. And throw the book at the offender.
As far as I'm concerned, we'd have been a bunch of hypocrites, too. And nobody wanted to even touch that thought, that I saw.
As Jim Cymbala pointed out in "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire", early Christians didn't petition Rome for relief from persecution at the hands of the religious "establishment" ... they didn't wail and moan about unfairness of others ... and they didn't complain about others questioning their motives. Or pass notes to others pleading for help from outside. And one of the results of their not doing those things was Paul and Silas having a "praise & worship" time in captivity, that shook the foundations of the prison. And brought a prison guard to faith in Christ.
I peruse a lot of blogs, and read various Baptist media, and the only folks I saw who said that the Haitian government was justified in their actions were Wade Burleson and Marty Duren. Kudos to the both of them, and to those unseen folks who agreed.
The irony I see in this is that someone might read the reports and liken them to someone standing before a Holy God, on judgment day, and think that purity of motives will excuse their sin. Before a Holy God, the only hope I have, or ever will have, is mercy. Yet time after time, people with a public voice have complained that justice wasn't being done in Haiti. Plain fact: they didn't want or need justice. They needed mercy!
Perhaps this whole bad reaction I read is just a symptom of the sort of "imperialistic attitude" which has brought much of the world to dislike the U.S.A.
Let's hope it doesn't do the same for evangelical Christianity.