Ten members of the Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho went on a mission to "rescue" thirty-three Haitian kids by attempting to steal and take them across the border to the Dominican Republic. Fortunately, Haitian authorities stopped the church group. Central Valley's web site has this "news update" on their homepage:
A ten member church team traveled to Haiti to help rescue children from one or more orphanages that had been devastated in the earthquake on January 12. The children were being taken to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic where they could be cared for and have their medical and emotional needs attended to. Our team was falsely arrested today and we are doing everything we can from this end to clear up the misunderstanding that has occurred in Port au Prince.
If I were lying dead in Haiti and my baby was out there homeless, the absolute last person I would want to take my baby is anyone who thinks that their race, religion, family, country, and culture are superior to my own. The ideology of this church is best captured in the rationale that its "Minister of Connections," Drew Ham, provides for becoming a "strong Southern Baptist" (typos and capitalizations, his):
I was saved at the age of 5. It was very clear to me: I was sinner and headed to hell. However, Jesus Christ died on a cross for my sins. The choice was pretty simple: a.) accept Jesus and spend eternity in heaven or b.) reject him and accept the consequences of hell. It was pretty much a no-brainer for me. I often speak of my life a journey - a quest toward the KINGdom of heaven (Matthew 6:33). I am continually striving to be more Christ-like and know God at a deeper level.
Can it really be considered a "rescue" if a large group of unknown, white, "strong southern Baptists" who think anyone who isn't "saved" will be subject to "the consequences of hell" pick up black, Caribbean kids and take them anywhere? Talk about culture shock for those kids! I am not only galled but, perhaps, a little frightened of how fierce such church groups can be.
You can read "Haiti Detains Americans Taking Kids Across Border ," an Associated Press report on the group's failed attempt, in the Sunday (31 January 2010) World section of The New York Times.