Consecutive Days Riding: 132 Consecutive Days Blogging: 114
Today’s Mileage: 5 Total Trip Mileage: 928
As I ride the bike this morning I think about a series of blogs I posted several weeks ago. I got into a discussion concerning some of the efforts being undertaken by Christian organizations in Haiti. In the end I offered an apology as I did not have all of the information concerning the topic. Some friends cheered my efforts and encouraged me to rejoin the “struggle” with people who wrap their efforts in a religious mission. Other friends encouraged me to just step away from any such discussions, to avoid the “us and them” conflict and to simply continue to ride my bike, commune with nature and discover inspiring and unique pilgrimage sites.
I have decided to comment on a set of events that have unfolded over the last several weeks in Haiti. I am speaking of the arrest of 10 American Christian missionaries as they tried to leave Haiti with a busload of children. While the missionaries believed that these were orphans or unwanted children, the Haitian government disagrees.
I have no problems with the process of adoption. I have numerous close friends who have adopted children from the Orient or Eastern Europe. They have welcomed these children with open arms into their families and all are now happy healthy children who are loved and cherished by their adopted parents. We recently hired a new faculty member who was himself an adoptee from Korea. He speaks favorable of adoption, especially for children who may be a less than “perfect” having handicaps which invite condemnation from their native culture. Many of these adoptive parents chose to adopt out of a combination of their own personal needs, an inability to conceive a child, and a strong desire to help a less fortunate child by giving them a loving home. Other individuals have acted on deep religious conviction and have added adopted children to their own existing families.
I have watched the unfolding story of the 10 Christian missionaries who headed to Haiti to save and adopt orphaned children. Since they were first arrested, I’ve witnessed a chorus of voices from within the Christian community. Some condemned their actions as misguided and naïve. But many of these voices note that the missionaries had “good intentions” that they “only wanted to help.” I understand that sometimes well-meaning and loving people can rush forward to quickly, undertaking a task without all of the necessary preparations. People can get in “over their head” or “jump in without looking.” I have to question whether people are moving too quickly to dismiss the seriousness of these missionary’s actions and behaviors by over emphasizing their intentions.
I’ve blogged before about the danger of ends justify the means arguments. In our own country we saw a war based on lies heralded as a “just war” because in the end we had disposed of a bad dictator. This declaration was accompanied by a total disregard of the cost of the war for our country and the people we “liberated.” I believe that the arguments stating that the missionaries “had good intentions” is simply a variation of the ends justify the means. If the motivation behind the action was good, even if the action itself did not yield good, then the means are somehow justified? Some of my friends are prone to say this sounds like a slippery slope. It sounds like motivation trumps the actual costs of the event.
A second event that has recently come to light was based upon complaints from adoptive parents. A Christian adoption agency told adoptive parents they were receiving orphans and only later did the parents find out that the children were older than they had been promised. In addition, the children reported having living parents and longing to return home. To add insult to injury this agency charged tens of thousands of dollars from the adoptive parents. Videotapes exist showing an agency worker offering money to Ethiopian villagers for their children. Again does the ends, placing less fortunate children in loving homes, out weight the means? A heartbroken parent finds out their adoption was based on a lie and the good work of all adoption agencies is called into question. Good intentions are NOT an excuse to forgive bad behaviors!
Yesterday we visited the Kennedy space Center, tomorrow we will stop at a pilgrimage site that highlights nature.
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