Van E. Harl


My mother, the wife of a Navy Master Chief, had two favorite saying she used on me as a child: “people in hell want ice water” and “no good deed goes unpunished.”

As I watch the news reports of the ten Baptists who went down to Haiti to help children whose lives had been destroyed by the earthquake, both of my mother’s sayings come to mind. But the first word that comes to mind is naive. Religiously naïve, politically naïve, maybe even a little self-righteously naïve, but not criminally naïve.

So these ten Baptists from Idaho fly down to the Dominican Republic and working with their church establish an orphanage in that country. The objective was to bring children in desperate need of basis physical human support to the orphanage. The New Life Children’s Refuge as the facility was to be called was eventually to hold 100 children. The Baptists were stopped at the border and detained on allegations of trafficking in children.

I looked up the US Census for the State of Idaho. It is 94% white in population with only .9% black. I truly cannot figure out how you could traffic children of obviously sub-Saharan African Negroid decent, speaking French in Idaho. But I would suggest if you are an African-American waiting for a plane in Boise, now is not the time to be practicing your high school French. Some liberal within ear-shot, will sound the alarm and have you taken into protective custody, because everyone now knows about the alleged trafficking of Haitian children.

Yes there is a serious issue of trafficking of Haitian children, but it is intra-country. Poor Haitians have been selling their children into bounded servitude to rich Haitians for generations. Sadly this goes on in many third-world countries.

So no good deed goes unpunished? As I watched the footage of dead bodies everywhere on the island I had to wonder how many dead orphans would have preferred to be taken away to safety and cared for by some naïve Baptists, who only wanted to feed them, house them and make the suffering children’s hurt stop? If a couple of Navy landing craft rolled up on the beaches of Haiti and offered free rides to safety for as many children as could possibly get on board ship, I would suggest there would be parents pushing in line to get their children to those boats and safety.

I love my daughter and want her with our family but I would push whoever I had to, out of the way, to get my child on one of those landing craft. People leave Haiti in rickety old boats all the time, risking their lives and their family member’s lives, to get off that island and all of its madness.

There is really very little positive you can say about Haiti. It is one third of an island. The other two thirds is the Dominican Republic. On the Haiti side they try to leave on inner-tubes lashed together and on the Dominican Republic side it is a destination hot spot for Americans on vacation.

People in hell want ice water. To Haitians, the Dominican Republic is a tall glass of cool water that they can never drink from and the USA is the ice water. The USA, both on the Federal Government side and the private charity side, have been dumping millions if not billions of dollars into that bottomless pit of need and desperation called Haiti, for generations. It just does not get any better, no matter how much effort is expended to help, and now the earthquake. What little working infrastructure was there is now destroyed and the world demands the US save everybody and complains that we do not move fast enough. Even in hell you cannot serve ice water when there is nothing to drink from.

The ten Baptists, including a 14 year old girl were most assuredly naïve (Webster’s--lacking sophistication and worldliness) and have now failed to help anyone, but they were never criminals trafficking in children. The Haitian government needs to wise up. Take the 10 Baptists, drive them the border and expel them from Haiti. The longer they keep the 10 Baptists in jail the more there is a chance one of them will be harmed. In fact one is a diabetic, already having problems. If one of those Baptists gets attacked or dies, the outpouring of help will slow down dramatically.

I am a boring old Methodist but give us our Baptists back—they only meant to do good.