Pat Robertson apparently believes that Haiti is a godless country devoid of any laws that a Christian needs to respect. But this asinine viewpoint should not excuse the ten Idaho Baptists who were recently arrested after they attempted to remove 33 children from Haiti without legal authority. The group allegedly tried to take the children to the Dominican Republic where they were to live in an orphanage that does not yet exist.
Some of the individuals claim that the children's parents "gave" their kids to the group because they hoped that the Americans could offer the children better lives. But children are not items of personal property that people -- including parents -- can simply discard. Instead, most countries, including Haiti, have formal adoption laws that create procedures to investigate the fitness of prospective adoptive parents or guardians and to make sure that biological parents knowingly and intentionally relinquish their parental rights. Given the number of exploited and abused children, it is easy to understand the sound public policy behind these laws.
If ten foreigners tried to yank 33 "needy" American children from their homes and secret them across the border for a "better life," the issue of intent would not matter, and the New York Times would not describe the group's subsequent domestic prosecution as one "fraught with diplomatic and political land mines." Neither ignorance of the law nor old-fashioned ignorance can excuse the bizarre and dangerous behavior of this group.