In a somewhat … misguided … effort to show children what it’s like for Christian missionaries in parts of the world that aren’t quite as tolerant of other religions, church officials of the Glad Tidings Assembly of God decided to “kidnap” several young members of their youth group during class and bring them to the pastor’s house. There, they witnessed him being “beaten” by assailants.
“They pulled my chair out from underneath me and then they told me to get on the ground,” the unnamed girl tearfully told WHTM. “And I was the first person to go into the van. I had my hands behind my back they said ‘just do as I say and you won’t be hurt.'”
The “kidnapped” youth group was then taken to their pastor’s house, where it looked like the minister was being attacked.
The girl showed the station the bruises she suffered from the event, and claims the men laughed while she cried in the van.
The wrongness of this incident spans so many different levels and dimensions … I’ll just take on three because I need to go to bed.
First, the kidnapping bit. It doesn’t matter if the people carrying out the abductions thought it was fake; the people being knocked around, shoved into a van, and held at gunpoint certainly didn’t think so, and they have every right to press charges. This is likely going to result in some prison time for someone.
Second, the kidnapping of some kids. I mean, seriously. I could maybe see a class for adults who are training to be missionaries in handling violence, assaults, and other forms of persecution in foreign countries without making things worse for themselves, but to pull this shit on some unsuspecting 14 year old while she’s attending her youth group is not only cruel, but absolutely pointless.
Third, if you want to talk about persecution, you don’t have to look any further than what the church and (predominately evangelical) Christianity does to people they don’t like in this country … say, homosexuals, single mothers, or just women in general. Maybe a better approach would be to have church officials treat this unnamed girl and the other members of her class as if they had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, or decided to move in with their same sex partners.
There is no doubt that Christians – either foreign born or missionaries – face persecution and violence in some parts of the world, and there needs to be a way to deal with that. But we might be in a somewhat better moral position if some of our Christians didn’t treat people who aren’t compatible with their interpretation of morality as second class citizens.