Anthea Butler analyzes the case of Idaho missionaries arrested in Haiti, comparing it to the long history of colonialism and imperial Christianity of which the missionaries appear naively unaware:
Frankly, if anyone in the group had even bothered to read Haiti’s Wikipedia page, they might have thought twice about a plan to take black children out of the country without paperwork. By disregarding even the most basic history of slavery, missions, or colonial activity in Haiti, their missionary impulse failed them miserably. With all of the missions already on the ground in Haiti, what made them think they could just take children out of the country? The ignorance and naïveté of this group is staggering, except when considered from the perspective of the evangelical imperative of Go ye into all the world. Last time I checked, however, that scripture did not mean take children and make them Christians by spiriting them away to be adopted by other families.
Unfortunately, Missions history shows otherwise. In the United States, and many other countries, families of non-Christian groups were subjected to Christian missionaries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who took children away for adoptions or at the very least to attend church schools. Many were never reunited with their parents, and some came to hate their parents as a result of the indoctrination. Haitians are well-attuned to missionaries, as several missions’ organizations have been in the country for more than fifty years. So before the Haitian government is criticized for arresting the New Life group, remember: they understand what it is like to have the United Nations and many religious relief organizations operating within their country—and they know what’s legal.
Read the entire essay at Religious Dispatches.