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  1. Politics
7 February 2010

Why are we letting these “kidnappers“ off so lightly?

The media have been sympathetic to the US missionaries awaiting trial in Haiti.

By Sholto Byrnes

The plight of the American missionaries awaiting trial in Haiti for kidnapping children has been reported pretty sympathetically so far — even though 22 of the 33 children they tried to take across the border into the Dominican Republic have parents, which is stretching the definition of “orphan” beyond even the one in the dictionary Madonna evidently consults.

On the Telegraph website, Toby Young has posted a short article titled “No good deed goes unpunished” (you get the gist). And even though Toby is a professional provocateur (I attach no opprobrium to the label, by the way), I suspect many Telegraph readers will agree with him, even if some of those commenting on the thread have not.

The overall impression given has been of kindly, God-fearing folk, a little naive — golly gee, do you have to have documents to take kids that aren’t even yours across international frontiers? — but, in the main, just out to do good.

Imagine, however, as Jon Snow suggested at a Three Faiths Forum talk I attended last week, if a group of Muslims had been discovered doing the taking. There would have been an uproar, he observed.

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So why have we let these Southern Baptists, the “Idaho Ten”, as they’re already being called, off so lightly? I’m afraid the answers are as obvious as they are unpalatable.

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