Thursday, February 19, 2009

You've Got Jail | Christianity Today

You've Got Jail | Christianity Today:
"Longtime missionaries David and Fiona Fulton were sentenced by a Gambian court to a year of hard labor last December after pleading guilty — in hopes of a lenient sentence — to sedition charges stemming from a wry comment e-mailed to a prayer list. ..."
When you read further in this article, you find that Mr Fulton did say something questionable, but in its full context it is obvious that he was not advocating violence -- quite the contrary. But this does raise an important issue when it comes to emails and newsletters from the mission field. First of all, circumspection is called for, especially when dealing with the frustrations of seeing mindless sectarian violence all around you. And secondly, one of the recipients for reasons that are not particularly obvious decided to forward to message to Gambian authorities. I try to assume positive motives, but is it difficult in this case.

Messages from missionaries, especially in sensitive parts of the world, need to be kept confidential and not posted on websites, forwarded outside the original distribution list, and certainly not sent to a government not known for due process or humane prison conditions.

Prayers are needed for the Fultons and for those who have imprisoned them


Byron Wade said...

Denis - good post!! Will definitely keep the Fulton's in my prayers.


Viola Larson said...

I have permission to post e-mail news letters from missionary friends in Thailand, but after I very carefully remove names and some times places. I also choose at times not to post them because they seem to sensitive to me.

Denis Hancock said...

I am aware of at least one missionary who uses a lot of "code", but still does not want such messages re-posted around.

It isn't just the missionaries. If they are identified and targeted, then those with whom they come into contact may be at risk as well.