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article imageOp-Ed: How robot-missionaries prey on helpless Haiti survivors

By R. C. Camphausen     Jan 19, 2010 in World
A Christian group calling themselves Faith Comes by Hearing is sending not food or medicines to the needy population of Haiti, but 600 solar-powered digital Bibles that speak and proclaim the gospel in Creole.
Known as Proclaimers yet called Bibles in the news (Digital Journal and, these are the missionaries' answer to the unmanned drones used by the military. In fact, since these solar powered gadgets have speakers with a volume to reach about 300 people in the near vicinity; one could actually call them robotic missionaries of perhaps Cyborg Priests.
On the website of FCBH or Faith Comes By Hearing, one of the mission statements is "God's Word is for every tribe, people, and tongue" and for me, that says it all. While in nations across the world churches remain more and more often empty, since the population is relatively educated and not generally interested in mythology, contemporary missionaries once again prey on indigenous peoples, the poor and the illiterate, the ones who live depressed and degraded lives with little hope.
Enter the the cyborg-priest.who, at the moment, speaks 414 languages, and it (remember, it's a gadget) will respond "to this crisis by providing faith, hope and love through God's Word in audio." On the group's website, where the above quote also comes from, they offer up an audio sample that makes clear how a Proclaimer works. What one gets to hear is a most kitschy and tacky piece of radio-play like the ones that were en vogue before television arrived on the scene. It seems fitting that the first serious use of the then new technology (TV) was during Hitler's Olympic Games in 1936, and that this new Speaking Bible is used very much for the same purpose: propaganda, although the perpetrators of this grotesque travesty in Haiti call it missionary work. If something similar would be done in, let's say Burma, and it would be more obviously political, we'd probably call it brainwashing, whereas this work by US-based Christian missionaries is meant to be seen as help or perhaps even as education.
It is bad enough that there are no international laws that prohibit proselytizing in general, (i.e. inducing someone to one's own religious beliefs), but the least we should have some laws that prevent people or groups - of any religion - to aim their missionary zeal at those who are emotionally unstable - like someone after an devastating earthquake.
By the way, those who will dislike this article and send flaming commentary should perhaps consider and spend their energy at the FCBH site. They are looking for donations over there because they want to send out more Proclaimers.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Grotesque gadget, Earthquake, Audio bible, Christianity, Propaganda
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