Their Other “Dirty” Linen: Evangelism’s Quest to Conquer the World
by S. R. Welch
Each year Americans contribute millions of dollars through corporate-giving campaigns and Sunday tithes to support the “faith-based” humanitarian work of overseas Christian missions. This work–feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving medicine to the sick–seems a worthy cause, an outwardly selfless endeavor unsullied by the salacious headlines and bitter disputes now roiling the life of the church at home. But Christendom’s missionaries bear their share of controversy. Though most private donors and corporate sponsors are unaware of it, overseas missions in certain parts of the world have long been embroiled in scandals involving allegations of predatory behavior towards the vulnerable. Though the largely poor and illiterate victims have complained loudly for decades, their allegations involve no sexual misconduct and thus garner few headlines in the West. Their outrage, vented from halfway across the globe, rarely reaches English-language media at all.