Infanticide and the Prime Directive

Fans of the classic “Star Trek” television series will be well aware of the Prime Directive, which prohibited Starfleet personnel from interfering in the alien cultures and societies they met. It was an immoral, unworkable rule, however, and Captain Kirk disobeyed it regularly, rarely losing sleep over his decision to do the right thing. Today anthropologists in South America seemingly have their own prime directive: no interfering in native cultures, even when those societies apparently practice infanticide. Christian missionaries, however, are playing the role of Captain Kirk.

Tonight “Nightline explores one such dispute. It involves Youth With A Mission workers who say “the Brazilian government is turning a blind eye to the killing of babies born with birth defects, many of which are treatable by Western medicine” and the Brazilian Department of Indian Affairs, which “is accusing the evangelicals of enslaving Indians and disguising their intent to evangelize.” The story is centered on “a girl named Hakani, a member of the Suruwaha Indian tribe, who has been adopted by evangelical missionaries Marcia and Edson Suzuki.”

Of course, missionaries have long stood not just for evangelism, but for defending the powerless from injustice. To cite just one example, William Carey, who has come to be known as the father of modern missions, led the fight against the ungodly practice of sati, or widow-burning, in India two centuries ago.

The program is scheduled for 10:35 Central Time on ABC.

Update: The program is scheduled for Wednesday night at 10:35 Central.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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