Christian missionaries captured by pirates

Published February 20th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson


Did you guys hear about this?

An American couple that has sailed the world with a yacht full of Bibles was hijacked by Somali pirates, and the U.S. said it is assessing possible options.

The Adams — who are members of the Marina del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California — run a Bible ministry, according to their website, and have been distributing Bibles to schools and churches in remote villages in areas including the Fiji Islands, Alaska, New Zealand, Central America and French Polynesia.

The pirates from Puntland are not hardline Islamists and the fact the Adams carry Bibles is not likely to be a problem. Pirates in Puntland are known to spend their ransom spoils on alcohol, drugs and prostitutes.

[More at MSNBC]

I feel bad for the captured missionaries, and their families.  Aside from the fact that the coast of Somalia is one of the dumbest places in the world to be sailing and they should have known better, they are in a nightmare situation now. 

I have to wonder, though, did they sail into the region with the idea that their God would protect them from the well-known threat of pirates in the area? They are on a Quest after all. Here’s a quote from their website, “Another aspect of our travels is friendship evangelism – that is, finding homes for thousands of Bibles.”

When they saw the pirates approaching, what did they think? Was their faith shaken? I suspect it wasn’t. But maybe there was a moment before they were taken hostage when they were forced to question whether their God wanted them out there distributing thousands of Bibles. Maybe they saw this as a sign to stop.  Or maybe they saw it as a sign to evangelize to the pirates?  In any case, Pastafarians wish for your safe release, Adams family.


Sad, unexpected news … the US Military discovered all 4 Americans killed by the pirates.

Four Americans taken hostage by Somali pirates off East Africa were shot and killed by their captors Monday, the U.S. military said. The deaths mark the first time U.S. citizens have been killed in a wave of pirate attacks plaguing the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean for years.

It remained unclear why the pirates — who are widely seen as rational, if ruthless businessmen — would kill their only form of leverage. U.S. naval officials insisted they had not launched a rescue operation and are still trying to piece together events.

Graeme Gibbon-Brooks, the head of Dryad Maritime Intelligence, said he was confounded by the turn of events.

"We have heard threats against the lives of Americans before but it strikes me as being very, very unusual why they would kill hostages outright," he said, adding that the pirates must realize that killing Americans would invite a military response.

The military said U.S. forces have been monitoring the Quest for about three days, since shortly after the pirate attack on Friday. Four Navy warships were involved, including an aircraft carrier.

[More at NPR]

I’ve gotten some emails that I should take this post down because it’s “not funny anymore”.  But it was never meant to be funny and it’s certainly not meant to be now.  From all indications, the two couples were great people, and so what if some of us did not agree with their chosen missionary work – we are compassionate human beings who feel this is a tragic event.  Our condolences go out to the families. 

98 Responses to “Christian missionaries captured by pirates”

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  1. Fitzy says:

    Shall we embark on a goodwill mission to rescue said missionaries in the fashion of Ye Goode Ol’ Pirates?

    • Runiat says:

      Do you have a ship?

      How many cannons does it have?

      Be sure to stock up on cannon- and meat-balls and I’ll be there. I’ll assume you got enough pasta there for 2 trips around the world already.

      • Keith says:

        I’ve got a matchlock so I could stick burning match cord in my hair like Blackbeard. I’ve also had experience with muzzle loading cannon.

    • StJason says:

      Shall we go on a rescue mission to save these here sad pirates from the constant drone of fundamental proselytizing? Cause, you know that right now, they are letting loose with an endless stream of ‘Is this what Jesus wants you to do?” and “Lord, I pray for these sinners, that they might see the light in your name…”

      Poor pirates. Maybe they have gagged them.

      • Zuri says:

        Oh, for goodness’ sake. Just because these missionaries are Christian, you feel bad for the murderers? Those poor people can’t say anything now. Because THEY’RE DEAD. Four innocent souls have been killed. I don’t care what religion they are. If a group of Pastafarians had been kidnapped, I wouldn’t say, “Oh, the poor kidnappers. Now they have to listen to, “Is this what the FSM wishes you to do?”‘ And after they’re dead, I’d say, “They don’t deserve to live. Now they are burning in Hell for eternity. They asked for it.” No, I wouldn’t. I would treat them like I would any other.
        See past the religious disagreement. Lives have been lost.
        Bobby, next time something happens to Christians, don’t put thier religion in. I’d love to see how much more empathetic these people are. And when I say “these people”, I don’t mean Pastafarians, I mean the buttholes that say Christians deserve to be killed.

        • brent says:

          Hey Zuri, you’re more than a month late in posting your comment. Try to keep up okay, we’re all very sad that these four people were killed, by these so-called pirates. StJason mentions nothing about wanting these four people to be killed, he simply suggests that, in a light-hearted manner, that these pirates might need a break from the proselytizing that would likely occur. No one here thinks a pirate would do such a thing as it would be a very unusual act, as stated on NPR. I say these kidnappers were not pirates and I think someone at NPR or the Pentagon is an adherent of the Church of FSM. For sure, no one deserves to be killed, but everyone deserves a big bowl of spaghetti.

    • saved says:

      Why are your hearts so hardened? These couples..May they rest in peace were only trying to deliver Gods word..what they faced in their final moments should not be mocked. May God compel you to have mercy& repent ! At least they were DOING something good instead of talking about this@if its ajoke!

      • Keith says:

        Frankly, I’m sorry they are dead but I have no doubt they knew of the dangers over there and ignored them when they planned their trip. I can’t help wondering if they were killed because of what they were trying to do. Trying to force your religion on other people is not “doing something good”

      • Danimal says:

        You can see by the comments here no one wanted these people to die and our sympathies go out to the families of the deceased. Please note that the posts cracking wise about the situation are prior to the deaths. We were looking at the irony that a couple would spend thousands on a yacht and then thousands more to sail it around the world only to be captured by people who’s country is so poor that many of it inhabitants turn to hostage taking as a means to make a living. I’m disappointed you were unable to learn anything from this tragedy. Evangelizing is not “doing good”, never has been and never will be.

      • TiltedHorizon says:

        Apparently you think spreading the word of god is “doing good”. Personally, “doing good” should solve an immediate need, like feeding the hungry or building shelters for the poor. What good is the empty promise of salvation after death when it does not apply transience to existing human conditions plaguing the living?

  2. stylusmobilus says:

    The entire island of NZ is a remote village. They probably should have just traversed NZ, and turned south to Tasmania.

    Well, you can’t fault their commitment. I hope they are freed without incident.

    • stylusmobilus says:

      Sorry, west to Tasmania.

    • SillyKiwiMan says:

      Island? Try three islands.

      Also, the rate of atheism in NZ is significantly higher than places like (surprise, surprise) the U.S, the U.K. etc. There’s a lot wrong with the country, but apart from the terrible and unfortunate national anthem, at least the state keeps their noses out of religious affairs. I found it to be the most secular country I ever lived in.


      • stylusmobilus says:

        Nah mate, there ain’t too much wrong with it. Sorry for the typo.

        We have to get some back for the hiding the Blecks habitually give us.


      • nun sequitur says:

        very nearly the only stuff we have come to know of new zealand comes from brett, jemaine & ‘murray’:


        (prior 2 this, we adopted an animal originating in that region)

        While they r considered comedy, they actually do a fair amount of adressing serious issues on their show…i look @ their comedy as i do attempts @ it, here- like a release valve in a high pressure system…

        we can hope for a world where there is more comedy & less killing, , ,& coming from some1 with little 2 find humorous currently, it takes alot 4 me 2 say this…

        here is what buckminster fuller (NOT a new zealander) said about war (not 2 b confused with fuckminster buller);

        quoted from the worldview & philosophy section in where else, wiki:

        Fuller was concerned about sustainability and about human survival under the existing socio-economic system, yet remained optimistic about humanity’s future. Defining wealth in terms of knowledge, as the “technological ability to protect, nurture, support, and accommodate all growth needs of life,” his analysis of the condition of “Spaceship Earth” caused him to conclude that at a certain time during the 1970s, humanity had attained an unprecedented state.
        He was convinced that the accumulation of relevant knowledge, combined with the quantities of major recyclable resources that had already been extracted from the earth, had attained a critical level, such that competition for necessities was not necessary anymore.
        Cooperation had become the optimum survival strategy. “Selfishness,” he declared, “is unnecessary and hence-forth
        unrationalizable…. War is obsolete.” [23]
        He criticized previous utopian schemes as too exclusive, and thought this was a major source of their failure. To work, he thought that a utopia needed to include everyone. [24]

        that said, the couples intentions were noble enough. ive taken the time 2 accept bibles from well meaning folk- 1 man cried, while telling me how god entered his life…my philosophy has not always been whatever gets u thru the night, but it is what i strive, 4…

        i admittedly have not always appreciated conversion attempts, but never care 2 c this as a response (bad end)…

        • nun sequitur says:

          i have further aggravated my already f-d up neck via coughing & in excruciating pain…this is good news 2 those bored or annoyed by my posting, becuz i m forced 2 take a respit…
          b well & as parting words: my mom used 2 say if u cant say anything nice dont say anything & as her husband said, if u 2 cannot settle matters, come 2 me & i will settle it 4 u (which settled it)…neither had anything 2 do with religion & nor has it served me in my sorry life, but maybe will do others more good…

        • nun sequitur says:

          1 last thng; i was not suggesting it was amusing these people lost their lives. but was just discussing suicide missions on another thread…

          & was defending the humor employed PRIOR to events going downhill…because of the sites referrences to pirates, for example, ,,do not presume any1 is laughing @ murders.

          I do not c any1 advocating such. The only 2 people whom know what transpired @ the end r the two on board whom had lives cut short as noted. ..& the people committing the act. The people whom live 2 report on it & those responsible are the only ones left 2 tell the tale & accuracy is not neccessarily a given. I m sorry i read th news…

        • nun sequitur says:

          On a related note, after my spouses health care was compromised by having a food intolerance overlooked, i was vocal about preventing the experience, for others…i was interviewed by a christian missionary locally, whom proposed 2 need the information for a ‘friend’s wdding’ & asked 4 sample menus…a short time later, the samples given appeared almost verbatim on her friend’s associated church run food distribution menu- which i have no issue with, beyond that they could have just had the person ask me, instead of being so weird about it…the person had announced to me that she & spouse r missionaries & 1 day was asked if i REMEMBERED that they r- my only issue was her repeatedly bringing it up & making it important where it was not…since ive said it is obnoxious to attempt to alter a persons core beliefs from a religious standpoint, i have been made fun of for encouraging persons to find out about the food intolerance/ had the 2 compared…which is hardly the same thing…
          i would not want 2 c either of those 2 harmed for attempting 2 deliver what they c as a loving message…the ‘good’ news…i do not want 2 c any1 harmed. Not even the people that have harmed me ( i just want 2 have them stay away, from me)…id have preferred 2 hear of a bookburning over something like this…& we r not for bookburnings.

        • nun sequitur says:

          aside hate 2 ask but is this even a real news story?? the photo looks doctored/ photoshopped & cannot verify the story…as displayed here on this end, no murders were mentioned any other news source prior 2 being directed here…& have mentioned our display/ user end having been toyed with, already…so that responses do not align with actual display…(so essentially, do not know y i bother 2 read anything @ all)- ?

        • nun sequitur says:

          ‘silkykiwiman’ #2;
          re: a-theism in nz:


          (not as if U do not kno…but, we did not)

      • nun sequitur says:



  3. StJason says:

    Much more then 2000 years. There were cult rivalries that ended in blood in Egypt nearly 5000 years ago! I wouldn’t be surprised if during the Ice Age, Cro-Magnon killed each other over whether the Deer Spirit of the Ghost of Buffalo was greater.

    • Keith says:

      To my mind that begs the question of whether or not Cro Magnon had enough leisure time to formulate a religion. They may have had rites to propitiate one thing or another but I doubt they had an “organised” religion.

      • tekHedd says:

        Humans are social animals. I would think that imagined gods would almost immediately become imagined gods shared within your immediate peer group.

        • tekHedd says:

          (Er, this is in reply to Keith. Wassup with the Reply button? Some weirdness with the moderation engine? Hmm…)

        • Keith says:

          Well, looks as if the reply button is working again. I agree with what you say but when does a belief within an extended family become a religion? In order to qualify does a belief need to:
          1) transcend some boundary
          2) be present for a certain time frame
          3) be shared by a certain percentage of a population
          4) be presided over by some “authority” who tells you what the “truth” is.

          There are probably many more “ifs” and “buts”, however I think I’ve sufficiently illustrated my meaning.

  4. Dr. Astronomer says:

    I hope they remain safe. Maybe the Christians could be converted to pirates? FSM knows we need them. It is 83 degrees in Texas already!

    • stylusmobilus says:

      Trade your 83 for my 183.

      • Dr. Astronomer says:

        183!? Where are you, Venus?

        • stylusmobilus says:

          haha no, SE Qld in Australia.

  5. Lindamp says:

    “Was their faith shaken?” I seriously doubt it.
    “Maybe they saw this as a sign to stop.” Ditto. This kind of people will rationalise anything.
    I do hope that no harm comes to them though.

  6. N Kalanaga says:

    Runiat: Good idea. In Somalia, meatballs may be more effective than cannonballs. The captors would probably trade their hostages for a few tons of good food, and nobody gets hurt.

    As for the missionaries’ faith, they could look at this as God’s way of reaching out to the pirates. Nobody in their right mind would visit them willing, so God had to entervene to ensure The Word reached them.

  7. Devout Heathen says:

    Oh for fuxake, people. This is real, and actual people are in danger of losing life or limb. I hope that they are released quickly, and that they won’t be hurt. I don’t care what they believed before, I don’t care what they’ll believe afterwards. Just get them out. The Church of the FSM moves in the waters of (mostly) civilised debate. This doesn’t, and frankly, taking this as an opportunity to discuss the relative merits of religion vs atheism pisses me off.

    As noted elsewhere, these are not the True Pirates, these are arseholes with machine guns.

    • jakenhyde says:

      Well, REAL pirates in their day had the best and most modern weapons that their booty could buy. No different from modern day pirates.

  8. Alice says:

    What effect will this have on global warming?

    • Zuri says:

      Not funny.

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