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. 

120 Responses to “Christian missionaries captured by pirates”

  1. Insightful Ape says:

    This is very unfortunate, as everyone here agrees.
    Yet I think there is a subtler reality that rarely gets mentioned: for centuries, the pirates and the missionaries were one and the same. A pirate is a person using maritime transportation to commit crimes against other sea travelers or people on the shores. Wouldn’t Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro fill the bill?

  2. Franko says:

    Sorry to hear of the early deaths of the missionaries. It makes me wonder: Isn’t trying to reduce such things one of the reasons we’re all doing this? Even though they were one of the “enemy” or “false” religions, didn’t they deserve to die of natural causes? FSM bless ’em.

    • Jameswaldo says:

      “Natural causes,” in this region, tend to be related to power boating, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, knives, and the failure to produce large sums of cash to those ready to grab it and run. Just sailing into this ecology with a fancy yacht custom-designed to carry bibles means you enter a neighborhood where the wrong sort of print won’t sustain life very long. Pirates want greenbacks, not words of strangers’ god. Had the Adams been carrying spaghetti and meatballs, they might still be alive. Arrrrh! Remember, pirates are ready to take, with violence if necessary; you go to them ready to give them what they want, or to suffer the consequences.

  3. Jason says:

    The killing was bound to happen. As soon as the gung-ho navy got involved in shooting and killing the nature of the piracy game changed.

    It was about a ransom, just sitting tight until you got the money.
    After the last pirate capture/kill mission by the navy, the pirates have nothing to lose by killing hostages and everything to gain.

    • Mark says:

      Not at all – the pirates only win if they 1) survive the encounter, and 2) escape with something of value. For any other outcome, they lose.

      If you have hostages, the navy might feel constrained in their actions to avoid harm to the hostages. For example, they might not use their overwhelming firepower to totally destroy the vessel you have seized, killing everyone on board.

      If you kill the hostages, the navy is then free to use far more destructive attacks against you.

      In fact, you can argue that the navy does not kill enough pirates If the probable outcome of the pirate attack is dead pirates, the incentive to engage in piracy goes way down.

      • nun sequitur says:

        the pirates in that case lose automatically, as their gains r ill gotten & will run out, leaving them with the memory of their actions & blood on their hands…i doubt it will phase them, but on some level, it must.

  4. the brokendown barman says:

    the flying spaggetti monster ate my hamster

    • Keith says:

      I’m sure your hamster is currently enjoying top notch beer while watching sexy hamsters (of whatever persuasion) doing the Ham Ham.

    • stylusmobilus says:

      Consider it a sacrifice to the One True God.

      • stylusmobilus says:

        He ate my iPhone too…but I think that’s great news…I can track Him using Mobile Me so I know where He is, all the time. Crap, that reminds me, I’ll have to send Him a reminder to charge my phone!

  5. Raven says:

    Guys I´m in tears. I bet those pirates got some fun. PFGHAHAHAHAHA.

    • Zuri says:

      I know this is 9 months late, but really? It’s now a sport to kill Christians. If someone thought it was a game of great fun to kill Muslims, or Asians, or- gasp!- NON-RELIGIOUS, you would come after them calling them Hitler and Bin Laden and saying they want start the second crusade. PFGHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA?? Are you four? People like you are the kind that need to burn in Hell, not because you’re an athiest, but because you’re evil and have no respect for human life if that human disagreed with you.

  6. Darwin's ninja says:

    it’s a pity they died. as people of the FSM we understand that human life is extremly valuable and to lose it because of one’s foolishness to travel to an excessively dangerous area is beyond believing and an enourmous waste of human life and value. Seriously. Don’t fuck with pirates you missionaires.

    also i have a suspicion that these pirates got mighty ticked off at them because no doubt they were shouting christian nothings to dangerous people who didn’t want to hear it. Because there isn’t any sense in just outright killing them. Something got heated i think.

    Oh well it’s still sad they were murdered.

  7. Theo says:

    No respect for these people.
    These people are a serious annoyance for people who really want to help people.
    They are on their way to Japan with their bibles. Not to help Japan, but to convert them to christianity.
    I hope some Japanese waleboats will harpoon them.
    No respect.

    • Zuri says:

      You are a terrible person. No one deserves to die, I don’t care what religion they are. If it had been Pastafarians killed you would be crying your eyes out and type-yelling at anyone who mentioned they were Pastafarian, if someone made this comment you would suggest having them kicked out of the country for tyranny.
      But no. They are Christians, and that means in your eyes that they don’t deserve to live. Just because they disagree with you.

      • Drained and Washed Clean says:

        There is a difference between bringing it on yourself and deserving to die. They didn’t deserve it, but by going unarmed into pirated filled waters they were asking for it. It was a stupid move, and they payed for it with their lives. No matter their religion, they shouldn’t have been there. Anyone with a lick of common sense would know that being there equals death.

        Theo never said they didn’t deserve to live. He just doesn’t respect them. And he doesn’t have to. Stupidity is something we are trying to remove from the gene pool.

        And the real point here is that they are offering assistance, but only if you do what they want you to do which is listen to their sermons. Real help should come with no strings attached.

        • nun sequitur says:

          i never understood, if people offer help IN the name of, in honor of ‘god’ why the helping in itself would not b a reward..if it is ‘glorifying’ god?

        • nun sequitur says:

          paying it forward makes more sense.

        • nun sequitur says:

          Drained & washed clean,

          there r also instances of limitations..where help is reward in itself. i was injured badly while fulfilling a request 4 help..i would have pretty much done anything 4 any1, @ 1 time. i had declined remuneration- & when this injury did occur, i was treated like s-t. it is difficult 2 explain my not being able 2 stand up 4 myself in any meaningful context, but i cannot. . .& will die lied about & suffering physically debilitating pain from not only that. it is undeserved, even if i am ‘not liked’ as ive been told…& will not miss this place. .i will not b doing anything by many accounts; & any1 believing in ‘karma’ i hate 2 shatter any illusions, but tyranny is rewarded in this world…& good deeds, punished.


          – noun, plural -nies 1. arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power

        • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

          “It rains on the just, and on the unjust fella,
          but less on the unjust:
          he stole the just guy’s umbrella”.

        • nun sequitur says:


          thank u 4 posting that justice comment…personally, i find it -(10) % reassuring, but is an apt perspective..

        • nun sequitur says:


          cormac mcarthy said that…& these:

          Who knows what worse luck your bad luck has save you from. Cormac McCarthy No Country for Old Men.

          The point is there ain’t no point. Cormac McCarthy No Country for Old Men

          If there’s one thing on this planet you don’t look like it’s a bunch of good luck walkin around. Cormac McCarthy No Country for Old Men.

          That which exists without my knowledge exists without my consent. Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian.

      • nun sequitur says:

        drained & washed clean;

        is that the scarlett letter A beside your name? Just curious…

      • nun sequitur says:

        well zuri, in the eyes of more than just one person working in the health field i do not deserve proper care due 2 my lack of certain beliefs…i was told twice to PRAY for pain relief. ..i do not believe i m the only person to find this apalling & the fact i already was depressed, relevant only because that did NOT help. its a toss up for me, on the level of insensitivity therefore …altho to the breeding comnent elsewhere on page, nearly every1 is capable of learning, in some form unless they end up the way this news item describes…which is tragic.

      • nun sequitur says:

        Nobody deserves to die in this MANNER, perhaps, but we all die. Some of us sooner than anticipated…& so it is. it’s been real, people.

  8. BeardNancy31 says:

    Different people in the world get the loan from different banks, because it is simple and comfortable.

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