Editor, The Gauntlet
I had the opportunity to read a recent article in the Gauntlet by Lawrence Bailey and was most disappointed with his thoughts. I found it amusing that he was able to interpret the seizure of Christian literature to be indicative of mass manipulation of helpless people.
I've worked many times in needy countries in association with various Christian relief agencies, and thus found this article to be quite sad. It led me to assume he's never done relief work before.
The presence of Christian literature was misunderstood and was associated with unwanted conversion amongst the people of Afghanistan. However in my experience, I have repeatedly found the people I helped have been overwhelmingly interested in my system of beliefs. They cannot resolve in their minds why I would go--unpaid in all cases--to help them.
In a trip to a small impoverished villiage in Poland, we found that the few Bibles that we brought were more valuable to the people than any food we handed out. Any faith-related conversations I had with people were prompted out of their personal curiosity.
Consider the conditions in Afghanistan for a moment. Religious oppression by a system claiming to be the true form of their religion. If you were a Muslim living in that country, wouldn't you begin to question your faith if the government began oppressing you with it? A person bringing in food and telling you that God really loved them for who they were would likely trigger some sort of interest in your mind would it not?
I recommend contacting Shelter Now International and asking them why they carry Christian literature in the language of the locals. I'd bet you'd find it to be an issue of supplying the demand amongst the people. I would also recommend becoming more familiar with this group in efforts to understand their true motivations because I really think a terrible error has been committed in judging them as Mr. Bailey has done. It came across as no more than a scathing commentary from an uninformed individual.