Evangelism and piracy on the high seas

Scott and Jean Adam (pictured here) had their yacht Quest hijacked by Somali pirates last Friday. Also on board were Phyllis MacKay and Bob Riggle. (Recent reports say that all four were killed.) Piracy is a major problem in the unstable waters near Somalia and many people are following the story with interest. The U.S. Navy is even involved. Part of that may have to do with the recent sentencing of Somali pirate Abduwali Abukhadir Muse. When he received 34 years in prison last week, calls for retaliation were made. While almost all of the news reports mention that the Adams' yachting is part of a Bible distribution ministry, I wanted to highlight a few stories that went beyond those brief mentions with good results. First off, we have the Orange County Register, which describes the Adams' trip as "part adventure, part ministry," and visits the couple's home church in Santa Monica:

On Saturday night, parishioners said a prayer for Jean and Scott Adams [sic], who are longtime members of Saint Monica's Church in Santa Monica, said Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson.

"They are great people," he said. "They are on a mission to bring Bibles to schools, hospitals and missions They're both retired and that's what they want to do. They are faith-filled, wonderful people."

Prayers are said at every mass, we're told. If you can get through the obnoxious headline and lede of the LA Weekly blog post that calls the Adams Bible-thumping conquistadors, you learn that St. Monica's parishioners include Martin Sheen and Brooke Shields. They also link to an interesting CBN News report.

I hear that reporters who have contacted the couple's friends have had a bit of trouble with the story. That's because government employees have told associates not to discuss specifics of the couple while they're still working the case. The couple's web site (where I got the picture above) has a ton of information, however.

While these Somali pirates are nominally Muslim, they are not engaged in piracy as part of a religious campaign. The Associated Press clarified that in their report on the hijacking:

The Adams ... 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 Adams carry both Catholic and Protestant versions of the Bible, and at several different reading levels. The couple stamps the bibles with "A GIFT from your friends in the United States. Quest Bible Ministry. NOT FOR SALE," after discovering a teacher who they gave Bibles to sold them.

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.

I'd almost forgotten there might be a religion angle on the other side of the piracy story. AP did a good job of including a detail that many other people probably were curious about.

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