Almost all Americans travel worldwide with the permission of the American government, through its passport program. That document enables them to receive what services are available in countries that we have embassies in.
Those services may be limited in some countries – China, for example, has imprisoned Americans in the past, and still does, should they decide to try it. Other countries with limited recourse are Singapore, where an American citizen literally got his butt whipped with a cane, and many of the majority Islamic countries. Offend local customs, and you may, despite your passport, not survive intact.
And, that’s just the countries that we have somewhat FRIENDLY relationships with. Others, Americans are explicitly warned not to enter.
Not that such warnings stop them. At which point, they expect to be rescued by the same government whose warnings were ignored.
I propose a two-tiered system for future travelers:
- Those who travel to countries unlikely to pose a hazard, who will receive America’s best efforts to get them out, should they find themselves in peril. They would be protected against random events and dangers, that could not be intelligently anticipated.
- And, the others, who want to “experience the Real World”, grit, dysentery, and terrorist activity. For those, they would have to find a sponsor who will guarantee their safety, and will be responsible for any evacuation, should the trip prove hazardous/their own actions land them in trouble with the authorities. Such a group would include:
- Danger-seekers – those deliberately contacting terrorists (including journalists), those engaged in drug-smuggling or other illegal activities, and those who refuse to abide by border restrictions on travel or warnings from the local authorities. Would also include women who will not abide by local custom, and cover themselves as the local women do.
- NGOs that operate in dangerous regions.
- Missionaries that insist on proselytizing in hostile territory – Islamic, other native religions, atheistic.
All of those in the second group would NOT be permitted to use their American passport, but use an alternative type, under the auspices of that sponsoring authority. ALL expenses of any rescue/recovery/negotiation efforts must be born by the sponsoring agency. The agency has to put up money (perhaps some sort of insurance?), and will be unable to discharge that obligation by bankruptcy. If the agency goes under, their corporate shareholders or the agencies/foundations that funded them would inherit the debt.
For the duration of their travels on that alternative passport, they may not be referred to as Americans, but as ‘citizens’ of that sponsor.
That might go a long way towards curbing the feckless activities by Progressive/Leftist organizations internationally.
In what sense are all Christian missionaries operating in hostile areas engaged in “feckless activities by Progressive/Leftist organizations,” exactly?
I know plenty of very hard core conservatives who have gone on missions behind the Iron Curtain, into muslim areas, and into bloodthirsty tribal areas. These include veterans with special operations time and/or with ground combat experience, men who own and enjoy firearms, who vote conservatively, who aren’t foolhardy at all, who are married fathers, and who tick every conceivable box in the right-of-center wish list. These people simply obey Jesus’ command to go and make disciples of the nations.
This isn’t nit picking. Your third category up there could just use some refinement.
I like the general concept. Don’t be a moon calf and if you want to scale sheer rock faces, go spelunking, do drugs, or volunteer for a sting in ISIS don’t expect mommy to make it all better for you if things go south.
I don’t think that a passport entitles one to a privilege status. Obedience to local law and custom is still essential and the best the USG can do, if that’s beneath oneself, is make reasonable efforts to see that the local version of due process is observed and egregious abuses under any standard are stopped if at all possible. That kid in Singapore was indeed a thrill seeker and an all-too-common instance of American going somewhere with a sense of entitlement. He keyed cars which isn’t anything you do by accident and he unquestionably wanted to make life miserable for the owners. He knew exactly what Singapore’s attitude is toward anti-social conduct. Heck, if you spit your gum on the sidewalk there they take a very dim view of that. So he got educated and the only thing Singapore did wrong was to relent on the issue of the total strokes of the cane to be administered.
On local dress codes, some females whom you see on YT touring the pyramids think that local Muslims are ok with their wearing shorts. Yes, great situational awareness that. Some young woman rock climber went into the interior of Mauritania some years ago to scale some cliffs there. She chose to wear shorts for the event. Nothing happened to her but I thought she was reckless at worst and disrespectful at best. Why is this hard for some Americans?
I saw a video of some American in Tanzania or Malawi. Somewhere like that. He spoke the local language and we saw a very good humored exchange with some of the local ladies and a local store. He wasn’t impolite, just good natured. All was well as it should have been if you don’t ride in on your high horse.
No disrespect intended to Missionaries who want to spread the Word of God.
I just don’t think that their entry into aggressively hostile territory should be something that the US government backs with the full diplomatic weight and authority. In some countries, it’s illegal to bring in a Bible, wear a cross, or otherwise openly practice Christianity.
I don’t like it, but I don’t consider a person deliberately flouting specific laws is in a good position to complain when they end up in jail for it.
Do I think it would be a good thing for all countries to be open to Christian witness? Well, yes.
Having said that, the ONLY thing that is keeping some of those more rigidly adherent Muslim countries from disintegrating into chaos is the uniformity imposed by Islamic practice. Many totalitarian governments are ruling disjoint, ethnically diverse, and rebellious people. ANY release from authoritarian rule signals the dissidents that this is their moment to strike!
As the fall of the Soviet Union and other countries shows, a peasant under the boot is compliant. It’s what happens when the pressure on that peasant’s neck is relieved – even just a little – that scares those rulers.
Why don’t the missionaries tackle the problems of atheism/pagan thinking in our OWN country? There’s a hell of a lot of unchurched people in this country that need to hear about Christ – and – except for the more Woke parts of the country – the missionaries are unlikely to have their lives threatened.