Good news: The U.S. will not seek to prosecute and punish the tribespeople who killed Christian missionary John Allen Chau on a remote island hundreds of miles off the coast of India.
Chau, a Christian missionary, was killed while attempting to illegally engage the indigenous tribespeople on North Sentinel island late last year.
According to reports, John Allen Chau knew it was illegal and dangerous to try to contact the Sentinelese people on North Sentinel Island, but went anyway in hopes of converting the isolated tribespeople to Christianity.
His effort failed. The tribespeople killed the intruder in self-defense. Chau was shot dead with bows and arrows after he went to the remote North Sentinel Island in hopes of converting the isolated Sentinelese people to the Christian faith.
Earlier this month Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, confirmed that the U.S. would not be asking the Indian government to pursue criminal charges in Chau’s death.
When asked if the U.S. would seek to prosecute and punish the tribespeople who killed Christian missionary John Allen Chau, Brownback, speaking at a February 7 press conference, said:
The U.S. government has not asked or pursued any sort of sanctions that the Indian government would take against the tribal people in this case. That’s not been something that we have requested or have put forward. It’s a tragic situation and a tragic case of what’s happened, but that’s not something that’s been asked.
This is good news. The tribespeople acted in self-defense, and should not be prosecuted. Chau’s attempt to convert the tribespeople was an illegal and immoral act that posed a grave risk to the health and welfare of the Sentinelese people. However, at the time of his death many Christians called Chau a martyr. For example, CNN reported:
Those who knew the American missionary are calling him a martyr for the Christian faith.
And at least one prominent Christian group, International Christian Concern, issued a call for the punishment of the isolated tribespeople. According to reports the organization called Chau’s death a “murder,” and wanted the native people responsible for Chau’s death “brought to justice.”However, other, more reasonable people, would call the killing of Chau self-defense, given the real threat Chau posed to the Sentinelese people. Not only was Chau determined to corrupt their culture with his ignorant religious superstition, the arrogant and deplorable Christian missionary was also willing to expose the isolated tribespeople to disease and sickness they had no immunity to defend themselves against.
The Sentinelese live in isolation on the remote island in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, protected by Indian law to maintain their way of life and protect them from modern illnesses because they lack immunity.
Yet despite Chau’s reckless actions, many Christians praised the arrogant and vain missionary. John Middleton Ramsey, Chau’s friend, said:
I see him as a martyr. He was someone who died out of love for these people to bring the good news of Jesus Christ.
Chau graduated from Oral Roberts University, where he got involved with Covenant Journey, a prominent Christian ministry. After Chau’s death the ministry hailed Chau as a “courageous martyr for Jesus.”
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Covenant Journey, praised Chau, declaring:
While some reports suggest that John Chau was merely an adventurer, his purpose in visiting North Sentinel was not for sightseeing. He took gifts to them and carried his Bible because he wanted to befriend the Sentinelese to share Jesus with them.
He loved Jesus more than life. John was a courageous martyr for Jesus. John’s life and his love for Jesus, to the point of giving his own life to bring the gospel to others, will be remembered and will echo throughout eternity. I know that God will bring good out this loss.
Obnoxious praise for a criminal who put his own interests above the interests of the Sentinelese people.
Bottom line: The U.S. will not seek to prosecute and punish the tribespeople who killed Christian missionary John Allen Chau in self-defense on a remote island hundreds of miles off the coast of India.