Reject government espionage outreach

Last week an online publication, The Intercept, published a story titled “The Pentagon’s Missionary Spies – U.S. Military Used Christian NGO as Front for North Korea Espionage” . The short version of the story: Since 2004, the Pentagon had used an evangelical NGO – a missionary organization – as a front to conduct espionage in North Korea. According to the story, this missionary organization was funded in large part by the Defense Department. The story and subsequent interviews of the reporter indicate that this NGO manipulated unsuspecting missionaries and resources from other sending agencies to help collect and report intelligence back to the U.S. government. The story also reports that most of the employees and staff of the organization had no idea they were working for a “false front” entity …

There should not be a line between missionary activity and acting as a spy for the government – there should be a deep, wide impassable chasm. There simply is no reason that justifies missionaries (no matter what term we use to describe ourselves) acting as spies or agents of a government and no reason that justifies the government co-opting missionaries to act in those roles. Our mission – to go and make disciples – is both clear and unchanging.

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