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Slain Americans were delivering Bibles
February 22nd, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Slain Americans were delivering Bibles

Americans Jean and Scott Adam were on a mission to distribute Bibles around the world when their yacht was hijacked by Somali pirates, friends of the couple said.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Central Command said the Adams, along with Philis Macay and Bob Riggle, had been killed by their captors.

A U.S. Navy ship had been trailing the captured Americans after their yacht, Quest, was overtaken by pirates on Friday.

“As (U.S. forces) responded to the gunfire, reaching and boarding the Quest, the forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors," the statement from U.S. Central Command said. "Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds."

While their faith may not have played a role in their death, it was a motivating factor for their sailing adventure around the world.

“They were not proselytizing evangelicals," Scott Stolnitz, a friend of the couple, told CNN. "They were using their Bible mission as a way to break the ice in the Christian community, particularly in the Pacific.”

Stolnitz said the Adams were friendly and open to all. “These are your next-door neighbors in a lot of ways.”

Their pastor, Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson of Saint Monica's Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California, told CNN affiliate KABC the Adams were a retired couple with a heart for sharing their faith.

“They were very heartfelt in their response to this great gospel and they came to know Jesus in a very special way here,” Togerson said.

“Jean actually sang in our 11:30 choir Sunday mornings. Both of them had a great outreach, of course, through this ministry to take the scriptures, the Bibles, to places across the world. And they felt that call to do that, and that’s what they were doing I presume when this happened.”

The Adams' website chronicles their worldwide voyage, which included trips to New Zealand, China, Cambodia and Panama.

They also spoke openly about their faith on the site, saying the goal of the Bible distribution was, "friendship evangelism - that is, finding homes for thousands of Bibles, which have been donated through grants and gifts, as we travel from place to place."

The Adams passed out Catholic Bibles from the American Bible Society and New International Version Bibles from the International Bible Society, according to their website. They said they brought two different versions of the Bible because, “Catholics have a slightly different Bible than Protestants. We carry both Bibles, and at several different reading levels.”

On their website they said many of the teachers and pastors who received the Bibles also used them for teaching English.

The Adams, Macay and Riggle had been traveling with yachts participating in the Blue Water Rally since their departure from Phuket, Thailand, rally organizers said Sunday in a statement on the event's website.

The group, which organizes long-distance group cruises, said the Quest broke off on February 15 after leaving Mumbai, India, to take a different route.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Belief • California • Catholic Church • Christianity • United States • Violence

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soundoff (406 Responses)
  1. MM

    An NIV bible is a pro catholic bible (Luke 2:7).

    February 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  2. MD

    this is what happens when you spread religion. No need to travel the world and convert naive souls.

    February 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  3. Kathryn

    I sense a lot of class envy. These sailors were in international waters, open to everyone. They were minding their own business when they were over-taken by pirates for monetary gain. Regardless of their mission, (whether it be pleasure, business, missions or a combination of the three) a horrible crime was committed. How dare anyone say it was their fault. I guess all murders are the fault of the victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Additionally, how can any of you presume to know who these people were and what good they did in this world. I am consistently amazed at how FEARFUL "open-minded" people are when it comes to religion. Good luck saving yourself...

    February 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  4. ReturnedPCV

    Delivering bibles to Samoa? That is like taking coal to Newcastle... They already have more bibles than people; there are much more efficient ways to get them there; I doubt if anyone asked these people to deliver bibles to Samoa; so I suspect the bible delivery was basically an excuse for taking this world cruise... Hard to believe that they did not know about the pirates...

    February 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  5. Burbank

    Darwin award. They knew better. Probably thought God would protect them while they tried to impose their Catholic brainwashing on others.

    February 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • bettejodux

      So many good minds here.Wonderful reply Burbank. I think you'll love my column http://bettejo.wordpress.com/ I am a humanist. I live on Kauai. Interesting island. Please come visit me. Peace and love Bettejo

      February 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Understanding their beliefs, their philosophy of "to die would be gain" would answer your question of "when will Christians learn?" To answer to a cause greater than yourself and to sacrifice yourself for that cause, is the greatest evidence of love, as the Bible says, "no greater love hath any man, than to lay down his life for his friend..." The philosophies that drove them around the world delivering Bibles to thousands of people, they understood their plight and should be applauded for putting their personal safety as secondary to the calling on their life, not admonished for putting themselves in harms way. Only a coward would criticize them for that.

    February 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  7. RealityHurts

    The fact of the matter is, this was part of God's plan. he sees and knows everything might I remind you all. Also proves religion has done nothing but brought death and pain for everyone involved.

    February 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • bettejodux

      Reality, you are so correct here. I am a humanist. I'm sure you'll love my column I live on kauai. Please come visit me at http://bettejo.wordpress.com/ Peace and love Bettejo

      February 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  8. Tyler

    Can somebody clarify my confusion please. It seems like the Armed Forces boarded the ship using force – ergo the pirates were still onboard. Something happen to the pirates (retreated or killed) and there was enough time to attempt to save the lives of the Americas? The precise reports seem hazy here

    February 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Ryan

      The report says that the Armed Forces boarded the yacht after they heard gunfire on the yacht. The yacht is fairly small, and the Americans were found dead upon boarding (you can't just jump from one ship to the other, it takes several minutes to mobilize a small boat to go from the Navy vessel to the yacht). The gunfire, it can be safely assumed, was the pirates murdering the Americans or the American captives trying to regain control through force.
      When the report says the Armed Forces invaded the yacht by force, it means they encountered resistance from the pirates.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • mc

      You can read right? there are dozens of articles about this. Pirates fired grenade at warship. Shots were heard on yacht. Navy boarded yacht with assumption shots were aimed at white people. White people dead as expected.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  9. Patrick Lewis

    It sounds like what they were doing was noble by church standards but in the standards of security it was very VERY dumb. And yeah, some people will say that I'm bad for saying that and "Jesus will forgive me" because he's a great guy like that, but really, what's wrong with delivering them by helicopter? How about you don't go into some of the most dangerous waters in the world where pirates, MUSLIM PIRATES have been picking off super tankers and cargo haulers for years.

    God may have your back, but that's no reason to be an idiot.

    February 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  10. Eric

    guess god wasn't pleased with their work. or he's just a jerk and doesn't care about what any of us do.

    February 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • bettejodux

      Eric, I think you're going to love my column http://bettejo.wordpress.com/ I am a humanist. I live on Kauai. Have a sharp tongue and a poisoned pen, also a sense of humor. Love to take swings at the thumpers. Please come visit me. Peace and love Bettejo

      February 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Eric,
      Matthew 10:39
      He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  11. CJ

    BSDetector77, dude, there is no atheist religion, dingle berry. Atheism just means you don't believe in the tooth fairy, boogie men, Satan or God. If I told you there was an invisible man outside who watches everything you do. And loves you so much he will commit you to eternity of hell fire if you don't do exactly as he says you wouldn't believe me. Christianity survives much like the Muslim faith. They crushed any other cult that sprang up. In the name of God. They were blasphemers Kill them.

    February 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Doesn't Matter

      @CJ

      >BSDetector77, dude, there is no atheist religion, dingle berry. Atheism just means you don't believe in the tooth fairy, boogie men, Satan or God.

      Actually CJ atheism is just as much a matter of faith as is belief in God. You see if you have faith in God, then you beileve he is there even if you don't have any proof. However if you have faith in athiesm, then you believe that there are no gods even though you don't really know any more than a christian "knows" there is a God. So to say you don't have faith in atheism, is kind of a misnomer, clearly you don't understand what you believe and don't believe.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • bettejodux

      WOW! We're going to love each other in a humanistic literary sort of way. I'm a humanist. I think you'll enjoy my column http://bettejo.wordpress.com/ I live on Kauai. Am always taking a swing at thumpers. Have a kind of cute sense of humor. Also a sharp tongue and a poisoned pen. tee hee Kauai is an interesting place. A blue state. Please come for a visit. Scroll around. Peace and love Bettejo

      February 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Ed

      >Actually CJ atheism is just as much a matter of faith as is belief in God. You see if you have faith in God, then you beileve he is there even if you don't have any proof. However if you have faith in athiesm, then you believe that there are no gods even though you don't really know any more than a christian "knows" there is a God. So to say you don't have faith in atheism, is kind of a misnomer, clearly you don't understand what you believe and don't believe.

      Very cool what you did here. You took what he said and made it kind of fit the way you wanted it to. He spoke nothing of faith, he stated atheism is not a religion. Faith is the belief in anything. I have full "faith" in atheism. Your god is no more real then the Flintstones. Early civilization was primitive just like the words of the Bible. It shows in its acceptance of slavery, submission, and tyranny. God sat up there telling them what to write....he just skipped the part about the earth being round, all the other places to visit here, that we aren't the center of the universe and the only thing revolving around us is the moon, the vastness of space rather than refer to it as "the heavens", decided not to speak of the big lizards that he experimented with prior to putting us here, etc, etc, and etc....You see your "faith" can better be described as delirium.

      February 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      CJ,
      A belief of ‘nothing’ is still a belief.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  12. Patiat

    Do we know it was actually the pirates who killed them? Has that been sorted out yet?

    February 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • yabbut

      Reports say the Navy boarded after hearing shots and found that the hostages had already been shot by pirates. For those of you who are ready to say they were killed by friendly fire, consider this: It's unlikely that all 4 hostages were killed by Navy bullets when only 2 hostages were killed (and 13 captured) during the brief fight as the Navy took control of the yacht.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  13. Bus2

    Shame on these people for throwing their lives away so foolishly and causing their families unnecessary pain and suffering...

    Martyrs my butt! This is nothing more than suicide by pirate!

    February 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • bettejodux

      I love you already, Bus2. I think you might enjoy my column http://bettejo.wordpress.com/ I'm a humanist. Love to stir the bible thumpers up and have a sense of humor. I live in Hawaii, on the island of Kauai. Come for a visit. Scroll around. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy what I have to say. Peace and love Bettejo

      February 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  14. CJ

    1Lt1AirCav, so far you seem to be the only person on this blog that gets it. Unleash the hounds. If the so called government of Somalia can't control the situation then we should control the seas. Also no more aid of any kind to Somalia. This is about money folks not religion.

    February 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  15. tommas

    Lesson learned, keep youy mythologies to yourself

    February 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  16. Steve

    Witness the power of all mighty God protect his minions... God... Anybody there?... Hello?... Oh well...

    February 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Thomas

      This will probably be put down to the usual scam "god works in mysterous ways".

      But yeah, if your god won't protect a couple delivering bibles, the rest of the christians better be real carefull.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Dennis

      You are mistaken. Jesus tells us we will be persecuted. And throughout the world christians are. But we still believe. We still speak of christ without repent. Ask yourself one question. What would you believe at gunpoint? Would you say " I am an athiest and I do not believe in Mohamid"? or would you bow down to your captors. Even in the face of guarenteed death Christians profess Christ. Even to death

      February 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • bettejodux

      Steve, you may love my column http:/bettejo.wordpress.com/ I live on Kauai, an interesting island. I am a humanist. Had a most interesting conversation with 'god'–sigh–you might enjoy.Scroll around. Peace and love Bettejo

      February 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  17. BSDetector77

    Hello Romans from the 1st through 3rd century! (American Atheists) First, let me remind you that Romans felt the same way, and committed genocide for 300 years against Christians, guess who were the only people that helped the Romans when they got the plague? Christians. That is how Christianity gained popularity and acceptance to eventually be acceptable and legal to practice in the West. So dying for "pushing" their religion seems to have worked very well. Pushing your religion means forcing people....giving them food, water, and a Bible is not forcing anyone, Mr. Hitler.
    Second, I might remind athiests here that 2 folks from the religion of Atheists killed more people than anyone in history, Mao and Stalin, both killed many different religious people, and destroyed ancient cultures far superior to their own because "religion is poison"-Mao. So end your pushing(FORCING) of your religion (atheism) on everyone else.
    People should be able to read the Bible and decide for themselves, THAT is free thinking, you MTV sheeple. Why don't you just have a Bible book burning and build a concentration camp? Since you obviously identify with the form of fascism that kills Christians for merely handing someone a book, or speaking about their faith.

    Sure, there are terrible things done in the name of religion, including Christianity. But by blaming Christianity, you are admitting your own beliefs guilt for the LARGER crimes of Stalin and Mao.

    Now get angry, and continue your ad hominem. Just remember, you actually are a product of your TV, and indeed, the "sheep" you despise.

    February 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Joker

      How many humans has your god killed in the Old Testy?

      February 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Tyler

      This argument is old. Yes mao and stalin and hitler killed millions. The death of millions more are due to religions ideologies. When was the last time an atheist leader killed millions? Millions are dying today from religion. Get a new argument.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • N_Joy_N_Life

      BSDetector77 AND a christian??? I think your detector needs some new batteries.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • MM

      God killed 23,000 in the new testament, 2 Corinthians 10:8 for committing fornication.

      February 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      MM,
      But you still don't get it?

      February 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  18. tommas

    Lesson learned, keep your mythologies to yourself

    February 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • bettejodux

      Beaiful response, tommas. I think you might like my column http://bettejo.wordpress.com/ I live in Hawaii on the island of Kauai. Interesting goings on here. I am a humanist always after the thumpers. sigh. Come for a visit. Scroll around. Peace and love Bettejo

      February 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  19. Lauren

    Umm...God did not kill these people...pirates did. If you could fathom the love Jesus has for you you would also risk your life to share this message with others. They could have hoarded their wealth, instead they used it to bless others. I pray you will someday understand the spiritual blessing that comes from having and sharing Faith in Christ. That Faith melts hatred and changes lives. They did not die in vain. I pray for there families to be comforted. I pray God will use their sacrifice to bring some to Christ so they can know the awesome, peace, joy and eternal life giving power of God that transcends and defeats yes...even our horrible enemy death.

    February 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • streetcar01

      Lauren,
      I feel sorry for these folks. I'd feel even sorrier if they were helping to solve the real problems over there that are leaving so many people to choose a terrible path like this. Bibles will not do it. It's just a book written by human beings (like us) with a lot less knowledge of the world than we have today.
      The problems there are economic. And pirating won't go away until young people there see a future for themselves.

      February 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • JohnnerMan

      Yeah, Jesus told me to deliver donated bibles from my yacht, too. I'm glad I didn't listen!

      February 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • mc

      I imagine that couple did some praying when the bullets started to fly – doesn't look like it helped much. If your mythical "god" is all knowing, he knows what's next, he knows whether someone will pray or not, and he knows whether he will magically answer their prayers, right? The idea of asking "god" for anything is silly, ridiculous and primitive. Your "god" can't be surprised by you asking for a favor or by your behavior suddenly improving or degrading – he already knows, right? Which means everything is already written in stone – your prayers have zero effect – in fact, if you believe, then NOTHING you decide has any effect – "god" already knew WHAT you would decide, long before you did. Religion is bizarre, delusional, ridiculous. And four people did a foolish thing – for their "god" – and died a terrible, bloody death.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • JKT

      Indeed, God did not kill them. But he sure didn't save them either.

      February 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      JKT,

      Yes, I believe they were saved.

      Matthew 10:39
      He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  20. Marco Budgyk

    callous though it sounds, it is very difficult to have any sympathy for these evangelizers. They knew those waters were dangerous, had been warned by their friends not to go there, and yet they persisted with a mission of selling Christianity. When, oh when, will Christian evangelists ever learn?

    February 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Martin.Bocken

      You Must be dead!!! two people DIED.
      and why the heck is it their fault???
      maybe it was not the wisest of all decisions, but giving them the blame instead of the attackers is simply retarded.

      Oh, and btw this kinda stuff happens evryday in countries like egypt, iraq, iran, etc. Christians are killed simply cause they are Christian, pakistan even made a law that ANYONE who insults islam deserves death, one guy got the sentence for throwing a business card away that had the name mohammed on there. That Is not a religion of peace, its a cult of death

      February 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • JB Cal

      You're probably right Marco, i'm sure they knew the dangers, but they chose to press on because of what they believed in. How much courage does that take? Do you believe in anything that strongly? Oh, by the way, I'm sure they weren't looking for your sympathy.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Mike in KC

      As a Christian myself I did wonder what these people were thinking being in such a dangerous place passing out bibles off the coast of a Muslim nation. Of course they didn't deserve to die, but they chose to put themselves in such a dangerous and precarious situation. It was really a stupid thing to do and they paid the price for it. I'm sorry for their families.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • jim

      @JB Cal And I'm certain Marco wasn't looking for your approval!

      February 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Thomas

      Understanding their beliefs, their philosophy of "to die would be gain" would answer your question of "when will Christians learn?" To answer to a cause greater than yourself and to sacrifice yourself for that cause, is the greatest evidence of love, as the Bible says, "no greater love hath any man, than to lay down his life for his friend..." The philosophies that drove them around the world delivering Bibles to thousands of people, they understood their plight and should be applauded for putting their personal safety as secondary to the calling on their life, not admonished for putting themselves in harms way. Only a coward would criticize them for that.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • James

      I agree with you Marco. Evangelists are taking a big chance if they not only travel to dangerous areas like this, but thumb their nose at local religion by trying to convert people to Christianity. Of course the pirates should hang for this, but it doesn't change the fact that it was stupid to peddle Bibles there.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • nepawoods

      Nothing wrong with people of any faith sharing their beliefs with others, but this was a very expensive 7 year pleasure cruise ... an exorbitant luxury, almost obscenely decadent in comparison to the life of sacrifice many missionaries live. 99.99% luxurious self gratification, 0.01% handing out Bibles.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Burbank

      They want others to share the misery of being Christian.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • bettejodux

      Beautiful response, Marco. i think you might like my column http://bettejo.wordpress.com/ I live in hawaii, on the island of Kauai. I'm constantly after the thumpers. I'm a humanist. Kauai is a very interesting place. Peace and love Bettejo

      February 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • JKT

      Strongly agree, Marco. They put themselves in harm's way to try to impose their religion on those of another religion. Further, they were not killed immediately; one could surmise that they tried to convert the pirates and were killed when they went too far. Probably not the wisest move they could have made.

      February 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Steve

      How different the world would be if God did not exist? Actually, it would look exactly like what it looks right now. Makes me wonder...

      February 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.