by Brian Shilhavy

Modern day America is largely defined by Western Christian and Jewish values, and those of us who grew up in this culture and read the Bible, will naturally tend to read and understand the Bible from our own Western cultural values.

However, the inspired authors of the literature contained in the Bible did not write from a Western cultural perspective, but from a Middle Eastern culture perspective, especially the Old Testament. To be sure, during the New Testament period, the Roman culture, which grew out of the Greek culture and is the foundation of “Western” culture, was transitioning to become the dominant culture in the world.

But the Jewish writers of the New Testament still largely lived their lives based on Middle Eastern culture, and Middle Eastern cultural values.

As an American, I have been very fortunate to live a significant portion of my adult life outside the United States, including many years in Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and 1990s, where Middle Eastern culture and Middle Eastern cultural values were still the dominant force shaping their societal values.

Most of the modern English translations of the Bible, as well as the English commentaries on the Bible, including the “older” commentaries, some of which were written in German during the Reformation period in Europe and then later translated into English, are all written by Westerners with Western cultural values.

So when we come to a passage in one of Paul’s letters in the New Testament, his first letter to the believers congregating in the Greek city of Corinth, it is very difficult for Westerners to understand the first verse Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, a chapter dealing with family and marital issues, where Paul wrote:

Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. (1 Corinthians 7:1)

I chose the 1995 “New” American Standard Bible in this quote which uses the English word “touch” in this verse, as does the older and also the modern King James versions.

But because the idea of stating that a man should not “touch” a woman at all is so foreign to modern Western culture, notice how some of the newer English translations translate this first verse in 1 Corinthians chapter 7:

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” (1 Corinthians 7:1 – ESV)

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. (1 Corinthians 7:1 – NIV)

These modern day English translations of this verse are based 100% on current Western cultural Christian and Jewish values, and not on the original Greek text.

The Greek word that is used here in the original texts is haptō (ἅπτω), and in the rest of the Greek New Testament, as well as in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, this word is never used to describe a sexual act or relationship (like marriage).

Here are some other verses from the New Testament portion of the Bible where this Greek word is used:

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.

She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. (Mark 5:24-29)

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:34)

People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Luke 18:15-16)

As one can clearly see from these verses, the word “touch” has no sexual meaning at all in these verses.

But anyone who has grown up in Middle Eastern culture, especially in the rural areas, will know exactly what Paul meant here, because in traditional Middle Eastern culture, men do not touch women at all in public if they are not part of his family (wife, mother, daughter, etc.), and to do so is to risk some serious retaliation, like potentially losing your hand or being locked up.

So when Paul said “it is good for a man not to touch a woman,” he meant “touch”, and not “have sex.”

“Orphans” and “Widows”

Widows and Orphans in Middle Eastern Culture

One of the most damaging effects of using Christian and Jewish Western cultural values to translate and interpret the Bible, is how the modern definition of  “orphans” and “widows” is used today.

Here are the instructions that Paul wrote in the New Testament, in the context of Middle Eastern cultural values, about how believers were supposed to treat “widows.”

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.

If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy chapter 5)

For the younger “widows” who did not have any children yet, he wrote:

As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry.

So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. (1 Timothy chapter 5)

The word used for “widow” in the original Greek texts is chēra (χήρα). The original meaning of this Greek word was a “woman left without a husband,” which in most cases meant that her husband had died, but it was also used for “women living without a husband”. (Source: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Kittle and Friedrich, published by Eerdmans 1974, Volume IX page 440.)

The assemblies of believers during the New Testament period apparently had a “list” of widows who should be supported by the other believers in their congregations. But only older widows above the age of 60 years old with no other support were to be put on this list.

For the other widows, they were to be taken care of by their extended families, unless they were single with no children.

James, the half brother of Jesus Christ who lived in Jerusalem, wrote:

 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)

There is one story in the Gospel accounts in the Bible of how Jesus treated one widow.

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.

As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.

When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still.

He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”

The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” (Luke 7:11-16)

Widows and Orphans in Western Christian and Jewish Culture

It’s easy for me to sum up the Western cultural view of “widows” and “orphans” today as defined and practiced in the United States in one sentence: Grab the “orphans” and turn them over to the Government’s lucrative child trafficking system called “foster care” and “adoption” and let the widows fend for themselves after they lose their children.

This is the essence of what Corporate Christianity and the Corporate Church do today as defined by their “Orphan Care” programs.

They have expanded the meaning of “orphan” to not just mean a child with no parents, but also a child who doesn’t have “good parents” and needs to be taken away from such parents, and given to “good Christian” parents to have a “forever home.”

Corporate Christianity, of course, gets to define what a “good parent” is, and that generally is a white, middle class “Christian” family who is actively supporting and funding their church 501c3 “non-profit”corporation and following their “Judeo/Christian” “ethics”.

Of course if one wants to sign up and either “foster” or “adopt” one of these “orphans,” you have to first be approved by the Government (NOT your local church), who funds the entire process with taxpayer funds.

That’s the “American” way, and it has been going on like this for a very long time.

The history of “orphan” care and religious institutions is a long one in America’s history, and we could go back as far as the mid-1800s and the “orphan trains.”

Between 1854 and 1929, as many as 250,000 children from New York and other Eastern cities were sent by train to towns in Midwestern and western states, as well as Canada and Mexico.

However, this was mainly a transportation of poor children who had families, and not true orphans. They were shipped out west as child laborers, mostly in agriculture. (Learn more in this article.)

It was the beginning of child trafficking in the U.S. under the guise of “orphan care.”

What About the “Widows”?

Prince scared

14-year-old rape victim gave birth to her child and had her family caring for her and willing to care for her baby. But the State decided to take the baby away from her while she was still breast-feeding in the hospital just after birth. Full Story. (Over 1 million views.)

In more recent times, a huge move in Christian Churches participating in adopting children from other countries started just after the Korean War in the 1950s, with Harry and Bertha Holt.

Based out of Oregon and with six children of their own, the Holts wanted to adopt Korean children from Korean Orphanages in South Korea.

U.S. law at the time only allowed a couple to adopt 2 children from outside of the U.S., so the Holts worked with the U.S. Congress to pass a new law allowing them to adopt 8 children from South Korea.

The Holts gained widespread media coverage, and they soon developed their own adoption agency to help Americans adopt Korean babies.

Being Evangelical Christians with support from many evangelical leaders, such as Billy Graham, the Holts tried to place the Korean children with Christian families.

Today, Holt International is a $28 million-a-year operation working in many countries besides Korea, and one of the largest adoption agencies in the world.

But from its inception in Korea in 1955, the majority of children adopted out to the U.S. are not orphans. The children adopted out of Korea after the Korean war were mostly children from unwed mothers, many of them babies conceived by U.S. military personnel who were there during the war.

Unwed mothers were stigmatized in Korean culture, so the Korean government was more than compliant at the time to make money off of these children by allowing them to be adopted to the U.S.

In recent years there have been some efforts in Korea to promote more local adoptions, but according to the Institute for Policy Studies, financial benefits to South Korea allow American adoptions to continue:

Despite promoting domestic adoption since 2005, South Korea remains a top five sending country to the United States accounting for almost 13 percent of all 2010 overseas adoptions. Adoptions from South Korea generate $35 million annually with a single overseas adoption today averaging $15,000. By contrast, the Korean government provided an unwed mother in 2009 with only 50,000 won (about $48) per month to care for her child. The money from one overseas adoption would pay an unwed mother’s family subsidy for 25 years of her child’s life.

Although the total revenue generated from an estimated 220,000 children is unknown, today’s prices suggest $3.3 billion as a rough sketch. A fuller picture would include unreported cash donations to strengthen inter-agency relationships leading to continuous child referrals, as well as the cost savings associated with exporting the children’s and their families’ social welfare needs. South Korea spends only 6.9 percent of its GDP on social welfare – the least among OECD nations. It allocated only 0.09 percent of its 2009 fiscal budget to support its children. (Source.)

What about the moms?

Labeling these children as “orphans” is a callous way of completely disregarding their mothers.

90% of these mothers reportedly do not want to give up their babies, but are pressured to do so. (Source.)

When today’s Evangelical leaders use verses like James 1:27 to justify fostering or adopting children, even though we have clearly seen that almost all of these children being put into foster care or being adopted today are not true orphans, they conveniently leave out the term “widow” that is contained in this verse:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress

As I noted regarding the beginning of the modern adoption movement in Korea just after the Korean War, these children were not orphans, but mostly children of unwed mothers.

If the concept of “orphan” was broadened to include these children who were not actually orphans, why wasn’t the concept of “widow” also broadened to care for their single moms?

While these pioneers in the adoption movement, such as the Holts, may have had good intentions to care for disadvantaged children, there is little evidence that they held in high esteem the concept of “parental rights,” and the needs of the mother.

As I mentioned above, 90% of these Korean mothers did not want to give up their babies, but were pressured to do so.

At first, the women do not want to give up their babies. According to the questionnaire that we distribute at the orientation interview, 90 percent want to keep the babies, says Kim Yong sook, the director of Ae Ran Won.

But after counseling, maybe 10 per cent will keep them.

We suggest that it’s not a good idea to keep the baby without the biological father, explains Kim Yong Sook, and if the unwed mother and biological father are too young or too weak financially, we suggest that they give the baby up for adoption. We can’t push, we can suggest. (From: Babies for sale. South Koreans make them, Americans buy them – by Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, January 1988)

The emotional trauma that this inflicts on the mother, mothers who are convinced to give up their babies for adoption, is very severe.

It causes more mental anguish and trauma than mothers who see their children die.

Origins Canada summarizes some of the studies that have analyzed this. In one study, (Logan, J. 1996. Birth mothers and their mental health: Uncharted territory. British Journal of Social Work, 26(5), 609-625.), they reported:

  • 21% of mothers had made attempts on their lives
  • 82% reported significant depression as a result of surrender
  • 68% described themselves as having a significant mental health problem.
  • 32% had been referred to specialized psychiatric treatment on an out-patient or in-patient basis and 18% had received treatment for a continuous period of 5 years or longer. This compares to a normative statistic of 3% of all women in the U.K. who were referred in 1993 to the same treatment service.

The primary reason that Christians wanted to adopt children from Korea after the Korean war seems to be to “save” that child from a difficult life of being stigmatized as a child born out of wedlock.

But who should make that decision? If the scriptures teach believers to take care of orphans and widows (single parent moms), how is the biblical mandate being met when the mother is coerced to give up her child for financial gain, and probably is never warned or counseled just how that will affect her for the rest of her life?

And remember, these studies that analyze the trauma caused to mothers are looking at adoptions where the mother agreed, even if under coercion.

But today in the U.S., there are over 400,000 children in foster care, and almost ALL of them were placed there against the will of their parents by Child Protective Services.

These children were not willingly surrendered by their parents.

I am not aware of any studies that have analyzed what kind of trauma this causes parents, and specifically mothers.

But I have worked with many of them over the past 10+ years since we started publishing their stories on

Fortunately, most of the mothers I have met are fighters, and have not given up hope. That is why they contacted us, and wanted their stories published.

But I’ve also met them living on the streets homeless.

In 2019 I interviewed Beth Breen, who was the driver hired by social services in Arizona to transport a little 2-year-old girl between her foster parents and her biological mother. She knew something was wrong with the little girl based on how happy she was when being transported to meet her mother, and how terrified she was every time she had to be returned to her foster home.

Later, the foster father was arrested by federal agents for running a child pornography and child sex trafficking ring out of his state-approved foster home, where the little girl was raped repeatedly while being filmed.

After the pedophile foster father was arrested, the little girl was NOT placed back with her biological mother who loved her, but was put into another foster home by a Christian organization, where her foster mother burned 80% of her body, and she lost her toes. (More info.)

Beth explained at the time that she hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep for several years after she learned this.

Her and another advocate were protesting against the abuses of CPS and foster care in Arizona one day and were arrested, where they spent 18 hours in a woman’s jail.

As they talked to these women who were incarcerated, they learned that most of them were there for arrests or convictions on drug charges.

When they asked them why they turned to drugs, almost all of them reportedly said it was because they had their children taken away from them against their will. (Listen to full interview.)

What Happens to Many of these “Orphans” When They go Into Christian Homes?

In my over 10 years of covering this issue, it is clear that these children who are fostered or adopted into Christian homes, have just as much of a chance of being sexually abused and trafficked as the ones placed in “non-Christian” homes.

In fact, their chances of being sexually abused and trafficked might even be MORE likely in Christian homes.

If you do an Internet search on the term “foster parent arrest child sex abuse“, as I just did as I was writing this article, you will get over 154 MILLION results.

Go ahead and read a few of these stories that have been published in recent days, I dare you. And these are just the ones who got caught!

And if the “orphan” is fortunate to go into a “good Christian family” who does not sexually abuse them but actually takes good care of them, then these “orphan” children still have to survive the pedophiles in their churches.

I just typed into an Internet search engine the phrase “youth pastor arrest child sex abuse” and it returned 146 MILLION results.

Where is the Outrage!!!

I have been covering this issue for over a decade now, and I can honestly say that barely a day goes by where I do not weep for the children of this nation who have been kidnapped from their mothers, as I also weep for the poor mothers (widows) of these children who are now being trafficked, as most of these mothers are now living on the streets, or sitting in prison, or drugged up and confined to psychiatric wards.

I am so tired of people in my own family and acquaintances who object to what I report on this topic and accuse me of over-blowing this issue, claiming that it is not as bad as I am reporting, mostly because they know “good Christians” in their churches and circle of friends and family members who foster or adopt babies and children, because facing the truth is just too costly emotionally for them.

If I didn’t cry almost every day about this, I would not be a person that you would want to be around, so angry (more than I am currently) would I be.

Those who do not sweep this issue under the rug and ignore it, and are still be able to somewhat function in modern society, are a very tiny group today.

To wake up one day and finally realize that this country is not, and never was, the “good Christian” country that we were taught our whole lives to be, but is actually the most corrupt country on the planet run by billionaires on Wall Street and Silicon Valley, along with their puppet politicians, and is built upon the Jeffrey Epstein child sex trafficking business that controls the banking industry and corporate America, which also includes all of our religious institutions, is a hard truth to swallow.

But true it is, whether you believe it or not.

God’s judgment against this nation cannot come soon enough for me, and I suspect it is not very far away now, and your “Christianity” and your “Church” is not going to save you.

Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.

Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.

In her heart she boasts, “I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.” (Revelation 18:4-8)


Christian Churches Redefine the Meaning of “Orphan” to Justify Participating in Child Trafficking

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