John M. Becker

Family Takes God as Their Captain; Gets Lost at Sea

Filed By John M. Becker | August 13, 2013 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch
Tags: abortion, Arizona, church and state, fundamentalist Christianity, fundamentalist Christians, Hannah Gastonguay, schadenfreude, taxes

And now, for your daily dose of schadenfreude...

An Arizona family was rescued from the South Pacific this week after an ill-fated attempt to flee the United States in protest of homosexuality, abortion, taxes, and the "state-controlled church."

The Gastonguay family -- Sean and Hannah, along with their two young children -- bought a boat and moved from central Arizona to San Diego in November. They lived on the boat as they prepared to leave the heathen shores of America for what they believed were greener pastures: the tiny, isolated island nation of Kiribati. In May they set sail, or as 26-year-old Hannah told the Associated Press, took "a leap of faith" to "see where God led [them]."

As it turns out, God didn't do a very good job captaining their ship: the family ended up lost at sea -- low on supplies and battered by storms -- for three months.

The Washington Post reports:

Hannah Gastonguay said her family was fed up with government control in the U.S. As Christians they don't believe in "abortion, homosexuality, in the state-controlled church," she said.

U.S. "churches aren't their own," Gastonguay said, suggesting that government regulation interfered with religious independence.

Among other differences, she said they had a problem with being "forced to pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don't agree with...."

She said at first, "We were cruising."

lost_at_sea.jpgBut within a couple of weeks "when we came out there, storm, storm, storm."

The boat had taken a beating, and they decided to set course for the Marquesas Islands. Instead, they found themselves in a "twilight zone," taking more and more damage, leaving them unable to make progress.

They could have used a sail called a genoa, she said, but they risked snapping off the mast and losing their radio and ability to communicate.

A Canadian ship spotted the battered vessel and pulled up alongside it in order to replenish their supplies, but the boats ended up bumping into each other, further damaging the small craft.

The Gastonguays were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing boat, transferred to a Japanese cargo ship, and taken to the port city of San Antonio, Chile. The State Department arranged for the family to be flown home, presumably at taxpayer expense.

What did the family learn from their reckless and foolhardy shenanigans? Not much, apparently: Hannah told the AP that they now intend to move back to Arizona and "come up with a new plan."

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