Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti is Not Cursed

What did it take to get me to break my blogging hiatus? Not the wonderfully entertaining insanity of the Late Night TV shuffling. And not even necessarily the tragedy in Haiti, but one Christian's response to Haiti. I understand that by even talking about this I'm giving Pat Robertson a smidge of publicity, but I also feel like I have to make a couple of things very clear.

First the comments from Robertson. "Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it," he said on Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club." "They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal."

"But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It is cut down the middle; on the one side is Haiti on the other is the Dominican Republic," he said. "Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to god and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now we are helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable."

Two responses to this.

1) The majority of Christians do not agree with this statement. I can't think of any that I know, and I'd love to say that no other Christian agrees with this, but I also know that a lot of people watch Pat Robertson's show, so there are probably many who do agree with him. But in the majority, Christians think Pat Robertson is wrong about this.

2) Even if he were right, this would not mitigate the need of Christians to act in support of the people of Haiti. That we would have a responsibility to assist in any way possible for the good of the Haitians. It seems that Robertson thinks that way as well, but it doesn't change the fact that I think not only is he wrong in his estimation, but somewhat dangerous as well.

However, even in my disgust for Robertson's comments, I have to remember that God loves him just as much as the grieving mother in Haiti, and that my love for him should not be affected by his unguarded tongue.

A couple of other pieces. One of my Facebook friends posted this about a cause of Haitian poverty. It's well worth the read.

Also, Pat Robertson has issued a clarification on his statement.

And Donald Miller also posted a great and much more eloquent response than mine on his site.


Amanda Williams said...

So, as awful as what he said is, what really struck me from it is that he called the DR "healthy" and "prosperous." Has he ever BEEN to DR? Yes, there are resorts there, but that doesn't make the country either "healthy" or "prosperous."

The whole attitude about sin and God punishing people via natural disasters for the sins of a nation just blows my mind. This is the same attitude that came out after Katrina and people like Pat R. saying things like, "God is punishing them because of their unholy lifestyles." Well, it rains on the just and the unjust, and just because your town hasn't been hit by a tornado or ravaged by a hurricane does not mean that you are any more holy or on a better footing with God than someone in NOLA or Haiti.

And what you said about God loving him as much as a grieving mother in, Phil. Right when I want to just smack him upside the head for saying something so stupid you say something that just makes me hang my head and say, "You're right. My attitude gets the best of me sometimes...."

nick gill said...

Never thought I'd find myself HERE! but okay, here goes.

I've read the transcript NUMEROUS times, and here's what I cannot find: Pat Robertson saying (or even implying) that the God of Jesus Christ is responsible for the curse under which Robertson believes Haiti is laboring. If there was language later in the broadcast where he implied it, I'm sure it would be being included in all the blogs. So I'm assuming it isn't there: I haven't inspected the entire broadcast.

Where do the outraged masses of Christians posting against Robertson get the idea that God is the only spiritual entity in the cosmos? Have we read our Bibles? The language of blessing and cursing is all over the place, and God is not the sole source of either.

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Phil said...

For one thing, Nick, I never said that Robertson said that God has cursed Haiti.

For another, Robertson says, "they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor." This is a passive voice sentence. The subject didn't do the action. In this case, the actor of the curse on Haiti is not specifically stated. But according to Robertson's theology, would Satan be the enactor of the curse upon Haiti or would God be because of the purported "agreement" with Satan?

I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that Robertson believes that either God is doing these things to Haiti (poverty, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.) or that God removed protection because of this agreement.

nick gill said...

No, that's true: you said "Haiti is not cursed."

I think evidence clearly points the other way, to the objective Judeo-Christian observer.

Why would Haiti have ever been under God's special protection? It is the duty of the kingdom of God to extend that protection to all nations, as we offer God's invitation to covenant relationship.

I have no problem seeing the movement of evil forces in the history of Haiti, and the people of Haiti inviting such activity through the worship of demons.

And I'm not sure it's reasonable or loving to assume the worst -- I know I don't want you to assume the worst interpretation of my writings, no matter how bad they've been in the past.

Pat Robertson should shut up about theology -- he's terrible at it. He should only use his voice during tragedies to garner support for the victims. But what he said yesterday should first be heard in its immediate context, before being interpreted in light of his previous statements.

Haiti is a huge hotbed of occult activity. It's just that most Christians have forgotten that there are actual evil beings out there masquerading as gods.

Anonymous said...

For the record, Haiti is overwhelmingly Christian (Catholic, if you're interested). The occult activity in Haiti, while very real, is followed by an extreme minority of the people.

My question is, is the extreme poverty in Haiti an indictment of the people of Haiti, or an indication that the extremely wealthy "christians" next door in the US are more interested in whether God wants them to have a nicer car, or their pastor to have another home, or their church to seat another 5,000 people. Many churches in America are more interested in "feeding the machine" than "feeding the hungry."

Then, they have the temerity to say "look at the poverty there, it must be a curse!" I believe they are right - Haiti is cursed by having the American Church as their benefactor.

Preston said...

From John 9:

As he was walking along, he observed a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that caused him to be born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be revealed in him. I must do the work of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he spread the mud on the man's eyes and told him, “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam."

So he went off and washed and came back seeing.

Thomas McKenzie said...

To Preston, I add Luke 13:1-5

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

Thomas McKenzie said...

Perhaps nick could help me with some math.

How many prayers to Satan does it take to kill tens of thousands of Christians?

A friend of mine who ministers in Haiti has just lost his co-leader of 10 years. How many prayers to Satan did that take?

Right now, my friends from Compassion International are on their way to figure out how many of their children and family members are dead, trapped, or homeless. How many prayers to Satan did it take to cause that?

What I hear Nick saying is that these are just chickens coming home to roost.

Disgusting, as both a theological and a pastoral response. Absolutely disgusting.

mundiejc said...

if Haiti is cursed, it sure isn't because they made a pact with the devil.

Its because they devil (or maybe more rightly named (western empires) have been screwing them repeatedly for 500 years.

How many times has the US stepped in over there to throw out someone who was freely elected? Several.

Its time for debt jubilee, if not for the whole world, at least for 3rd world nations who are essentially paying tribute to all ready wealthy first world democracies, who supposedly are for justice.

Those same democracies contibuted to the poor farming and business practices in Haiti that destroyed the land... all to get their money back.

Michael Taylor said...

I totally agree with item 2. Even if this were true, and I'm not conceeding that, It doesn't change at all how real Christians are supposed to respond.

Daren said...

Here's my take: Last week there was a really bad earthquake in Haiti, and thousands of people were tragically killed.

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