An Appeal for Haiti

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled flame war for this important announcement.

As everyone has no doubt heard, Haiti was hit by a colossal earthquake last night; the city of Port-au-Prince is in ruins, and tens of thousands of people may be dead. If you’re able to help, please consider making a donation to the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders. And if simple human compassion doesn’t move you, consider it doing it to spite that wicked, heartless old fraud Pat Robertson, who said that the people of Haiti got what they deserved for rebelling against slavery. His religion made him evil; now, for Haiti’s sake, I hope that our atheism makes us good.

UPDATE: I’m proud to see that atheist organizations are joining the effort. As commenters have mentioned, there’s the Foundation Beyond Belief. The American Humanist Association also has a relief fund, and the FFRF has made a donation to Doctors Without Borders.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://www.bellatorus.com Petrucio

    Done

  • Danikajaye

    Done second!
    Now back to watch the flame war

  • John Nernoff

    Obviously the Red Cross is the first charity one thinks of. Is there another specifically non-believer, atheist or explicitly non-religious charity around?

  • Claire

    If you’re looking for some secular charities, Foundation Beyond Belief names a few charities they recommend that don’t proselytize, and also list a few you should avoid if you don’t want your donation to be pushing a religion:

    http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/node/127

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Speaking of Pat Robertson, Rachel Maddow had on the Haitian ambassador to the United States. The ambassador pointed out that the Haitian defeat of the French made possible the Louisiana Purchase in which the United States acquired so much territory for such a low price. Therefore, if Haiti made a pact with the devil, then the United States reaped the benefit from it.

  • Joanna

    I gave to Partners In Health because they’re main work is in Haiti already. They seem to have a really good rating for putting money directly towards the programs (versus administrative costs, etc). I don’t think they have any religious affiliation?

  • http://yunshui.wordpress.com yunshui

    Hey now, “Dr. Robertson’s compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them.”

    Because we all know how helpful that’s going to be…

    Cheers for the links, off to deposit my meagre donation now.

  • Katie M

    I just now read about the Pat Robertson thing on CNN. As if I needed MORE confirmation that the man is heartless . . .

  • Ritchie

    From the link:

    “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it,” Robertson said on his Christian Broadcasting Network show. “They were under the heel of the French … 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 the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal,’ ” Robertson said. “Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another.”

    *VOMIT!!!*

    Despicable, venomous troglodyte.

    I normally like to think of myself as above simple malicious abuse, but hey, looks like I’m not after all.

    Oh well, I’m sure I won’t lose sleep over it.

    Now, off to donate…

  • Megan

    Checked Foundation Beyond Belief and donated, thanks for the heads up!

  • http://theperplexedobserver.blogspot.com/ TPO

    I gave to Doctors Without Borders yesterday and as I mentioned in my post, they are a secular organization that does not proselytize. Also, you can find a list of secular charity links on the left side of my page under “Secular Charities.”

  • Peter N

    Done also.

  • Paul

    Speaking of Pat Robertson, Rachel Maddow had on the Haitian ambassador to the United States. The ambassador pointed out that the Haitian defeat of the French made possible the Louisiana Purchase in which the United States acquired so much territory for such a low price. Therefore, if Haiti made a pact with the devil, then the United States reaped the benefit from it.

    And that proves Katrina was divine punishment, too. See, god is still really mad about that deal with the Devil.

    Ebon, far be it for me to defend Robertson, but the reason he claimed they deserved it was because they supposedly treated with the Devil to aid their rebellion, not because of the rebellion itself. It’s a claim I’ve heard before, but for the life of me I can’t recall where. I was a little surprised to see you frame it the way you did, you always seem more charitable than the other firebrands in the atheist blogosphere. Of course, being more accurate doesn’t make his claim any less abhorrent.

  • Ritchie

    More accurate? How are you defining ‘more accurate’?

    To say the people of Haiti did a deal with the Devil is an outrageous and dispicable lie that should rightly shame anyone who utters it. How is it in the tiniest, slightest bit ‘accurate’?

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Ritchie, I think what Paul is getting at is that being more accurate about where Robertson says the fault lies (in Devilish dealings, not in rebelling per se) does not make it any less abhorrent that Robertson says Haitians brought this on themselves.

  • Ritchie

    Oh okay. Gotcha.

    I’ll need a good wash to get all this egg off my face then…

  • Joffan

    Good to see you’re spreading the word on Haiti too Ebon.

    Paul, they are the same statement in Robertson’s alternative version of history. The only justification for the devil-pact story is that the Haitians rebelled successfully, and how could they possibly have won without supernatural help?

    I should add that even within this ficton, any decent lawyer should have God hung out to dry on this, since most earthquake victims will be more than the seven generations away from the original sinners, which was the advertised limitation on retribution.

  • Paul

    Thanks, D. That’s what I’m getting at. When you are saying someone explicitly claims something, using their exact claim is more accurate than attributing to them an implied claim.

    For instance, it is easy to pick up the implication that Robertson is claiming the God is punishing the Haitians for breaking free from slavery. But that isn’t what he said. As such, it is more accurate to say that he is claiming the Haitians are being punished for making a deal with the Devil, as opposed to saying he is claiming the Haitians are being punished for breaking free of slavery, even though his implication is that the breaking free only occurred because of the deal with the Devil (which is being condemned).

    @joffan

    Paul, they are the same statement in Robertson’s alternative version of history. The only justification for the devil-pact story is that the Haitians rebelled successfully, and how could they possibly have won without supernatural help?

    I disagree. The only justification for the devil-pact story is that the Haitians are scary brown people from another country who have at different points in time flirted with non-Christian religious practices, which to a fundamentalist means worshipping or serving the devil (since their gods or guiding spirits are just the devil in disguise). Them winning or losing doesn’t directly lend anything to the devil-pact claim. It would be just as easy to claim they lost a rebellion because they put their faith in the devil/their false gods. There’s plenty of YWHW vs. other “gods” material in the Bible to draw from for that line of thinking. The claim of devil-pact also reminds his captive viewers that there are evil forces out there, and they need to donate money to his ministry to keep the world safe from the forces of evil. In the end, at best it’s tangential to the point that they won the slavery rebellion to people like Robertson. They just need some sort of boogeyman to scare people with to make themselves seem relevant, and this is the unfortunate one they picked this week. And “the devil” is a much better boogeyman than “uppity slaves” these days, not to mention more politically correct. He probably didn’t think anyone would care until there was a backlash in the media (which you know has been noted, since the clip on his site has removed the offending portion of the video).

    I’m most definitely not on Robertson’s side, or trying to provide cover, or anything of the sort. I was simply expressing surprise, since that sort of rhetorical shortcut isn’t part of Ebonmuse’s normal bag of tricks (at least, not that I’ve noticed). I didn’t mean it as a condemnation.

  • Joffan

    Paul

    I’m most definitely not on Robertson’s side

    I never thought you were ;-) and wholly agree that Robertson has ulterior motives for playing up the devil angle. I concede without demur that Robinson’s actual words focussed on that. The tangled web of “scary brown people”/”uppity slaves”/”demonic non-Christians” attitudes is probably too knotted for any certain analysis; but I heartily doubt that any devil-pact story would have been offered today if the rebellion had been unsuccessful and Haiti had gained independence from France in say 1970.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Paul and Joffan, you’re both partly right. Allow me to wax fundagelical for a moment.

    Ahem.

    Haiti is not a Christian Nation like the United States of “YWHW” (I propose we pronounce this “Yaw-Haw” – thanks, Paul!). Therefore, they worship the Goddamned Devil, since that’s the only other option – if you’re not a crucifix-humping Bible-o-phile, then you are in thrall to Satan whether you know it or not. Yaw-Haw, in his compassion, gave them plenty of time to rebel against their demonic overlords and embrace Yaw-Haw and Cross-tree-pandering, more time than usual (the seven generations Joffan alluded to). Now that those free from the generational taint of Haiti’s Devil-stained independence have refused to reform themselves, Yaw-Haw finally decided to smote their asses with a righteous rumble for rejecting him. This is just, because Yaw-Haw owns everyone and everything (as Ken Ham reminds us – thanks, PZ!), so he can do whatever he wants with his private property and it’s not immoral at all because Yaw-Haw makes the rules (but they’re absolute and objective, so you can’t argue for better ones with your flawed human reasoning).

    Man, I tried to make that entertaining, and I still need a drink to drown the herd of buffalo stampeding through my head…

  • Archimedez

    In light of Paul’s corrective above, here is my suggested rewording of Ebonmuse’s statement (my addition in italics):

    “…that wicked, heartless old fraud Pat Robertson, who said that the people of Haiti got what they deserved for their method of rebelling against slavery, a method which allegedly involved the invocation of a rival supernatural entity.”

    Robertson still doesn’t look much better, does he?

  • Paul

    D,

    I’m going to have “Yaw-haw” in my head forever. I’ve never thought about it that way, and now I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to think of it any other way.

    Some wording in your post is quite ironic — 95% of Haitians claim to be Christian. However, most are Roman Catholic, and Catholicism is actually the official religion of the country. They’re more Christian than we are. But naturally, being Catholic, they’re more prone to “crucifix-humping” than the evangelicals, who generally prefer the cross without the little guy on it. Is Robertson one of the evangelicals who thinks the Pope is the anti-Christ?

    Robertson still doesn’t look much better, does he?

    Not at all. The fact that the didn’t drop dead immediately is another affirmation of my turning away from the Christian faith. There are so many false prophets that at this point any reasonable interpretation of the Biblical God would have done some smiting or flooding en masse by now.

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Paul,
    Thanks for the tip on Haiti’s official faith, I didn’t know. But that’s what happens in the “I know what I believe, don’t confuse me with the facts” sort of mind (“Oh, they say they’re Catholic, but that’s just a clever ruse to disguise their rampant Satanism”).

  • Katie M

    Apparently Rush Limbaugh is now involved in this. Yet another right-wing fanatic is given a microphone . . .

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com/ D

    I threw my hat into the ring, and my money into the pot, and now I just want to do a little free advertising for Direct Relief (if you’re looking for a great charity to donate to). I had to click through the FBB link to the Charity Navigator list they mention, and Direct Relief is in the middle of a bunch of miscellaneous ones (including religious ones).

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Ebon, far be it for me to defend Robertson, but the reason he claimed they deserved it was because they supposedly treated with the Devil to aid their rebellion, not because of the rebellion itself.

    Point taken, Paul – but the “Haitians made a deal with the devil” story is such an obvious invention of slaveholders seeking to explain why they lost the rebellion, I consider Robertson scarcely less culpable for endorsing it.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.com/ Steve Bowen

    I gave to Partners In Health because they’re main work is in Haiti already. They seem to have a really good rating for putting money directly towards the programs (versus administrative costs, etc). I don’t think they have any religious affiliation?

    I have just had email confirmation from Partners In Health confirming they are an entirely secular organisation. Consequently I have donated through them as they already have an established presence in Haiti.

  • Paul

    Point taken, Paul – but the “Haitians made a deal with the devil” story is such an obvious invention of slaveholders seeking to explain why they lost the rebellion, I consider Robertson scarcely less culpable for endorsing it.

    Agree! I’m sure that’s why the meme survived the way it has. I just didn’t think that that was directly responsible for Robertson’s statement, and wanted to interject that as a commenter for the edification of everyone else. If it was my blog and I was posting a vituperative response and a call to action, I would have taken the same tack you did. In fact, sometimes I think you’re too measured in your responses, and it was nice to see you really cut to the chase there.


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