Pat Robertson and Haiti – UPDATE

Someone asked me what I thought of Pat Robertson’s very quick assertion that Haiti has been “cursed by God.”

Oh, for crying out loud!

What sensitivity and timing! Sort of like going up to a mother whose just lost her children in a house fire and saying, “well, you’ve sinned, so you had this coming, but now you’ll turn to God, and I’m gonna help you.”

Pat Robertson loves to do this; he loves to wade into horrific situations with the double-edged sword, one side marked “God’s Vengeance” and the other side marked “God’s Mercy,” and he is so damned clumsy with the thing, that as he flails about with it, he ends up cutting himself, wounding those he supposedly cares about, causing a bleed-out within the Body of Christ, which is the Christian Church, and generally making a balls of it, as my Auntie Lillie would say.

The double-edged sword is not Pat Robertson’s to wield; it is God’s. I wish he’d stop trying to pick up what is too heavy for him.

Allen Sherman used to sing a folk song of his own creation:

Little David Susskind, shut up.
Please don’t talk, please don’t talk
little David Susskind, be still.
And don’t talk.

For a much better – longer and more thoughtful – response, read Peter Wehner at National Review

Allahpundit: He’s a crank but a consistent crank

Ace: He Moves in Mechanical Ways

UPDATE:
Perhaps Robertson could talk up this idea: Fasting for Haiti:

What if thousands of people decided to fast 1 to 3 meals and then donated $5, $10, or $15 to relief efforts to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti?

Offering the fast for good of the people of Haiti. I like that. It ties in so well with Psalm 122; 8-9:

For love of my brethren and friends
I say: “Peace upon you.”
For love of the house of the Lord
I will ask for your good.

UPDATE II:
Compare and contrast – Archbishop Dolan’s remarks

More:
Mirror of Justice more on “the curse” – that’s a must-read.

Mary’s Aggies responds.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • newguy40

    What Robertson is doing here is reminding us that such a thing as “the wrath of God” is a dogmatic truth inside all Christian denominations and sects. He does not scoff at Satan, nor his power, as indeed, we Catholics are also instructed not to do. He perceives the devil as a real entity…as we Catholics do. Haiti has long been considered an occult focal point, and has been the source of many bizarre tales of demonic apparitions, blood cults, human sacrifice and, yes, Satanism. Robertson is pointing to these things and wondering aloud, “If Satan seduces, and you embrace…is there a consequence for this choice?” The injured must be cared for with the love of God, as many of us who serve the sick already know (and do), and mercy must flow from us, as we know it does from Christ. But, the secular media cares not for the poor souls of Haiti; they do, however, care about distortion, and never miss a chance to make a believer seem cold, hysterical…and foolish. Get the full context and ignore the hyped-up headline.

  • Lindy

    Well put. The pictures from Haiti are hard to bear, but so is all the harumphing over those who don’t “sound” acceptably compassionate.

  • Brian

    Pat Robertson is not a “member” of the Body of Christ. He is a Zionist heretic. He leads poor souls away from Christ because he is totally estranged from Christ. He thinks Israel is the apple of God’s eye, and, last I heard the Jews believe Jesus Christ was an imposter (and worse.) He is a Freemason, a working Goy, helping to rebuild the temple of Zion. Do you know what that translates into? Setting the stage for the false messiah, the antichrist. See him clench his lapel for a front cover pose for Time Magazine in the 1988 election. He is far worse than these stupid occultists he “bemoans” in Haiti. Most Haitians try to be good Catholics. They fall short like the rest of us. But they are not all doing Vodoo. And Robertson would have less to answer for if he did Vodoo than what he has done as a so-called “Christian.” His mission is to lead souls away from the one true Church, and he has much more “power,” than some Vodoo witchdoctor.

  • cminor

    For Pete’s sake,
    Robertson was specifically referring to a legend dating back almost to the Toussaint L’Ouverture revolt. There seems to be little evidence to substantiate it: here and here

    While he may mean well, his lack of tact and tendency to seize on wrath-of-God theories for every disaster ultimately does harm to the cause of “proclaiming the Good News.”

    Remember, it rains on the just and the unjust. And God was willing to preserve Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of ten righteous men.

  • cminor

    Just in case it isn’t obvious, my comment above was directed to the first commenter. I should have, but did not foresee that a few more folks would get in their observations while I was typing.

  • dry valleys

    Has he ever met Anjem Choudhary? Because if they could sink their differences over the position of Jesus, they could soon start swapping tips on how to engage in mindless publicity stunts whilst being as much of an evil-minded **** as possible.

    I will be supporting the people of Haiti. It seems to me that after the urgent humanitarian crisis is over they do need to sort out their infrastructure. If the buildings weren’t so badly built, if the people were more prosperous, they might not have sunk so rapidly. Any reconstruction needs to bear that in mind. But now this minute it is food & medicine.

    [You're actually making the point that Doc Zero made yesterday and Thomas Sowell made in 2003. See my running thread on Haiti (the one with "burning tires" in the header. My son and I were just having this identical conversation about infrastructure, etc. -admin]

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  • http://bcscentral.info Gerry

    … still scratching my head … wondering which crank is crankier …

  • http://and-still-i-persist.com bfwebster

    What if thousands of people decided to fast 1 to 3 meals and then donated $5, $10, or $15 to relief efforts to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti?

    Actually, members of the LDS Church have been doing this monthly for over 150 years (fasting for two meals and then making a donation to help the poor and needy). The basic idea is that you can at least spare the money you would have spent on those meals, though LDS leaders have pointed out that actual donations should be much more generous if you can afford it. ..bruce..

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  • Rhinestone Suderman

    As Ace, over at Ace of Spades, points out, the Robertson view of God is equivalent to that of Santa Claus; if you’re naughty you get punished in this life, and, if you’re nice, you get treats, in this life. This sort of thinking is simplistic, and turns God into some sort of pagan/nature deity; make Him happy he’ll give you good crops; cross Him, and He’ll send you a volcanic eruption, or two!

    And if God did operate that way (and I don’t, for two nano-seconds, believe that He does), one is left with the troubling question of why God has chosen Haiti to smite, instead of other, worthier targets? If occultism kindles His wrath so terribly, why not smite Southern California? There’s lots of occult stuff, out here!

    (St. Philip Neri and Bl. Giorgio, we need your prayers! Pray that we may stop being silly!)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I like the idea of fasting, and sending the money to Haitian relief.

    Also, Cmininor, Christ himself, in his remark about “Those Samaritans” who were murdered by Roman governor Pontius Pilate, seems to be rejecting a tit-for-tat view of God’s judgment.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Sorry, I don’t have my Bible with me—but in talking about the Samaritans, Christ indicates that He doesn’t believe they did anything to deserve what was done to them.

    Also, when asked what sin a blind man, or his parents, may have committed to bring such a judgment down, Christ answers that it is not due to sin, “But to show the glory of God.” (He then heals the man).

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    That Pat Robertson makes some foolish comment is not news.

    The big question is why folks go along with the MSM demonstrating their own bigotry by dragging him out as representative of all of Christianity, but especially the Christian right?

    Don’t get suckered into such tactics. Refuse to play the game.

    (If we want to discuss the bigger question of whether this was the will of God, whether God caused this disaster, whether God is the cause of suffering generally, and/or why God would let this happen, that is an entirely different matter. And we really did not need to bring up Pat Robertson to know beforehand (as I mentioned to a certain Cheerleader before he made his remark) that the automatic response of some fundamentalists (and some Muslims) to this, as if by rote, would be that it was the will of God that this happened.)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Unfortunately, since the rote response of far too many people is, “It was the will of God!”, this is something that must be addressed. It isn’t a game we want to play, but, unfortunately, we have to—to some extent. Otherwise, silence indicates agreement.

    Yes, it isn’t surprising that the media has focused on Robertson (himself, quite a media master) and ignored all the Christian calls for Haitian relief, fasting for the Haitians, etc. It also isn’t surprising that the media has appointed Pat, Foot-in-Mouth, Robertson as official Christian spokesperson. (They used to do it with Falwell). Pat can always be depended to burble something bigoted and/or downright silly. Which is one reason why we’ve got to make it clear he doesn’t speak for all Christians.

  • dry valleys

    Well, Pat Robertson, like Anjem Choudary, enjoys no particular importance or support among the people he claims to speak for. So I agree he is more a creature of the media than anyone who represents an upsurge of feeling amongst anyone.

    I certainly take the point that the likes of Sowell make. Certainly, without material prosperity & the right kind of politics/society/life a country is unlikely to get anywhere. Of course I disagree with the various religions in that I, for example, would support contraception for those who want it- a lot of women do wish to limit their fertility & such people as find it objectionable should try to persuade them of this rather than use legislation to restrict access.

    I do think some aid agencies have got it wrong. The views expressed in Dead Aid are not necessarily always in accordance with mine. But it is interesting, when the author went amongst left/liberals, she expected to be flayed alive but she actually got a polite hearing from people who are asking themselves questions. She is also in favour of birth control- as are, in experience, the actual people who would be using it.

    It is about “I support X. But is Y the way of achieving it? Because if it doesn’t bring about X I will pursue Z as a means instead”.

    I feel a bit guilty saying things like this when people are actually out there losing their homes. But once the world’s attention span has frayed, there will still be people who are desperately poor.

    As for fasting, I think most of us can manage to miss some meals- especially as snow keeps us from exercising. Just as people make gifts of food to old-timers. I support people who are trying to make a go of things, like schools in Afghanistan & computers in Africa. But at a time like this, urgent bodily needs become most important.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    LOL, Let’s hope that Robertson and Choudary never meet, or, if they do, they don’t strike up a partnership! They’re bad enough singly, the two of them together would be too much!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Don’t feel guilty about saying these things, Vallyes; even in times of trial, it’s good to point things out, and plan for the future.

  • dry valleys

    Aye, that’s what I thought to myself. We are all trying to figure out what really works. Which is why we get so enraged at times, if we identify things that in our view will turn out wrong.

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    Just because God allows something to happen does not mean “it was His will.”

  • Saint or Not

    JMJ

    How could God allow this tragedy???

    First has a Catholic, I know that God permits evil “only” if a greater good comes from it. There are those who can not understand such a statement but we only have to look to the cross and see Christ crucified to know that our father will permit evil. What is more evil than the created brutally murdering the creator? Has Christians with the grace that comes from the father we now know the good from Christ’s suffering. We also must not second guess our faith simply because, who can say, that all who suffer the loss of life from disasters,violent acts, murder, and early death due to illness are not with God and are part of his plan from the beginning.
    In regard to Pat Robertson, he is like many who feel they have the truth but are misled by their heretic interpretation of the false Doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Bible alone faith alone is a false doctrine.

    We must pray,. pray and pray imploring the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary Most Holy.

    Pax Cristi

    please pray

    Dearest Sacred Heart Of Jesus. May the entire world be inflamed and burn with Love for thee.

    Amen

  • Darren

    I would hope Mr. Robertson would review Luke 13:1-5 before he makes statements about the death of others and their spiritual culpability.

  • http://www.celticpole.blogspot.com Barb

    okay i just listened again to Pat Robertson’s statement. he never mentioned wrath of God. He does mention compassion and doing what we must – coming to their aid. there is a spiritual dimension here that Mr. Robertson says, “people may not want to talk about it…” He may be speaking not at the right time, a bit un-tactfully but what he says…does it have merit and something to consider in prayer?

  • Chris

    I don’t suppose that pointing out that plenty of Haitians seem to believe that their nation is cursed matters? I’m hardly a Robertson fan, but the substance of what he said, in light of the unrelenting misery that is the history of Haiti…Well, I’ve heard less plausible explanations. No, I don’t believe God works this way, but I can understand WHY some might. Less Pat Robertson then the masses of Cite’ DeSoliel.
    Do I wish he’d kept his mouth shut? Yeah. It’s a distraction from the immediate need for aid, and provides a budgeon for the Olbermans of the world to use against all of us.

    [Doesn't help the Body of Christ much, either -admin]

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    Saint or Not,
    Good does not always come from evil.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, Robertson does mention compassion—but he also manages to undermine any sympathy one might feel for the Haitians. They made (according to him) a pact with the devil; therefore, what’s happened is partly their own fault—and, anyway, who wants to help devil worshippers?

    (It also paints a pretty awful picture of God Himself, as a deity who crushes little children to death in an earthquake because He’s still angry about an alleged Satanic pact made centuries ago, which they had nothing to do with.)

    I’m afraid a lot of Robertson’s listeners might decide that the Haitians aren’t worthy of assistance, because they’re all Satanists (Cue in spooky music, here), and it’s God’s judgment, so how can we interefere with that?

    This is not compassionate.

    There may or may not be a “spiritual diminesion” (Whatever that’s supposed to mean) at work here; is Robertson, who’se primarily, a T.V. personality, qualified to make such calls, or to sit in judgement on an entire nation?

    (And a lot of historians are quite dubious about the whole “pact with the devil” story; is suggest it be taken with at least a grain of salt. And, I’m no expert on Haiti, but it might be a good idea to actually study what’s going on there, before throwing around theories about curses, Satanic pacts and voodoo.)

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    I don’t know that it is necessarily a question of “evil.”

    It is certainly a matter of suffering, but I tend to think of “evil” in moral terms — something which is a privation or distortion of good/truth — not in merely bad things happening.

    With respect to the question of suffering and God, it cannot be said that He has merely stood by doing nothing, that He has merely “let this happen.” We live in a world, a physical world that is subject to various physical laws and geological realities, including the reality of tetonic plates occasionally rubbing together to cause earthquakes which might then cause devastation if they occur in populated areas. God does allow us to live in such a world. But we should realize that this world is not the be all and end all. We should realize that death and destruction in this life is not “the end,” so as tragic as it is, we should not think that it not the final say in the matter. And that our lives might be snuffed out in an instant is a possibility for us all.

    But again, God does not stand idly by. Rather, He is compassionate. That is, in Jesus, God suffers with us (from “com,” meaning “with,” and “passion,” meaning “to suffer”). He does not eliminate suffering, that is, pretend that it does not exist. It does exist, and to pretend otherwise would be contrary to truth.

    Rather, Jesus takes that suffering upon Himself and thereby transforms it. He joins our sufferings to His. In doing so, He also transforms death to life — death in this world, which is only a temporary sojourn for us anyway, to real and authentic life with Him.

    If God did not do this, if He did not have compassion, if He did not “suffer with” us, then it really would be a devastating tragedy — we really would be without hope, it really would be “the end.” Sadly, for those who do not turn to Him, accepting His compassionate love, it is as if He were standing idly by, doing nothing. They are truly without hope; for them, everything is gone.

    So let us give thanks that we do have Him and thus, the tears of the afflicted will wiped from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain. All will be made new again.

  • a honked-off lurker

    Say, the bunch of you are aware that Robertson’s organization is actually going down to Haiti and providing food, medicine, and even perhaps infrastructure aid? Or that this is part of what they routinely do throughout the world year-round? Does anybody even bother to watch his show one episode through?

    This man is going to actually do something meaningful to help Haitians – has been helping impoverished communities for decades – and all a surprising number of people have been able to do is beat up on him for not being Captain Tact with a comment of his that deals with a rather well-known story about Haiti’s history.

  • EllKay

    An excellent discussion on this matter is here: link

    Pay particular attention to the two comments signed “Really?” … and ask yourself seriously, are you in a position to render judgment such as this?

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Lurker –

    I’m sure that most here would find Robertson’s providing actual assistance to impoverished communities to be quite admirable and to be commended. But it is not his actions that most folks are uncomfortable with, it is his particular brand of theology, as well as his talent for saying things that the MSM jumps on.

    As I said earlier, that is largely the fault of the MSM for sensationalizing his words (and make no mistake — the MSM frequently tries to do the same things with the words of Pope Benedict), but it might be better if Mr. Robertson were to choose his words more carefully, knowing that the MSM will exploit them.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    “Honked”, if you actually read the comments, instead of using all your energy just to scold us, you’d know that it isn’t just the fact he isn’t “Captain Tact” that bothers many people.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Doing a little historical digging. . . the Haitian revolution began in 1791, whereas Napoleon III didn’t come to power until 1848. So Robertson’s a bit confused when he says the Haitians were rebelling against him.

    I think he may confused about other things, as well. . .

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    EllKay, quite honestly, I don’t think I’m in any sort of position to render judgment at all.

    And, quite frankly, I’m suspicious of people who do seem eager to render judgment, or claim to be able to discern God’s will at all times.

  • http://heyitsjustablogman.blogspot.com/ Ted

    Luke 13:2-5
    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.”

    Matthew 7:3
    Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

  • dry valleys

    Well, obviously he just shot from the hip & got his historical details wrong. I am very wary of doing anything like that, which is why despite producing a great volume of words I rarely actually say anything…

    Pat Robertson, Voodoo and the Haitian disaster

  • http://minoroutside.blogspot.com cminor

    EllKay, I’m not sure what you’re driving at, but the commenter you mentioned seems to be operating on the assumption that the Satanic pact story is factual. While only the handful of revolt leaders present at Bois Caiman a couple of centuries ago would have been able to say for sure what they did there, there is considerable room for argument against the pact hypothesis. Check the links on my previous comment, about five down from the top, by way of an example.

    BTW, I read the article Really? cited and noted that at the end the author mentions that the supposed “Satanic pact” expired in 1997.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, of course, even if that handful of leaders did try to make what they thought was a Satanic pact (historically, very uncertain), why would this make all of Haiti—-most of which, wasn’t even there to assent to this—guilty? Does the devil even uphold such contracts? Is he really allowed that much power on earth, to traffic in souls?

    According to many reports, trapped victims were praying to God, while waiting to be rescued. Did they deserve such an awful punishment? They certainly don’t sound like devil worshippers. Also, it sounds like a lot of Christian missions and churches were hard hit. If God really wanted to punish Haiti for devil worship, wouldn’t He spare them?

    And do you see what silly theological questions you get into, when you get into theories like this?


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