The tragic news from earthquake torn Haiti fills all our minds tonight.
1) There are many organization that are doing their best to help the suffering people of Haiti. One group that has been serving the poor in Haiti, as well as all over the world, is Doctors Without Borders, http://doctorswithoutborders.org/ .
In their response to tragic events, like the earthquake that struck Haiti, the nations of the word show the potential for being able to work together, overcoming the barriers that too often lead to conflict. Maybe some day it won’t take a tragedy to bring the world together.
2) One of the news stories coming out related to this tragedy is the controversial statements by Pat Robertson.
I know this is a minor sidebar to the tragic events in Haiti, but I am interested in how Mr. Robertson statements are being covered, and how this demonstrates a lack of understanding of people whose beliefs, and social customs, are different from ours.
A video of his statement:
The press release from his web site:
On today’s The 700 Club, during a segment about the devastation, suffering and humanitarian effort that is needed in Haiti, Dr. Robertson also spoke about Haiti’s history. His comments were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Boukman Dutty at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French. This history, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed. Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath. If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson’s compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them. His humanitarian arm has been working to help thousands of people in Haiti over the last year, and they are currently launching a major relief and recovery effort to help the victims of this disaster. They have sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medications that is now in Haiti, and their disaster team leaders are expected to arrive tomorrow and begin operations to ease the suffering.
Spokesman for CBN
1.a) When you are a public figure, to many seen as a spokesperson, in this case for Evangelical Christians, you have the obligation to do adequate research before stating opinions. The basis for Robertson’s statement that “Haitians made a pact with the devil” is Haitian revolt leader Dutty Boukman.
From my research Robertson is making statements about a “religion”, Vodou, he clearly doesn’t understand. Leaders both religious and non-religious are guilty of this. I have been guilty of this.
“On 22 August 1791, Boukman presided in the role of houngan (priest) together with an African-born priestess and conducted a ceremony at the Bois Caiman and prophesied that the slaves Jean Francois, Biassou, and Jeannot would be leaders of a slave revolt that would free the slaves of Saint-Domingue. A pig, which symbolized the wild, free, and untamable spiritual power of the forest and the ancestors, was sacrificed, an oath was taken, and Boukman and the priestess exhorted the listeners to fight bravely against their oppressors. Days later the Haitian Revolution began.”
“Vodouisants believe in both a supreme God called Bondye , and many lesser spirits, known as the loa. This had been a belief held in several west African religions such as that of the Yoruba, Odinani, and Vodun, and when it came in contact with Roman Catholicism, the greater deity was associated with the Judeo-Christian God, and the loa with the saints.”
I can understand that to Christian’s vodou rituals can be seen as pagan. However from what I have read vodou priests do not pray to, or seek pacts with, the devil. Unless you believe that the God that all the other religious faiths, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, etc., pray to is a false God, the devil. That only Christians are praying to the right God, which is my impression of Pat Robertson’s belief.
1.b) Anyone viewing the complete video will see that Pat Robertson is clearly moved by the plight of the Haitians. He is trying to raise money to help them. As a Christian he is of course concerned about their souls. He is asking Christians to reach out to the Haitians, to help the Haitians find Jesus, and be saved. As a Christian leader that’s his job.
Are Christian’s the only faith that is praying to the true God? Are all other religions praying to the Devil?
I am misinterprating Pat Robertson’s statement?