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Haiti, Pat Robertson and the Devil

January 14, 2010

In the year 2000, I attended the “Messiah” conference, a yearly messianic conference held in Grantham, Pennsylvania.  That year, I served as a sign language interpreter as part of the deaf ministry.  At that point in my signing career, I wasn’t quite fluent enough to interpret long, complicated, text-based sermons; I mostly interpreted the music and announcements.  But at one of the smaller sessions, I was given the opportunity to interpret a lecture, and I was thrilled.

As it turned out, this teacher tended to tell a lot of stories, a good thing for someone with my skill level.  To this day I remember the gist of the main story the teacher told, because it was fun to interpret.  A few weeks ago, in a discussion with my family about signing and that event, I was temporarily transported back 9 ½ years to that hot summer day.  I began to share the story that the teacher told, which goes something along these lines.

Apparently this teacher had put together a mission trip to another country where the presentation of the gospel was not particularly welcomed.  His group had managed to get the permits necessary to rent a stadium and they advertised the event.  On the night of the event, as I remember the story, the teacher was giving a sermon when all of a sudden the lights went out.  Unable to read his bible in the dark, the teacher began to pray that G-d would provide a way for him to finish preaching and offer salvation to those who were present.  Then, all of a sudden, a firefly came out of nowhere and landed on the lectern next to his bible, illuminating the text and allowing him to finish preaching and give the invitation.

As I was retelling this story to my family, I stopped in the middle and realized the ridiculousness of the story.  What was the likelihood that this was true?  I then began to think about all the other ridiculous stories I had heard during the 17 years I was a Christian.  This prompted me to comment, “boy, Christians are really gullible.”  Had it stayed at the family table, it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal.  But, my daughter decided to post this on her Facebook status, thus offending the other half of her family, which is comprised entirely of Evangelical Christians.

Today, I found myself in a quandary.  What do I do about yet another example of the gullibleness not only of Christians, but of so many people across the globe?  Today I heard one of the most absurd things I have heard come out of an Evangelical preacher’s mouth in many years.  Today I heard Pat Robertson say that the reason that Haiti has suffered so much over the years is because it is cursed due to a pact that Haitian leaders made with the devil 200 years ago so that it could win its independence.

This story is wrong on so many levels it makes my head spin.  Besides the fact that the “devil” by Christian or Jewish definition (see my article on the differences between the Jewish and Christian understanding of Satan) doesn’t have that much power, what does that say about God?  The perpetuators of this absurd myth have made Satan into a god, and have tied G-d’s hands, rendering Him impotent (G-d forbid!) in helping these people, over 7 million of which or more than 83% are Christians, at least 15% of which are Protestant Evangelicals.  In fact, this tiny country has been evangelized by practically every Evangelical group known to man.

Not willing to leave my acceptance of the story to shear logic alone, I decided to do a little research on the internet.  I found absolutely no evidence to support the story, and in fact, I found an article on one website written by a Dr. Jean R. Gelin, a Haitian man born and raised in Haiti, now living in America.  Dr. Gelin is an ordained minister of the Church of God.  In this article, Dr. Gelin talks about his own research into this story and the fact that there is no evidence to support it whatsoever.

So now I find myself in quite a quandary.  Is it more respectful of Mr. Robertson to think that he believes this ridiculous story because he’s a prejudice bigot who would believe anything about black people that paints them in such a negative light, or that he’s simply gullible and a few French fries short of a happy meal?  The Jury’s still out on this one.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2010 11:05 pm

    Shalom and Sak Pasé Penina,

    The erroneous christianese stereotypes of Haiti’s populace is prevalent, which only fuels evilangelism, unfortunately. The unjustified christian curse was contrived from a libel: apparently, poor citizens had become so desperate that they supposedly made a pact with ha’satan. christian details of the illusory ceremony are quite descriptive. I’ll spare you the church noise.

    I suppose that explains why Liberia and The Philippines struggle in solidarity with Haiti, since the 3 countries were instrumental in The Existential Tiebreaker, circa 1947 — casting the 3 decisive votes in favor of officially establishing Eretz Yisra’el as a global participant.

    Israel may be the United Nada’s primary scapegoat from an unpolitik paradigm, but Haiti and developing nations also serve as rotational scapegoats for the discriminatory world body, who force unjust policies of imperialist globalization, if only to salvage collapsing empires; if only to delay the inevitable global restructuring.

  2. apostaterebel permalink
    January 14, 2010 11:18 pm

    I too find Robertson and his diatribe reprehensible! I could find no basis of fact in his story, although I have heard this over the years. Speaking of gullibility, this story reminds me of the old “Converted African With Doctor” Christian Urban Legend. The one that goes like this:

    Missionaries to Africa settle in a village to win over the natives. The missionaries teen child plays his Christian rock and roll. After converting the local Witch Doctor, the former Witch Doctor hears the beat of the music, and confronts the Missionaries by stating that the beat of the music is the same beat they used to conjure demons.

    I have learned that much of what comes out of an Evangelical Preachers mouth is so much hot air.

  3. Hank Shrier permalink
    January 15, 2010 9:02 pm

    Pat Roberstson is first last and always about Pat Robertson and MONEY. He knows what to do to get people to send him Money. When we find any justice in the world to come (when there is one) he will be assigned to the lowest depths of Hell for the lives he destroys and the frauds he perpetrates. He is a reincarnation of PT Barnum who said, “You can never go broke underestimating the intellegence of the American People. Thanks again to wonderful public school system and its religious siblings who continue to turn out non thinking gullible automotons.

    There are some truly gifted educators in our schools. Their spirits and souls continue to be trampled under the boot of mediocrity and boredom.

  4. Folke Holtz permalink
    April 1, 2010 2:54 pm

    Youa are right. To view the catastrofy as a sort of banning of the Devil is partícular pattern among some evangelical who interpret circumstances as a act of the Devil. The devil become so mighty and in theis view conquire otu G-d.

    How can people belive in such nonsens? Perhaps they should go in course of rabbis and learn.

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