Haiti’s earthquake and Pat Robertson’s theology

Pat Robertson has made the news again this time being accused of blaming Haiti’s earthquake on the pact the country made with the devil”. Christianity Today covered it well but Salon claims the “televangelist believes momentous earthquake is epic revenge.”

The skinny is, IMHO, that people are linking Pat Roberston’s comments with his unfortunate 9/11 statements and have come up with something more controversial than it should be. CBN released a press statement making it clear that “Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath.” as well as adding some more historical footage: “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.”

When I was in Haiti, I heard the same story and also saw a lot of voodoo and heard drums at night, etc. But that doesn’t mean the earthquake is their fault. Earthquakes happen everywhere, even in places where people have made a pact with God and not the devil.

I have also been in Dominican Republic many times and yes, its the nicer half of the island but in no way is it “prosperous”, unless you only see the tourist resorts. A lot of this has to do with the fact that Haiti cut down all their trees and fished out their oceans while Dominican Republic had a better ecological strategy.

Is the earthquake anyone’s fault? I dont think so. “God . . . sends rain on the just and the unjust” Matthew 5:45

Previously: Help Towards the Haiti Earthquake

Related and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Haiti and that Pact with the Debil

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

13 Comments

  • Pat does it again – putting the fun back into fundamnetalism!
    While the earthquake is nobody’s fault, some of the effects are probably due to the extreme poverty and poor governance there. As ever, a land ravaged by empire has been left with chaos where the political power vacuum left behind by empire has been filled by despots.

  • Wolfgang has some interesting thoughts on this (chapter 4, Starfish Manifesto). I don’t know why this earthquake happened, but I would suppose that the blessing of God would include protection from earthquakes.

  • “The rain falls on the just and the unjust” actually means that God blesses both the just and unjust, not punishes them both.
    I guess if we lived in the Middle East we’d have a different attitude to rain and then it would make more sense.

  • I generally agree with your post. Biblically and historically we can say that Pat Robertson’s comment makes little theological or practical sense. It’s frustrating that the media focuses on him as some kind of spokesman when so many within the Xtian community (me included) just ignore him because his political witness has perhaps irretreivably obscured his xtian witness.
    As for CBN’s statement about voudou and Haiti’s history, I’m curious as to what evidence we have to back of the allegations? Who wrote the histories they refer to and what are their interest? Besides, even if a non-xtian folk religion played a role in the rebellion, what does that have to do with the many decendants of those revolutionaries who are now practicing xtians? Does their faith not count somehow?
    Would we even make such theological claims for plagues or earthquakes in Europe because of the pagan worshipping ancestors of modern day Europeans?

  • Bill,
    Thanks for the article, very informative about the misinformation and rumor which surrounds this subject.

  • “”The rain falls on the just and the unjust” actually means that God blesses both the just and unjust, not punishes them both.”
    It stands to reason that natural disasters don’t just happen to the unjust – God doesn’t send drought on the wicked alone w/o the righteous also being affected. Consider: Luke 13
    1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
    4Or 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? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
    According to Jesus, disasters don’t happen to people because of their wickedness – and neither does disability. (Remember the blind man Jesus said was not blind because of his sin, nor the sin of his parents) Time for people to stop trying to place blame.

Leave a Reply