Pat Robertson sees devil in the devastation

Pat Robertson has stuck his foot in his mouth once again.

While discussing the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti, the television evangelist said on his “700 Club” program Wednesday that Haitians long ago “swore a pact to the devil” to free themselves from French rule. “Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another,” he added.

We wonder how many of the Haitians now suffering the effects of a massive natural disaster put their marks on that devilish pact, which was negotiated more than 200 years ago, according to the island’s Voodoo legend.

After the predictable controversy erupted regarding Robertson’s remarks, a message appeared on his Web site explaining that “Dr. Robertson never stated the earthquake was God’s wrath.” It was every other misfortune that has befallen the island nation, apparently, for which God is responsible.

Why should we expect anything different? After all, Robertson is the same preacher who, with the late Jerry Falwell, proclaimed that the 9/11 attacks on this nation were God’s punishment for things like homosexuality. And Hurricane Katrina could be attributed to God’s wrath over abortion.

Haiti certainly has had more than its share of its problems, beginning long before Tuesday’s earthquake struck. It is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and political violence has been rampant for decades. But most of that can be attributed to corrupt and dictatorial leaders who have kept the majority of Haitians living in squalor while they skimmed what little riches the nation has for their own benefit.

Robertson clearly subscribes to the notion of a vengeful God who is willing to kill untold numbers of innocent people to punish others. That is his right. And he has sought to raise money to aid Haiti. But it is hardly a sign of love for one’s fellow humans to repeatedly suggest that they deserve whatever natural disaster befalls them.


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