Robertson's Curses

January 13, 2010

Another disaster, another inappropriate and unchristian remark from God's hit man. Pat Robertson today poured rhetorical salt onto the wounds of the people of Haiti as they suffer in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. Robertson argued that the Haitians brought this disaster on themselves:

And you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, uh, you know Napoleon the 3rd and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.' True story. And so the Devil said, 'Okay, it's a deal.' And, uh, they kicked the French out, you know, with Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by, by one thing after another, desperately poor. ... They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come.
So, in Robertson's world, the Haitians brought this disaster on themselves because they made a pact with the devil over two hundred years ago. Seems like God is a little slow in punishing them! Of course, it is important to note that many people discount the devil interpretation in the Haitian folklore story about the pact (not to mention that Robertson got his date wrong). But more importantly, Robertson's comments do not match the words of Jesus. Consider what we read in Luke 13:1-5:
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 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."
Jesus taught us that just because people were killed by Roman soldiers or died when a tower fell that we should not view those who died as specially cursed. Maybe Robertson should spend less time reading Haitian folklore and more time reading the Bible! This is another example of why Robertson was critiqued in my book For God's Sake, Shut Up!: Lessons for Christians on How to Speak Effectively and When to Remain Silent. What the people of Haiti need right now is our prayers and our donations. Unfortunately, the unchristian comments of Robertson are overshadowing the true Christian response. There are many Christian relief organizations that are working overtime to quickly bring help to those who are suffering. This is a time when we need to let our actions do the talking, especially if we have dumb thoughts like Robertson's about to come out of our mouths.