Pact With the Devil or Deliverance from Bondage

As most know already, Pat Robertson argued that enslaved African descended Haitians who bravely fought against generational enslavement, rape, and death were not Freedom Fighters but worshippers of Satan who “made a pact with the devil” and have been paying the price ever since. (see his refusal to apologize for the comment at bottom of this post) Haiti was a symbol of African freedom in the enslaved in Americas. That symbol was so powerful that the N. American government feared the presence of Haiti on their borders and worked in conjunction with the major colonial powers, France, England, and the Portuguese to impose sanctions on Haiti that impoverished the newly formed nation and began the cycle of poverty and failed infrastructure that remains to this day. In exchange for not fighting a multi-super power war on it’s tiny 1/2 of an island, Haiti was forced to pay tribute for what most of us take for granted: freedom. And while Haiti is not “the perfect victim” completely innocent at all times to the big bad colonialists-turned-neo-colonial, the Haitian people’s struggle for Independence was no less Holy than that of the Isreali’s for whom even Robertson believes G-d parted the Sea and brought out of bondage.

More than that, Haiti’s shining example in those days helped facilitate development not only the Americas but also Great Britain and Europe and began the process toward freedom for African-descended people living in the Americas. Here is more:

While many have taken Robertson’s words as proof that Christians are evil, I want to remind you that there are several Christian organizations who have been working in Haiti for 20-50 years on issues of poverty, child welfare, education, HIV prevention, and rural people’s rights. These organizations helped form the needed first responders when the earthquake hit and they have been critical sources of information not only during the earthquake, but the hurricanes, and the coups that have all preceded it. Christian justice workers were among those who helped get the word out about the massacre of the Haitians on Dominican soil in the 1930s and who helped fish Haitians out of the water where they had been dumped. While some helped US troops and later multinationals abuse the Haitian people, others stood against them. As Rachel Maddow says, Pat Robertson does not speak for anyone but himself and we could all apologize for him, the vast majority of us would.

I think we have to really listen in times of tragedy to what is said about people. In the same way Neo-Con Christian “leaders” disparaged mostly people of color during Katrina in this country, they are now disparaging Haitians. Like those leaders from the left, who denied the right for people to organize because we were focused on helping everyone instead of just their particular identity group, those on the right would put their own identities over the suffering of the masses. And both would erase the multiple and varied ways people suffer and the history that has made that possible for their own agenda. By being bogged down in their derail, we lose the ability to unite in action for the good of those most in need and to critique those who would rather sit on the sidelines and demean the victims. If we let that happen, Robertson and his ilk win.

—–

UPDATE:

This is taken from Robertson’s official website, http://www.patrobertson.com/pressreleases/haiti.asp ,  on 1/14/10, the day after his “pact with the devil” comment. Robertson not only fails to apologize, he argues that history is on his side and denies that he blamed the earthquake on them being in league with Satan:

Statement Regarding Pat Robertson’s Comments on Haiti

CBN.comVIRGINIA BEACH, Va., January 13, 2010 –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.

Chris Roslan
Spokesman for CBN

The written histories of Haiti are riddled with projections of “evil” and “devils” and “devil worship” by so-called historians much in the same way as colonial histories of Africa that still resonate today. Most historians are in agreement that these texts are interesting colonial documents for critical race studies but hardly accurate historical information. The revolt Robertson is hiding behind was prayed over by a Vodoun priest to give his people strength in the battle. In other words, Robertson is perpetuating the myth that Haitian Vodoun is devil worship and not simply an alternative religion that he does not believe in. There is no difference between Haitians who believed in Vodoun praying for strength in their fight for freedom than Christian soldiers praying for strength on the battlefield; except of course when the battles they are fighting are on the wrong side. More than that, regardless of what Robertson believes about alternative faiths, there is no excuse for reveling in the pain and suffering of dying children and poor people. He is also categorically wrong about the differences between Haiti and RD, as there is extreme wealth and extreme poverty in both nations & their histories of colonialism are radically different. As for Robertson’s denials about saying the earthquake was a direct result of “a pact with devil” listen for yourselves:

3 thoughts on “Pact With the Devil or Deliverance from Bondage

  1. I never projected the evil spewed from Roberston’s mouth as a generalized evil of all Christians. (It’s a shame so did.) I just felt it was continued validation of HIS evil. The fact that he utters such hatred with a the slight smile and soft voice of concern makes my skin crawl.

    As a gay, agnostic, liberal Buddhist, I often am the bulls-eye for his evil hate mongering darts. Though I do wonder how many “Christians” take his words to heart.

    • I think John Stewart, who is Jewish, put it best when he asked if Robertson & others had “read this book [the bible]” and quoted portions relating to how “we” christians, I am catholic, are supposed to act in the face of poverty, disaster, and suffering.

  2. I finally decided to send money for earthquake in Haiti. I hope that people give to those left homeless by Haiti’s disaster too.

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