Right-Wing Flashback: Pat Robertson Blames Haiti Earthquake on ‘Pact with the Devil’
On Sunday, Haiti marked the four-year anniversary of the devastating quake with solemn memorials and a day of quiet around the country. President Michel Martelly ordered all flags flown at half-staff, encouraged broadcaster to select music appropriate for the occasion and shuttered all clubs.
On. Jan. 12 2010, over 250,000 thousands of lives were lost and over 1.5 million lost their homes in a catastrophic earthquake that toppled buildings, destroyed infrastructure and left Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area in ruins.
Yet, unbelievably, with images of dead children and destroyed communities still fresh in everyone’s minds, Pat Robertson announced on his 700 Club broadcast that the Haitian people were suffering because they made a pact with the devil.
“They were under the heel of the French, uh you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the Devil,” he explained to his co-host. They said we will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French. True Story. And so the Devil said “OK, it’s a deal.” And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor.”
He encouraged readers to pray for them. “Uh, they need to have, and we need to pray for them, a great turning to God and out of this tragedy.”
Unfortunately, Robertson’s agreement seemed to resonate with the religious right. One day later, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Alfred Mohler posed the question “Does God hate Haiti?” in his blog. He answered, “God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners and nations … The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God … In other words, the earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only real message of hope.”
Most damaging, this view was also adopted by the current Virginia GOP leader, Rev. Joe Ellison. Recently appointed to serve the interests of and outreach to the African-American community for the GOP, here is what Ellison had to say about Robertson, voodoo and the Haitian tragedy.
“From a spiritual standpoint, we think the Dr. Robertson was on target about Haiti, in the past, with voodoo,” he said a GOP gathering. “And we believe in the Bible that the practice of voodoo is a sin, and what caused the nation to suffer. Those who read the Bible and study the history know that what Dr. Robertson said was the truth.”
Photo Credit: UNDP