January 13, 2010

Pat Robertson: "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 ... 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 the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another."

When so many in Haiti have died or are dying and suffering, how can anyone think this is the time to say such a thing? Does religion give Robertson the gall? I'm not going to ask why a belief in God doesn't frighten people out of such heartlessness. It's too sadly obvious that it does not.


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Beth said...

Catholicism and Christianity can take many different forms influenced by the base culture of the country.

Oh yeah, DBQ. Voodoo and Catholicism are compatible here in New Orleans. (Except for the New Age crop of white voodoo practitioners that has cropped up in the past decade or so; whites have practiced voodoo over the centuries, but this is a newer offshoot I'm talking about.) Marie Laveau was Catholic.

Jeremy said...

Crack - you think the fat man's comment was a form of "satire?"

good luck with that one.

Kirby Olson said...

Invisible man --

You wrote:

"Yes, your gut (and obviously no facts) must tell you this is true. But the Fins [sic] might disagree."

All the Nordic countries are predominantly Lutheran. Finland still has Lutheranism as the state church -- 3% of income goes directly to the Lutheran church, or at least still did when I left there in the year 2000.

Figure it out.

Of course the actual earthquake was based on a geological faultline.

But the looting, and the general moral decay, of Haitian culture (the rot) goes way back.

As for Japan -- we rewrote their constitution after WWII. They started to do better after that.

But there will be no easy fix for Haiti unless it comes from the ground up.

One of the things you find in Nordic countries is that there is almost no corruption. It basically doesn't exist. If that's not a Protestant characteristic then what is it?

It's a Protestant characteristic.

You can't find that anywhere else in the world.

Where there's corruption, it's very difficult for an economy to go places. In Haiti, the corruption is so endemic, that even the money that is pouring in as a result of this earthquake will largely be siphoned into private fortunes.'

We see that same corruption all over Africa, and in most of the Asian countries. The ten commandments reminds us, among other things, not to take things that aren't ours. It's not a bad principle, if you think about it.

vbspurs said...

Crack, excellent reply to Synova. I think I understood your point de vue better.

We already live in a world without a god.

I think you are seeing the world as a result of there not being a God.

No entity such as God, alleged protector and father, would allow a little boy to witness the things you did, live the way you did, and get beaten up by those who had God on their lips as easily as they had a switch in their hands.

My God, you see, was not so cruel to me. In fact, his mercy even when bad things were happening to me, was endless.

I was able to take that miracle, and see it reflected on the mountains of my childhood, in the bodies in the medical atlases belonging to my doctor father, or see it on my mother's face when she bent over me as I lay feverish on my baby bed.

I have a personal relationship with God, you see. It's not a pact. It's an union -- we're tied together as one. I could no more stop believing in him, than I could in myself.

I guess what I am saying is, to love God, you must first love living in this world. Do you, my dear friend, Crack?


vbspurs said...

Marie Laveau was Catholic.

I remember her so well from the wax museum you guys have in NOLA. With her do-rag, wielding some herbs, her namesake daughter helping momma out. I loved Marie Laveau. And Jean Lafitte!

Kirby Olson said...

All the Nordic countries which are listed as the most successful on earth are Lutheran.

By descending order from there:

Voodoo - animist

Could there be some correlation between the beliefs of a population and their wealth?

I think what the Lutherans have going for them is honesty, and the Ten commandments.

(They have one element that the Catholics lack. Catholicism is an organized crime family whereas Lutheranism has checks and balances and focuses on honesty.)

rbell96630 said...

Pat R. blames it on his God; the latest New Age fantasists blame it on theirs. Is Danny Glover blaming an earthquake on global warming/climate change dumber or less dumb?


Jeremy said...

"My man (or woman) you do not understand satire."

the fat man?



Dust Bunny Queen said...

Voodoo and Catholicism are compatible here in New Orleans.

Exactly. In Mexico, and especially the rural mountainous parts or Yucatan area, you will see a blending of Pre-Columbian beliefs, icons and customs with Spanish Catholicism.

There is nothing at all abnormal about this. Pat Robertson is intolerant. I find this characteristic of the evangelical, born again types very distasteful. I may not want to be a Holy Roller or Pentecostal Christian, but I am not going to tell others that their religion is sinful or that they have made a "pact with the devil". Those decisions are not mine to make.

The Crack Emcee said...


Did you listen to Rush today? A young woman called today, saying she got that very quote from The Huffington Post, and how dare he say such things, blah, blah, blah - and he nailed her to the wall for believing it. (Called her a blockhead and bigot.) And, now, so do you?

Sorry, dude, but you're a fool - and a tool.

The Crack Emcee said...

Oh, and Jeremy, he also played a clip of himself predicting that idiots would be led by the leftist media to believe he meant that.

I repeat: you really don't understand satire.

The Crack Emcee said...


"I guess what I am saying is, to love God, you must first love living in this world. Do you, my dear friend, Crack?"

I'm going to be honest with you, Vic, and say it's complicated. I've been betrayed, since birth, by liberal behavior. Since my divorce, the murders, financial loss, and especially the (apparent) demise of my music career, and the election of Obama even, I don't know any more. My life just doesn't seem right without my wife. I guess I'm pretty much lost and, I figure, I'll probably die early from all this. I no longer bound out of bed like I used to, but just get on with it. I was talking to another divorced guy, yesterday, and he said it took him about 5 years to get over it, and I'm just inching up on that, so I'm now in a wait-and-see mode.

I'll never be a believer - in anything - but, damn it, I know what I'm shooting for and my heart is in the right place (I, generally, live by Christian values) but my anger is off-the-charts now and I don't know if there's a way back now. Murder is tough, y'know? It kinda puts a point on everything - a sort of "before' and 'after" - and what people say matters a lot to me in a way it never did before. I can see what kind of thinking leads to what now, and so many are caught in taking us down - and we, here at least, can see that in so many ways: the economy, lack of patriotism, the rise of NewAge, etc. - it just makes life seem not worth living. I know better - I'm still here, and if there's one thing I know it would be how to kill myself - but it's hard.

I want my music back, but I can barely listen for enjoyment anymore because the messages of the most popular songs (from the 60s and 70s on) are so disastrous to my psyche - I can't listen to "Me and Mrs. Jones" or, for instance, Supertramp's collection without wondering how we can play such things on the radio - it's just impossible. I figure, if I make it back, it'll be as the first truly open conservative artist of this era, but, the way the music businesses culture is set up, I doubt if that's going to happen anytime, or anytime soon anyway.

Anyway, yea, I guess I love life, but I'll probably always wonder if it's ever really loved me back.

BTW, that's not feeling sorry for myself but just accepting what I've been exposed to, and trying to figure out how to go on with that knowledge. Music, really, is my only way out. my father was a drummer, my sister was a singer (with Sly Stone and Earth Wind and Fire) my mother was a singer, and my step-father was Charles Mingus (yes, THE Charles Mingus) so it's a part of me. I just don't know who I am - to myself - without it. Not totally anyway. This is just a whole new, ugly, world.

Quaestor said...

vbspurs wrote...
Although, frankly, of all the God arguments, the prime mover one is the one which most puckers my lips in agreement. Everything has something which gets the ball rolling. From earth to a slug. I claim the same rights to a creator that a slug has.

Oh, please, let's not rehash the Middle Ages on Althouse's nickle. The Scholastics spent the better part of a millennium trying to prove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and all they ever got for the effort was writer's cramp.

Back to the topic: Robertson is no more evil than Obama. Both claim to represent transcendent Good, and both perform their supposed good deeds with other people's cash. The difference being that one begs for it (constant 24/7 on-air swingeing), whilst the other expropriates it with deadly force as his ultimate argument. Personally, I find Robertson's brand of quackery a bit less revolting since his victims are at least voluntarily so. So go ahead and excoriate Pat Robertson for any litany of sins you care to dream up, but don't forget to tar Obama with the same brush if you expect any respect from me.

The only thing I find the lest bit interesting about this whole stupid imbroglio is Robertson's retrograde theology. If memory serves me I recall that by the 17th century Christian scholarship had disallowed the possibility of Faustian bargains such as Robertson's Haitian/Devil deal, though such transactions still remain part of folklore and literature.

Robertson's 700 Club is doctrinally affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (with a bit of pentecostal fervor thrown into the mix). I wonder if Baptists in general are wont to see devils caper in the moonlight?

Synova said...

Lutheran/Scandinavians tend to be non-emotional, or at least not demonstrative. There is a value given to stoicism and an expectation that you won't embarrass yourself or others by carrying on.

I think that a lot of that is due to being stuck inside all winter without privacy. Any privacy has to be inside your own head. At any rate, that's just my working theory.

I don't know how christianity and Lutheranism played into whatever pagan culture existed before. Pagan Scandinavia was actually sort of democratic even before with the Althing and what-not. Society wasn't particularly stratified (compared to some) and leaders were elected.

That tradition might explain why Luther caught on, the people not being accustomed to top-down authority. They may have been more open to the notion that individuals access God directly and personally but that (sort of paradoxically) Scripture was complete and sufficient and any appearance by "God" to give you a special message was undoubtedly Satan trying to deceive you.

Scandinavia now has state supported churches but very little religious fervor. They are probably as secular as it's possible to get. But I don't think that they've suddenly become publicly emotional or less sure of an individual's personal authority.

3rd Option said...

Great post. I think that Christians really need to move forward and make a real difference. We need to take responsibility for our part in marginalizing these people.

3rd Option

Synova said...

(Somefeller would probably insist that this "you're not the boss of me" attitude is actually an inferiority complex.)

Larry Swetman said...

As a Jesus' believing Christian I want to apologize to everyone reading this for my brother's rash and abhorrent comment. The heart of Jesus is in relief. Please do not take Robertson's as the Christian attitude. Pat Robertson is point blank wrong and know that there are Christians trying to be faithful. Please give to world vision or the red cross.

Synova said...

"We need to take responsibility for our part in marginalizing these people."

What does that mean?

Marginalizing who?

Personally, what I'd really like to see is people take responsibility for promoting the human destruction caused by bad economic theory and the destruction of free markets under the guise of fairness.

Someone in the world is preaching, right now, that it's wrong to allow an "unfair" reward to people who produce wealth. Every effort is made to remove reward systems that favor individual responsibility and effort and the preachers refuse to see that doing so means holding people in poverty instead of relieving poverty.

Government control means power and power means corruption and corruption means that people aren't secure in reliance on their own industriousness but require patrons. That your extended family requires a patron means that even officials who want to be honest can not be honest.

And someone says... liberalize markets, open them up, let individuals prosper according to their effort and businesses become rich... and people no longer need a patron to survive.

But we can't have that, can we. It wouldn't be *fair* to let some prosper above others.

I wish that people pushing this garbage would take responsibility for what they do and the horror they enable.

Paddy O. said...

"then He is the heartless one."

This is the catching place for so many. The trouble with it is that it blames God for the troubles and rejects the total answer which is suggested.

The Christian Scriptures, at least, are pretty direct about not giving a conclusive answer to why bad things happen. This is most directly seen in the story of Job. The question of why evil has influence is probably the most important one challenging any religion.

While evil happens, the question of God is not stuck on the evil that happens but on what happens next.

So, in the face of evil can we say there is a God? Yes, but we cannot look only at the evil. We have to look at the fact there's hope even still. After WWII there was hope for Europe even still. After this earthquake there is hope for Haiti, even still. And this hope goes beyond what we see in the present. The hope, the driving, transformational hope, is that we are not lost in the evil, nor does the evil give ultimate definition. There is hope for the suffering that there will be an end to the suffering and a renewal of joy after it. There is a hope for those who mourn that there will be an end to the mourning and a renewal of life after it. There is a hope to those who are oppressed that there will be an end to the oppression and victory after it. This hope can live in us in the present so that we can resist the evil now, not being crushed by it but instead in manifold ways say that this evil isn't as it should be. We can fight for the hope in helping others, in freeing others, in giving others hope that their experiences do not define them, but there's more to life. And the hope is not limited to some distant, ethereal future. It's a hope we can offer to people now. And in offering that hope we can taste more of that hope in our own lives.

The more who live in this hope, the more evil is resisted, and even more can live in the joy and freedom of truly lived life.

The earthquake devastated Haiti. The earthquake wasn't itself evil, but overwhelmingly illustrated the pervasive evil of corruption and all else that went into Haiti's present state. But, there's hope that all Haiti has been, all that it is now, is not the destiny of Haiti. This horror is evil, but it is not the end. And if we're speaking of God in this topic we have to keep in mind what end he declares. And we can have hope that his end is a righteous, a just, and an enlivening end. That is the testimony of the resurrection. The cross is not all we are to bear. There is resurrection.

Without this hope we are left thinking that all there can be is this earthquake, is our horrible childhood experiences, is whatever else dark and corrupting that is seen in our worlds. It doesn't have to be like this. It is not supposed to be like this. And we can be either people who fight against evil or people who enable it. And if you're the latter, you're on the good side of hope. And if you're on the side of this deep hope, I have to think that you're on the side of God.

kentuckyliz said...

Haiti threw off the French and the freed black slaves had to pay reparations to the white land owners for their estates that they seized.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

It's the craziest injustice ever. Any time a Frenchie asserts superiority over Americans, remind them of their crimes against Haiti and the entrenched suffering it caused.

holes de la derriere!

Ann Althouse said...

@ Crack I hope it helps to know that we love you.

vbspurs said...

I'll never be a believer - in anything - but, damn it, I know what I'm shooting for and my heart is in the right place (I, generally, live by Christian values) but my anger is off-the-charts now and I don't know if there's a way back now. Murder is tough, y'know?

I read this earlier, and wanted to reply immediately, in a kind of maternal throwing of arms around you, Crack. Men need that, you know, the very real affection that women offer with their soft skin and warm voices (though I'm sad that many men never experience that, even in their mothers).

But I waited. I wanted to find the right "angle", since I didn't know about any murders (I'm not the Googling/snooping kind). I have nothing in my life that can relate to a divorce, murders, and loss of profession. I am a cerebral person, that's how I deal with others, though I'm a tender person at heart.

Time has passed, and I don't think that Ann's reply above can be improved on.

Sometimes the time for cerebral argumention is over, and for healing to begin, you need to start feeling again. That's enormously hard for men, especially soi-disant macho men who find vulnerability a show of weakness.

I sense that, however, after almost 5 years, you're in the right place to begin this change, unless you want your wound to cauterise with hard crusty skin which will let you feel nothing there ever again.

Crack, hugs. It's not your fault.


The Crack Emcee said...

Yes, Ann, it matters to me very much. This blog, along with Chris Locke's Mystic Bourgeoisie, is very important to me. (He once told me I'm the person he writes it for. The poor thing may be dying, but he's trying to finish his book first, which his posts are notes for: I hope he makes it.)

Vic, I've only been with one woman since my divorce, and I'll never forget the way she looked at me one night, asking, "What did that woman do to you?" I've backed away from every other woman since, thinking I've got to get better before I attempt another relationship.

And no, it's not my fault, but I can get tortured that I couldn't save my wife from cultism - typical macho response - and, while I don't miss her, I do miss being married, a woman's touch, and the way people used to look at me. I'll make it, one way or another.

I can't talk about this anymore. Here's my divorce notes if you want to deal with it;

The Big Bang, Part 1

The Big Bang, Part 2

The Big Bang, Part 3

Thanks you two. I love you back.

Quaestor said...

Synova wrote...

Pagan Scandinavia was actually sort of democratic even before with the Althing and what-not. Society wasn't particularly stratified (compared to some) and leaders were elected.

Well, not generally. While it true that Iceland was a pagan democracy, most of Viking Age Scandinavia was governed by hereditary chieftainships -- the jarls, who in their turn owed at least nominal allegiance to a king. Though the relationship was not, strictly speaking, feudal (the foundation of Viking society was the free-holding farmer, the manorial estate being unknown among the Scandinavians) there were some similarities to Medieval Christian societies -- such as "he who has the gold makes the rules" and "no, you don't vote for kings."

I would agree with your assessment of Viking society as being less stratified than European feudalism, however. Scandinavian society generally had kings and jarls on top, thralls on bottom, and a large and diverse middling sort in between. Theoretically any free man could become a chieftain, he just needed the wherewithal to gather a group of followers and maintain their loyalty long enough to gain a reputation as a leader. Jarls didn't get gain their position and prestige though a vote -- they owed their ascendancy by giving gifts and providing sound leadership in war. In fact a common skaldic epigram for a king or jarl was "ring giver."

Iceland, btw, was founded by refugees and outlaws fleeing the heavy hand of Norwegian King Harald Finehair. Once far enough out to sea to escape Harald's influence the refugees founded a popular democracy which endured until the 14th century. However, I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that Scandinavian paganism had any special influence over Iceland's constitution.

vbspurs said...

And no, it's not my fault,

Christ on a baguette, Crack. I just skimmed your post, but it floored me. I understand a lot better now...


vbspurs said...

All the Nordic countries which are listed as the most successful on earth are Lutheran.

By descending order from there:


I note your usage of the word successful, Kirby, and I agree if that's the criteria, it's correct to have Protestants above Catholics just for the Scandinavian countries and the UK alone.

But the best "quality of life" countries in Europe are Catholic, led by #1 France. Note that Italy came in #10, and of the top 10, 8 have significant or majority Catholic faithful.

Unsurprisingly, three very high quality of life AND successful countries are an even meld between Catholics and Protestants.


Incidentally, I've lived in France, and Switzerland, and all in all, I think I'd rather live in Dubuque.

Methadras said...

Jeremy said...

Crack - you think the fat man's comment was a form of "satire?"

good luck with that one.

Oh look, it's sandy vagina once again to grace the hallowed commentariat halls of AH. So what is it today chubby? More bed wetting about what people say that you don't like? Why do you listen to or read what the angina patient has to say if all you are going to do is whine to us about it? You are like the little kid who always tattletales, except in your case, it's to the wrong set of adults.

Methadras said...

The Crack Emcee said...

I guess I'm pretty much lost and, I figure, I'll probably die early from all this.

Brother, you are never lost. Ever.

Anger is a bitter bitch. It's a rot gut that eats at you while you think it pushes you forward from it's sheer force of will. I'd tell you that you should take Obi Wan's advice and "let it go, luke" but that isn't my place. You need to know when that time is right, but more importantly, whether you know it or not or acknowledge it or not, love is in there somewhere. Someone loves you. If they don't we already do. I think despite the horrors that have befallen you, the anger that is the veneer on top of covering it up, that if you never believe in anything else at least believe in yourself. Somewhere in there is a good man. I think so or I wouldn't have said it.

Methadras said...

Synova said...

Lutheran/Scandinavians tend to be non-emotional, or at least not demonstrative.

Oh, and all this time I thought they were just constipated from their really bland diets.

Revenant said...

I'm always sort of amused when people claim this country -- or any other Enlightened democracy -- is based on the Ten Commandments.

Let's check the list, shall we? The first four commandments are directly contradicted by the US Constitution. The last two are, to put it mildly, NOT a part of our vibrantly capitalist history. That just leaves "no lying", "no adultery", "no theft", and "no murder", which are found in just about every culture and country on Earth.

Basically every one of the Ten Commandments is either un-American or universal to human society. Claiming the country is based on them is silly.

Synova said...

"Oh, and all this time I thought they were just constipated from their really bland diets."


I'm a product of my upbringing, liberally warped by my life.

The first time a boy said he loved me it made me angry, because I knew it was a lie. How could he? I told him he was wrong. A profession of love was nothing less than a proposition of marriage, after all.

It turns out that it was... which is another story.

I wish I could write cultures as strange. But as soon as you step outside far enough to see it, it starts to fade.

Even so, I doubt that it was the *food*.

Synova said...

Danny Glover, apparently, speaking of Haiti:

When we see what we did at the climate summit in Copenhagen, this is the response, this is what happens, you know what I’m sayin’?

How is this any different, at all, than what Robertson said?

(I considered the new Haiti thread, but felt this would be inappropriate, even second hand.)

Petras said...

So Robertson 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

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