Southern Religion

Haiti’s ambassador debunks Robertson smear

Haiti’s Ambassador to the U.S. Raymond Joseph seized the initiative in a Rachel Maddow interview last night to rebuke Pat Robertson for his “pact with the devil” smear:

Robertson’s use of neo-Pentecostal vulnerability to the bizarre claims is well-explored by Richard Bartholomew.

Haitian pastor Jean R. Gelin, whom we mentioned earlier, sees the myth as historically false and has a well-considered view of the myth’s origin. For example:

It’s hard to know where the idea of a divine curse on Haiti following the purported satanic pact actually originated, whether from foreign missionaries or from local church leaders.

In his book Ripe Now – A Haitian congregation responds to the Great Commission, Haitian pastor Frantz Lacombe identified a ‘dependence mentality’ in the leadership of the Haitian church, which resulted from the way the Christian faith was brought to the country, historically and through various denominations. Apparently, this unfortunate manner of thinking, which tends to emulate the worldview and culture of North American and European Christian missionaries, has permeated the general philosophy of the Haitian church on many levels, including church planting, church management, music and even missionary activities.

In that context, I would not be surprised if the satanic pact idea (followed by the divine curse message) was put together first by foreign missionaries and later on picked up by local leaders. On the other hand, it is equally possible that some Haitian church leaders developed the idea on their own using a theological framework borrowed from those same missionaries who subsequently propagated the message around the world. Either way, because of this message, Haiti has been portrayed as the country born out of Satan’s benevolence and goodwill toward mankind. Shouldn’t such a fantastic idea be tested for its historic validity and theological soundness? I invite you to take with me a closer and possibly different look at the available records.

Rather than attempt to blame the victims of a natural catastrophe for the nightmare which has befallen them.

January 14, 2010 - Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. […] tangle with televangelical self-promotionist Pat Robertson’s assertion of a Haitian pact with the devil was a humorless exercise until we stumbled across Martin E. Marty’s Jan. 18 […]

    Pingback by Pat Robertson’s budding secular humanism « BaptistPlanet | January 20, 2010

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