According to a press release:
(Pat Robertson) called for prayer for (Haiti). 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.
And yet no one’s going to remember that or even consider it because of a statement made by CBN founder, 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. You know, Napoleon III, or 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… ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.”
When the Haitian Ambassador to the United States Raymond Joseph appeared on MSNBC later that night, before anything else, he addressed the statement made by Roberston, saying that Haiti wasn’t the only beneficiaries from those historic events. “The U.S. was able to gain the Louisianna Territory for $15 million,” Joseph said. “That’s three cents an acre. That’s 13 states west of the Mississippi that the Haitian slaves’ revolt in Haiti provided America.”
And BoingBoing offers this summary of Haitian history:
Haiti was forced to pay France for its freedom. When they couldn’t afford the ransom, France (and other countries, including the United States) helpfully offered high-interest loans. By 1900, 80% of Haiti’s annual budget went to paying off its “reparation” debt. They didn’t make the last payment until 1947. Just 10 years later, dictator François Duvalier took over the country and promptly bankrupted it, taking out more high-interest loans to pay for his corrupt lifestyle. The Duvalier family, with the blind-eye financial assistance of Western countries, killed 10s of thousands of Haitians, until the Haitian people overthrew them in 1986. Today, Haiti is still paying off the debt of an oppressive dictator no one would help them get rid of for 30 years.
The rest of the world refuses to forgive this debt.
So, in a way, maybe Robertson is right. Haiti is caught in a deal with the devil, and the devil is us.
(Read a more in depth history from The Times Online)
But because of the statement made by Robertson — no matter what good CBN is doing in Haiti — it’s all awash because this is what people are taking home from the statement:
Like many others, I have a lot trouble with Robertson suggesting that somehow thousands of people are all cursed because of a rumored pact a group of people may have made 200+ years ago. If we start to think in this direction it leaves me with a lot more questions…
Does this curse only occur on the island of Haiti? Does it extend to those refugees who have made their home in America now? Is the curse transferable to those who visit the island? What about the orphans who are adopted and brought into American homes? What about followers of The Way who were born and live on the island — are they still subjected to this curse?
There’s just so much more you have to consider when you start suggesting things like this.
Either way, I hope we can learn to get over our certainty (whatever side of the discussion we fall on) and get back to what we really know — God is love — and he asks us to love him and then share that love with everyone around us.
I think if we can get to that point as believers — focusing on loving God and loving others — we won’t have to worry as much about what we are/aren’t communicating.
Jon Stewart responds to both Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh.
See the full clip from CBN on The Huffington Post.