The media and blogosphere have been awash lately with comments about Pat Robertson’s comments on the “700 Club” television program regarding the nation of Haiti, which is continuing to recover from the January 12th earthquake, which has killed thousands and left multiple thousands homeless. He mentioned that the nation is “cursed” and that in 1791 leaders of a rebellion against French rule “swore a pact with the devil”.
Pat’s history is fairly on target – the slaves who led the rebellion in Haiti in 1791 were led by a man who believed in voodoo, and a ceremony was held that swore allegiance to some being or force other than Almighty God, so you could say that over the years, Haitian so-called “religious” leaders have been practicing a form of religion that is clearly anti-Biblical, and of the enemy.
Haiti is permeated in witch doctors and voodoo, and while there is a religious element in the form of the Catholic Church, nevertheless the practice of voodoo is the predominant spiritual practice it the land.
There are a number of principles that we can take away from a careful analysis of Robertson’s comments.
I believe there is historical evidence and geographical evidence that Haiti could be considered a “cursed” land. Just look at the difference between Haiti and the relatively prosperous Dominican Republic on the same island. Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and while some would attribute that to poor leadership, that leadership has accepted and even actively pursued the voodoo practices that have enslaved so many people on that half of the island.
Because of the abject poverty that is so prevalent in Haiti, the nation was ill-equipped to deal with the severity of the earthquake.
What about God’s judgment? Well, if God was using catastrophe to judge sin, then America and each of us individually are getting off light. There is plenty of sin to go around, and it is going unjudged, at least from a catastrophic sense. However, we do live in a fallen world, and natural disasters are going to occur with some regularity. And, I believe we are living in a time when these types of calamities are going to increase – in Matthew 24, Jesus paints a picture of a fallen world racing toward judgment and His return that is being beset with all sorts of natural signs. So, while there is an element of judgment, I cannot say (nor can anyone else) that this earthquake was God’s selective punishment on the practitioners of voodoo – in fact, there has been a massive prayer effort for the nation of Haiti to break the curse on the country.
Did God allow this? Of course.
Can God use this? Imagine the possibilities. The land is now infiltrated with more Christians than ever before, who are sharing the love of Jesus, the hope of the gospel, and the truth of God’s word. This is a unique missionary opportunity, and perhaps it took this adversity to bring salvation for a huge amount of people. And Pat is definitely a player – CBN’s Operation Blessing will be used greatly of God to touch literally thousands of lives in the name of Jesus.
Was Pat Robertson right? While the tragedy did not necessarily come because of the sin or the curse on the land or the practices of the people, it does remain that Haiti has for years been a cursed nation. It now stands at the precipice of being a blessed nation, full of new believers in Jesus Christ. I believe that adversity brings opportunity, and our role is not to necessarily question why something occurred, but how God could use these circumstances for His glory. Pat’s timing was not good, but I don’t interpret his comments as saying the people brought this tragedy upon themselves, and I believe what he said was motivated by compassion for the people there.
And, one further thing - how do people get off on criticizing Pat for a statement they do not understand, calling him “stupid”, for instance, when misstatements are commonplace in public life? We are all flawed individuals – and I’m thankful we don’t get what we deserve – in the form of God’s judgment for sin. So, before we judge Pat Robertson, or the people of Haiti, may we take to heart the words of the apostle Paul, who encourages us to examine ourselves…and as we look within, perhaps we can dig deep and be involved in helping the people of Haiti.