Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pat Robertson on Haitian Disaster

A friend of mine who had studied to be a Catholic priest stopped by yesterday and said something about the catastrophe in Haiti. He said, "You can't look at this and believe in a just god." There is no country in the Western Hemisphere poorer than Haiti, no country more in need of a blessing, if there is justice. Instead, they received devastation.
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.

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.

That island of Hispaniola is one island. It is cut down the middle; on the one side is Haiti on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etcetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to god and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now we are helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable.

The history of Haiti is unique. It was originally settled by Christopher Columbus' crew when the Santa Maria ran aground there. The local Indians ran them out though, so they moved to the other side of the island, which is now the Dominican Republic. Haiti became a haven for pirates, well situated as a kind of gateway between the American continents and the wide open sea leading to Europe, and eventually some of the pirates settled there and farmed.

In 1697 France and Spain split up the island, with France getting the Haitian side, and through the 1700s Haiti was a brutal slave colony. The slaves revolted in the late eighteenth century, and Napolean lost more than 50,000 soldiers trying to subdue them. The rebellion resulted in the deaths of 100,000 slaves and more than half of the 40,000 colonists living on the island, and resulted in the establishment of Haiti as an independent country in 1804. At that point they kicked out or killed the rest of the white colonists.

The "pact with the devil" that Pat Robertson is talking about is the decision by the African slaves to rebel against their white owners. Haiti has been punished for that insolence ever since, and is now -- before the earthquake -- one of the poorest countries on the planet, with most of the population living on about two dollars a day.

Did God send this earthquake to punish the Haitians for forming a pact with the devil? Pat Robertson thinks so. Q: How far gone do you have to be to think this way?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to god and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now we are helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable."

Regardless of what Robertson feels is the cause of Haiti's troubles, here's what he sees as the solution.

Hard to see how that would offend anyone.

btw, if, as you say, after winning their independence, Haitians kiiled the remaining whites, sounds like they were indeed serving the devil. Don't see how anyone currently living in Haiti is responsible for that, though.

January 14, 2010 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"WASHINGTON (Jan. 14) -- The first federal trial over same-sex marriage, which got under way this week in San Francisco, is just the latest skirmish in an epic battle over gay rights that will surely land in the U.S. Supreme Court.

But if past is prologue, it is unlikely to end there.

"It's always been two steps forward, one step back," said University of Texas political scientist Sean Theriault, who follows gay issues.

Legislators in usually true-blue New York and New Jersey killed bills to legalize same-sex marriage. Voters in Maine repealed their legislators' handiwork, bringing to 31 the number of states where gay marriage has been banned at the ballot box.

The year didn't start that way. Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council said conservatives were "knocked back on our heels" by early court and legislative adoption of gay marriage in Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and the District of Columbia. By year-end, though, legislative wins in the Northeast buoyed the spirits of those defending "traditional" marriage.

"It's been a great year," said Brian Brown, the soft-spoken executive director of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which has emerged as the leading group lobbying against gay nuptials. "The myth that same-sex marriage is inevitable was exploded" in 2009.

"There was simply no grass-roots upwelling of support for same-sex marriage," Brown said. "While supporters of gay marriage may have the elites, we have the people.""

January 14, 2010 3:59 PM  
Anonymous excitable boy said...

Peter Sprigg?

Didn't he win some award for meritorious service to Montgomery County?

I seem to remember something about that.

January 14, 2010 5:34 PM  
Anonymous roland the headless thompson gunner said...

I'm not sure.

I remember Dana Beyer was reprimanded for acts discreditable to the county government recently.

Maybe Sprigg got his commendation for his service to the county governement a while ago.

January 14, 2010 5:38 PM  
Anonymous london wolf said...

that's an interesting contrast

January 14, 2010 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

Pat Robertson is a disgrace to Christianity. However, what is even more of a disgrace is that people actually believe his twisted, pathetic "views". Can we say, brainwashed?

PS- Sprigg most certainly did not get an award for spreading hateful and anti-gay lies. Coo-coo, coo-coo.

January 14, 2010 6:09 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

To make this clear: Peter Sprigg was nominated for an MCPS award. The school district considered the nominations and declined to give one to him.


January 14, 2010 6:36 PM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

Pat Robertson's statement about the "cause" of Haiti's problems -- an actual pact with Satan -- is a terrifying window into his mind.

I wonder if Gov. McDonnell will be asked to comment on the twisted views of his political mentor. President Obama rejected far less weird views of his pastor. It will be interesting to see what Gov. McDonnell does.

January 14, 2010 6:46 PM  
Anonymous what the haiti? said...

sometimes, just being nominated is an achievement in itself

Peter is a major figure in the local community AND a national leader

he's a big contributor to the responsibility in government effort and it's a welcome relief to see that the despicable day of anti-family forces is nearing nightfall

"terrifying window into his mind"

what do you find so terrifying, David?

if Jim has cited history correctly, it appears that Haitians went on a murderous rampage of vengeance, after achieving their independence, against people based on their race

that sounds like the work of the devil to me

this may have sent in motion a cycle of poverty that still affects Haitians today

while that doesn't seem like it would trigger an earthquake, it doesn't seem far-fetched to think it might affect the quality of the building structures and result in more death and suffering

I don't know much about Robertson but from what I've learned on her at TTF, I don't see any big problem

sounds like Robertson's involved with the relief effort just like most other Christian groups

I heard a rep from World Vision interviewed on NPR yesterday about the situation

since Robertson's may be one of the biggest groups in Virginia providing overseas relief perhaps if McDonnell is asked, he'll bring up the possibility of giving a humanitarian award to Robertson from the state of Virginia

instead of attacking people based on their religious beliefs, you could spend your energies finding some way to make a positive impact like Robertson does

January 14, 2010 8:29 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

No, Anon, it is not an achievement to have PFOX to submit your name for an award.


January 14, 2010 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, has anyone seen Avatar ?

Does it occur to you that the sky people bear a remarkable resemblance to the obama administration... no transparency and could care less what the people think.

but the people are coming.....just talk to anyone on the street... they are ALL disgusted.

January 14, 2010 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, they are coming:

"More than 100,000 people are expected to gather in Washington, D.C., for the 37th annual March for Life rally on Jan. 22.

One primary message: no abortion funding in health care.

The pro-life march will follow Constitution Avenue, up Capitol Hill to the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress.

Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life, said this is a critical time in our nation's history, with Congress on the brink of passing a health care reform bill that would fund the destruction of human life.

"We are asking pro-life groups to unite around one clear simple message, 'No abortion in health care,'" she said. "We're asking all pro-lifers to make the sacrifice and come to Washington, D.C., next Friday, for the annual pro-life march."

She expects the media to pay special attention.

"Because abortion has been a key issue," she said." It's the single issue that's holding up the passage of health care reform in the Democratic-controlled Congress.""

January 14, 2010 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Send lawyers guns and money, dad.... said...

The dehumanizing, grinding slavery of colonial Haiti, followed by centuries of neglect and exploitation by European countries and the US, explain it's current horrendous state. Haiti is our neighbor, yet we let them wallow in the some of the world's worst poverty, to suit our own regional political and military policies.

Who made the pact with the devil, huh?


January 15, 2010 5:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The dehumanizing, grinding slavery of colonial Haiti, followed by centuries of neglect and exploitation by European countries and the US, explain it's current horrendous state."

How was it different from other colonies?

"Haiti is our neighbor, yet we let them wallow in the some of the world's worst poverty, to suit our own regional political and military policies."

By we, our you speaking about the government?

Sounds like substantial relief has been poured into Haiti by Christian relief groups in our country.

If you want to pitch, feel free. Stop expecting the government to serve as your vicarious agent.

January 15, 2010 8:08 AM  
Anonymous poor poor pitiful me said...

a lot of you liberals probably wonder, "wha' happened?"

Charles Krauthammer has you covered this morning:

One year out: President Obama's fall

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, January 15, 2010

What went wrong? A year ago, he was king of the world. Now President Obama's approval rating, according to CBS, has dropped to 46 percent -- and his disapproval rating is the highest ever recorded by Gallup at the beginning of an (elected) president's second year.

A year ago, he was leader of a liberal ascendancy that would last 40 years (James Carville). A year ago, conservatism was dead (Sam Tanenhaus). Now the race to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in bluest of blue Massachusetts is surprisingly close, with a virtually unknown state senator bursting on the scene by turning the election into a mini-referendum on Obama and his agenda, most particularly health-care reform.

A year ago, Obama was the most charismatic politician on Earth. Today the thrill is gone, the doubts growing -- even among erstwhile believers.

Liberals try to attribute Obama's political decline to matters of style. He's too cool, detached, uninvolved. He's not tough, angry or aggressive enough with opponents. He's contracted out too much of his agenda to Congress.

These stylistic and tactical complaints may be true, but they miss the major point: The reason for today's vast discontent, presaged by spontaneous national Tea Party opposition, is not that Obama is too cool or compliant but that he's too left.

It's not about style; it's about substance. About which Obama has been admirably candid. This out-of-nowhere, least-known of presidents dropped the veil most dramatically in the single most important political event of 2009, his Feb. 24 first address to Congress. With remarkable political honesty and courage, Obama unveiled the most radical (in American terms) ideological agenda since the New Deal: the fundamental restructuring of three pillars of American society -- health care, education and energy.

Then began the descent -- when, more amazingly still, Obama devoted himself to turning these statist visions into legislative reality."

January 15, 2010 8:15 AM  
Anonymous these young girls won't let me be said...

"First energy, with cap-and-trade, an unprecedented federal intrusion into American industry and commerce. It got through the House, with its Democratic majority and Supreme Soviet-style rules. But it will never get out of the Senate.

Then, the keystone: a health-care revolution in which the federal government will regulate in crushing detail one-sixth of the U.S. economy. By essentially abolishing medical underwriting (actuarially based risk assessment) and replacing it with government fiat, Obamacare turns the health insurance companies into utilities, their every significant move dictated by government regulators. The public option was a sideshow. As many on the right have long been arguing, and as the more astute on the left (such as The New Yorker's James Surowiecki) understand, Obamacare is government health care by proxy, single-payer through a facade of nominally "private" insurers.

At first, health-care reform was sustained politically by Obama's own popularity. But then gravity took hold, and Obamacare's profound unpopularity dragged him down with it. After 29 speeches and a fortune in squandered political capital, it still will not sell.

The health-care drive is the most important reason Obama has sunk to 46 percent. But this reflects something larger. In the end, what matters is not the persona but the agenda. In a country where politics is fought between the 40-yard lines, Obama has insisted on pushing hard for the 30. And the American people -- disorganized and unled but nonetheless agitated and mobilized -- have put up a stout defense somewhere just left of midfield.

Ideas matter. Legislative proposals matter. Slick campaigns and dazzling speeches can work for a while, but the magic always wears off.

It's inherently risky for any charismatic politician to legislate. To act is to choose and to choose is to disappoint the expectations of many who had poured their hopes into the empty vessel -- of which candidate Obama was the greatest representative in recent American political history.

Obama did not just act, however. He acted ideologically. To his credit, Obama didn't just come to Washington to be someone. Like Reagan, he came to Washington to do something -- to introduce a powerful social democratic stream into America's deeply and historically individualist polity.

Perhaps Obama thought he'd been sent to the White House to do just that. If so, he vastly over-read his mandate. His own electoral success -- twinned with handy victories and large majorities in both houses of Congress -- was a referendum on his predecessor's governance and the post-Lehman financial collapse. It was not an endorsement of European-style social democracy.

Hence the resistance. Hence the fall. The system may not always work, but it does take its revenge."

January 15, 2010 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

It's the single issue that's holding up the passage of health care reform

< eye roll >

That must be why everybody's reporting today:

"After hours of negotiations at the White House, labor unions agreed Thursday afternoon to support healthcare reform legislation with a tax on expensive insurance plans, a provision they had opposed loudly for months. The deal is a big win for the administration"

What's holding up healthcare reform is health industry funded astroturf protesters who follow leaders like Dick Armey and Tim Phillips

How was it different from other colonies?

Well for one thing, some morons think the revolt by Haitian slaves to end slavery imposed by Haitian colonists was about "vengeance" and a "pact with the devil" rather than "liberation." I don't know of many people who think the US Civil War was about "vengeance."

January 15, 2010 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim said the Haitians went on a murderous rampage after achieving independence, killing whites indiscriminately

that didn't happen in the U.S. and the South is thriving

murdering the entire industrial leadership will tend to destroy your economy

the Civil War in the U.S. is so dissimilar to the Haitian situation anyway that your point is a non sequitor farce

btw, the pro-life House members say they won't swallow the same moral compromise that Ben Nelson did so we'll see

also, already, there is disagreement between labor leaders and the White House about what was agreed on

the labor leaders claim that the White House agreed to let union members participate in the health exchanges designed for small businesses

January 15, 2010 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I've been depending on Jim's account, not knowing much about Haitian history, but I just looked it up to make sure

looks like Jim had it bascially correct

to elaborate a little further:

the French and Spanish split up Hispaniola

the French part was Haiti

when the British tried to take the colony from France, the French freed the slaves and formed an alliance with them

when Napoleon overturned the French revolution, he decided he wanted to reimpose slavery and sent his brother-in-law with troops to take over

the Haitian former slaves successfully resisted but the resistance troops set up their own dictator, Dessalines, who they proclaimed Emperor for life

he exiled or killed the remaining whites and ruled as a despot

he was eventually assassinated and another dictator, Jean Pierre Boyer, conquered the Dominican side of the island

Dominican historians have portrayed the period of the Haitian occupation (1822–42) as cruel and barbarous

sounds like a bunch of dictators as demonic as Hitler, Stalin or Mao ruined the Haitian economy and set in motion an enduring cycle of poverty

denying that the devil works in the world only helps him out

January 15, 2010 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho, hum..."Anonymous" Troll...your usual fluff and nonsense. So TIRESOME and BORING

January 15, 2010 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

facts probably do bore you

that's why you did so bad in school

January 15, 2010 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grammar correction: "That's why you did so badly in school."

Definition correction: Opinions, such as "sounds like [XYZ]" or "denying that [a fictional being] works in the world," are not facts.

Grade: F

January 15, 2010 4:21 PM  
Anonymous mick said...

nice attempt at deflection, but the truth is, if you're bored, you're boring

""denying that [a fictional being] works in the world," are not facts"

if you don't think there's evidence of evil at work in the world, you're not just boring, you're ignorant

you ever read the history of the twentieth century?

here's some of what the devil was up to:

"I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the Czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

I rode a tank
Held a General's rank
When the Blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

I shouted out
"Who killed the Kennedys?"
When after all
It was you and me

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name,
What's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game"

January 15, 2010 5:12 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Pat Robertson does not know God's mind and will - and if he were truly wise and inspired would have simply remained silent rather than opening his mouth.

What happened in Haiti is terrible and in a time like this what is needed is assistance and prayers for the living and the dead. The Archdiocese of Denver will be having a 2nd collection this weekend, 100% of which will be sent directly to disaster relief in Haiti.

January 16, 2010 1:07 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"...Turn off the news feed for a time and stop to think what Haiti helped create. In winning freedom from the French, blacks who shook off slavery on that ground helped inspire freedom fights across the hemisphere.

Many had tried. In the 1700s, when on thousands of plantations the ranks of the enslaved outnumbered owners by huge margins, wave after wave of rebellion swept the Caribbean. In Antigua, Barbados, the Bahamas, Curacao, Cuba, Guadalupe, Jamaica and St. Kitts -- places where today glossy brochures lure tourists for the sun and beaches -- plots hatched in crowded quarters and among field hands during sugar harvests erupted in violent upheavals. All were crushed. Once crushed, plotters were hung, "broken on the wheel," tortured to death, beheaded, burned to death in public, left to starve and succumb to sunstroke in the stocks in public places.

In Haiti, the same punishments existed. The same monstrous inhumanities were put in place in an effort to control humanity. Still the Haitians tried. When they succeeded at last, the whip came down hard elsewhere.

In Charleston, S.C., many years after Toussaint's victory, a black man named Denmark Vesey, who had purchased his freedom with money won from a lottery, tried to end slavery there. The plot was exposed. The leaders were killed. Slaves who alerted their white masters were granted freedom, and allowed to keep a few slaves for themselves. New laws were put in place. Fearful of this powerful talk coming from afar, city fathers ordered free black sailors arriving in the port to stay locked inside the city jail until their ship set sail again. If a captain would not pay the proper fee for that unusual hospitality, a black man who stepped ashore as a freeman one day could be sold into slavery on the next. Bum luck.

In Caribbean islands like Antigua, where slaves were sometimes left to die of thirst in times of drought, slave revolts had come and gone without success. News from Haiti, when it came, was balm to broken souls. It gave them hope. The spirit raced through slave communities. It sometimes worked on the deep, moral consciences of others, too.

In time, freedom came with all its chaos. The journey back to wholeness has proved long and hard. It continues, when we let it.

So as we mourn this cataclysmic shifting of tectonic plates, let's also celebrate something as important. Let's celebrate the courage Haitians showed against the staggering odds of willful, sustained, and profound human injustice. And let's remember that their spirit, so-long-tested, can meet this seismic challenge with the same determination they used against that other, more fleshy and persistent one two centuries ago.

Because in the end, who -- in this country especially -- wants to say a fight for freedom is a "pact with the Devil?" And who, upon sober consideration, would consider a nation such as Haiti "plagued?" Not even Pat Robertson, I would surely think. Instead, it is a nation blessed with rare determination. And they do need that blessing now.

C.S. Manegold, a former reporter with The New York Times, Newsweek, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, is the author of "Ten Hills Farm: The Forgotten History of Slavery in the North." In 1994, she reported from Haiti during the U.S. military intervention."

Thank you, C.S. Manegold

January 16, 2010 7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to god and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now we are helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable."

This was part of Robertson's statement. Robertson is doing the same kind of work as your church, Orin.

If he says that turning to God will ease that suffering, that's nothing offensive. You could say the same about any other country.

From the history, it sure sounds like some of their past leaders have done some evil things that contribute to this day to the extraordinary suffering there, as opposed to many of their neighboring island countries.

January 16, 2010 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Because in the end, who -- in this country especially -- wants to say a fight for freedom is a "pact with the Devil?""

No one said it was. But achieving it through an alliance with evil men might be.

The truth is that the French had granted the slaves freedom years before Haitian independence.

Haitians resisted when Napoleon took over France and wanted to reimpose slavery but these were free men fighting a war of independence from France, not slaves.

The slaughter conducted by the tyrant who took over upon winning independence was evil. His troops had made him "emperor for life" and these were the troops that fought against the French.

That the people of Haiti supported this evil group in order to achieve independence might feasibly be called a deal wit the devil.


Can anyone get a comment from the quoted revisionist historian?

January 16, 2010 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a little about the relief organization founded by Pat Robertson

they specialize in disaster relief and are involved in the Haiti effort:

"Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) humanitarian organization based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Since 1978, Operation Blessing International has provided hunger relief, disaster relief, medical aid and community development to more than 192.8 million people in 96 countries and all 50 states, providing goods and services valued at more than $1.2 billion. Operation Blessing is governed by a national board of directors that includes founder M. G. "Pat" Robertson."

a little about the "pact with the devil" Robertson referred to:

"In August 1791, Dutty Boukman presided in the role of houngan (priest) together with an African-born priestess and conducted a ceremony at the Bois Caïman and prophesied that the slaves Jean François, Biassou, and Jeannot would be leaders of a slave revolt that would free the slaves of Saint-Domingue. A pig, which symbolized the wild, free, and untamable spiritual power of the forest and the ancestors, was sacrificed, an oath was taken, and Boukman and the priestess exhorted the listeners to take vengeance against their oppressors and "cast aside the image of the God of the whites."

According to the Encyclopedia of African Religion, "Blood from the animal, and some say from humans as well, was given in a drink to the attendees to seal their fates in loyalty to the cause of liberation of Sainte-Domingue."

A week later, 1800 plantations had been destroyed and 1000 slaveholders killed.

This pagan ceremony has long been referenced by various Christian sources as the "pact with the devil" that began the Haitian revolution. According to Gothenburg University researcher Markel Thylefors, "The event of the Bwa Kayiman ceremony forms an important part of Haitian national identity as it relates to the very genesis of Haiti.""

so, we have a nation that, at its genesis "cast aside" God and has since suffered more than any comparable nation in the region

those who seek to alleviate this suffering and deliver this nation don't deserve scorn

January 17, 2010 5:57 AM  

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