Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
January 25, 2010
Pat Robertson slags Haitian people with profane judgments
Pat Robertson, the American evangelical preacher who wanted to become president, has done as much as anyone to discredit Christianity in the eyes of unbelievers. Always ready with a quick judgment on why the latest tragedy has occurred, Robertson has made a side career out of re-victimizing the victims.
Robertson struck again when tens of thousands of people in Haiti were crushed following the massive Jan. 12 earthquake. While the rest of the world rushed to bring aid to Haiti, the preacher proclaimed that the country was being punished because it had made "a pact with the devil" 200 years ago.
Most Christians see it as their God-given responsibility to perform the corporal works of mercy, including feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and burying the dead. Robertson's approach seems rather to be to kick them when they're down.
In 2006, he made headlines when he suggested Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was punished with a debilitating stroke because he was trying to make peace with the Palestinians and give them land.
It's a good thing that Robertson was not alive at the time of Jesus. He, no doubt, would have had a quick answer to the question of why Jesus was crucified. And that answer would not have been that Jesus' death opened the way to our salvation. There is nothing redemptive about suffering in Robertson's world. Suffering is always, always punishment for some evil that one has performed.
Try instead the vision of Pope John Paul II. "It is not true that all suffering is a consequence of a fault and has the nature of a punishment," the late pope wrote in his 1984 reflection on the meaning of suffering.
Or the reflections of Franciscan spiritual writer Richard Rohr. "There's a certain way the Gospel is heard when one's stomach is empty. And a very different way it is heard when a people is satisfied."
People who have not suffered are slow learners, Rohr writes. People who have suffered - "people on the bottom" - have a head start toward truth. Moreover, people who have been abused remember the abuse a lot longer and a lot more deeply than those who do the abusing.
When Jesus met a person possessed by a demon, he didn't blame the person for making a pact with the devil. He cast out the demon and set the person free. So if Haiti has a problem with demons - ask Robertson, he would know - then the so-called Christian nations should get there immediately to cast out those demons.
Would Robertson help in the exorcism? Probably not. By then, disaster will likely have befallen some other nation or group and he will be occupied letting us know why God wants to punish them.
The job of God's prophet to an ignorant, unbelieving world is a busy one. There's no time left to soil one's hands binding up the wounded.
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