Robertson's clumsy reference is to Dutty Boukman, a Haitian voodoo priest who prophesied on August 22, 1791 that a group of slaves would lead a revolt and free the French slaves on Saint-Domingue. Along with an African priestess, Boukman galvanized his prophecy by performing several voodoo rituals including the sacrifice of a pig. A few days later, the Haitian Revolution began. Boukman was subsequently caught and beheaded by the French, who displayed his severed head in an attempt to convince the slaves that Boukman did not possess supernatural powers. But Boukman's legacy among the Haitian people remains strong even to this day, and so does the persistent belief that Boukman's voodoo curse still haunts the island.....How a Westerner understands this I think largely depends on how he understands God and spiritual forces. There are still many Christians today from fundamentalist or apostolic backgrounds who strongly believe in "spirit warfare"; that is, they believe that heavenly forces (angels) and satanic forces (demons) are perpetually engaged in the kind of warfare described in Revelation 12. .......Seventy nine year old Pat Robertson is an old-school Southern Baptist. He undoubtedly believes that the voodoo practiced by the island's inhabitants, particularly the sacrifice that Dutty Boukman made to the forces of evil over 200 years ago, are shameful to God, and have caused God to choose to withhold His divine protection from the people of Haiti, even though He loves them just as he loves all of us. That's pretty Old Testament-sounding stuff, reminiscent of how the Prophets explained the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah and the exile of the Jewish people into the land of Babylon. To our modern ears, it sounds cruel and illogical.But at the same time Robertson urges charity toward the Haitian people. He doesn't hate them, and hopes that their destruction will bring about their repentance -- the same effect that the Babylonian exile had on the children of Israel. Robertson's Operation Blessing is already preparing to devote the majority of its resources to provide immediate aid to the people of Haiti.For the record I don't follow John MacArthur and Pat Robertson's reasoning about why bad things happen to good people. (You can read my somewhat lengthy explanation, posted at my personal blog a couple of years ago, if you wish.) But it bothers me when other people put words in their mouths and accuse them of hoping for the destruction of people they supposedly don't like. And as Mary Katherine Ham noted yesterday (with tongue placed firmly in cheek), "employing [the] Reid standard, should we not look at Robertson's record of helping disaster victims & absolve him of 'inartful' comments?"
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Pat Robertson Speaks -- alas
This take, by Michael Laprarie at Wizbang, is well worth reading, both for the history lesson and the multiculturism.