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Haiti needs more than judgment

An overwhelming majority of Americans would agree that slavery was one of the darkest times in our nation’s history. President Abraham Lincoln’s election 15 decades ago this year helped pave the way for the abolishment of slavery in the United States in 1862, when an estimated four million slaves were freed.
About 70 years earlier, in the western side of the island of Hispaniola, a vodoun (or voodoo) priest named Dutty Boukman predicted that three slaves would lead a revolt that would free other slaves of Saint Domingue, which would later become Haiti.
A pig was sacrificed, its blood was drank, an oath was taken and Boukman urged the three slaves to lead their fellow slaves to fight bravely against their oppressors. With that, Haiti became the first island in the Western hemisphere to overthrow slavery and white oppression.
What amounted to a rah-rah speech by Boukman is what televangelist Pat Robertson referred to last week as Haiti’s ‘pact with the devil’ and why he believes Haiti is cursed, leading to a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Jan. 12. This natural disaster, estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of people, also comes after Haiti was hit by four hurricanes in 2008.
While Robertson may be a man of the Lord, his statements are nothing more than hate speech against a religion and people he obviously knows little or nothing about.
Voodoo is not devil-worshiping. Where Christians believe they can have a personal relationship with God, believers in voodoo serve the loa or lesser deities to gain guidance for their lives.
Robertson also pointed out that the Dominican Republic, which shares the island with Haiti, is full of nice resorts and is prosperous and healthy. Those are true statements, but part of Haiti’s problem has been a series of poor decisions in its history. In 1923, more than 60 percent of Haiti was covered by forests. In 2006, that number had fallen to less than 2 percent. One of the country’s leaders, ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier, won elections in 1957 but decided to end democracy in 1964 when he decided to make himself president for life. He confiscated land held by the poor, stole aid money meant for peasants and forced educated professionals into exile. Duvalier basically allowed knuckleheads to take over.
As for the hurricanes, if low-pressure weather systems are God’s wrath, then perhaps we should call Florida unholy ground, since it’s peppered with hurricanes, sometimes multiple hurricanes, almost every year. Haiti ‘ and the Dominican Republic ‘ sits directly in the crosshairs of the natural flow of hurricanes, which get their beginnings off the west coast of Africa.
God must also have a thing for California, which hardly has a day go by without an earthquake.
Could God do those things? Sure, He could. But if these things are happening anyway, who is to decide what is natural and what is from the hand of God?
What Haitians need right now is water, medial supplies and, most of all, prayers. They don’t need judgment by Robertson, who should leave judging to the Lord.