Thursday, January 14, 2010

Plumbing the depths of bigotry, Pat Robertson talks about Haiti.

Just when you thought that televangelist Pat Robertson could not manage to be any more narrow minded and crass, he manages to show how small and slime-ridden his soul truly is. Preacher Pat decided to spout off on the subject of Haiti and God's divine judgment. It was not pretty; it was actually a stomach-churning demonstration of pettiness unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

If this is the euangelion, the "good news" that Pat is trying to spread, one wonders what the bad news is. Then again, Preacher Pat has that covered; you are headed for an eternity of torment from his deity if you don't accept every jot and tittle of his divine word, as revealed in the King James Bible.

If you squint hard enough you can justify Pat's view by a limited reading of the Old Testament. Many parts of the Old Testament contain a wrathful, vengeful, deity who is heavily into smiting. There is a laundry list of people that got on the wrong side of the ancient Jewish desert god a long time ago. Chief among these people were the Jews themselves. They were a stiff necked people constantly straying from God's holy word and generally causing the deity grief.

It is not like the Jewish God did not give prior warning. He sent plagues, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, floods to set his people right. At least that is the P.R. spin coming out of his various agents. The Old Testament is chock a block full of Prophets warning of seriously bad thing that were going to happen to the people of Israel if they did not shape up. But since the people were way into being evil and disobedient, God had no choice but to let the Babylonians come crashing in a put a hurting on the Jews.

If one is of a mind to do such things, a person can definitely find support for the idea that evil things happen to evil people in the Bible. There is a long authoritarian tradition supported by the "Good Book" that demands absolute obedience to God and to God' chosen leaders. The price of disobedience is punishment by a justified and wrathful God on the sinful human. Thus if something evil has happened to people, it is because they have done something to offend God.

Pat Robertson's line of thinking does have a long and distinguished history in all the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. It is a conservative Orthodoxy shared by grumpy Mullahs, crabby Rabbis, and ill-tempered Christian Prelates of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Mormon, and Protestant traditions. Regardless of the outer ceremonial trappings, all these religious leaders see humans as basically evil. As people are inherently evil, God or God's appointed agents must punish them to guide them on the right path. Every bad thing that happens to people is a result of their own evil, disobedient ways.

For Robertson then it was simply a matter of determining what the Haitians did to invoke the righteous anger of an all-knowing God. For Robertson this was like shooting fish in a barrel. The "crimes" of the Haitians were manifest. First they had the bad sense to be Roman Catholic, not good bible-believing Christians like himself. While Pat is not as up in one's face about his anti-Catholicism as Pastor John Hagee is, he too sees the Church of Rome as the Whore of Babylon. It is just that Pastor Pat does not mind renting the services of the "Whore" from time to time. (

Second strike for the Haitians is that they are not strictly Catholic. Many follow a syncretic faith that is equal parts Roman Catholicism and West African Polytheism. Pastor Pat does not cotton to such amalgamations. It is his (God's) way or the highway. His God is the ultimate good, which make everyone else's belief the ultimate evil—Satanism. Give Pastor Pat his due; he has been rather clear about which Religions he feels are actually being run by the Horned One. Hinduism ( and Islam ( have been specifically targeted as being the work of Lucifer. A little closer to home Robertson once said ""You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist." ( If Pat is going to question the righteousness of such main-line, White-Bread, denominations, is it any surprise he is condemning the faith of Afro-Caribbean's?

Of course the Bull Elephant in Preacher Pat's sanctuary has got to be the skin tone of the Haitians. If you haven't noticed Haitians tend to have an excess of melamine pigment in their skins; at least if one accepts that the Pastors' pasty hue as normative. Even the very light-skinned mulattos do not get Pastor Pat's stamp of approval. Remember this is the same Pat Robertson who was forced to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit back at the tail-end of 2001. ( The most damning (pun intentional) bit of the case was this little gem: "U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled that the employees had shown they were likely to prevail in the case and issued an injunction ordering the coalition not to retaliate against them." In other words the judge figured that Pat's organization was guilty, guilty, guilty of the charges.

For some Robertson's comments were first and foremost racist. One cannot deny the racist component of the remarks. Robertson was essentially saying that a people of color, the Haitians, were sine qua non evil Satanists from the very founding of their nation. That is some racially toxic material the Reverend is dumping by the barrel-loads on this subject. Still it is only one small bit of the superfund site of Toxic material that Pat has dumped on the public discussion.

The quote by Robertson was deeply a-historical. No such event happened, ever. The meme that Haiti was curse by God at its founding because of some evil performed by the Haitians is a (pardon the expression) black myth. It is a deep libel and slander. It is particularly vile because Haiti was the first colonial people to throw off the chains of slavery by their own efforts. To claim that this act was somehow the act of satanic forces or people in the throes of Demonic possession is despicable. By a back door it supports the institution of slavery. By a back door it rejects the notion that people of color can be active participants in their own destiny. It is a bit of Racism so deep and evil that it is radioactive.

The statement is also profoundly ignorant of how the Haitians found themselves in such a death trap situation. It totally ignored the historical, social, climatic, and economic forces that left the Haitians exposed to this disaster. It ignored the issues of crushing poverty, deforestation, overpopulation and governmental inadequately. It turned a blind eye to the rampant interference of both the EU and especially the U.S. in Haitian affairs. It refused to come to grips with the governmental dysfunction, nepotism, and Kleptocracy that has been Haiti's lot since the beginning of the 20th century. Haiti did not reach this hideous state of affairs by some supernatural agency; it came to this place via the assistance of the government of the United States. It came to this place via the efforts of one of the most corrupt, callous, abusive, and self-centered elites on the planets. In Haiti the lighter the completion of the individual, the blacker is the soul. The Francophone mulattos that occupy the upper tier of Haiti have next to no peers in the world for their depravity and greed; only the Burmese generals come close. The rot in Haiti starts right at the top. The rot has nothing to do with the activities of the Devil. It has an earthly source. But as Pat Robertson is the type of businessman who befits from such arrangements, it is in his interest to divert our attention elsewhere.