Not surprisingly, a spokesperson for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network quickly issued a statement yesterday after Robertson’s statement about Haiti being “cursed” for having “swore a pact to the Devil” made news, insisting that Robertson “never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath” and inisiting that it is “countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed”:
On today’s The 700 Club, during a segment about the devastation, suffering and humanitarian effort that is needed in Haiti, Dr. Robertson also spoke about Haiti’s history. His comments were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Boukman Dutty at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French. This history, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed.
Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath.
But it looks like some of Robertson’s nominal allies aren’t buying it:
Dr. Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas said, “It is absolute arrogance to try to interpret any of God’s actions as a judgment against this person or that person. & Our duty as Christians is to try to help these people pray for these people and to help them.”
Franklin Graham, the evangelist son of Billy Graham and president of the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, said he also disagrees with Robertson’s assessment.
“He must have misspoken,” Graham said. “But we need to get on the path of helping people right now. God loves the people of Haiti. He hasn’t turned his back on Haiti.”
Does Graham even know anything about Robertson? He says this sort of thing all the time – what makes him think that this time “he must have misspoken”? Also, if the name Robert Jeffress sounds familiar, it is because it is:
Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, said that Mormonism is a false religion and that Mr. Romney was not a Christian.
“Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise,” Dr. Jeffress said in a sermon Sept. 30. “Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult.”
It is probably safe to assume that when a man who made himself famous for viciously attacking a presidential candidate’s religion is blasting your “absolute arrogance,” you have probably gone too far.
But of course, not everyone is outraged by Robertson’s comments. In fact, Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission is praising him for taking a stand and speaking the truth:
The modern cynic chaffs at any suggestion that there may be a connection between historical realities and unseen spiritual influences, or as the Bible calls it God’s “blessing or cursing.” Although most people are very comfortable with the notion that God blesses people, we are not at all comforted with the terrifying prospect that Almighty God might also curse.
The overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God and /or moral causality. Eastern religions call it Karma, but Christians call it God’s Providence. I wonder if the reason that so many hate Pat is because he expressed what many Americans don’t want to face- the moral and spiritual dimension of our lives.
As long as everything is going well we live as if we are never going to die. Then crisis hits and death slaps us in the face. Rather than humbling ourselves and searching our hearts like the Pilgrims did, we lash out at God and anyone who dares insinuate Him into our lives.
What the Robertson bashers left out is that finally, and with great compassion and concern in his voice, Pat said, “They need to have, and we need to pray for them, a great turning to God and out of this tragedy I am optimistic that some good thing may come, but right now we are helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable.”
Agree or disagree with what Pat said, it was well within the bounds of historic Christian theology. Maybe that’s the real problem after all.
Man is offended by the fact that he is not God. They resent God’s Providence. A simple reading of the Bible shows how God uses natural disasters to further his purposes. Earthquakes, floods, famine, locusts, etc. they’re all there, but man hates it. Rather than humbly acknowledging that God’s ways are not our ways, man rails against and accuses God. The last thing they will do is cry out for his mercy in Jesus Christ.
You may remember Cass from his statement last year before President Obama’s inauguration when he told parents not to let their children watch because the Rev. Gene Robinson would be participating, making it the “most perverted [inauguration] in our nation’s history” and warning that God just might destroy the nation’s capital because of it.