Haiti - Are we a Light to Christ?

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it,” “They were under the heel of the French – you know Napolean III or whatever and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said ‘We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.’” True Story "And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' And They kicked the French out" the Haitians revolted and got themselves free "but ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other," desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. Its cut down the middle. On one side is Haiti and the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc, Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same Island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning for God.

Rev Pat Robertson

In the aftermath of the terrible earth quake in Haiti which claimed at least 100,000 lives and possibly up to 500,000, the famous Televangelist, the Rev Pat Robertson, said on 13 Jan 2010 that Haiti has been cursed and the earth quake is God’s judgment due to the pact they made with the Devil as part of the move for deliverance against the French. These comments had provoked dismay and shock, and few would see these remarks as a shining light for Christ, nor give glory to God.

The Rev Pat Robertson, is the “defacto” kingpin and leader of the Christian right. He is founder and the Chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Host of the 700 Club TV program, former board member and executive vice president of Focus on the Family. CBN is one of the world's largest television ministries and produces programming seen in 200 nations and heard in 70 languages.

The Rev Robertson main argument was based on the followers of the Voodoo religion, but the nation of Haiti has changed much in the last 200 years with Protestants and Catholics now the two major religions along with the Voodoo religion. Therefore, if it was indeed an act of God, how could God have caused the death of His own, the many innocent people who had nothing to do with Voodoo or the pledge made by a slave leader 200 years ago. God had nothing to do with it.

The statement by Rev Robertson effectively blaming the Haitians themselves for the incredible tragedy and suffering, is heartless and cruel whilst many lay trapped dying beneath the rubble, or are mourning for lost ones. Much of their lives belongings and property lay ruined and their livelihood destroyed. Most have lost everything including relatives. In the context of such incredible tragedy and suffering, the statements by Rev Robertson are cruel and unkind, with a heart that is totally lacking in neither compassion nor sympathy. It is the opposite of God’s grace, mercy and compassion shown by Jesus who cared especially for the least and the outcasts.

The Voodoo ceremony referred to by Robertson was held in Bois Caiman in Aug 1791 by a Vodoo Priest – Dutty Boukman where a pig was sacrificed to release the spiritual powers with the blood drank by the slaves as a blood covenant to free Sainte-Domingue. He helped sparked the Haitian Revolution and within a week, 1800 plantations were destroyed. The Rev Pat Robertson also got his facts wrong or made misleading comments:-

  • The revolution had been completed in 1804 when Napoleon Bonaparte ruled France, and not Napoleon III quoted by Robertson.
  • Haiti was not only under the French, the French had made it a hell hole with 500,000 slaves from Africa to work in the sugar plantations. The rate of deaths were so high that 50,000 replacements were brought in each year. It was a hell hole before, and after the French.
  • The Dominican Republic actually had the same origins as Haiti and a history of political turmoil, oppression, and poverty after coming out of Haiti in 1844 and from Spain in 1865. However, they moved towards democracy since 1978, to a Tourism industry instead of relying on sugar plantations
  • The covenant by the Voodoo priest with the Devil was only for 200 years, and so should have ended in 1991, 19 years ago.
  • When Rev Pat Roberson called for a great turning to God from pagan Voodoo worship, the fact is that between 80 and 85% of Haitians are Catholics. There are 251 Catholic parishes and about 1500 Catholic rural communities.

(John 9:1-4 NKJV) Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

We do have a tendency of finding the party to be blamed or a moral explanation based on a circumstance. In John 9, Jesus passed by a blind man. The first question that the Disciples asked was not for Jesus to heal the man, but who sinned? the man or the parents. Jesus wasn’t perturbed at all by the question but answered that the man was not responsible neither was his parents. Ie it really didn’t matter what caused the blindness nor was it the result of anyone’s fault or sin. We are not to be sin conscious, especially when condemning others but to focus on doing the work of God.

The Christian Community is so well known on focusing on possible sin. Concerning gays, they have made a whole theology of explaining homosexuality – the fault of the parents, sexual abuse, lifestyle choices, the result of fallen nature, when the simple answer is Gays are born as such. Their theology could not accept this fact, for they have considered homosexuality a sin, so how can God create gays with a sinful same sex orientation?. It must therefore be the fault of gays, their lifestyle choice since they can’t fault God.

We have become far too religiously dogmatic, and insisting on answers to everything when the questions asked is not Why, or How, or Whose Sin, but what is the Work of God that we have been sent to do for such a time as this. Jesus equated the Pharisees to being spiritually blind for they wanted to blame Jesus for healing on a Sabbath, but they didn’t see or give God the glory for the healing.

It is the work of God's love, grace, compassion and mercy that God has sent us to, and not to judge something which is not necessarily one’s fault or choice. When we see the high rates of HIV infections amongst Gays, we see Christian leaders writing to the forum to rail against gays calling for them to be criminalized and blaming them for causing family breakdown, when it was an opportunity to do God’s work - to bring healing and acceptance, to call for decriminalization and same sex marriage to help them to be committed in their relationships, to pay for the expensive HIV drugs.

Our religious mindset fails to give people their basic humanity and dignity, when we seek so quickly to put them into labels, when we are asked only to do what Christ would have done. That was why Jesus’ greatest angst was against the religious Pharisees, for they knew much about God and remembered the bible, yet knew not the heart of God nor the practical Christianity they were supposed to do.

I desire mercy not sacrifice says the Lord today to the Churches in Singapore. He sees our breaking of bread and drinking of wine in our sacrifice to God, but how we relate to the least in the community shows the depth of mercy and grace in our hearts or the lack of it. Do we desire what God desires, to show forth mercy and grace rather than being far too quick to give judgment. May the heart of God becomes your heart today, His desire, becomes your desire that the Light of Christ be known to the World through us. Can we say, as Jesus said, as long as I am in the World, I am the Light of the world, that people will see God and praise God through us, that people will see Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.

(John 9:4 NKJV) "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

(John 9:5 NKJV) "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

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