|Haiti - Are we a Light to Christ?|
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:-
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.