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Thursday, 14 January 2010

Pat Robertson and Haiti



I never thought I'd feel impelled to defend the religious right but the way Pat Robertson’s comments/commentary on the Haitian earthquake have been represented in the Blogsphere and elsewhere appals me.

Bold headlines like “Pat Robertson calls Quake “a blessing in disguise” and “Robertson blames Haiti for earthquake” suggest that the man’s a raving lunatic or worse. When I saw those headlines my immediate thought was “Well what can you expect from the religious right”, and I had intended to write an appropriately condemnatory piece on Robertson and his crack pot ideas.

Then I went to his interviews on CBN which generated such a furore. I have to say that I could see or hear nothing in the interview which warranted the viral outburst. What he said about the Haitians and the compact with the Devil at the time of the revolution in the early 1800’s did not appear to me to be accusative. He said it more in sorrow; and, as a possible explanation for the tragic history of the country, from his perspective it made sense. He most certainly did not directly blame the victims for this tragedy.

The Great Fire of London in 1666, presented an opportunity to rebuild the capital ravaged by fire: replacing the tightly packed wooden structures with buildings of brick and stone separated by broad streets: “a blessing in disguise”. (That grand design never came about). In saying what he did about the poor state of housing and building generally in Porto-au-Prince, I believe Pat Robertson was trying to see something positive coming out of this enormous disaster.

Another person might have been much more circumspect. However, he was interviewed on an avowedly Christian channel. I can imagine that many of its audience seeing and hearing of this tragedy of near biblical proportions might ask how their all loving, caring god could allow such things to happen. His words would offer some sort of explanation and hope that out this some good may result. Amen to that.

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