Why I’m Siding With Pat Robertson on This One

Lest a reader get the wrong idea and put words in my mouth, I want to preface this all with the fact that my heart is heavy from the pain and suffering the people of Haiti are going through. It is unimaginable. In writing this, I hope I don’t come across trite in any way. I was simply stirred by the Christian backlash against what I thought was a Godly perspective on the situation and I felt challenged in my spirit to not cower from fear of what people may think from me speaking my mind on the matter. May God’s peace that passes all understanding mark the people of Haiti as they walk this road of recovery.

700 miles east of Miami, hundreds of thousands of desperate human beings need our help, our support, our money and our love. And they don’t need… that.

Shepherd Smith, Fox News

Shepherd Smith’s somber reaction to Pat Robertson’s most recent media-stirring news commentary is receiving stellar reviews on YouTube. Five stars and hundreds of comments that can be summarized as “Well spoken, Shep.” Compare that to Robertson’s clips that have few stars and thousands of comments that can be summarized as “Go to hell, you sick, vile person” or “As a Christian, I’m repulsed by you. You don’t represent me.”

He is a top-trending topic on Twitter right now, which is how I found out about his supposed gaffe. When I first saw “Pat Robertson” among the Twitter elite, I thought “Oh no! What did you say now, Pat,” knowing his history of putting his foot in his mouth. Based upon people’s critique of Robertson on Twitter – believer and non-believer alike – you’d think he had cursed and slandered Haitian’s to eternal damnation and wrapped things up with a “Good riddance!” But that is not at all what he said. He said this:

And you know Christy, 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 Napoleon the third and 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. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they’ve been cursed by one thing after the other; desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On one side is Haiti, on 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 a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come.

Shep, and thousands of others across the world, professing Christians included, apparently feel his words were a little harsh, that his perspective is off, that he’s the one who’s aligned with Satan if he would suggest that a poor, struggling nation and its people had-it-comin’ for aligning themselves with the devil.

Well, I’m here to say, like it or not, that I’m siding with Pat on this one.

Was Robertson being cold and shrewd with his statement? I don’t know, maybe. But I don’t really think so. He wrapped up his recounting of Haiti’s pact with the devil and the distressed state of the republic with the most truly compassionate statement a person can make: “We need to pray that they have a great turning to God.” Because that’s what will really make a difference in this situation.

Shephard Smith, along with the rest of the world and a majority of “Christians,” feel that all a country needs in a crisis like this is exactly what Smith said: help, support, money and love. But is that the case? What does the Bible say is good medicine for a national crisis?

“Now, therefore,” says the LORD,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the LORD your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.

Joel 2:12-16

We see the same response from both Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20) and Ezra (Ezra 8) in their crises, too: They directed their people to seek the Lord. He’s the answer; He always is. He has a solution; He always does. Help, support, money and love from your neighbors helps and it helps a lot. And Robertson’s ministry is in fact providing lots of these forms of assistance. CBN’s Web site says that they “have sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medications that is now in Haiti, and their disaster team leaders are expected to arrive tomorrow and begin operations to ease the suffering.”

But those efforts aren’t enough. They don’t come close to matching the supernatural intervention of the Most High. Tons of relief went to Haiti in 2008 when the hurricanes bashed it. But poverty and sickness still reigned there when humanitarian efforts waned. Because, as Roberston pointed out, Haiti’s problem is spiritual at its root. All human problems are. Humanitarian relief isn’t an improper solution, it’s simply inadequate. I did Katrina relief work in Mississippi and could see how good, but inadequate, all the relief efforts truly were. In moments of crisis, we need Jesus and we need Jesus bad. Heck, we always need Jesus bad. He’s the only one who can provide lasting change.

During situations like this, Christians often, and rightly so, quote Isaiah 58:7, where God prescribes how we are to care for the oppressed in times of need:

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

But those same Christians often overlook or lack full understanding of Isaiah 58:6:

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?

I think there’s a reason verse 6 precedes verse 7: God knows that without breaking the yoke of the spiritual oppression upon a people, sharing food, shelter and clothes with them will have no lasting effect. It will be a treatment of symptoms rather than a cure for the sickness.

True love and true compassion is to point out someone’s sickness because identifying the problem is the key to establishing the solution. If you had a friend who had a constant, day-in, day-out runny nose decade after decade, would you simply keep handing him or her Kleenex? Wouldn’t you, even at the risk of offense, offer to pray they be healed? Or at least suggest they see a doctor? If not, I question how much of a friend you are. And in this case, I feel Robertson was being that friend. Some might question the appropriateness of his timing, but he was helping Christians quickly pray insightful and directed prayers for Haiti.

Haiti’s “Pact With the Devil”

Before today, I knew nothing about the history of Haiti. And I still know very little. But in doing some research on the “pact with the devil” the enslaved made in order to get free, I was able to start understanding the gravity of the pact Robertson cited. A criticism of Robertson’s position provided this recounting of the ceremony:

In 1791 Boukman Dutty, a Vodou priest and one of the leaders of the first wave of slave uprisings in the North of Haiti, led a ceremony in the now-famous Bois-Caïman that launched the revolution and inspired slave revolutionaries to begin destroying plantations. The ceremony allegedly involved the sacrifice of a pig and use of pig blood and a sermon that invoked the good god of African religion to give the slaves liberty and condemned the evil [Christian] God of the white slave-owners.

The original source for that account provided even more information. To quote the research paper:

Thus we can see in the muddled origins of this myth, and in the language of the poem itself, how the Haitian revolution began under the sign of possession. The prayer begins by invoking a familiar god of creation… The last line launches the revolution by giving voice to this god… Finally, [that] god speaks through their hearts, possessing them and using their bodies as instruments of his wrath, speaking what amounts to a supernatural liberty. He has ordered the slaves to take revenge … and he will also control their actions as they destroy the slave economy that has so oppressed them…  This god will speak “liberty” by possessing the revolutionaries’ bodies. They will be free in as much as they offer themselves to his possessing presence.

This, my friends, is no trivial matter. It was indeed a pact with the devil, for by inviting and yielding to possession by any spirit other than Holy Spirit, the slaves were asking to be demon possessed and become the devil’s minions. They were aligning themselves with real, substantial powers: Satan and the kingdom of darkness. Satan’s mission is to steal, kill and destroy humans. Any deal made with him is in fact no deal at all, but simply a means by which he can carry out his mission among that group of people much easier. If this pact has never been renounced and repented of – by leaders of the country or by people on their behalf – then by all means this pact is still in effect and still wreaking havoc. The only hope is to have intercessors standing in the gap keeping the curse at bay until it is broken.

What I feel amplifies this pact’s ability to spawn such devastation is that it was foundational in the nation’s birth. Foundational principles matter a whole lot. Both blessings and curses are passed on from generation to generation. That’s how God set it up. So something being birthed out of a work of darkness is really troubling. Think of all the compounding interest the curse has piled up over the years. Surely righteous ones have emerged that the Lord has set free who’ve stopped the curse from passing through their blood line. But most people don’t understand the power both holy and unholy roots hold over nations, states, cities and families. So I can see how this pact could still be holding many innocent people’s lives under the devastating burden of the curse. It makes me sick. The devil is putrid and vile.

Massive Offense

There’s a lot more I could say and will say in the coming days, including a look at how people who don’t claim Jesus as Lord and Savior are cursed. But I want to wrap up with what stirred me to write this in the first place: How troubling it is to me that so many of those who say they love Jesus and say they love His word have taken such offense with what Pat Robertson said. Maybe they just watched the Shepherd Smith clip, which conveniently cut off the end of Robertson’s statement when he said “They need to have and we need to pray for a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come.” But I don’t think that explains the majority of reactions. I think it comes down to believers not fully knowing the Jesus they claim to love.

For if they understood that Jesus told a son to follow Him rather than bury his father, they’d know that Jesus was sometimes seemingly cold and harsh when pointing out what’s most important. If they understood that Jesus called Peter “Satan” when trying to look out for what he thought was Jesus’ best interest, they wouldn’t be all up-in-arms with Robertson pointing out that a group of people had made a pact with the devil. If they knew that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, they’d understand that Robertson isn’t off his rocker in asserting that Haiti’s problem is spiritual manifesting in the natural. If they knew that Jesus was returning to the earth as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah to kill the kings of the earth as part of establishing his government, they wouldn’t have a distorted view of what a loving God will or will not do.

The book of Revelation explains in great detail the massive devastation upon planet earth that God is going to oversee in the last days. Some events are going to happen at the hands of the devil and his kingdom of darkness; others are going to be judgments sent from God himself. There is going to be horrific pain and anguish among the billions of people of the world. Most are going to take great offense at what is happening and say, “How could a loving God allow such things to happen?” And if you’re alive during those days, as a Christ-follower, you’re going to need a real revelation of Jesus Christ, lest you disown Him like most have Pat Robertson. And don’t think it’s beyond any of us, because Peter thought the very same thing and wound up denying Christ three times. Sadly, the stakes are going to be much higher in the last days; if you deny Christ then and take the mark, there’s no going back.

Discipleship Needed

Having a heart that won’t be offended by Jesus when the end draws nearer doesn’t just magically happen at His second-coming. If you’re offended by a sliver of truth now, your head’s going to pop off when real Truth comes. That’s what happened with the Pharisees and they ended up killing Jesus at his first coming. Believe me when I say a slew of “Christians” are going to be among the masses that align themselves with the Antichrist and plot to kill Him a second time.

The going doesn’t get easier for Christians as the return of Christ draws near; it gets more demanding. Thankfully, God is sending increasing amounts of grace to enable us to prosper in this increasingly caustic environment. Now is the time to start preparing your heart for what lies ahead by pushing into the scriptures, allowing them to pierce, cut and divide you and expose areas of wickedness that are still within your heart. There’s so much grace for it now! God is calling His church to prepare, prepare, prepare for the wedding! The bridegroom is coming and we need to be ready! Don’t be found with a dry lamp when Christ is about to return. Cultivate the oil of intimacy now, lest you be offended with Him later.

In Luke 7:23, Jesus says “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” And he said this after telling of the very wonderful things He had done: “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” How much more will Christians be prone to offense when the not-so-wonderful works of His hands start happening?

Trust me, I’m so, so, so still growing in my revelation of Jesus. I preached on it this summer. I’m in the same grace-built boat of preparation that you’re all in. I encourage you to keep riding with me even when the storms rage greater.

May both God’s and man’s mercy flow like a river through the devastated streets of Haiti and bring healing, restoration and revival to the land.

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

5 Comments

Ben Bonk

about 8 years ago

Good Stuff Joel. I do agree with you and I am glad you laid this out for people.

Reply

John

about 8 years ago

Joel, I don't want to argue with you, but I am trying to understand your theology. Are you saying that this pact with the devil, if one was made, by some of the original slaves rebelling against French rule, has descended through their blood to curse current Haitians, even the 40 percent who are now Protestant Christians? If so, that would be a worse curse than the original sin in the Garden of Eden. While most Protestant Christians believe that in Adam and Eve's sin, mankind was cursed with having a sinful nature, I don't know of any groups that believe that has anything to do with natural disasters. It would be difficult, if not impossible, empirically to make that case since we know that disasters occur equally on Christians and non-Christians alike. In fact, the Bible says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. If God sent the most recent earthquake to Haiti to punish Haitians for their ancestors' pact with the devil, then for what reason do natural disasters hit countries whose founders did not make a pact with the devil, for example the United States, which is supposed to be one of God's favored countries?

Reply

Joel

about 8 years ago

Hi Uncle John -- Thanks for stopping by :) Certainly no argument necessary. Given our divergent spiritual beliefs, my explanation might not make much sense. But I can try. First of all, I by no means believe God himself initiated and brought on this tragedy. I apologize if I came across that way. When I said "So I can see how this pact could still be holding many innocent people’s lives under the devastating burden of the curse. It makes me sick. The devil is putrid and vile." I was trying to point out that I thought the devil was responsible. In saying the "pact with the devil" led to this, it's easy to assume the person was suggesting God was mad with the pact and thus responded with the quake. But that's not how I view it. I believe pockets of people (primarily countries, states, cities and families) can come under the oppression of supernatural forces of evil. The Bible refers to Satan as "The Prince of the Power of the Air" and from that place of influence on our earth, he directs regional powers, thrones, principalities and dominions. Paul mentions them often in his writings (Eph. 1:21 and 6:12, Col 1:16 and 2:15) and we see in Daniel 10:10-14 that an angelic messenger had to fight off a regional power (The "Prince of Persia") before he could get Daniel his message from God. These spiritual powers (there are both good and evil ones) have a very real affect on the areas they reside over. Areas can be more blessed than others and areas can be more cursed than others. The presence and influence of these forces can being either cultivated or banished from an area depending on the way people choose to live their lives. Righteous living and right-standing with God will push back dark forces and call in heavenly ones. And vice versa. Since Haiti cultivated dark spiritual forces from the get-go and still has a majority of its citizens practicing voodoo (which I believe is a very real and very dark spiritual practice) the demonic, oppressive forces seem to still be around. Their presence appears to have been cultivated this whole time, based on the chronic struggles the nation continues to have with poverty, civil unrest, disease, etc. We see in Job 1 that the devil is fully capable of causing natural disasters. I believe it's possible he did so in this case. He loves to kill people, plain and simple. As I said in my blog, when people align themselves with the enemy, they become all the more accessible to his demented ways. I certainly don't believe all natural disasters are the devil's doing. I would say the majority are simply... natural. And you're right in that rain falls on both the wicked and the righteous. No one is completely immune from the fact that we simply live in a fallen world and bad things happen to innocent people as a result. I hope all that made some sense to you. Feel free to ask more questions if new ones have now emerged.

Reply

John

about 8 years ago

Joel, I can't say that I understand what you're saying. I can understand that more "bad things" will happen when there are more bad people around, when one defines "bad things" as things people do to each other. But I don't understand it with regard to what we call "natural disasters." If the majority of "natural disasters" are simply natural, isn't labeling a particular one as devil-caused (or God-caused) assuming knowledge that we don't have? Saying this particular disaster was just natural, but this one was caused by God or the devil, seems to me to be more of a reflection on the speaker's own attitude towards the victims than anything else.

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Shery

about 8 years ago

My opinion of Pat Robertson's comment - yes, the spiritual darkness of Haiti opens doors for poverty, lack and destruction. A statistic I heard is that 85% of Haitians are catholic, but 90% participate in voodoo. However, in Pat's seat, it's not appropriate to say what he said without giving the entire context like you did. The gods of this age have blinded the world, so they will think all Christians are crazy - it strengthens the divide. Many American Christians reject the reality of the supernatural, so it wasn't helpful to them either.

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