Why is it whenever there is a natural or man-made tragedy, Evangelical preacher Pat Robertson uses his television podium to claim God is punishing us for tolerating abortions and homosexuality and in the devastating ruins of Haiti a “pact to the Devil.”
Risking God striking me with a bolt of lightening for saying this: Mr. Preacher Man, you are a disgrace to your religion and blinded by your perceived political prejudices and intolerance.
As to Haiti, you assert their people made a pact with the devil to rid the yoke of French colonialism, a nation, by the way, at the time composed of 95% Catholics, who in an obtuse fashion, are among your competitors for the blessings of the almighty.
If Pat Robertson is in the business of outrageous comments, I can play that one-upsmanship game. Remember the movie “The Mouse That Roared?” A small nation declared war on the United States in order to receive economic aid.
Using that analogy, I contend Haitians built their cities knowingly on a fault line that in time would slip sideways during a 7.0 earthquake and topple all the buildings and killing thousands in a devious plot to have their nation rebuilt by sympathetic countries.
But I’m not done. To prove how callous we Americans are, our humanitarian aid is limited to $1 million because our nation is financially bankrupt.
Take that, Pat Robertson, and in my scenario, the devil had nothing to do with it.
Rather than praying for the Haitians, why don’t you and your fellow religious orders tithe your earnings to Haiti until order is restored and the country is rebuilt.
Why, one might ask, am I venting my wrath on Pat Robertson. It’s personal. In 1991 I was finally on a path of return to my church after years of absence and agnostic behavior. Then 9/11 occurred and Robertson claimed it was God’s wrath for our sins. I talked hours with my new pastor but I had made my decision. I wanted no part of any organized religion that usurped my understanding of the Jesus I knew as a youth. That Jesus was forgiving.
Meanwhile, the news accounts today reduced me to tears. President Obama did not set a price but pledged “unwavering” support for Haiti. The UN was freeing $10 million in emergency relief funds and the European Union pledged $4.4 million. These amounts will be dwarfed by contributions from private charities.
Oh, a little geophysical and economic memo to Pat Robertson. He described the island of Hispania divided in half, the western slopes barren of vegetation and subject to mud slides. The eastern half is the Dominican Republic which he said is lush and green and thriving with tourist resorts. True, but the Haitians denuded the hills for fire to warm their homes and cook their meals. The forests west of the major Dominican Republic populations are essentially unreachable. More than 30% of the people in both countries live in abject poverty.
What is really tragic about this story is that recovery will end with the same results. Rebuilding a nation on a major fault line and in the center of a hurricane system is a disaster waiting to repeat itself. There’s not enough money to require more earthquake-resistant structures such as was the case after the 1988 temblor that damaged the San Francisco Bay region.
Jerry Remmers worked 26 years in the newspaper business. His last 23 years was with the Evening Tribune in San Diego where assignments included reporter, assistant city editor, county and politics editor.