Friday, January 15, 2010

The Hypocritic Oaf

The last thing you need to hear, when your country has been shaken by an earthquake, flattening buildings, destroying infrastructure, and killing tens of thousands, is that it is somehow your fault. Or more precisely, the fault of your ancestors. Yet that is precisely what a "renowned" Christian pastor would have you believe, based on a apocryphal story and his own brand of bigotry.

According to Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Club, the people of Haiti made a "deal with the Devil" in order to throw off the shackles of oppression of their French masters. Apparently, only by employing the forces of darkness, were Haitians able to overthrow the French and declare independence from "Napoleon the Third." Or someone like that; Rev. Robertson was more than a bit hazy on the history.

Actually, the freeing of Haiti from oppression was due, in part, to the French Revolution, which inspired the Haitians to clamor for freedom from slavery and French rule. in 1793, when France and Great Britain went to war, the British invaded and the French commissioners there, to secure the help of the locals, abolished slavery in the territory. It was the beginning of independence for Haiti, and a now distant bright memory against the backdrop of death and devastation.

That a "Christian" minister would not only base his premise on apocryphal and false information is nothing new; the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trails, the death of Jean d'Arc... throughout history, it has always been easier to look on those considered "different," and fear them for their difference. This is, at the root, bigotry and discrimination, neither concept being anything new. Haiti is an 80% Catholic nation, and perhaps because they hew so closely to the mother church, upon which many a Christian sect looks unfavorably, it is easy to take up the "they got what's coming to them" screed.

Of course, Reverend Robertson is merely taking advantage of the First Amendment, which protects his hateful and hypocritical speech, as well as providing him the ability to worship whatever way he chooses. It could easily be said that had he made his remarks anywhere else, there might have been a greater swell of indignation. Perhaps it is because he has made such remarks in the past; perhaps the American people are simply used to people doing this and have become a bit blasé.

I suspect that Reverend Robertson has not read his Bible lately, or he might have come across this, from Luke 13:1:

"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

And it will require repentance for Pat Robertson to see the gates of Heaven, for to claim to worship Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, on the one hand while ignoring his teachings on the other, is to incur a penalty most grave. While Jesus wanted people to follow his way, he knew it could not simply be imposed. First, the weakest amongst us had to be brought up from the gutter. The most wicked amongst us must be reformed. The richest amongst us must help the poorest; the wounds of the sick and the dying must be tended. Jesus knew that for anyone to be able to believe in God, his father, they must first know that his followers were earnest, nonjudgmental, and willing to extend them kindness and compassion. There must be a uniting of humanity.

So let preachers and pundits and purveyors of anger and hatred peddle their wares, for they alone are responsible for the stain it places upon their soul. We, who believe in higher purpose, greater good, and human duty, do not need their ilk, for we shall rise up and reach down, to take the hands of the hungry, the tired, the sick, the destitute, and the devastated, and raise them up, too. In the end, we will represent humanity, long after the words of the wicked have mixed with the dust on the ground.

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