Why crucify Robertson?
The Editor, Sir:
It is with some amount of trepidation that I feel I must respond to the mass crucifixion of evangelist Pat Robertson. I know that he is a favourite beating stick of many, even in the Christian community, as he often seems to speak before he thinks. But I wonder how many of those jumping on the bandwagon actually listened to the broadcast and heard what he said. I was watching and heard him.
Pat Robertson said much less then than is now being said by Haitians themselves, as reported in The Gleaner's front-page article (January 18) headline "The Hand of God." Rev. Robertson briefly mentioned the sacrifice by Boukman of a pig, and the ceremony dedicating Haiti to the voodoo gods for 200 years, at the beginning of the slave rebellion which freed Haiti from the French.
I felt, at the time, it was unfortunate for him to refer to this historical fact at that time, and right away anticipated the firestorm of criticism which would ensue. But to Pat Robertson's credit, he immediately set in motion activity to bring relief to Haiti through his Disaster Relief organisation "Operation Blessing." And there are now teams in Haiti from his organisation helping in the relief effort.
I wonder how many of his critics have done anything personally, beyond talk, for Haiti's relief? How many of them have ever visited Haiti and, before now, done anything for its aid or betterment. My deep hope and prayer is that the current international outpouring of care and concern will be translated into long-term action towards Haiti's transformation.
I agree with Rev Clinton Chisholm's letter in The Gleaner of January 15, warning about jumping to the conclusion that the earthquake was a judgement from God. Jesus himself warned the Jewish people of his day about this in St. Luke 13:1-5. But it does seem to be a natural question in the minds of people when catastrophes strike.
I am, etc.,
LLOYD A COOKE
Royal Flat, Manchester