Giving the devil his due

As every respected blog with which I'm familiar in the libertarian and conservative blogosphere is criticizing Pat Robertson's attempt to blame an alleged Haitian pact with the devil (and thus today's Haitians) for the earthquake, it would hardly seem worthy of another post. Except that I'm feeling devilish enough to play Devil's Advocate, and in the interests of fairness apply some simple rules of logic to Pat Robertson's argument under the assumption that everything he says is right.

In that regard, I think Gay Patriot asks a good question:

How Did Pat Robertson Learn Details of Pact with the Devil?
The details of the pact seem to be known only to Robertson, who said this:
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 ... 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.'
To which Gay Patriot responds:
Pat wasn't around two hundred years ago when the Haitians threw off French tyranny. So, I don't think the Haitians around back then would be able to inform him. And when I studied Haitian history (for a paper on the Vodou mythology) and didn't find any details of such a pact. And, well, since it's not in history books, the only way Pat could know is if . . .
Well, he may theoretically have an inside line to Satan's dealings with Haiti's revolutionaries. This inside line might be to Satan. But then again it might be to God. Unless Robertson explains, we may never know.

As Jake Tapper explained, Robertson's contention seems to derive from a legend about Haitian leader Jean Jacques Dessalines:

Robertson's tale stems from a legend that Jean Jacques Dessalines, who led the Haitian revolution against the French Army, entered into a pact with Satan disguised as a voodoo deity in exchange for a military victory, which finally happened in 1803.
OK, I have to start somewhere, so let's assume that legend is true. A general made a deal with Satan in 1803. And because of that, God was so pissed off that in 2010 he decided to kill thousands of innocent Haitians who were not born when the deal with Satan was made.

While I am not so arrogant as to claim that such a thing is impossible (because there is such a thing as infinity, and infinite possibilities might include anything), I have to say that if it is true, the implications about the nature of the god that would do such a thing are hardly reassuring. To call such behavior arbitrary and tyrannical would be understatement. Yet if Pat Robertson is right, the god in which he believes did just that. And apparently, Robertson thinks monstrous retaliation against innocent people for an act done by someone long ago is OK, and that a God who does that is worthy of worship.

IMHO, it's a hell of a way to sell religion, but there must be people who want God to be like that (a sort of great terrorist in the sky, if you will) or else they wouldn't be buying.

At the risk of sounding like a moral relativist, I'm inclined to say to each his own, but again, I wish they'd join the Democratic Party so they could be with the believers in other nutty deities.

MORE: In his roundup of Pat Robertson links, Glenn Reynolds notes that he is "proudly pro-sodomy" and agrees with the following contention by Ilya Somin:

As a fellow Yale Law School graduate, I'd have to say that the Reverend Robertson isn't one of our alma mater's more impressive products.
I'm glad I'm not a conspiracy theorist, because it's talk like that that invites speculation about the notorious secret voodoo rites that have been going on for years at Yale -- and were even said to have triggered Hurricane Ike!

Fortunately, it's not my problem. Nor is the recent announcement that they've put the actual skull and bones up for sale. That's an old issue here, and I dare not question the timing of the sale.

posted by Eric on 01.14.10 at 10:31 AM


Via Tim Blair

You knew it was coming. Apparently, according to crazy person and all around hater, Danny Glover, the earthquake wasn't because of Haiti's offences against G-d, it was because of offences against Gaia.

Yes, twas global worming that caused the quake.

As Tim said, His obscene opinion would be bigger news if Glover had in the manner of others idiotically blamed a less-fashionable deity.

Veeshir   ·  January 14, 2010 1:43 PM

I read today that Rush Limbaugh is blaming Haiti's present woes on Communism. Which is it, Satan or the Reds?

chocolatier   ·  January 14, 2010 3:56 PM

Which is it, Satan or the Reds?

They are not comparable as earthquake causes, unless it is claimed that God punished Haiti for Communism.

Eric Scheie   ·  January 15, 2010 9:10 AM

The truth is that they did make a pact with the devil.

Now the significance you put on that pact I guess has to do with whether you believe the devil is real or not.

But it is one of Haiti's founding myths.

According to Haitian national history, the revolutionary war was launched on the eve of a religious ceremony at a place in the north called Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman, in French). At that ceremony on August 14, 1791, an African slave named Boukman sacrificed a pig, and both Kongo and Creole spirits descended to possess the bodies of the participants, encouraging them and fortifying them for the upcoming revolutionary war. Despite deep ambivalence on the part of intellectuals, Catholics, and the moneyed classes, Vodou has always been linked with militarism and the war of independence and, through it, the pride of national sovereignty.

So, yeah if there is a devil, Haiti made a pact with it. Might explain why even though Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the same island, the Dominican Republic has been far more successful.

Steve   ·  January 17, 2010 5:10 PM

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