On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, an earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter scale did unspeakable damage to Haiti, leaving at least one and a half million people homeless and tens of thousands dead. The total numbers at this writing are unknown.

On Wednesday, January 13, Pat Robertson declared that this devastating earthquake was God’s judgment on Haiti for being in league with Satan:

Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and the people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French—uh, you know, Napoleon the Third or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, “We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.” True story. And so, the devil said, “OK, it’s a deal.” And so they kicked the French out of, you know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor. The island of Hispanola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti, on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is…is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty—same island! Uh, they need to have (and we need to pray for them) a great turning to God.”

The media have jumped all over Robertson for this statement, calling it stupid and insensitive. Even if this were a ‘true story,’ as he claims, it would have been something that occurred two hundred years ago. Robertson didn’t explain either the who (all  Haitians?) or the why (some rationale for this alleged pact with the devil affecting several generations). Further, he didn’t check his facts; he simply pronounced ‘true story’ as though by fiat he could make it so. But when he said this rebellion occurred under “Napoleon the Third or whatever,” he was off by a mile. Napoleon the Third was born four years after Haiti gained its independence from France! What confidence should we have in this ‘true story’ if a part of it is demonstrably not true? And when the rest turns out to be merely rumor with no substance, Robertson’s credibility sinks to new lows.

This is not the only thing that is troubling about Robertson’s unfounded declaration; in addition, to the outside world he is viewed as a spokesman for conservative Christianity. Is it any wonder that unbelievers think that conservative Christians are hate-mongers when they see Pat Robertson as one of us?

He doesn’t speak for me, and he doesn’t speak for millions of evangelical Christians in America. It seems to me that people like Robertson are a little too apologetically minded, wanting to defend their peculiar theodicy by finding reason to blame the victims of a natural disaster. This is not the first time he has played this card. I think a more Christian response is to weep with those who weep, and immediately to offer assistance borne of compassion and love. And as I wrestle with the great challenges of theodicy, I am reminded that in the aftermath of a terrible disaster it is genuine believers who truly reveal God’s heart by offering aid and comfort to those who desperately need it. If you want to see what God’s goodness is all about, you need look no further than the merciful deeds of his people. He acts through his children; it is through them that he manifests his love to the world.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    47 replies to "Haiti and the Pact with the Devil"

    • Jeremy

      Very well said.
      I agree completely!

    • Mike

      I wrote to Pat Robertson for the third time in recent years after seeing this on his show. I then got to spend quite some time the next day explaining that Pat doesn’t speak for me to some agnostic friends I’ve been witnessing to for years. You are more kind than I was about Pat, and right on about what our response should be. When Pat is feeding the hungry in Haiti and basing his “claims” on sound doctrine or biblical passages I will be more inclined to listen to him (or his show)….

    • jim

      Thanks for the insight as Haiti has been on my heart and mind. I too have a challenge putting my theodicy into this terrible disaster.

      However, I see compassion not only from the Christian community but even the secular world as well. Had a lady give a children’s story in church the other day about how God took care of her sick cat because it was on her heart…..how do you relate God caring about someone’s cat and fit that into the loss of life in Haiti.

      Having said this, I’m sure we will hear of some miraculous sparing as well.

      The world is rotting away!!!!

    • Alden

      I’m not a Robertson fan by any means, but to be fair, in the quote of his above, he never blamed the earthquake on the pact with the devil. It seems he was merely commenting on the mess that Haiti already was, tying it in to the 1791 Bois Caiman ceremony (although he obviously had factual issues).

    • #John1453

      You mean “The Pat Robertson”, the same guy who

      (a) said about a different cultural festival, Kwanzaa, “I think that’s died a merciful death, because nobody paid any attention to it” and that it was made up by “West Coast hippie” types [yes I do know it was created in the 20th century; Christmas was new too in the 3rd]

      (b) called for the assination of Chavez, because, among other things, “it’s cheaper than starting a war”

      (c) urges treating Muslims “as we would members of the Communist Party,” or “some fascist group”

      (d) calls for Israelis to “arm” the Temple Mount and “have a show of force”

      (e) says canola oil is made from “rapeseed, it just sounds horrible to think you’re getting raped when you’re drinking”

      (f) after hurricaine Katrina, blamed the victims for their fate by claiming God was punishing America’s immorality

      (g) when reminded that Mr. Chavez was democratically elected, he chimed in with, “So was Hitler!”, despite the fact that historical research shows that Hitler never received more than a theird of the votes and was appointed chancellor

      (h) says he has leg-pressed 2,000 pounds, even though the leg-press record for football players at Florida State University is 665 pounds less, and there are no leg press machines that could hold 2,000 pounds at one time

      (i) said during his presidential bid, “I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government”

      (j) believes that “A Supreme Court ruling is not law.”

      (k) stated, “N.O.W. is saying that in order to be a woman, you’ve got to be a lesbian.”

      (l) said, “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover. If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city.”

      (m) in 2006 he predicted something possibly as awful as a tsunami for the Pacific Northwest. Nothing happened.

      (n) in 2004 predicted that President Bush would retain the White House in a “blowout” (Bush got 51%)

      (o) urged his callers to jam up the phone lines of the Homeland Security hotline

      (p) claimed Robertson to have spent $1.2 million bringing aid refugees in Rwanda, but research ahs determined that the money was actually spent to bring heavy equipment for Robertson’s African Development Corporation, a diamond mining operation

      (q) is opposed to gambling but buys race horses

      (r) supported Charles Taylor in Liberia (seized power in 1988) because of his (undisclosed to viewers of his show) $8 million investment in a Liberian gold mine

      (s) stated on air that “What we need is for somebody to place a small nuke at Foggy Bottom,”, in reference to the location of the State Department headquarters

      (t) claims that his personal portfolio management track record would rank him “within the top 1% of the nation’s fund managers.”

      (u) backed Rudy Giuliani for president, a man who is a thrice married adulterous husband, who is estranged from his own children and is both pro-choice and pro-gay rights

      I’d go on but I’ve hit my 3,000 words

    • artisan

      I like Al Mohler’s teaching on the Haiti earthquake; it retains the truth of God’s sovereignty over everything that happens (here and throughout the cosmos), while stressing the need for a compassionate and practical response to people who are hurting.

      …I’m sorry for the digression, but why wouldn’t God care about a cat, or dog, or any other creature, for that matter? They belong to him. The Scriptures speak of his great concern for ALL his creatures. Do we really believe his love isn’t able to encompass both humanity and the lower orders? Colossians 1: 19 & 20 seems to say otherwise, indicating that all of creation, including redeemed humanity, are a part of the great redemptive/restorative work of Christ.

      All creation is in bondage to decay, groaning still, awaiting the day when the coming Lord of Glory will set it free. Until then, the suffering continues for humanity (and creation), and each will go the way of all flesh. Until then, we, who are vessels of his mercy, must extend mercy and grace to all who are in need of it.

    • jim


      I agree with the whole thing about the world decaying…however my point about the cat was that are we to believe that God intervened in saving a cat over the whole mess in Haiti…. the possiblililty of a lost soul should trounce the demise of a cat.

      Maybe the vet’s medicine is what cured the cat!!!! ( LOL )

      Are you suggesting animals are redeemed?

    • Dennis Elenburg

      I think the blowback from all the Christian infighting is even worse than the damage done by stupid stuff Pat Robertson says. I’m certainly not going to defend what Pat Robertson said, but I’m reminded of what Jesus said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

      If what we display to the world is a bunch of infighting and bickering, what sort of witness are we giving? In years gone by, I’d probably jump on the Pat bash, but these days I just look for opportunities where I can apologize for his foolishness and move the conversation to something more substantive or helpful, like helping someone see that even if Pat Robertson has wacky theology, that doesn’t negate the truth of Jesus.

    • Marv

      He doesn’t speak for me either, but neither does the media in general. They claim (as this post does) that he stated God sent the earthquake in retribution for this supposed pact with the devil. Then I actually saw the video, of which the citation here seems to be a transcript, and of course he does not say this at all, though one can easily infer that is what he would say. We ought at least to be fair in our characterization of his words.

      What he does link to is the poverty. Is there no case to be made for a spiritual connection there? Not necessarily for a purported “pact with the devil,” but nations without a heritage of trust in the living God, often do not have a great history of well-being.

      He is certainly right that “they need to have (and we need to pray for them) a great turning to God.”

      Not neglecting our own need to repent, as our Lord pointed out in response to such a disaster.

    • jigawatt

      to the outside world he is viewed as a spokesman for conservative Christianity

      This kind of thing used to be very troubling to me. It still is to some degree, but not as much.

      I used to comment somewhat regularly at an atheistic blog trying to help them understand their incorrect assumptions about Christianity. What I found was that even when I corrected them, they still went right back to propping up Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, etc as models and spokesmen for our faith. But then I realized that they *wanted* these men to represent Christianity. So long as Benny Hinn speaks for all Christians, it’s easy to reject Christ. I think this is an example of what Paul wrote about in Rom 1:21 – “their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

      For us as Christians, the temptation might be to do just like them. It’d be easy to reject and vilify atheism if we considered its number one spokesman to be Stalin, Pol Pot or Kim Jong-Il. But instead, we recognize that by God’s common grace, there are a good many atheists not like that. Therefore, our rejection of atheism must be more thorough than simply “this atheist was evil, so atheism is wrong.”

    • Skaggers

      Dear Mr. Wallace,
      I wanted to add some additional historical facts to your post without defaming the validity and credibility of the post. First, Mr. Robertson did say “Napoleon III or whatever…” While, the “or whatever” in his statement does show his lack of concern for historical accuracy, it does give him some room for error. Napoleon III was born after the Haitian independance (which was Jan. 1st, 1804), but Napoleon I bascially took reign in 1799 as “first consul”. He was their leader during the Hatian revolution although he did not declare himself as emporer until 1804. Unfortunately Mr. Robertson wasn’t 100% incorrect, but his lack of specific facts should at least call into question his credibility. If we are the visible body of the church it should be our responsibility to do a better job than those that bend history to justify their case. This almost dove tails into the recent post about telling people that we will find the answer for you. If we are going to go onto the public venue with statements like Mr. Roberson, we need to take after the boy scouts and be prepared. I say this with all humility as I type from my Blackerry and realize all of the grammatical mistakes that riddle this post. None of us are perfect, no not one, but Mr. Robertson should take 5 more minutes to google search Napoleon III and match the dates to a Hatian revelolution search before attempting to speak on behalf of the consevative Christian world. Hey Mr. Robertson, do you know what happens when you ASSUME?

    • bethyada

      A thought: Is it what Robertson said, or how he said it (sans love), or both, that is the issue?

      I thought this (theological) response to the Haiti disaster well reasoned.

      But in the immediate aftermath, as you say

      I think a more Christian response is to weep with those who weep, and immediately to offer assistance borne of compassion and love. And as I wrestle with the great challenges of theodicy, I am reminded that in the aftermath of a terrible disaster it is genuine believers who truly reveal God’s heart by offering aid and comfort to those who desperately need it. If you want to see what God’s goodness is all about, you need look no further than the merciful deeds of his people. He acts through his children; it is through them that he manifests his love to the world.

    • Michael

      That response was almost verbatim identical to the response I gave at my small group last night when confronted with the comments by Pat Robertson. I think the analogy given by Boyd comparing this to spanking your children and not telling them why is classic. Whenever God did directly cause a disaster as punishment in the Bible He did so after giving ample warning through prophets who could infallibly speak for God, something we (in my opinion) do not have today. I also must note that even if we did have prophets today it is clear that Pat Robertson is not one of them since the Biblical test for a prophet is being 100% accurate which Mr. Robertson is not.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      I don’t think it takes much to see that Robertson was linking the earthquake to this alleged pact with the devil. Since he was talking about the earthquake, since he introduced his comments by saying, “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and the people might not want to talk about it,” and since he declared “ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other,” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that he’s blaming this pact with the devil for the earthquake. Perhaps “declare” was too strong of a word, but it’s in the ballpark.

    • Wilson Hines

      Very well said, Doctor. And when I am asked about this again, I will reference this post.

    • Vilmarie

      Agree 100%.

    • Rick

      Robertson’s remarks were clearly wrong on several fronts and would have been better left unsaid. But I have a related but different question.

      Premise: The nature of God is goodness. And based on its usage in the first chapter of Genesis I would define good as something that supplies a God designed need.

      Therefore: (Test my logic please.) God must be showing His goodness in letting/causing this earthquake and the associated pain and suffering. It would have to be this way for His actions to be consistent with His nature. Even His wrath is consistent with goodness nature.

      I contend that the only way you can reconcile the earthquake with the goodness of God is to understand that He is in the world reconciling Himself through Christ with the world. His redemptive (good) nature moves Him to often interfer with national pagan worship to cause people to awaken to the reality of the truth. And it appears to be working well in Haiti. We are hearing of many crying out to God for salvation. It isn’t being reported much in the news.

      Just as surgery to heal is traumatic and often painful so can the severe mercy of God’s Hand be good in what otherwise looks like cruelty.

      Was the devil involved? Who knows. He certainly is a killer. But even if he was it was all under the severity and goodness of God.

      My question: Is this “reasonable.”

    • John T III

      The problem Dan isn’t that Pat isn’t an apologist, the problem is that he has not been disciplined by either his local church. He definitely dosen’t care that he is dishonoring God with every one of these jackass statements.

      I don’t care what part of the body the Lord has put you in, you have not received immunity so you won’t get thrown off the island. The lack of church discipline is an accomplice here not apologetics.

    • C Skiles

      All clalamity ultimately is a result of sin. However, that doesn’t excuse our insensitivity to a suffering world. We must first seek to relieve their physical suffering and then point them to Jesus Christ.

      It’s hard for me to critisize Mr Robertson in regard to this particular statement because I haven’t actually heard what he said. But I know he has had a history of making stupid and insensative statements in the past.

    • Mary

      All points being understood here, and all humble opinions heard, the greatest tragedy is the gossiping and the backbiting that continues to shroud the face of Jesus Christ to a world looking to the “church” (little c with purpose) for Him and not able to find Him there. The unbelievers here are wondering how we are different, don’t you think?

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      Well said, Mary—and why I wrote the blog post in the first place. Thanks for getting us back on track.

    • Curious

      I totally agree with Marv’s post above, #9.

      Ironically, some of the Haitians are wondering if God was behind their earthquake, but they’re not being vilified in the press and on the web for this, only Robertson is.

      Here’s a quote from a Haitian who lived through the earthquake:

      “It’s a catastrophe and it is God who has put this upon us,” said Jean-Andre Noel, 39, a computer technician. (Source: Tampa Bay Online, January 17, 2010)

      I’ve never cared for Pat Robertson. I don’t agree with all his views or statements, but I think the amount of vitriol and criticism he’s received over the Haiti comments by the main stream media, Christians, Non Christians, and bloggers is a bit ridiculous and unfair.

      Robertson did not directly say that God (or Satan) caused the Haitian earthquake, but people are choosing to read that meaning into his words.

      Even if that is what the man was implying, I don’t think he’s necessarily incorrect.

      And it kills me to see other Christians backing away from the implications of Robertson’s remarks, trying to distance themselves from it. Our God is not just a God of love, but He is also a God of justice who does not tolerate sin.

      When the book of Revelation (see chapters 8, 9, 15, 16, etc.) talks about the natural disasters that God will permit his angels to unleash upon a world that has rejected Christ in the future, is each and every instance announced beforehand by a prophet?

      Do people *really* need a prophet to get the concept that’s spelled out in the Bible: God sometimes used natural disasters to punish unrepentant sin?

      I don’t know if God was behind the Haitian earthquake or not.

      However, I don’t think it’s outside the Scriptural bounds or good taste to wonder if a nation such as Haiti, one that is steeped in “voo doo” (which is ultimately, we know from the Scriptures, a demonic religion), would stir God’s wrath.

      At the very least, we know that God does not approve of “voo doo” or other forms of idolatry and the occult.

      If God did not cause the earthquake first hand, maybe He decided to allow it to happen because He was not happy with the Haitian rejection of Him.

      Consider that if a nation as a whole does not accept God and His teachings, and they’re mostly participating in a pagan religion to boot, you can certainly not expect God to bless or protect them.

      God is pretty clear in the Bible that He does not hear or honor the prayer of the sinner (unless it’s the prayer of salvation), and He does not bless someone who is living in unrepentant sin (including Christians!).

      Look at the USA: our nation has slipped away from Judeo-Christian values it was built upon and has been going down hill ever since (high divorce rates, increased violence, economic turmoil, etc), and I don’t think God will protect us indefinitely, so long as we Americans keep rejecting Him.

      So why think Haiti would be immune from this sort of consequence?

    • #John1453

      I assumed that it was Robertson that was engaging in rumour and gossip, which is what I think D. Wallace was referring to. That is different from many comments in this thread. Discussing and discounting statements by P. Robertson no more counts as gossiping and backbiting than do Paul’s comments about sinners in his letters. What Robertson is engaging in is outright public sin, and he should be called on it both with respect to changing his behaviour and as a teaching and warning to other Christians.


    • Dallas


      Pat is feeding the people in Haiti. He founded Operation Blessing which has had operations there for a number of years



    • EddP

      I’m sorry, but I cannot agree with some of the posts that try and censure people from pointing out the fallacy and idiocy of Pat Robertson’s statements. While I agree that Christians should not be in the business of back biting and rumormongering, this does not mean that we must hide our displeasure and disagreement with statements like those made by Robertson just to provide a united front to the world. It is this type of thinking that keeps non-christians from taking us seriously. Until we admit when one of us is being stupid, explain why and show the truth, we are just playing into their hands.

      Recall, the Third Comandment:

      “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

      When Robertson or any other television evangelist uses God to support their personal or financial goals, they are violating this and should be called to account for it.

    • Dallas

      I have to disagree with the claim in this blog that Robertson’s major historical claim about Haiti’s pact with the devil is rumor. Both the Vodou covenant cut at Bois Caiman and Haiti’s long history of Vodou are well established historical facts.

      The Bible warns us of the dangers of mixing the things of God with the occult. The Haitians religion is a syncretic mix of Vodou and Catholicism. Neither people nor nations should think that they can eat at both the Lord’s table and Satan’s table without provoking God wrath. (1Corinthians10:14-22)

      My take on this is that God’s judgment is beginning to fall upon not just Haiti, but the entire world. The pandemic pattern of natural, political, and economic disasters that are currently afflicting the world are what Jesus called the beginning of sorrows. These will only escalate. Every individual will either recognize God’s impending judgment and repent of his/her sin or devise cunning sophistries to obscure that knowledge until he/she is destroyed in judgment.

    • #John1453

      My take on it is that God’s judgment is not “beginning to fall upon”.

      How should one decide between my take and Dallas’? Given that claims like his have been made many times previously and shown to be false, and given that events such as we see have occurred many times previously (in as great a frequency or severity), it certainly appears that my claim is more well founded.

      Also, the fact that a thief feeds his family, does not get him off the hook for his theft. PR’s remarks are inexcusable and reprehensible regardless of how much good he has done.


    • Dallas

      @John #27

      Where have my claims been proven false? That is assertion without argument. A look at the meteorological records demonstrates that we are having unusual weather patterns. Even skeptics acknowledge this. We have experienced war and political upheaval over the past 100 years on a scale never seen before in history. Over just the past 20 years or so we are seeing the beginnings of global governance on a scale necessary to fulfill end-times prophecies. In just a few years it is likely that Christians will be persecuted globally- we are almost there now.

      The key to understanding Jesus prophecy is convergence.He is not talking about these signs individually but in context with each other. When you see a convergence of the types of things Jesus described in Matt 24 on a global scale, the end is near. We are seeing a convergence of events never seen before on a scale never seen before.

    • #John1453

      I meant claims that the world is experience a particular judgment of God, or that the final world ending judgment is upon us. For example the Millerites, or the dispensationalist claims in the 70s. Without a prophet to make declarations that what is happening is a judgment of God, we have no warrant for inferring that a judgment of God is occurring. We are essentially in the position of knowing that a tower in Siloam fell and killed many. Were they being judged? No. Neither are we at the present time. We are only experiencing the groaning of a world that needs repedemption, the evils of Satan’s host, and our own evils upon each other. And, of course, because of modern technology we know about what is happening on the other side of the world (whereas before we didn’t) so it may appear to be more happening when actually it’s just that we know more.


    • Sprockett

      Why does Robertson always seem to get a pass, it seems that any Christians who is on T.V. gets to say any nutty thing they want, and any Christian who speaks up and states it like it is gets hammered?

      Dr Wallace, Don’t Stop, God Bless you Sir..

      Believers we need to be standing up to people like this when they go national and make a mockery of Christ, I remember Billy Graham in his autobiography talking about how *cautious* he was with his words so he could not be taken out of context. That’s the wisdom of Solomon at work, but people like Robertson who grab the spotlight and then babble like a fool should be discredited, I can think of a number of other famous Christians who use their celebrity and their big mouths to make fools of themselves and reflect badly on the rest of us.

      If your on T.V. and claiming to represent Christians then be responsible, is that so hard to ask?


    • Dallas


      Jesus doesn’t say in Luke 13 that the people on whom the Tower on Siloam fell were not being judged. He says that they were not worse sinners. He tells the people around that “if you don’t repent you will likewise perish. Those who were them alive are in the same boat as the ones who died. The same sentence of judgment that killed the victims of the collapse of the Tower of Siloam would also kill the others if they did not repent.

      The notion that one must be a prophet to know that judgment of God has occurred is nonsensical. 2 Tim 3:16-17 tells us that Scripture is sufficient for training in righteousness so that the man/woman of God can be “equipped for every good work”. We can know whether God’s judgment is coming by using Biblical principles to interpret the facts. We can know the season by using Biblical principles to interpret the facts.

      It seems that you are committed to a hard eschatological skepticism. How do you square that with Biblical statements that say we can know about the end-times. Such statements are found in Matt 24 and 1 Thess 5. The Bible record end-times prophecies so we could have a road map from which to understand the times.

    • Richard

      Two things stand out as I read the post and the comments made. 1. Folks here are very unloving and seem to get a buzz from trashing their ‘brothers” who may not know better. We can correct without “trashing” and I agree it’s not easy to do, but we are called to ‘do so with RESPECT”.

      2. Folks here just like good ol Robertson ASSUME that they KNOW why it happened. WHO KNOWS WHY – step up and lay your claim, if not SHUT UP – particularly if it’s going to offend and make matters worst. Robertson didn’t make a claim for knowledge, he played his assumption – the same which you are doing…he should have known better…and so should so many of US.

      Just remember OUR sovereign LORD allows all things to happen, or else he is not sovereign…if you don’t agree you are better off reading some Open Theology papers.
      In love, Richard

    • jim


      I agree, although I have seen worst attacks than what I see on this blog. I too, have stepped over the line at times. (Guility)

      My original comments above had to do with whether God causing of allows disasters to happen. I don’t really get too wound up about the end times……..because I don’t plan on being here. (Thank you Lord )

      Doc, you are correct, we should be pillars of Love during this difficutl time for the people of Haiti.

      CMP where have you gone to?……..

    • Josh

      @ Dallas

      1. You speak of historical facts citing a wikipedia article. If your research had been more thorough you would have found out that the factuality of the Bois Caiman ceremony is still being debated among historians and anything BUT undisputed.

      2. Even if we assume it happened, the prayer Dutty Boukman purportedly spoke at mentioned ceremony sounds nothing like the kind of pact with the devil Robertson described. Look it up!

      3. An automatic link between particular sins and following disasters cannot be made unless God Himself confirms that connection. In at least one significant case, this connection was explicitly rejected by Jesus (John 9:3). The connection Robertson alluded to is nothing but a personal guess. If one makes a guess, he should think twice about the implications before uttering them as “inconvenient truths”.

      4. I’d also like to quote part of Peter Walker’s excellent comments regarding Haiti’s poverty:

      “If you conquer a nation, decimate their economic viability, rob them of their natural resources, strip them of their culture, language and ancestral identity, remove their dignity, rape their women, enslave their men, brainwash their children, fragment them and turn groups of them against one-another, and do this for HUNDREDS OF YEARS… do we really need to blame the DEVIL for the hardships they face when you pull out?”

    • Josh

      For those interested in the English translation of the mentioned prayer, here is the actual wording:

      “The God who created the earth; who created the sun that gives us light. The God who holds up the ocean; who makes the thunder roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds; who watch us from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white man’s God asks him to commit crimes. But the God within us wants to do good. Our God, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It’s He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It’s He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the white men’s God who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that speaks in all our hearts.”

      Sure, it’s not a Christian prayer by any means but instead of asking for help from “Satan” we find a plea to the just and good Creator-God in contrast to the perception of a God who is ok with slavery, rape and injustice. If we assume this prayer happened, then Robertson’s remarks undoubtedly are a misrepresentation of the tradition.

    • Richard

      Our response to Haiti is not supposed to be tied to their pact or non-pact with the devil. It’s true that the claims that such a pact was made is not fully accepted by historians. I must caution here that the historicity of the NT is also widely debatable…you do the math.
      Another fact, Haitians have publicly acknowledged their allegiance to the “spirits” and their mode of worship as being witchcraft – hence the declaration of voodoo as being an official religion. It therefore matters little what we think of their spiritual ties/allegiances. All of us must show restraint and avoid guessing unless we are going to proclaim ‘God told me so’.
      Reports from visitors of the island confirm a Christian practice in the day and mass voodoo attendance by these same Christians in the night. This is also true of my country (Guyana, South America) where some Christians (Christian by profession) practice such ceremonies. I think it’s a very close call in discernment indeed particularly when DR is almost untouched. My conclusions, we need to focus on how we can help them in this hour while we pray for their deliverance.

      In christ, Richard

    • Josh

      I don’t want to dominate the discussion here but just one more short comment on the Dominican Republic and Robertson’s portrayal of the DR as being “prosperous”.

      If you’ve been to one of the luxury resorts in the DR and never see the shantytowns at the edges of Santo Domingo you may come to a conclusion like that. According to USAID and a quoted recent World Bank Poverty Assessment, “43 percent of the Dominican Republic’s population lives in poverty. Of this population, 16 percent fall into the extreme poverty category.”

      They are certainly better off than Haiti, but a poor country nonetheless. Our church youth group just returned from a short term missions trip to the DR and witnessed the poverty first-hand.

    • Jason C

      Rick, remember that whilst God is good, he defines what good is.

      God cannot do evil because what he does is automatically good.

      In that respect he’s like the atheist who cannot be immoral because their wishes and desires define what is moral for them.

      Of course God is supreme and consequently what he defines as good is good for us as well.

    • #John1453

      The reasoning exemplified in Dallas’ comments, by Robertson, and by many Americans assumes that one can make a connection between a specific disaster and a specific sin, and that the connection is punitive: i.e., you do these sins and God sends this disaster as punishment.

      However, aside from specific prophecies in the Bible where God tells his prophet(s) of such a connection (e.g., you have continually sinned, so you are going to Babylon), there is no warrant for that belief. Moreover, the Bible nowhere teaches that we can ever discern such a connection on our own.

      And, contrary to Dallas’ inference, that was partly the point of Jesus’ story. Jesus’ point was that everyone dies (physically, and ultimately spiritually) because of their general state of sin. No one dies specifically because they are worse than other sinners. That is, the tower didn’t fall on the people of Siloam because they were worse sinners than others; rather, one could die at any time so one must repent now.


    • C Machiavelli

      Jason C

      Just a quick comment on your statement:

      “God cannot do evil because what he does is automatically good.”

      This is incorrect theologically speaking. If God were to rape a woman it would be sin; there can be no doubt about that. If God were to lust, that too would be sin.

      To introduce the theological perspective, God’s nature is perfect. God always operates within the limits of his perfection of nature. It’s not that whatever God does is “automatically good,” but God automatically operates within the limits of his nature, which is itself perfect.

      Sin, by the way, is something that can only be performed by a non-omniscient being. An omniscient being sees the good as good and the bad and bad, and to chose the bad over the good would fall outside the limits of perfection. (credit belongs primarily to Richard Chevenix Trench for this distilling of passages within the holy scriptures)


    • #John1453

      C. Machiavelli and Jason C appear to be on the same page. God is good because his nature / essence is good. Therefore, as Jason notes, whatever he does is “automatically” good. Good, because it flows automatically from a good nature. Machiavelli specifically points to the issue of “nature”, but such a concept was implied in Jason’s comment.

      Moreover, God does not have a good nature because it is perfect. Could not something be perfectly evil? I suppose it depends on how one defines good and perfect. If they are perfect synonyms, then perfection equals good. But if they are not, then something can be perfect without also being good. Or good without being perfect.

      In addition, omniscience does not automatically lead to doing good. Why would knowledge of everything lead to choosing only good? There is no logical or other connection. It’s not knowledge that inevitably leads to choosing goodness, but a good nature that does. One could be omniscient and evil, and thus be able to plan a maximally evil universe.


    • Dallas

      @Josh 35

      What historians dispute this? I have researched this in a number of places. The only places I have seen where this was disputed was on blogs written after Robertson’s comments by folks who have no credentials. Given the harsh treatment Robertson has received elsewhere on Wikipedia, it would seem odd that there is no reference to a dispute of facts among historians here if historian were disputing whether the events at Bois Caiman happened.

      Robertson’s claims that it “was a pact with the devil” is his theological interpretation of the Voduo ceremony. It is based on passages such as 1 Cor 10:14-22 and other that regard idolatry as devil worship.

    • Dallas

      @John 39

      On what basis do you say that one must be ordained a prophet to proclaim that an event is a judgment. I would only agree if one were attaching prophetic or apostolic authority to such a statement. Nowhere is the Scripture is there is general prohibition against drawing inferences about specific disasters. Pointing out particular places where the prophet/Apostle refuted a particular inference amounts to cherry-picking, because it ignores the majority of instances where the prophetic utterance confirmed the logical inference.

      There is plenty of Biblical basis for drawing inferences based on interpreting facts within the framework of Scriptural principles. Second Tim 3:16 says that the Scripture is sufficient to equip us for every good work(i.e we can apply it’s principles to everything) Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for failure to make logical inferences. They could draw inferences about the weather from what direction the wind blows, but were unable to draw inferences from OT prophecies.

      My inference is that the cataclysmic judgment of God is beginning to fall. Even if that weren’t the case, the Judge has always been at the door. Every time someone dies they are being summoned to judgment. If they have not repented of their sins, they face a fiery furnace as punishment for their sin. We need to teach repentance now more than ever. The grace of God is manifested within a background of judgment.

      The argument that we can never make inferences about the judgment of God coupled with the presumption that God’s judgment has not fallen places one in the same boat as the skeptic. As ill-advised and ill -timed as Robertson comments were the talking points used against him are far worse.

    • Josh

      @ Dallas

      I tried to post a response with some links but for some reason it is not showing up here. Maybe links aren’t allowed.

      I’ll just give you 2 names for now: David Patrick Geggus and Leon-Francois Hoffmann.

      Maybe you can google those along with Antoine Dalmas (the only historical source that exists) and also Jean R. Galin who wrote an article with the title “God, Satan, and the birth of Haiti”.

      As far as the connection voodoo – Satan is concerned, of course it is possible to speak of repercussions of the practice in general, the question still remains whether it is fair and accurate to point back to what happened at Bois Caiman (if it happened) as a deliberate “pact with the devil” the way Robertson described it.

    • Josh


      The links I was referring to will be found under thelouvertureproject, webster.edu and blackandchristian.com

    • Susan

      Here’s a discussion of the earthquake in Haiti with Dr. William Lane Craig.
      He adresses the question of ‘why’ God would allow such a disaster and also touches on Pat Robertson’s comments. Quite interesting (no longer than 10 minutes)


      Paul Copan sent me this link.

    • Brett

      Haiti has been a predominently Catholic nation. Whose Catholicism however, was always intermixed with Voodoo. And that might be the reason, if not for the earthquake, at least for the poverty of this country.

      The great disadvantage or “curse” attached to Voodoo is that it, like all belief in magic, simply does not work. So that the more time you spend following it, the less able you are to learn more practical, functional ways of living and thinking, that finally bring real prosperity.

      So in a sense, people are “cursed” by following Voodoo – or any form of belief in magic.

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