I am ashamed to admit it, but I sent a nastygram to CBN. Nothing too evil... well, here's what I said:
"The 700 Club - Bring It On: Moral, Social, and Ethical Issues ------------------------------------------------------------ Subject: Forgiveness I am asking God to help me to forgive you for your complete lack of compassion in the wake of the disaster in Haiti. How dare you use this in order to grab press time by spouting garbage that only benefits your noteriety. I am offended in the worst way. It was ministers like you who drove me away from the love of Christ for so long. I pray that I am able to someday offer you the same forgiveness that Jesus has. May God have mercy on you."
Short, bitter and to the point I thought. I got a response today from Elane at CBN:
"Thank you for contacting CBN. We appreciate this opportunity to serve you.
On the January 13, 2009, edition of The 700 Club, our CBN News department showed a feature news story about the devastation and suffering resulting from the earthquake in Haiti. After the news story, Dr. Pat Robertson interviewed Bill Horan, President of Operation Blessing International (an affiliate organization of CBN) about its efforts to bring aid and relief to the people of Haiti. Dr. Robertson also spoke about Haiti's history (see an actual transcript below). His comments were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Boukman Dutty at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French. This history, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed.
Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God's wrath. If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson's compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for the people there. Operation Blessing has been working to help thousands of people in Haiti over the last year, and has launched a major relief and recovery effort to help the victims of this disaster. They have sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medications that is now in Haiti, and their disaster team leaders are working to relieve the suffering."
She goes on to add a complete transcript of the now infamous video clip, which I will not burden you with here. And, knowing me, I couldn't just let this go unanswered:
I usually would let the matter rest after venting my frustration, but I fear your response has lead me to do otherwise. I realize that Mr. Robertson did not say that the earthquake in Haiti was God's wrath. However, was there a reason that this alleged pact with the Devil needed to be mentioned at all? It can not be proven that this event actually happened and mentioning it does not help in the relief efforts of a nation that has already suffered greatly and now suffers even more. So why say it? These words do not build up the people of Haiti or preach the Gospel. They only portray Haitians as "devil worshipers" and primitives, which does nothing to further relief efforts, promote healing or solace the wounded and grieving.
No amount of aid work can heal what damage harmful words coming from a man of influence bring about. Yes, we need to pray for the people of Haiti. Yes we need to help them in any way we can. But we do not need to look down on them, or cause others to do the same. We should pray for them as fellow human beings and inheriters of the same Kingdom of God that we claim membership to.
I still believe that this was an ill thought out attempt by Dr. Robertson to grab headlines in the press. There is no other reason I can see why this needed to be mentioned at all, except to get attention. I would like to hear Mr. Robertson officially appologise to the people of Haiti for what he said, and I continue to pray that compassion will win the day in this.