A public letter for Dr. Pat Robertson:
Dear Dr. Robertson-
As a fellow Christian and Church leader, I have two words for you out of my deep concern for the people of Haiti, the rest of the world, Christ’s Church, and you: shut up!
Allow me to elaborate.
As you know, the media has reported you saying that the earthquake in Haiti resulted from Haitians having once made a pact with the devil. The reality of Haiti’s ongoing poverty and suffering has been heartbreaking to so many people. Much of the world is now in shock and in terrible grief over the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake. Then, like salt poured into an open wound, we have to deal with your comments. You haven’t done yourself any service by trying to clarify them; if anything you’ve made things worse.
I fully understand that too often the media wrongly reports things that notable people say or quotes them out of context, but even if you are within a slim sliver of being slightly, remotely correct that the earthquake in Haiti was somehow a consequence of a “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,” in the face of such death and vast human suffering in Haiti, your horrific comments are painful and inappropriate to the extreme. So, the next time something like this happens (God forbid!), please limit yourself to share your sorrow, pray, and encourage fellow Christians to give and to get involved. If you’re feeling the need to say anything else, do yourself and all the rest of us a favor and go on a very long vacation… or just retire! And if the temptation is still within you, buy a case of duct tape to paste on your mouth.
Furthermore, it is apparent that you do not understand the impact that comments like these have on those who are not Christians. They hear you say things like this and then distance themselves even further from Christianity and the Church. You make it especially difficult for the rest of us to do our jobs. Now, thanks to you, it is even more difficult to invite and form new disciples of Jesus when the same people we’re trying to love and reach more profoundly associate the Church with the kind of coldness, insensitivity, harshness, and judgmental attitudes that you and others before you have espoused, most especially during horrific times of crisis and disaster.
So, just in case you didn’t hear me before, please take my humble advice, Dr. Robertson: shut up!
Rev. Chris Owens
First United Methodist Church, Senior Pastor