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Robertson Blames Haiti Quake on Devil PactRobertson Blames Haiti Quake on Devil Pact

American evangelist Pat Robertson called the earthquake that has devastated Haiti a 'blessing in disguise'. Speaking on the Christian Broadcasting Network on Wednesday 6 January, Robertson told viewers that the Haitians 'swore a pact to the Devil'.

Robertson Blames Haiti Quake on Devil Pact

Read Dr Leo Ruickbie's Paranormal News special on Haiti's 'Devil Pact' in Paranormal magazine.

Haitians 'got together and swore a pact to the Devil'

Posted 17 January 2010
Updated 18 January 2010

American evangelist Pat Robertson called the earthquake that has devastated Haiti a 'blessing in disguise'.1 Speaking on the Christian Broadcasting Network on Wednesday 6 January, Robertson told viewers that the Haitians 'got together and swore a pact to the Devil'.2

Robertson is no stranger to controversy. The 79 year old had earlier blamed Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,800 people, on God’s wrath.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive has said that nore than 100,000 may have died as a result of the earthquake that struck the island last Tuesday.3

'the Devil said, "OK, it’s a deal".'

Robertson explained that the Haitians had allegedly told the Devil that 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French. And the Devil said, "OK, it’s a deal".' Haiti was a French colony until granted independence in 1804. Despite their freedom, Robertson believes that the Haitians 'have been cursed by one thing after the other' ever since.4

CBN immediately released a press statement in response to Robertson’s comments denying that he had ‘stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath’. CBN spokesman Chris Roslan explained that Robertson’s comments were based on a legend that Haitian rebels had a made a pact with the Devil in return for victory over the French.5

According to Swedish anthropologist, Markel Thylefors, a Voodoo ceremony held in 1791 is widely believed to have instigated the slave rebellion that eventually led to the country’s independence.6

Led by Voodoo priest Dutty Boukman, the ceremony is believed to have been held at Bois Caïman (Bwa Kayiman in Haitin Creole), meaning ‘Alligator Wood’, in the mountains of northern Haiti.

'A black pig was split it open with her knife'

Haitian historian Dantès Bellegrade described the ceremony:

'While the storm raged and lightning shot across the sky, a tall black woman appeared suddenly... Armed with a long, pointed knife that she waved above her head, she performed a sinister dance singing an Anfrican song... A black pig was then dragged in front of her and she split it open with her knife. The animal’s blood was collected in a wooden bowl and served still foaming to each delegate.'7

After a wave of murder and arson, Boukman was quickly captured and executed by the French.8

According to Thylefors, this Voodoo ceremony, and by extension Voodoo itself, has become an integral part of Haitian national identity.9 Although 80 per cent of Haitians are nominally Roman Catholic, the CIA Factbook estimates that about half of Haiti’s population practice Voodoo.

'dedicating Haiti to serve the Devil'

Robertson is not the first to describe this in terms of Devil-worship. Protestants have repeatedly led so-called crusades to Bois Caïman to try and purge the site of its associations. In 2006 the Seed of Abraham Pentecostal Church based in Florida described the event on its website as a 'Satanic ceremony... dedicating Haiti to serve the Devil'.10

A document called the ‘Boukman prayer’ appeared some years after the supposed ceremony in 1824. Claiming to be a record of the words spoken by Boukman, the text includes what can be interpreted as specifically anti-Christian rhetoric:

'The god of the white man inspires him with the crime, but our god calls upon us to do good works. Throw away the symbol of the god of the whites...'11

White House: 'utterly stupid'

The White House responded to Robertson’s remarks Thursday. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said it was ‘utterly stupid’ to suggest that the Haitians had caused their own misfortune.12 White House advisor Valerie Jarrett said on Good Morning America Thursday that she was ‘speechless about that kind of remark’.13

Not everyone has condemned Robertson’s comments. Gary Cass, Chairman and CEO of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, said Robertson’s remarks were ‘well within the bounds of historic Christian theology’.14

Albert Mohler, President of the Sothern Baptist Theological Seminary, added in response that ‘Haiti is a very dark place, where Voodoo and all kinds of idolatry and all kinds of dark magic, all kinds of enslaving forms of religious belief are very prevalent’.15

No Pact

Hans Mardy of the Haitian-American Emergency Relief Committee spoke out saying ‘We did not have no contract with no Devil’.1

  1. ‘Earthquake-rocked Haiti “cursed” by a pact with devil: Pat Robertson’, USAToday.com, 13 Jan 2010, http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2010/01/pat-robertson-cursed-haiti-may-have-blessing-in-disguise-in-earthquake/1
  2. ‘Pat Robertson says Haiti paying for “pact to the devil”’, CNN, 13 Jan 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/01/13/haiti.pat.robertson/index.html
  3. ‘Televangelist Pat Robertson Says Earthquake Result of “Cursed” Haiti’s Satanic Pact’, All Headline News, 13 Jan 2010, http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7017511878
  4. ‘Pat Robertson says Haiti paying for “pact to the devil”’, CNN, 13 Jan 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/01/13/haiti.pat.robertson/index.html
  5. Chris Roslan, ‘Statement Regarding Pat Robertson’s Comments on Haiti’, CBN, 13 Jan 2010, http://www.cbn.com/about/pressrelease_patrobertson_haiti.aspx
  6. Markel Thylefors, ‘“Our Government is in Bwa Kayiman”: A Voodoo Ceremony in 1791 and its Contemporary Significations’, Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies, 4, March 2009.
  7. Bellegarde writing in 1953 quoted in DP Geggus, Haitian Revolutionary Studies (Indiana University Press, 2002), p. 81.
  8. ‘The History of Haiti and Haitian Revolution’, Haitian Bicentennial Site, 2004, http://www.ci.miami.fl.us/haiti2004/history.htm
  9. Thylefors, 2009, p. 74, 75.
  10. Cited in Thylefors, 2009, p. 76.
  11. Quoted in Thylefors, 2009, p. 78.
  12. ‘White House: Robertson Remark About Haiti’s Devil Pact “Utterly Stupid”’, Fox News, 14 Jan 2010, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/01/14/white-house-robertson-remark-haiti-earthquake-utterly-stupid/
  13. Claire Shipman and Devin Dwyr, ‘White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett “Speechless” Over Pat Robertson’s Haiti Comment’, ABC, 14 Jan 2010, http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/white-house-advisor-valerie-jarrett-speechless-pat-robertson/story?id=9555714
  14. Bob Allen, ‘Religious Right Leader Defends Robertson’s Haiti Comment’, ABP, 14 Jan 2010, http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/4728/53/
  15. Allen, 2010.

Read Dr Leo Ruickbie's Paranormal News special on Haiti's 'Devil Pact' in Paranormal magazine.


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