14 January 2010

Pat Robertson: Idiot of the Week

Here's a story that proves that religion is sometimes stranger than fiction. My friend Crhymethinc has a rather dark sense of humor. In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, he suggested to me that it would be amusing to post comments on news sites suggesting that the disaster was God's wrath on the island for its pagan practice of voodoo. The amusing part, he emphasized, would be in seeing whether other people responded with apoplectic outrage or righteous agreement. But my friend's parodic instinct is no match for the self-parodic tendency of the American Religious Right. It was only a matter of time, after all, before Pat Robertson opined on the subject. And once he had spoken, it was a shorter matter of time before his organization went into spin mode. I really like the nice distinctions drawn by the Robertson camp. It seemed fair to them for Robertson to blame the earthquake on a curse dating back to an alleged revolutionary pact with Satan, but it is unfair for others to summarize his analysis as an attribution of the quake to God. But I suppose, based on Robertson's reasoning following the September 2001 terrorist attacks, that he could believe that God allowed the disaster to occur but did not initiate it. But of course, still following the 2001 model, if God withdrew his protection from Haiti then the Haitians, like the sinful Americans of nine years ago, had only themselves to blame for the earthquake.

As a rule, I believe in voodoo no more than I believe in the Christian mythology, but if it inspires some indignant Haitian to stick pins in a Pat Robertson doll, I'd almost be willing to pray for the pricks to have a practical effect


hobbyfan said...

I read the LA Times piece. Robertson links the earthquake to something from the 18th Century? Uh, hello? Reality calling!

Earthquakes are natural disasters. Maybe no one saw this coming, maybe no one thought to check for fault lines and such, but this quake had 0 to do with any pact with the Devil made over 200 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Besides which, according to Robertson, the pact was between the French colonials who wished freedom from the King, not the Haitians. So shouldn't it have been France to get the quake?

Rush is also catching flack for his remarks, and for once, much of the flack is coming from the right.

Samuel Wilson said...

Limbaugh apparently gave offense in two ways: first by suggesting that the President was aiding Haiti only to cement his support among both "light-skinned" and "dark-skinned" black voters, then by telling listeners not to donate to Haitian relief because they had already done so by paying taxes. I think I get what he meant in the second case but if I'm right his satirical intent was irrelevant to an emergency situation. In any event, readers can follow up on his comments and decide whether he or Robertson was the bigger idiot this week. I still think Robertson wins easily.

Anonymous said...

That's a given...anyone who makes serious claims that any natural disaster has it's roots in supernatural causes is an idiot, especially since experts have been predicting such an event for about 2 years now. I just wanted to point out that he wasn't the only right-wing clown who was making stupid statements.

Anonymous said...

Just a bit of a reminder...experts also say that the super-volcano lurking under Yellowstone National Park (and the reason for all those geysers) erupts about every 60,000 years and it last erupted about 65,000 years, that there is increased and increasing activity in the vicinity and the ground has been slowly, but steadily, rising for a couple of years... Is that because our forefathers made a deal with Satan to win our freedom?