In the aftermath of what the Red Cross, United Nations and other agencies now consider the greatest tragedy in the history of our Western Hemisphere—the massive 7.0 earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti—the reaction by leaders and the common man were predictable.
The immediate response to this incomparable human tragedy by governments, world relief agencies and religious organizations is the only bright spot in this dark episode of human drama. An event like this “natural” disaster could happen anywhere at anytime and reduces us all to simply being human. Tragedies like this graphically remind us of the fragility of our existence on this unstable planet we call Earth.
In light of this vulnerable nature of our humanity, the greatest needs in Haiti are identification with being human, deep sympathy, empathy, compassion and our personal and corporate prayers. This perspective has resulted in an outpouring of material emergency relief from the world community. In fact, the United States government has launched the largest relief effort in American history.
The last thing the wonderful Haitian people–who are our neighbors–need right now is any negative or depressive commentary or criticism. The physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual trauma gripping the heart and soul of this small island nation of 8 million Haitians is incalculable and demand a huge dose of compassion and support–not spiritual denunciation and the attempt to assess blame and cause beyond the act of nature.
A few hours ago I sat in my office here in the Nassau, Bahamas, busily working on the formation of an emergency relief plan project for our church and the International Third World Leaders Association global network to respond to this Haitian tragedy while I was watching and listening to the unfolding new reports on the television networks. It was then that I was stunned by words being uttered by a significant and influential leader in the Christian Community–my friend and colleague Dr. Pat Robertson, founder and longtime president of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University.
I dropped my pen, my jaw fell open and my spirit sank in deep disappointing shock as Dr. Robertson attempted to analyze and explain the massive devastating earthquake event hours after its impact.
Robertson’s conclusion was that this horrific natural tragedy is a result of Haiti and the people of Haiti making a “deal with the Devil” and as a result was under a divine spiritual curse.
First I am not sure what he was thinking or his intent or how
to react to this other than with deep disappointment and surprise over the insensitive, untimely and ungodly implications of this character-damaging statement by my brother. It is rare that I would find it necessary to respond publicly to the actions of a member of the church community, but due to the fact that the statements were made in a global media context, and could convey a misrepresentation of the perspective and conviction of many other constituencies of the global church community, it is necessary to clarify our position.
I wish to therefore emphatically state that I am deeply saddened, disappointed and do not agree with the statements made by Rev. Pat Robertson and I hope he would urgently extend an apology to the nation of Haiti and the Haitian people and the Haitian Church community and the church worldwide.
First it is important to remember that as humans we are all created in the image of God and the biblical tenant is that the Creator loves mankind so much He gave Himself for their salvation. Thus the value of human life is measured by what He paid to redeem it. It is His expressed desire that none perish but “all” come to full salvation.
Secondly it is difficult for anyone to judge accurately and fully the cause and source of such massive human disaster such as this earthquake in Haiti or the 9/11 tragedies. Perhaps the question should or could be asked, “Was America under a curse when the terrorist extremist bombed the Twin Towers in New York?” I would not imagine me making such a statement to the people of the United States. It is important that we always error on the side of compassion, love and caring for the human image of God no matter what.
Thirdly, I and my church family network personally relate to scores of spiritually sound, spirit-filled, dedicated, faithful, church leaders and churches who were and are still working diligently for the kingdom of God in Haiti for years. There are churches there that have thousands of members and facilities who relate directly with us of whom we have been proud. I wonder how do these loyal Christian leaders receive, interpret or even attempt to comprehend the words uttered by the Rev. Robertson.
Many of these leaders I know personally have done what many church leaders in America have done, and that is they have addressed the spiritual issue of spiritual covenants and have held private and public events and solemn assemblies to denounce, what they know better than me or Rev. Robertson, any spiritual concerns regarding their nation. I am embarrassed to even speak with my Haitian pastors regarding these statements as it reflects badly on such a respected Christian leader in America.
Fourth, we have within our borders and our church fellowship thousands of Haitian believers who are stunned by these heartless untimely words spoken by Rev. Robertson and it has fallen to me to clarify our position on this matter and reassure them that these words do not represent in any way the views of the majority of the Christian community. Our local Haitian church under our covering is looking to me for comfort not condemnation.
It is my hope that my friend and brother Dr. Pat Robertson will withdraw his statements and make a public apology to the suffering Haitian people especially the Haitian Christian community around the world who need our support at this devastating time and not our condemnation.
Let us all remember that the attitude of the Lord regarding all humanity including who we call “the wicked.” Perhaps this may temper our “reactionary,” ignorant, immature and un-God-like response situations we do not understand nor can explain. Here are words spoken by the Creator regarding all mankind:
Ezek 18:22-23 “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? Declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? -18:32- For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. NIV”
I am now going back to my Haitian Relief Project and if you are willing to assist in bringing hope, help and healing to the image of God in Haiti, please feel free to call me at 242-461-6423 or visit our Web site at bfmmm.com or mylesmunroeInternational.com.
Dr. Myles E. Munroe
The Diplomat Center
P.O. Box N9583