ROBERTSON SPARKS OUTRAGE…. Yesterday, radical TV preacher Pat Robertson told his national television audience that Haiti is “cursed” because the country “swore a pact to the devil” in order to rid itself of “Napoleon the third, or whatever.” In what Robertson insisted was a “true story,” Haitians agreed to “serve” Satan in exchange for independence, and are now feeling the effects of his “curse.”
To put it mildly, this has not gone over well with the American mainstream, which sometimes forgets how truly deranged the religious right movement can be. Robertson’s on-air remarks even came to the attention of the White House.
Robertson’s words instantly triggered a firestorm on the airwaves and online, including a rebuke from senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett on “Good Morning America” today.
“I’m kind of speechless about that kind of remark,” Jarrett said. “Our heart goes out to the people of Haiti … That’s not the attitude that expresses the spirit of the president or the American people, so I thought it was a pretty stunning comment to make.”
For its part, the Christian Broadcasting Network issued a statement, arguing that Haitians “allegedly made a famous pact with the devil,” but Robertson “never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath.”
No, of course not. All he said is that is Haiti agreed to “serve” Satan, became “cursed,” and is now burdened by a disaster. Why would anyone draw a connection from that?
As for the history, Matt Yglesias has a good item describing the background of the Bois Caiman Ceremony that in Haitian national mythology initiated the revolution. It wasn’t a deal with Satan, and Napoleon III didn’t lead France until a half-century later.
As for the politics, I can only assume that Robertson has disgraced himself once again in the eyes of the American mainstream, but conservatives and Republicans won’t care. Robertson blamed 9/11 on Americans, and he remained a prominent leader on the right. He also blamed Americans for Hurricane Katrina, and was not ostracized from the conservative movement.
The right’s tolerance for insanity knows no bounds.