On January 13, only one day after the most devastating earthquake in Haiti for over 200 years, televangelist Pat Robertson said the nation has been “cursed” by a “pact to the devil.”

He said: “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it….They were under the heel of the French. You know Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal…Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.” Robertson then contrasted Haiti with its neighbor, the Dominican Republic. (From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/13/pat-robertson-haiti-curse_n_422099.html, accessed January 20, 2010.)

Several thoughts with subsequent questions immediately came to my mind upon hearing these comments:
First, comments like this continue to feed the secular media with ammunition enabling them to paint a picture of conservative Evangelical leaders as judgmental and without compassion, or even common sense. After all, even if this statement may be true to some extent (and I don’t know that it is) it does seem insensitive to make such a comment. This would be like telling a grieving mother that her teenage son is now burning in hell because he died in a gang shooting over drugs.

Furthermore, believing Haiti has been judged by God or cursed by the devil is not clear-cut given that thousands of Christians and ministries are also among the victims of this tragedy. Even the Catholic Archbishop of Haiti was killed as well as numerous seminaries and large church buildings being destroyed!

More questions arise in my mind. If God really allowed this on Haiti because of a past pact with the devil then what does that say about the power of the church in Haiti? Does a vow uttered by an unbelieving president generations ago have the authority to override the power of the blood of Christ and the present prayers of believers in Haiti? Or is the Haitian church so compromised that the power behind the nation’s corrupt political government carries more weight with their invisible archetypes (the spiritual world of demons) than the church does with their heavenly angelic allies?
No one really knows the answer to these questions but God.

Biblically speaking, we do know the Bible teaches that a nation obeying the commands of God will be blessed while nations that disobey will be cursed! (See Deuteronomy 28 and Proverbs 14:32.)

The proliferation of voodoo and black magic in Haiti has certainly taken a toll on their people and may have something to do with their poverty and continual tragedies.

But, we still have to go back to the questions above. Perhaps the political leaders representing a nation really do have more representative power than we give them credit. Perhaps if a nation has wicked rulers even the church will suffer the consequences of their sins. This would be similar to the death and destruction our first father Adam unleashed on human kind as our federal head. (See Jeremiah 29:7 and Romans 5:12-19.)

On the other hand, could we also say that the few righteous in a nation should be able to override the wickedness of the many, thus avoiding God’s righteous judgment? Read the Genesis 18 story of Abraham’s intersession before God, in which Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared had there been but ten righteous people in the city.
Be that as it may, I don’t think this is the proper time to pronounce God’s judgment on Haiti. It is a time to pray and to do all we can to demonstrate the love of God by sending them money and humanitarian aid as God’s salt and light to His creation (Matthew 5:13-16)!

In the end, Pat Robertson may have been theologically correct in his mind but biblically unwise in his approach (Proverbs 10:19, 11:30, 15:23).

Joseph Mattera