Beliefnet News

Jan. 14–VIRGINIA BEACH — Broadcaster Pat Robertson offered an explanation Wednesday for the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti: a purported pact with the devil.
“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, uh, you know, Napoleon III and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you, if you get us free from the French’ — true story,” Robertson said on “T he 700 Club.”
“And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor.”
Robertson went on to say that the needs in Haiti are great and that prayers are needed. A phone number for Operation Blessing International, an affiliated relief agency working in Haiti, was on the screen for donations.
In a statement issued after the show aired, CBN spokesman Chris Roslan said Robertson was basing his comments on accounts of a 1791 slave rebellion. According to Haitian folklore, Roslan said, the slaves made a pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French.
“This history, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed,” the statement said. “Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath. If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson’s compassion for the people of Haiti is clear.”
Operation Blessing already had people in Haiti working on clean water projects; it is now coordinating its response to the earthquake. Disaster team leaders were expected to arrive in Haiti today, said Bill Horan, the relief agency’s president.
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Copyright (c) 2010, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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