Pat Robertson Haiti Comments Continue to Draw Ire

(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Comments from the controversial Rev. Pat Robertson that Haiti suffered from a devastating earthquake because of its "pact with the devil" continue to stir curiosity and outrage.

The storyline continues to sit near the top of Google trends within the United States -- and it's even drawing interest across borders.

"It took about five nanoseconds for evangelical Pat Robertson's video verdict on the causes of the Haiti earthquake to start making the rounds in France," Robert Marquand reports from Paris for the Christian Science Monitor.

While the French enjoy "chuckles of disbelief" over the folklore surrounding their former colony, a detailed explanation of the origins of Robertson's comments is offered at political blog FiveThirtyEight.com. As the Hotsheet noted yesterday, Robertson's remarks have their roots in Haitian religious mythology.

"His comments come straight out of a blend of theology and history that, at the grassroots, pervades Haiti's political discourse," Robert Taber, a doctoral candidate in Carribbean History at the University of Florida, wrote at FiveThirtyEight.

He adds a positive spin to Robertson's remarks, writing, "The most generous reading of Rev. Robertson's statement is one of searching for positive direction and building anew. Port-au-Prince last rose out of the rubble in 1770, twenty-one years before the people of Haiti began the West's only successful slave revolt. We need to begin the discussion of how this rebuilding can match the glory of that remarkable achievement."

Raymond Joseph, Haitian ambassador to the U.S., added more historical context to the discussion last night, pointing out that Haiti's independence movement facilitated the Louisiana Purchase in the United States and lead to the liberation of Latin American states.

He blasted Robertson's comments, concluding, "So, what pact the Haitians 'made with the devil' has helped the U.S. become what it is."

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Many other commentators continued to criticize Robertson. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington remarked yesterday that, "For anybody of faith, even if you're not God, Pat Robertson is giving religion a terribly bad name, again and again."

Jim Wallis, a prominent progressive Christian leader, gave a similar assessment: "As a Christian leader, I have had to spend too much of my time trying to overcome an image of Christianity that was created by the likes of Pat Robertson," he wrote. "When evil strikes, it's easy to ask, where is God. The answer: God is suffering in the midst of the evil with those who are suffering."

You can watch video of Robertson's comments six mintutes into the video below: