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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
The Observer

Haiti and religious tolerance

 The tragedy that has fallen upon the Caribbean nation of Haiti has been at the forefront of public awareness, as horrific images and astounding numbers hit us rapid fire via computer and newsstand. Many public figures have spoken up and offered whatever help they can. These gestures are important because they stir our public consciousness and call for rehabilitation and restoration in a country that already requires a great deal of aid. Much will be needed to make sense of the chaos that resulted from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

Amidst a slew of news blurbs, I found an article highlighting comments from Pat Robertson regarding the crisis in Haiti. For those who haven't heard of Pat, he's the host of television's "700 Club" and enjoys procuring apocalyptic predictions around each New Year, which he believes are divinely inspired. Anyways, he claimed the earthquake is a sign of God's wrath towards the Haitian people for making a pact with the Devil. His supporting evidence was that the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbor, is prosperous because they made no such deal with Lucifer.
Pat is a face for Conservative Christian America, and has a great deal of influence (GOP Presidential nomination run in 1988). People buy his books, attend his healing sessions and name their babies after him. We live in strange times, but it is our responsibility as educated people to denounce such close minded messages. The true message from the Gospel, and from Vatican City, is to help our wounded neighbors, not to cast more stones.
Attitudes displayed by Pat Robertson and other self-righteous white men with microphones are eerily similar to those who burnt books in Nazi Germany, and such blatant intolerance needs to be stifled. They will never stop asserting they are "part of the plan" while they spew out prophecy and hoopla, so we must continue to flat out denounce them.
I met a Haitian priest on an SSLP in Brooklyn, and I have not since met a kinder and more genuine person. These people need our help and hearts, not finger pointing and radical intolerance.
Mike Hopkinson
off campus
Jan. 15

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.