We have spent most of the week hearing the images and reading the stories of thousands of people devastated by the earthquakes in Haiti. There are many reactions to such a tragedy, but the only Christian response is action. It is action through prayer, giving, and volunteering. Today we can only do two of those things.
Unfortunately, some that call themselves Christian made another response. Last week I preached in my church about the danger of grouping people into “us” and “them,” because the next step is dehumanization, and the next is violence. Today though, I feel that I need to call out evil when I see it.
On the TV show the 700 Club, Pat Robertson connected the earthquake and 200 years of poverty with a pact that Haitians made with the devil. This statement is historically inaccurate. It is theologically disturbing and it is morally reprehensible. I could go into the details about why this is the case, but others have done so with more vigor and tenacity then I have the energy to do.
I have been preaching and blogging about religious violence and the evil in the world that is done in the name of God. To claim that this earthquake was the wrath of God as punishment for a mythical deal from 200 years ago is an act of religious violence. It is not physical violence, but it is emotional abuse. To claim this tragedy in the name of God is shameful.
Instead of invoking the name of God as a cause of the earthquake for some unknown political or monetary gain, let us instead invoke the name of God as the inspiration of our mercy. Let us invoke the name of God as the source of hope in the midst of chaos and despair. Let us invoke the name of God as people are dug out of the rubble, as food is delivered to a newly orphaned child, and as we hold a crying mother in our arms.