By Frank James

The scientific experts will tell you that Tuesday's magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti was caused by tectonic forces along a seismic fault line that runs through the island of Hispaniola which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic.

But Pat Robertson, the Christian televangelist, has a different explanation guaranteed to scandalize untold numbers. On the "700 Club" he said Haitians made a pact with the devil to be freed from their French colonizers in the 18th Century.

So, as far as Robertson is concerned, the fault is not in the ground; it's in the Haitians.

PAT ROBERTSON: And, you know, Kristi, 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 and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, "We will serve you if you will get us free from the French." True story. And so, the devil said, "OK, it's a deal."
And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It's cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti; on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, et cetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now, we're helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable.
KRISTI WATTS (co-host): Absolutely, Pat.

As we're reminded by NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty who covers religion:

Robertson has a history of blaming disasters on victims. He said Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke because he ceded land to the Palestinians. And he said Americans brought the 9/11 attacks on themselves for their banning school prayer and allowing abortion.

categories: Accidents and Disasters

4:05 - January 13, 2010