Today she took after Pat Robertson for saying that
…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 the third 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. 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. . .
Dougherty often refers to her Christian upbringing and faith, and I believe her. But there are (at least) two kinds of Christians: those who believe in a “Just God” – a Jonathan Edwards kind of God - and those who believe that “God is love.”
She says of Robertson, and I quote:
. I don’t pretend to understand the theological underpinnings to Robertson’s flights of fancy. But it seems that in his world, one of two things must have happened in Haiti this week:
Either God wreaked havoc on these poor people to punish them because their ancestors climbed into bed with Satan. Or God wasn’t powerful enough to stop the devil from unleashing deadly mischief on his pals.
I can’t buy either one.
However, I want to specifically contrast Dougherty and Robertson’s theological view of Christianity. While I believe that Robertson may well have been taken in a by a fable, his analysis is grounded in a “just God” theology found in both the old and new testaments. If Robertson believes the story about a pact with the Devil, (and I believe that Robertson is a Bible believing literalist who believes in a God who is active in the universe today) his view is that of a God that punished His “chosen people” Israel for departing from his ways. Unless the God of the Old Testament has taken early retirement, it is entirely logical to attribute the horrors that have befallen Haiti – even before the earthquake – to a punishment for a particularly grievous sin: a pact with the Devil that explains the Voodoo practices of many in Haiti.
Dougherty’s theology is of a more modern kind. One in which God is a sweet and rather saccharine creator of the universe. Who loves puppies and little children, pick us up when we fall down and never-ever judges us or turns His back. This is the God who was referred to as “God the Almighty Patsy.” He’s the God who sent his Son to die for us on the cross in redemption for our sins … but since he is such a loving, forgiving Soul, it’s hard to figure out why He bothered.
Whose version of God exists we’ll know one day. However, Dougherty’s column is rather mean spirited in its own right since she compares Robertson to a drunk and a money grubber who doesn’t believe what he says but uses it to con the rubes out of their money.
What Dougherty does not quote is the next part of Robertson’s remarks which put a rather different spin on the issue:
… the Island of Hispaniola is one island cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti, on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is, is, prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty, same Islands, uh, 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.
Whatever your theology, I hope that we can all agree that bringing relief to the suffering people of Haiti is a worthy goal.