Pat Robertson did it again. He suggests that the Haiti earthquake is divine retribution. And why? They made a pact with the devil.
Robertson is the poster adult for foot in mouth disease. It’s that human malady that all of us have fallen prey to. OK, at least I have. You know, too, what it’s like to pick the worst possible time to say something that shouldn’t be said in that time or place. Impulse control goes on the fritz.
Robertson has ‘foot in mouth disease’ in a bad way. This isn’t the first time he’s said something controversial in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. He threw verbal gasoline onto the fire raging in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Robertson always try to explain the why when no one is asking the question. The questions good people are asking immediately after a tragedy is ‘how and who”. How can I help? How can I enter into what’s happening in a meaningful way? How can I get there to lend assistance? Who do I send money to that's trustworthy? Who do I partner with?
Down the road a bit we can ask the ‘why’ questions including the sticky political and theological ones. And they need to be asked. They will be asked. That's human nature. Not now though. Now is the time to respond with compassion.
And if people ask ‘where’s God in all of this’? He’s with the poor and suffering in Haiti. He’s suffering with them. He’s holding up the aid workers helping them to go further than they thought they could. He’s breathing fresh life into His people. He’s weeping with the heartbroken. He’s stirring up hearts to do good. He's not reveling in the destruction of a country.
By the way, I went on the 700 Club web site which tells us that they have already sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medication to Haiti and their disaster team leaders will be sent to Haiti to help ease the suffering. That’s all Robertson needed to say on the air the other night. He didn’t need to comment beyond that. He just needed to enter into the moment with care and concern and invite others to do so by responding with compassion. You know what? I think Robertson really does care about what's happening to the people in Haiti. Seriously. It's just that his impulse to immediately rain down judgment obscures obvious and generous moves of compassion. And it's the impulsive statement that people latch on to and remember.
In the midst of all the devastation one has to marvel at the way people are responding. I’m proud of America in the past few days. We’ve put aside our bickering to reach out in amazing ways. The church in America has stepped up big time. And it’s just not America. People all over the globe are responding. But I see best what’s right before me. That includes your giving and your efforts. Bravo.