Assigning moral blame for natural disasters is becoming a sort of time-honored custom in some circles of Christian fundamentalism. That's why when Pat Robertson claimed that the earthquake in Haiti was caused by its people's "pact with the devil," few were surprised. Robertson and other evangelical ministers have pinned a number of tragic, large-scale disasters on the victims. According to National Review's Peter Wehner, Robertson's thinking is as "neat and clean as a mathematical equation":
God grants blessings and curses on nations and people based on their allegiance and obedience to Him. If things are going well, you're living right; if things are going badly, you're living wrong. And it is Robertson himself who can divine the hierarchy of sins that most trouble God.
Sadly, this is hardly the first tragedy to start a fundamentalist blame game:
- 9/11 Following the devastating attack, the televangelist Jerry Falwell said 9/11 occurred because of pagans, abortionists, feminists, "the gays and the lesbians" and the ACLU.
- Hurricane Katrina Weighing in on the crisis, pastor John Hagee said "I
believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God,
and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that." Hagee later retracted that statement.
- The 2006 American Tsunami? On that year, Robertson predicted that in America, there will be "earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados -- volcanic eruption. The coasts will be lashed by storms and disasters and, yet, this still isn't the big one. Bigger ones are even coming.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.