Pattern of Blaming

Last week Pat Robertson (as you’ve probably heard) blamed the earthquake in Haiti on some kind of pact with the Deviil. [1] Honestly, it really doesn’t matter to me how much aid he sends afterward, or how many prayers he asks for. He’s morally bankrupted himself. I mean, imagine this situation:

“Well, daughter, it’s too bad your date didn’t listen when you said no. You shouldn’t have worn such a sexy skirt. We’ll pray for you.”

Um, no. And yeah, there was some outcry when it was first said – but this isn’t a new thing.

And even worse, I don’t see this kind of kneejerk evangelical reaction when disasters strike Western – and especially norteamericano or European white people. Katrina and Haiti? People of color, and Pat Robertson says that their sin brings it on them. Sharon’s (the Israeli politician and peacemaker) death? Pat says that was God’s vengeance. The Christmas tsunami in 2005? This other Baptist leader says it’s brought on by sinful ways. (While Robertson didn’t claim this one as God’s vengeance, he certainly did tie tsunamis and God’s wrath in his 2006 predictions.)

So not only is this blaming the victim – but it really looks like it’s racist too.

So when are other Christians going to get fed up with this kind of morally bankrupt racism being the public face of their religion? Like it or not, if other Christians do not continue to denounce him, they are tacitly approving of it. [2]

Stop watching the 700 Club. Write to sponsors of the program, saying that you’re going to stop using their products – and then do so. Talk to your friends about how Robertson et al are not living by “WWJD”. Write letters to the editor – both of your local papers, but also of any religious magazines you read. Talk to your religious leader, and ask them to talk about this.

And in the meantime, consider how fast you donated a dollar, five, or ten last week. Think about how little you missed it. Then do it again. Maybe every day. Maybe every week. Maybe even once a month. Whatever you can spare. Whatever you can afford. Give to Unicef. Give to the Red Cross. Give to Kiva. Doctors Without Borders.

Because I really believe THAT is what Jesus would do.

[1] We can skip the hypocrisy where he’s said that God doesn’t cause natural disasters, but predicted and blamed disasters based on God’s judgement.
[2] And yes, the exact same argument goes for the Pope telling HIV-ravaged Africans to not use condoms, or any other faith tradition.

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