Following Pat Robertson’s unimaginably insensitive comments yesterday regarding the Haitian disaster, and following the angry diatribes and vitriol that has spewed from many quarters, I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts. I’m saddened by Robertson’s comments and realize that, but for God’s grace that could have been me just a few short years ago. I don’t think he’s a bad man. I don’t for one moment think that his comments were meant to be a scathing attack on Haiti’s “apparent ungodliness.” I don’t even think he realized how insensitive his comments were. I do think though, that that’s the danger of surrounding yourself with only people who think just like you. Charismatic Christianity has evolved a language and culture all its own, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world doesn’t speak your language or live in your world.
Pat Robertson has probably learned very quickly that not every Christian shares his world view. What earthly good (or heavenly good for that matter) does it do to make such unbelievably irresponsible comments in the aftermath of such a tragic event? When you become so insular so that you don’t even have a pulse on the real world where people live, work, play, and die, you tend to make comments like Pat did. Proof that there’s a major disconnect between his heart and his head is in the fact that, as he made his comments, there was a number on the screen to which people could call in and make donations to CBN’s efforts to help the Haitian disaster victims. Clearly his heart was in the right place, so why make such insensitive comments? I could be redundant and answer that question for you in this blog, but Don Miller has done a better job than I ever could of explaining the answer here, and so I suggest you click on the hyperlink and read it before you continue.
If you’re completely oblivious as to what I’m talking about then go here and read it, but just in case you’re in too much of a hurry, the encapsulated version is that Pat Robertson said,
Let us say for the sake of argument, that that was true. Would now be the time to declare it? Miller makes a profound observation in his response to Robertson and states:
Can you imagine giving the eulogy at a funeral and starting out by saying “before I tell you about God’s grace, let me make it clear that little Johnny deserved to die because he stole candy from a store.”
Sadly, Robertson’s comments have done nothing but polarize Christians, and further increase the divide between the Church and the secular world. You see, as far as the media (and many other people for that matter) are concerned, Robertson speaks for Christians everywhere. Since neither Robertson, you, nor I are God, I think we might want to be a bit more careful about what we claim is God and what isn’t. Tony Campolo demonstrated that fact quite succinctly when, during a CNN debate in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina one religious leader noted that the New Orleans devastation was a direct judgment from God on the wanton debauchery of that city. Where upon Campolo reminded him that the French Quarter was fine and only the low-income minorities were devastated. He proceeded to ask if his fellow guest thought that God was angry with low-income minorities. So what’s the point I’m making? Simply that we should arm ourselves with “towels and basins” to wash people’s feet, and worry less about declaring God’s judgment over the very people that Jesus died for! Just my two cents.