The Rev. Pat Robertson is leading the trending topics on Twitter today after he blamed Tuesday's earthquake on the Haitians' pact with the devil.
Here's what he said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club" today (starts at about 30 seconds).
And you know, Christy, 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, you know, Napoleon III 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. That 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 prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty, same islands. 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.
In 2001, Robertson blamed the September 11 attacks on "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America," he said. "I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"
Update: Here's reaction from Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist and author of Faith in the Halls of Power.
"Pat Robertson continues to distinguish himself as American evangelicalism's most flamboyant spokesperson. When tragedies strike, people naturally ask questions about why bad things happen to the innocent, and millions of Americans see the hand of God or the devil at work in natural calamities," Lindsay said. "But few religious leaders today draw the kinds of explicit connection as Pat Robertson has done with the Haitian earthquake. Robertson's comments reflect as much his rhetorical flourish and skill as a ratings booster as they do his theology."
Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted: Just talked on radio about Pat Robertson's embarrassing comments about Haiti. Theological arrogance matched to ignorance.