Pat Robertson Not Alone in Demonizing Haiti
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:46:14 PM EST
Some tragedies are so horrific that is hard to process the reality of what you are seeing.  This is the case in Haiti where veteran news broadcasters are stunned at the carnage.  Among the many thousands of dead is the archbishop of Port-au-Prince, and the city's historic Notre Dame Cathedral is one of many buildings completely destroyed.

While survivors are still being rescued by frantic family and friends digging through concrete with their hands, Pat Robertson informs us that this tragedy may be a blessing since the nation of Haiti has a pact with the devil. Link to the video at Media Matters. Meanwhile, Robertson's Operation Blessing is being flashed on television screens everywhere as one of the charitable organizations to which viewers should send their donations!  Unfortunately this is not the only ministry which has demonized the people they claim to serve in Haiti.

This myth of being dedicated to the devil has been used to demonize Haitians since they rebelled in 1791 against their French colonial slave masters, and claimed independence in 1804. The ongoing religious/political myth fueled the belief that the pact with the devil would expire after 200 years and be renewed sometime between 1991 and 2004.

Haiti has been portrayed as a nation of people who ritually sacrifice children and attack their enemies with voodoo dolls and "zombies."  Historians debate whether the  "Vaudoux" or "Vodou" ceremony in which leaders of the slave rebellion are supposed to have participated actually took place. Regardless, Haitian voodoo is not devil worship, unless viewed in the context that all non-Christian religion is demonic. Much of the mythology around Haiti is a product of imperialism, political intrigue, and Hollywood.

Leslie G. DesMangles, associate editor of the Encyclopedia for Africa and African American Religions states,

"But unfortunately, in popular literature and films the term voodoo has been misconstrued as sorcery, witchcraft, and in some cases cannibalistic practices, all of which are false and have kindled many foreigners' prejudices not only about Vodou, but about Haitian culture in general."

From Leslie G. Desmangles, The Faces of the Gods (1992)


The Haitian revolution against their French masters put the "fear of God" into colonial empires around the world. It was believed that the rebellion could not have possibly been achieved by any other power than the devil himself. The myths were embellished by people like Sir Spencer St. John, a British consul to Haiti  who published the 1886 book The Black Republic. He claimed that "Vaudoux" practicing Haitians were cannibals who sacrificed children.  St. John's writings were widely published to support the claim that Haitians were not capable of self-rule.  The characterization has since been used to justify "recolonizing" Haiti's land and economy as a source of low wage labor, a struggle which continued for generations.  

The mythology of Haiti has played a significant role in its recent political struggles.  While many people go to Haiti to provide humanitarian relief, there have also been floods of missionaries, of both the religious and political variety, who have responded to the call to save Haiti from the pact with the devil.

A report from DAWN Ministries publicized "spiritual warfare" battles that were used to counter voodoo celebrations in Haiti.  DAWN stands for Discipling A Whole Nation, and the reported "holy invasion" was under the auspices of AD 2000, a 1990s missions movement to evangelize the world by the year 2000.

The following report from the Haitian bishop Joel Jeune recently reached us via Gerry A. Seale, General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean and Regional Coordinator of the AD2000 Movement.

Our church members started their march in front of the President's palace and marched for 6 hours to the place where the Satanic ceremony took place 206 years ago.... We formed a Jericho march, circling the magic tree seven times. On the seventh time around, God gave many people a vision of the devil fleeing from the area. The Christians were overjoyed. We cancelled the Satanic contract and broke the curse, before celebrating communion and dedicating the area as a place of prayer. We also declared 14 August to be a national prayer day, on which people should pray that Haiti will return to God

Note that despite his title of "bishop," Joel Jeune and the other participants of this "holy invasion" are charismatic evangelicals. C. Peter Wagner was the head of the prayer track of AD 2000 and Beyond.

Following is an example of the propaganda used to promote Haiti's National Day of Prayer in 1997, sponsored by "Vision Haiti."

"Last week a baby was stolen from the hospital in St. Marc. The reason the child is to be sacrificed to appease the Voodoo gods for the so-called special day of celebration. There are generally two ways they sacrifice children. One is in a large grinding pot. They place the child in the pot and proceed to grind the child while still alive. The other way is even more demonic as they hang the child upside down by his feet and place a large bowl beneath him. The child hangs until dead as the body releases its fluids into the bowl. The bowl is then placed in the sun to dry. Afterward, the priest takes what is left of the young child and grinds the body into a powder to use for his Voodoo ceremony.

Can you imagine?

This is the kind of satanic worship and bondage that has gripped the Haitian people for over 200 years."

This gruesome account is similar to other unsubstantiated stories that I have seen over the years used by aggressive charismatic missionary programs.  The emotional appeals are used to solicit funds from churches and individuals.  Another example of publicity touting the work of Vision Haiti can be found at this link.

In 2003 Jean-Bertrand Aristide, then president of Haiti,  recognized voodoo as an official state religion. Link to the BBC report.  Subsequently Christianity Today published an October 2003 article reporting that this had created fears among some Christians concerned that Aristide might be planning to "renew the 200-year old pact with the devil."  Christianity Today also repeated the infant abduction story although they stated that it was "unconfirmed."

It is difficult to determine the extent of the role that these religious controversies have played in Haiti's chaotic politics but in 2003 there were numerous calls for Aristide's ouster from outlets with ties to right wing evangelicals. Front Page, published by neo-conservative David Horowitz published "Haiti, Victim of Clinton's Old Black Magic" by Lowell Ponte.  

But forces may be in play that are both deeper and darker than what the international press is reporting. We might be witnessing a struggle of "principalities and powers."

These sinister forces trace their roots to Haiti's origin as an independent nation. And those roots may have entangled Bill Clinton and even Democratic Presidential frontrunner Senator John F. Kerry in strange and twisted ways.


This article not only included the claim that Haiti had been dedicated to the devil by slaves, but also quoted a 1998 article by "historian" Joel Ruth in World Net Daily.  Ruth claimed that through Bill Clinton's friendship with Aristide, Clinton had been able to procure services of voodoo sorcerers in order to win the 1992 election. The article is written as if it is inside information coming from Haiti.  However, the claims are of the absurd type made by those who exploit mistaken notions about voodoo, and Joel A. Ruth appears to be a specialist in "Clinton mythology."  

Another example of the Haiti mythology was in the online American Daily in March 2004, now published by "Move Off,"  The article "Government of the Devil, by the Devil, and For the Devil," was written by Tom Barrett.  He  begins by stating,

"Haiti is the only country in the entire world that has dedicated its government to Satan."

Barrett also repeats the claim of the baby being abducted for ritual sacrifice and also cites as his source a conversation he had with Bishop Joel Jeune at a Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship meeting. Barrett is also a minister and publisher of "Conservative Truth.org" which bills itself as "The Antidote to the Liberal Media."

In a current video by Jim Glynn of Heart of God Ministries, he explains the claimed pact with the devil of Haiti’s people and its consequences. Link here. Glynn continues this explanation in a series of video presentations. [1, 2, 3 ] This idea that a nation or ethnic groups can be literally cursed or demonically possessed, therefore causing poverty, corruption, and other calamities, has gained credibility in some evangelical circles.  Current events are seen through the lens of a cosmic struggle between light and dark - charismatic Christians vs. an array of literal demons and principalities.  

The introduction of "Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare" and other evangelizing techniques into missions work has given widespread legitimacy to this dualistic and demon haunted view of the world. C. Peter Wagner, head of the New Apostolic Reformation, along with his colleagues including Ed Silvoso of International Transformation Networks and George Otis, Jr. of Sentinel Group, introduced an entire genre of movies and books teaching these concepts.  

The Transformations series produced by George Otis, Jr. has been used to teach millions worldwide that they have a mandate to purge these demons from the earth.  The movies show prototypes of the mini-utopias that can be achieved when a community is "transformed" and charismatic Christians take "dominion" over government and spheres of society.  The nationwide effort touted as the prototype for this type of dominion is Uganda.  In communities around the globe there are prayer marches, and around-the-clock prayer centers founded on the ideology that  participants must literally repel the demons from their communities. (See Bruce Wilson's new movie showing the impact of the Transformations movement on Uganda, including the proposed anti-gay legislation.)

Sadly there are a number of organizations like Operation Blessing whose leadership demonize the people claim to serve.  And they will be quite happy to take your donation in support of humanitarian relief for Haiti. Operation Blessing has been a recipient of U.S. faith-based funding and was also listed as a FEMA charity during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Hopefully Americans will contribute generously, but wisely, when they send their donations to aid Haiti.  There are numerous reputable religious and secular humanitarian organizations who do not demonize those in need of aid.



Additional Notes from the Author

-See Richard Bartholomew's article on the same topic. He has additional examples including YWAM's claims about Haiti's "deal with the devil."

-In 2006 the partnership that Bishop Joel Jeune had with sponsors Paul and Jan Crouch of Trinity Broadcast Network, ended in a feud and resulted in a multi-million dollar hospital project being abandoned before completion.   Link to LA Times article.

-Note that demonization of others is not limited to non-Christians.  It was under the auspices of AD 2000 and Beyond that Wagner's prayer warriors conducted a 1997 spiritual warfare battle against the "Queen of Heaven," the demon they believe blocks Roman Catholics (and Muslims) from converting to charismatic Christianity.  The testimony of the prophetess for the expedition is still posted on Transforming Melbourne, including her claim that the spiritual warfare may have helped to bring about the death of Mother Teresa. Link to Killing Mother Teresa with their Prayers.

-This "transformation" ideology has spread to The Salvation Army which is now partnering with Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI) to provide training for the Salvation Army's War College students in the U.S. and Canada.  WLI is headed by C. Peter Wagner of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and  Apostle Stacey Campbell of the NAR is on the Salvation Army's international Board of Reference.  See this link to a video of Stacey Campbell, which might help those who have not ever observed these type of charismatic manifestations, to understand the intensity of the movement. Standing around her in the video are many of the top Apostolic and Prophetic leaders in the NAR.  Todd Bentley, who the Apostles were anointing in this ceremony, is "slain in the spirit" and lying on the floor.




Display:
Great post. And let us also remember Wagner's views on how Japanese emperors "openly invited national demonization" through a supposed sex ritual with a demon.

by Richard Bartholomew on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 04:38:05 AM EST

"We cancelled the Satanic contract and broke the curse, before celebrating communion and dedicating the area as a place of prayer. "

Well, if that is so, then what is there to worry about, eh?  :-/


by SaraBeth on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 05:44:13 AM EST


A new program, unheard of years ago, has developed in Baptist Circles.  It is called prayer walking.  One is to travel to a region, then walk around a block or home praying constatntly for a period of time.  The missionary does not offer food, medicine, or message to the location.  The only reason for being there is to walk around this area and pray.  One wonders why not stay at home and pray?  Is it not taught that God is all present?  I have wondered at where this came from. I am starting to believe it is people like Wagner's infleunce.

by wilkyjr on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 09:29:15 AM EST
The prayer walking is a toned down version of spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare techniques developed by C. Peter Wagner and colleagues.  These involve literally mapping your neighborhood to locate "darkness" and demons prior to prayer warfare to take on the various principalities.  Wagner calls it strategic level spiritual warfare.

These techniques gained credibility in much larger evangelical circles when numerous denominations and independents came together in the 1990s through the LCWE and the related AD 2000 and Beyond.  Wagner was head of the United Prayer Track and led this multi-denominational effort in prayer walks, Jesus marches, and spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare excursions.  They teach that when Christians come together in a community and employ these techniques to ward off the demons and take Christian "dominion," the result is mini-utopias in which there is supposedly great progress in fighting crime, corruption, poverty, etc.  

The Transformations series of movies is presented  as the documentary evidence that this works.  However, much of the material in the movies can be easily disproved.  See Bruce Wilson's new movie on "Transformations" in Uganda at http://www.vimeo.com/8749833.

What is frightening about this is that I do not believe that many of the people who participate in these activities understand the source or literal meaning.  They are being reeled in slowly. Many of the "transformations" groups around the world look fairly benign and altruistic on the surface.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:05:06 AM EST
Parent

The thing that strikes me in the research I have done on some of these groups is that it's like reading Jesus's version of the worst of New Age angel thinking and New Age channeling. All the same concepts with slightly different language--even the strange gyrations on stage is all very similar.

by colkoch on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 03:18:21 PM EST
Parent
You are right.  There are many striking similarities to New Age practices.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Sat Jan 16, 2010 at 10:57:03 AM EST
Parent

Much of what is taking place in this movement would have been shocking to conservative evangelicals only a few decades ago.  It is amazing how practices that were considered heretical and on the fringes of the Charismatic/Pentecostal stream a few decades ago, are now being brought right in the doors of Southern Baptist churches and even Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopalian churches involved in "renewal."

by Rachel Tabachnick on Sat Jan 16, 2010 at 11:03:54 AM EST
Parent
It was the promotion of creationism (in the guise of "Intelligent Design"), hatred for gays (two of my best friends are GLBT), and acceptance of Assemblies-type leaders that drove us out of the Episcopal churches down here.

They've even been promoting programs that came out of the Assembles (DOMINIONIST) churches in the parishes around here.

I might add that the push-push-push and demand for giving and tithes didn't help either.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Jan 16, 2010 at 11:13:56 AM EST
Parent






This so reminds me of the aftermath of Katrina.  I also expect that the dominionist pseudo-charities will be out in force to suck up resources and proselytize.

I might remind people of all of the wrong things that happened after Katrina- all connected in some way to dominionism.

I also think that dogemperor's list of good and bad charities.    http://nola-biglist.blogspot.com/

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Jan 16, 2010 at 10:14:54 AM EST

The faith-based money trough was very good to this crowd.  They became deeply entrenched in emergency response services although they clearly state that their mission is to be the first to reach the unsaved!  They are also involved in a lot abstinence-only training programs.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Sat Jan 16, 2010 at 11:12:54 AM EST
Parent


Thanks for assembling this documentation of the right-wing Evangelical libel against Haiti. I have written a couple of entries in my blog (Jan. 15, Jan. 19) about Pat Robertson's recent remarks, mostly concerning his perverted version of theodicy and his prophetic pretensions. Although I made some remarks about how his so-called "true story" is a fatuous and bigoted misrepresentation of the meeting at Bois Caïman, it was only after posting my second entry that I discovered how widely that misrepresentation is disseminated and how often repeated among Evangelical right-wingers. But until I read your piece I did not appreciate the extent of the historical antecedents of Robertson's utterances. If I post another entry on the subject, I will be sure to cite this one of yours.

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Apostolic and Prophetic leaders in the NAR.  Todd Bentley, who the Apostles were anointing in this ceremony, is "slain in the spirit" and lying on the floor. smarsh.com


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