Did Haiti “Deserve” its earthquake?

There are several interesting permutations of the earthquake in Haiti.

1. Rush Limbaugh has really blown it this time. Even when I disagree with him, even when I feel he’s crossing a line, he usually maintains some basic level of decency and civility. But this time, he’s pulled a double-whammy:
a. Making racist comments (supposedly in allusion to Harry Reid) while discussing Haiti
b. Blaming Communism for Haiti’s poverty: technically, I’m not aware that Haiti is a Communist country or ever has been. Haiti’s poverty is due to capitalism: the United States stripped Haiti of its resources, particularly its rainforests, long ago. The best thing the US could do for Haiti is to pick the population up and move them here, because we are directly responsible for Haiti’s poverty.. The fact that Haiti is nothing more than a tributary of the US can be shown in that there’s a coup in Haiti every time we have a new president. Bush sent troops into Haiti to put in the guy he wanted. Clinton sent troops into Haiti to put in the guy he wanted. Dubya sent troops into Haiti to put in the guy he wanted.

2. Oddly enough, Pat Buchanan is supporting Obama on this one and saying we should go in to help.

3. Liberal Hypocrisy: Limbaugh is being roundly condemned in a Yahoo front page story. Pat Robertson (below) has been roundly condemned in numerous articles, on most major news services, all over the Net. Meanwhile, Yahoo is not posting front page stories about Joyce Tarnow, the owner of a Florida abortion clinic in Florida, says that Haitians can “stew in their own juices” and “wither on the vine.” Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ebenezer Scrooge, and, apparently, Rush Limbaugh, she is a very vocal advocate of Kissinger Doctrine. Like Limbaugh, she sees poor nations as a drain on US superiority and says we should just kill them all. Somehow, I don’t see posts all over the blogosphere calling her an “idiot.”
I wonder if as many liberal websites are condening Tarnow’s comments the way conservative sites are condemning Libaugh and Robertson?

4. Speaking of Pat Robertson, the man who told you 20 years ago that God was going to kill him if he didn’t get a million dollars in donations, who told us abortion’s OK in China, and who tells people on his show that somewhere out there he knows a person with a bad back will feel better (surprisingly, the Holy Spirit can’t tell him this person’s name), has now said that the Haitians deserved the earthquake because they made a deal with the Devil. For some reason, this crackpot is news.

Now, it never ceases to amaze me how Protestants condemn Catholics for having the Pope but make their own mini-Popes. They listen to guys like Robertson make insane pronouncements, and they look to their gurus for advice on every aspect of their lives. The Holy Father has far less influence on my life, and makes far less pronouncements on daily issues, than James Dobson or Pat Robertson do to their followers.

Nonetheless, several questions are raised by this statement.

5. What does he mean by “Deal with the Devil”? Supposedly, there was some kind of pact with Satan allegedly involved with Haiti’s original bid for independence. He may also have been referring to widespread animism and voodoo. He may also have been referring to Catholicism, as Robertson is well known for his views on Catholicism.

6. Does that mean they “deserved” the earthquake?

Well, let’s look at why the earthquake was so bad. The earthquake was so devastating in part because of horrible infrastructure. Limbaugh can blame communism all he likes, but, again, the buck stops with the US on this one. It’s one thing to talk about people being able to pick themselves up and pursue opportunity, but when you’re in the poorest country in the world, and you have no opportunities, and you have no natural resources ,you’re kind of stuck. And I’m sure Limbaugh would not advocate letting the Haitians come here en masse to pursue opportunity.

7. Now, the problem of Evil. Does God punish sin with disasters? Short answer? Yes. When the people ask Jesus about some recent disasters, such as a tower falling on some people, they ask if the people were being punished. Jesus doesn’t reply directly, but He does warn the people to repent so they won’t die in sin if a similar disaster befalls them.

When disaster falls, we say that “God withdraws His protection.” Rather than saying God punishes with disaster, it’s more proper to say that God rewards devotion and virtue by protecting His people from disasters. But, of course, God does not always protect His people. Jesus Himself suffered the most humiliating and miserable fate possible in His culture.

In fact, Jesus illustrates this perfectly. Jesus had miraculous protection His entire ministry, such as when the people tried to stone Him and He passed through them.

But the Father withdrew protection from Jesus–“abandoned” Him, in Our Lord’s own words–on Good Friday.

So, too, God sometimes withdraws protection from those He loves to test them with suffering or to bring them to Heaven.

It is a delicate matter to deal with the question of disaster. Disaster is most certainly a warning from God. Both Fr. Corapi and Fr. Groeschel warned that 9/11 was a sign from God, and America needs to repent. Is there anything wrong with saying that? No.

Then there was that Bishop-elect in Austria who was forced to resign over controversy about saying New Orleans “deserved” Katrina. Technically he had a point too.

The problem is saying that the victims deserved to die, versus saying that God sent the disaster as a warning. Those are two completely different concepts. The former is the very embodiment of Jesus’ teaching “judge not lest ye be judged,” while the latter is what Jesus Himself said regarding disasters.


5 responses to “Did Haiti “Deserve” its earthquake?

  1. You can listen to Joyce Tarnow comment about population control in another interview captured in the film: Maafa21 Black Genocide in 21st Century America. Go to http://www.maafa21.com on the web or Google: Saynsumthn, Joyce Tarnow

  2. The Bible says that in the last days there will be earthquakes in diverse places. And the number of earthquakes world wide has been increasing in the last few decades. Each year has a greater and greater number of them. Most are small and hurt nobody. But the numbers that hurt people are increasing too. Earthquakes are a threat to people all over the world now.

    The earthquake in Haiti was a 7.0 earthquake. There was an earthquake of the exact same magnitude in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1980’s. The damage was bad, but not nearly as bad as in Haiti. Some people were killed, but not nearly as big a percentage of the population as in the current Haitian earthquake.

    Why is a 7.0 earthquake so much worse in Haiti than in San Francisco? Because we have building codes that are designed for earthquakes and they don’t. This could be partly an economic thing. They are a very poor country, and may not have the money to worry about earthquake standards for buildings. They’re lucky enough just to be able to throw up a building at all. So they have buildings that are just thrown up. When an earthquake strikes, the results are tragic.

    Are the people of Haiti sinners? Yes, of course. The Bible says all people are sinners. Did the people of Haiti make a pact witht he devil back in a previous century to throw off French domination? Maybe, I don’t know. Even if they did, the people there now weren’t born yet, didn’t do it, and had no power to stop it. So why would God want to hurt them for something they had no say over? Yes, the Bible says there are generational curses, (which I’ve always thought was so unfair, since I have no control over who my ancestors are or the power to control their behavior). But God would still want us to have compassion on the people of Haiti and not sit there gloating about how these sinners are obviously getting God’s judgement. Even if they are, our turn may be next, especially if we don’t have the compassion God wants us to have.

  3. Wow, sometimes I wonder why people jabber on so about God’s business as if they have Him all figured out. There are a few facts that should not be overlooked here: 1) God created everything and everybody. 2) God loves all that He created and He loves those people in Haiti more than we love them or they love themselves, so if He created them, and He loves them more than we do, don’t you think He knows what He is doing when He allows this terrible thing to fall on the good and the bad alike. As for the medias comments, I say ‘Why on earth would you listen to any thing they have to say? Who are they to make them “kings” over all of us?” This should remind you of todays reading at Mass, when the Jewish people asked to be allowed to have an earthly king, first they were warned and then they were granted their wish, and even today we to suffer when we “vote’ in our kings in the US Congress, and President. Look how well we are doing, I am sure God is unimpressed! Please stop psychoanalizing everything and give God room to rule. Love your neighbor as yourself for the love of God, and serve God by doing all that He askes of you. If your heart is not moved to compassion by the natural disasters occuring around the world, they won’t be moved by the little disasters happening right in your own neighborhood, maybe right next door. Check out Jaime Theitten and listen to the song her husband wrote called “Yesterdays News”. She was on Life on the Rock last night, and will be on the encore this weekend if you have the time.

    • Jon,
      Did I say anywhere about not having compassion?
      I’m kind of baffled by your response. Isn’t that what I said, that we can’t know the mind of God? That God allows suffering to befall everyone, sometimes as a “punishment” and “sometimes” as a test, but always as a warning of our mortality? Is there something wrong in that?

      Ceecee, the damage was worse in Haiti because they have no infrastructure. They’re the poorest country in the world because France and the US and generations of dictators have stripped them of their natural resources. My wife went on a mission trip there when she was in college, and it was understood that they were just sticking fingers in holes in the dam because anything they did would be undone. Any efforts that are made to help the people–bringing them equipment, etc.–are set back by bandits stealing the stuff. And international aid to Haiti, as most countries, is a farce because most of that is taken by the governments.

  4. Pingback: Thoughts on Haiti, Part 2 « The Lewis Crusade

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