Tuesday night Pat Robertson, an American evangelist and pastor, said on his CBN news show that the Haitian people are cursed by God and that is why the earthquake fell upon them. (image source). He said,
"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it," he said. "They were under the heel of the French ... and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.' "True story. And the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal,'" Robertson said. "Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another."
People are soundly ridiculing Robertson for his stand, many because they say God would never "curse" a nation, others because they say there is no proof of this so-called pact. Of those in the second group, they point to an article written by Jean R. Gelin called "God, Satan, and the Birth of Haiti" in which he mentions (briefly), a couple who had done "extensive research" on the Haitian revolution that deals with several aspects of Haiti’s "painful history" including the "Bois-Caïman meeting" in 1791. In researching this pact notion, the "Bois Caiman meeting" came up again and again, along with a central character named Dutty Boukman. It is a meeting at which the participants decided to revolt and usurp the French in 1791. It is the meeting at which Robertson said the Haitians 'got together' and made their pact.
Dr. Gelin is a licensed minister of the Church of God and serves as an assistant pastor for a Haitian-American church in the United States. In his article, he defends a certain practice that was said to be in evidence at the Bois Caiman ceremony: "Now, someone could readily ask a legitimate question about the significance of the blood shared by the participants during that unprecedented meeting. The drinking of animal blood could be easily understood in the context of a simple cultural phenomenon. Warm animal blood was routinely used as a source of strength in many ancient cultures. Even today, animal blood is consumed in many parts of Haiti, generally fried or transformed in some other way, but without any spiritual or religious connotation."
He is being a little disingenuous here. It is readily discovered that drinking blood at a voodoo ceremony is the act in which the agreement to the action takes place. It even has a name, "drinking vodun."
The blood drinking was central as was the rayer (te action being agreed to). In the Encyclopedia of African Religion, "The Bois Caiman ceremony is said to have provided the spiritual energy necessary to overcome ..." But what kind of spiritual energy?
Dr. Gelin's article promotes Boukman as a Christian earnestly appealing to God for release from slavery under the French. He cites his source material as RD and NG Heinl in their book "Written in Blood - the story of the Haitian people." The book quotes Boukman's prayer: (note, blanc means 'white')
“Good Lord who hath made the sun that shines upon us, that riseth from the sea, who maketh the storm to roar; and governeth the thunders, The Lord is hidden in the heavens, and there He watcheth over us. The Lord seeth what the blancs have done. Their god commandeth crimes, ours giveth blessings upon us. The Good Lord hath ordained vengeance. He will give strength to our arms and courage to our hearts. He shall sustain us. Cast down the image of the god of the blancs, because he maketh the tears to flow from our eyes. Hearken unto Liberty that speaketh now in all your hearts.”
"Cast down the image of the God of the whites." Hmmm. Dutty was a runaway slave coach driver and a houngan. In Haiti, a houngan or mambo is considered a person of possible high power and status who acquire much money. John Connor, who wrote "Children of Guinea: Voodoo, the 1793 Revolution and after" has a different version of the Bois Caiman ceremony. Dutty led the ceremony which also included the practitioner of voudo arts and priestess Cecile Fatiman. She sang songs of Africa invoking Ougan, god of fire, iron, and war. The participants sacrificed a black pig and drank its warm blood in order to bind themselves together in revolt. The prayer that is quoted at this point is much similar to but in fact quite different from Gelin's transcription:
"The God of the white people demands of them crimes; our god asks for good deeds. But this god who is so good demands vengeance! He will direct our hands, he will aid us. Cast away the image of the God of the whites who thirst for our tears, and listen to the voice of liberty that peaks to all of our hearts."
One week later came the Night of Fire, in which 25% of all plantations burned. The flames could be seen as far away as the Bahamas. The war cry "Vengeance! Vengeance! was heard throughout the island and an impaled white child was carried as a battle standard. Though quickly found and beheaded by the French, Haitians honored Boukman by admitting him into the pantheon of loa (Vodou spirits).
Encyclopedia of African religion records the event thus: "According to some accounts, a great storm arose over those gathered and a mambo or priestess appeared and danced with a blade held high over her head. In this rendition of the ritual, it was she who actually slaughtered the black pig for sacrifice. Blood from the animal, and some say from humans as well, was given in a drink to the attendees to seal their fates in loyalty to the cause of liberation of Sainte-Domingue. The mambo who is said to have been in charge of this vital part of the ritual was Cecile Fatiman, wife of Jean-Louis Pierrot, a man who eventually became president of the small island from 1845-1846.
The white God was cast away and the other god sought. Pig blood was drunk to seal the deal. Well, Robertson was right. This is a pact with the devil.
Now: Would God curse a nation? Yes. He has and He would.
- 'Curse Meroz,' said the angel of the LORD,'Utterly curse its inhabitants; Because they did not come to the help of the LORD, To the help of the LORD against the warriors.' Judges 5:23
- "You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!" Malachi 3:9
- 'Therefore, the anger of the LORD burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book;" Deuteronomy 29:27
- "So the LORD was no longer able to endure it, because of the evil of your deeds, because of the abominations which you have committed; thus your land has become a ruin, an object of horror and a curse, without an inhabitant, as it is this day." Jeremiah 44:22
- "Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him." Daniel 9:11