When it comes to commenting on both man-made and natural disasters, televangelist Pat Robertson takes the golden globe for impropriety. Following last week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, Robertson remarked
that the Haitians had made a "pact with the devil" and have been "cursed" ever since.
A spokesman for CBN
states that Robertson’s comments, “ were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Boukman Dutty at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French. This history, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed…”
(Huh? You call that damage control? You’ll have to do better than that, Pat).
Robertson has managed to offend almost everyone with his string of bloopers over the years, but the aftershocks following his recent comments are still reverberating in the media world and are most likely shaking the very heavens. When a tragedy of this magnitude strikes, the fear of God falls upon even the most reckless of comediennes, commentators and cartoonists. The normally irreverent Jon Stewart effectively threw the “good book”
at Robertson. Political cartoonists Mike Keefe
found God, whereas John Cole
found the devil.
The Jewish answer to such immeasurable tragedy is to outwardly assist
as part of the world community, and to inwardly reflect on personal repentance. Unlike Reverend Robertson, we Jews don’t second guess the actions of the Almighty, but we do listen for an existential message. For the record, at the age of 85, the Chofetz Chaim
began a fast upon hearing of the 1923 Kanto earthquake in Japan.
Israel is certainly no stranger to Robertson’s gaffes:
A day after Ariel Sharon’s stroke in 2006, Robertson publicly surmised
that the stricken Prime Minister was being punished by God. At that time, this writer noted
that the entire world seemed to be hemorrhaging – including America’s Bible Belt - and I suggested that the good reverend best stick with prayer and forget the commentary. Israel punished Pat for that faux pas
by cancelling his plans for a multi-million dollar Jesus theme park
to be built on prime Galilee real estate.
At the 2004 ICEJ sponsored Feast of the Tabernacles
in Jerusalem, Robertson used the podium to embarrass Israeli officials and declare, “Jews need to begin to cry out for their Messiah… I’ve met wonderful Jews… here in Jerusalem, who are all saying ‘Yes, Jesus you are our Messiah,’”
In 2008, Robertson had a slip of the tongue
when reporting on the incineration of Christian missionary materials which had reportedly been distributed to Jews in the Israeli town of Or Yehuda:
“Ultra Orthodox Jews in the Israeli town of Yehuda burned new testament bibles belonging to Messianic Jews… It’s the latest in a series of incidents - in Israel - against Jesus…excuse me…Jews who believe in Jesus as the messiah.”
Robertson is no devil (we Jews don’t believe in that Christian concept
), but he is a false prophet. It’s a bit mind-boggling to consider that former Tourism Minister and MK Rabbi Benny Elon honored Pat Robertson in 2004 with a special Zionist award. But it’s far more disturbing to think that Elon, as a minister of the State of Israel and as a rabbi, put his faith in these people and their power. As he told Caroline Glick back in 2003
“I believe that the power is in America…In America the Christians are willing to listen… I am closely tied to Pat Robertson and Gary Bauer and others as well. And they have a lot of power. “
Benny Elon has since retired from politics and is no longer Chairman
of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus
. However he remains active in promoting evangelical-Israel relations, and is scheduled
as “the keynote speaker at a January 26 rally in India that is expected to be attended by 5,000 Christian pastors from across the country,”
Political, economic and humanitarian alliances between countries and people can and should be a good thing, but it's downright unjewish and destructive for our politicians, rabbis, and diplomats to be making theological pacts with evangelizing false prophets