As you have at other times in the past, you took the opportunity to announce that a cataclysm -- this one natural, not man made -- was a manifestation of the will of God. Specifically, you said, and I quote:
"You know ... something happened a long time ago in Haiti. … They got together and swore a pact to the Devil," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club" Wednesday.
"They said, 'We will serve you if you get us free from the French.' True story."
This is not odd or aberrant behavior -- at least, not for you. You attributed Ariel Sharon's stroke to the fact that he ceded Gaza to the Palestinians. You suggested that the September 11 attacks were God's retribution for loose morals. And Hurricane Katrina, according to your finely tuned theology, was due to anger over abortion.
There are only two possible conclusions that can be reached:
- Yours is a God in urgent need of professional help; or
- You have placed yourself and your pronouncements above any genuine sense of the Divine; you have, in effect, become either an idol worshiper -- and you are the idol you worship -- or you are one of the wicked who prosper on the misfortunes of others; one of the ones the prophets warned about before destruction came.
Let us consider the first option first.
If God is angry over the division of His holy land, then that land should be a Matrix-like ward of individuals on life support. Ariel Sharon is hardly alone in crafting compromise with the Palestinians (one, it should be added, that also had the goal of extending Israel's life as a Jewish state). Every soldier who helped evacuate Gaza, every statesman and diplomat who helped negotiate Oslo -- even the hawkish Netanyahu himself should be lined up on gurneys outside the overflowing ICUs of every Israeli hospital.
Why does your God prefer pinpoint strikes in some instances, and wholesale slaughter of innocents in others? Read Voltaire's poem on the massive 1755 earthquake in Lisbon; you might begin to understand that any God that communicates through mass murder is a God that virtually guarantees alienation from witnesses and survivors. Such a God must not want followers and adherents. Voltaire joins me in my plea for your silence:
Will ye reply: "You do but illustrate
The Iron laws that chain the will of God"?
Say ye, o’er that yet quivering mass of flesh:
"God is avenged: the wage of sin is death"?
What crime, what sin, had those young hearts conceived
That lie, bleeding and torn, on mother’s breast?
Did fallen Lisbon deeper drink of vice
Than London, Paris, or sunlit Madrid?
If your God is the Creator of All, then certainly that God will do as He sees fit with His creation. Perhaps we cannot know the will of such a God -- but how can we faithfully serve one Whose will is incomprehensible? Whose punishments are so, well -- sloppy and fratricidal? Whose vengeance is visited upon the "guilty" either weeks or centuries after the crime, without clarity or precision instruction, with only after-the-fact prophetic pronouncement?
When earth its horrid jaws half open shows,
My plaint is innocent, my cries are just.
We can only conclude, under the first option proposed above, that the Reason we have been granted, the order of our will, the clarity of our intentions, are greater than those of your Creator. That it is not we who are fallen, but your Creator: He is deranged.
Will you accuse me of heresy? The cries of the crushed innocent answer you. Can they drag their mangled limbs from the wreckage to undo the "pact to the Devil" that you allege? Will such suffering drive more into the arms of your bloodthirsty Destroyer? Have they done so in the past?
Are ye so sure the great eternal cause,
That knows all things, and for itself creates,
Could not have placed us in this dreary clime
Without volcanoes seething ‘neath our feet?
Set you this limit to the power supreme?
Would you forbid it use its clemency?
Are not the means of the great artisan
Unlimited for shaping his designs?
The master I would not offend, yet wish
This gulf of fire and sulphur had outpoured
Its baleful flood amid the desert wastes.
Of course, the first option -- the derangement of God -- is untenable. We must then consider the second option: that you are among the wicked of whom you speak.
When the Prophet Jeremiah foretold the destruction of Israel and Judah, his prophecies contained special wrath for those who had grown prosperous on the misfortunes of others:
For among my people are found wicked men: they watch, as fowlers lie in wait; they set a trap, they catch men. 5:27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxed rich. 5:28 They are waxed fat, they shine: yea, they overpass in deeds of wickedness; they plead not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, that they may prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.
Are you pleading the Haitians' cause, Mr. Robertson? Or are you enriching yourself with retrospective prophecy of the sort that is designed to enhance your donor base?
the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means;
Dr. Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas said, "It is absolute arrogance to try to interpret any of God's actions as a judgment against this person or that person. … Our duty as Christians is to try to help these people pray for these people and to help them."
To retrospectively interpret such heartbreaking suffering as a 200-year-old quid pro quo is to prophesy falsely.
Then Jehovah said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake I unto them: they prophesy unto you a lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their own heart.
How else are we to interpret your comments, other than by the two options above?
Perhaps only with the words of Voltaire:
Would it console the sad inhabitants
Of these aflame and desolated shores
To say to them: "Lay down your lives in peace;
For the world’s good your homes are sacrificed;
Your ruined palaces shall others build,
For other peoples shall your walls arise;
The North grows rich on your unhappy loss;
Your ills are but a link In general law;
To God you are as those low creeping worms
That wait for you in your predestined tombs"?
What speech to hold to victims of such ruth!
Add not, such cruel outrage to their pain.
Wouldn't it be more useful merely to lend a hand? Wouldn't it be more honest, Mr. Robertson, to freely confess that we cannot know why such things happen, and to whom they happen?
But how conceive a God supremely good,
Who heaps his favours on the sons he loves
Yet scatters evil with as large a hand?
What eye can pierce the depth of his designs?
From that all-perfect Being came not ill:
And came it from no other, for he’s lord:
Yet it exists. O stern and numbing truth!
Voltaire beseeches you, in the name of all who are grateful for life, to beware of mocking God, and to extend to the suffering, not retroactive omniscience, but something far more valuable:
A caliph once, when his last hour had come,
This prayer addressed to him he reverenced:
"To thee, sole and all-powerful king, I bear
What thou dost lack in thy immensity—
Evil and ignorance, distress and sin."
He might have added one thing further — hope."