I’ve seen and heard a lot of talk about Haiti’s history, and what developments in its past could account for their poverty, crime, and maybe even the earthquake. This example http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/fischer/100119) is one of hundreds that present this position in one way or another.
Much of it is copied from a tale about a “pact” that circulates the web widely. The tough part is, there is little to no basis in fact. I have done a fair amount of research and have not found *any* of these websites to have any reference to the source of their information. Further, I can find nothing in Haitian national history to substantiate this.
I have only found *one* reference to any sort of ceremony with any historical basis (Antoine Dalmas, around 1793). It mentions that a man named Boukman Dutty made an inspiring speech to his fellow slaves:
“The god who created the sun which gives us light, who rouses the waves and rules the storm, though hidden in the clouds, he watches us. He sees all that the white man does. The god of the white man inspires him with crime, but our god calls upon us to do good works. Our god who is good to us orders us to revenge our wrongs. He will direct our arms and aid us. Throw away the symbol of the god of the whites who has so often caused us to weep, and listen to the voice of liberty, which speaks in the hearts of us all.”
From our perspective, in 2010 America, it may have certain connotations. But think of a slave’s position in 1791. They see the “white man” as bringing evil and oppression. Would you want to have anything to do with their god? So, to me, it is understandable that they would prefer the god that they understand. And despite the internet claims, this is not the prince of darkness. Actually, he sounds a lot like my God: creator, ruler, one who sees all, inspirer of good works, etc…
Over the years, some have read this and saw only “the opposite of the white man’s god” and assume the Haitians are talking about Satan, since all white men follow the true God of the bible. (LOTS of sarcasm intended!) I’m not willing to make that leap. That said, neither am I suggesting that they were talking about the God I know. My opinion is that they were speaking of the most benevolent god that they were familiar with. Who can blame them?!
The words offered by Boukman were a speech *to* the slaves, not a prayer to any god. While he did invoke god in his speech, he did it as part of a rallying cry – exactly the same way that our founders did in the Declaration of Independence and similar documents! Our revolution was not seen as primarily faith-based, so why is theirs?
There is also the reported issue of Boukman drinking pig’s blood. While I don’t know anything of voodoo, I would suspect that the drinking of pig blood has its roots there. But in my opinion, it is beside the point. The Reagans consulted with astrologers during Ron’s presidency, but we don’t refer to his administration as a pact with the devil. This is not a practice I would suggest or condone, of course! It is certainly dabbling with things that are potentially dangerous, and those participating will ultimately have to answer for *their* actions. But I do not believe that God would punish the nation of Haiti for one man drinking blood, any more than that God would punish America for Nancy Reagan’s actions.
Now I’ll go a little farther out on my limb. I’d like to make some observations. Although these are my personal convictions, I believe they are Biblical.
- I do not believe that a nation is capable of making a pact with the devil. Whether we are devoting our lives to God or Satan, they are ultimately our decisions and we will answer for them. (Ro 14:12) Further, God will hold us to account for *our* actions, not those of others. (Ez 18, esp. vs 20)
- I do not believe the devil has sufficient power to maintain such a pact. (1 Peter 5:8-10, James 4:7) We have more power than he does. It takes two participants to honor an agreement. If one party dies or breaks the deal, the other (Satan) cannot hold it. Additionally, whenever a curse or promise was made in the bible, regardless who made the pronouncement, it was always upheld by God’s power. To agree with this Haitian legend would be to say that either God is holding this curse or that Satan now has the power to do so. The former ended with Jesus death – there is no longer cursing in the sense that it existed in the Old Testament. If you believe the latter, then it is a new thing, because it did not happen in the bible.
- One man’s allegiance with the devil is not greater than one man’s allegiance with God. (Ro 8:31) To believe the way Pat Robertson is believing, you would have to have one of the following positions: Either completely discount God’s power altogether, or say that there is not, nor has been a single righteous man in Haiti since 1791.
I’m sure I could go on, but there are things to be done today! 😛
Here are some references I found on the topic, if you are interested in more: