From time to time, we would stop watching the 700 Club for extended periods. This isn't the situation in which to discuss the reasons. But while we might have disagreed, from time to time, with some statements Pat made, on subjects theological and otherwise (one could argue that nearly every public statement Pat makes is theological in one way or another), we have never doubted that Pat's heart is to know God better, speak God's truth more clearly, and bring God's love to a hurting world, wrapped in food, clothes, medical care, and any other possible material form. Since his God is our God, we get it. We haven't watched the 700 Club in a long time, but we still get it.
Since we have "known" (in a long-distance, impersonal, electronic sense) Pat for years, it was not too surprising to hear that Pat had something to say about the Haitian earthquake. It was not surprising, either, to hear that his remarks became controversial pretty much as soon as they left his mouth. I wonder, sometimes, if there are people out there with nothing better to do with their time than monitor Christians with public ministries, waiting to catch them in a real or possible faux pas. Perhaps they're paid to do so. In either case, I wonder if they realize that they are spending a lot of time being exposed to the gospel, and that they are responsible for what they learn. Anyway . . .
So, what did Pat say? He said: "Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. 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.' Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another."
As a theological putterer with a historical bent, I hunted for some information on the historicity of the story. It seems not to have any verifiable historical basis. I found the following statement from Jean Gelin, a native Haitian, a Christian pastor, and an agronomist with a PhD in plant sciences, posted back in October 2005 on the website www.blackandchristian.com/articles/academy/gelin-10-05.shtml:
He goes on to say: