Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pat Robertson, Danny Glover, and Human Contribution

As is my standard operating procedure, I always wait until stories blow over a little before commenting on them. The earthquake in Haiti is a tragedy of epic proportions. My heart goes out to the victims and the survivors - I hope they find solace wherever they can get it. A whole generation of orphans may well have been created. It will take years to recover from this disaster.

There are, of course, stories-within-the-story. The one that has most fascinated me are the remarks made by Pat Robertson and Danny Glover. The way I see it, both are opposite sides of the same coin. Both Robertson and Glover have come off as complete fools with their comments regarding the earthquake and the supposed reasons for its occurrence. Robertson said in essence that the earthquake was punishment for a pact that Haiti made with the devil to eliminate colonial rule at the end of the 18th century - in other words, it is God's judgment being visited upon them.

Where to start? Let's start by saying that this is ridiculous in so many ways, but it is certainly consistent with other Robertson comments through the years. I find it a tad odd that an alleged minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to wander back to particularly Old Testament forms of judgment, especially when it is clear that judgment is after this life. Robertson reminds me of the doddering old uncle who says crazy crap at family gatherings. You tap him on the head and say, 'Ok, Uncle Pat', and push him back into his corner.

Glover, on the other hand, blames the earthquake as the earth's response to the fact that the countries of the world didn't sign a global warming climate change deal in Copenhagen during December. Right, the weather caused an earthquake. So, for Glover, mankind's screw-up is also to blame for this natural disaster.

Regular people look at this earthquake and say, 'it's a tragedy and sometimes, sh*t happens, and we have to respond to it the best that we can'. Pat Robertson and Danny Glover look at it and say - 'these people brought it on themselves!' In a way, it's reminiscent of the biblical Book of Job when Job's friends kept trying to get him to repent, because it MUST have been sin that caused all of these disasters to occur. Robertson and Glover are saying the same thing in different languages - people have sinned and they need to repent to assuage an angry deity - in Robertson's case, it is God; in Glover's case, it is "Mother Gaia".

The unanswered question, though, is this - why is Robertson getting a lot of crap for his comments, and why isn't Glover? I think I know what the answer is.

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