Early contender for the Worst Person of the Year

Ladies and gentlement, Pat Robertson:
Pat Robertson, a Christian televangelist, speaking today about the devastating earthquake in Haiti, said Haitians had collectively "sworn a pact to the devil," which brought on the country's extreme poverty and the earthquake.

"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 will get us free from the French.' True story. So the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.'"

"Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another," Robertson said, referring to the country's poverty.

Just when I think my opinion of fundamentalist Christianity couldn't get any worse, someone from their camp pipes up with something that makes me want to convert to Shintoism.

As the world watches in horror and sympathy while one of its poorest countries suffers a devastating natural disaster, this despicable person decides to add a bracing cocktail of bigotry, superstition and historical ignorance. Charming.

For those of you interested in channeling your rage into support for a (purely secular) organization renowned for its good works in disasters such as this, please go here.

Update: Hold the phone. We have a runner-up.

Update the second: For those of you who would like to remind yourself why Pat Robertson is so horrible, no single year is really adequate to fully accommodate his loathsomeness, the following run-down of his Greatest Hits (via the Gents) is helpful. I particularly like his comments about gays and churches.


  1. Shintoists were responsible of the Rape of Nanking, so don't go overboard, Dan.

    Knowing something about the CBN crowd for early experience, I am reminded of a parable. Allow me to translate it into the vernacular.

    Mt. 21 A man had two sons, and he came to them and said "Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake, go and help the victims." The first son said "Haiti made a pact with the devil which led to this" but afterward he sent food and medicine. The second said "Oh those poor, poor people, how terrible" and he sent nothing. Which of those two did the will of the father?

  2. Ahhh, that should be "FROM early experience"

  3. I am skeptical of your claim that "Shintoism, as originally created, no more endorses X"; please direct me to your source for this claim. In case it helps, my understanding of Shintoism is that it is a syncretistic result of prehistoric spiritual traditions, including the innate superiority of the Japanese people and land.

    I'll use parables whenever I wish. I am in no way implying that only ignorant bigots do good, and if you think that, you have missed the insight of both my version and the NT version.

    As for the logical disconnect, it exists only in your mind. I can state with complete certainty that CBNers have no qualms about sending food and medicine to Haiti despite Mr. Robertson holding this odd belief for decades.

  4. John, I am not actually considering a conversion to Shintoism. It was, in fact, a religion chosen by me at random to be humorous, largely by nature of being a religion to which I would be highly unlikely to convert.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates has already posted an admirable response to the notion that Robertson's charity to Haiti obviates his vile bigotry. (Short answer -- it doesn't.) And, as charo has already pointed out, your parable doesn't make a lot of sense. Yes, it's materially helpful to the Haitians that even horrible, bigoted toads like Pat Robertson are sending charitable aid. What would be even better is sending the aid and also refraining from saying appalling bullshit like "those Satan-worshipping Haitians deserve this."

    Really, John, I am genuinely surprised that you would waste your time with even oblique defenses of something so patentely indefensible.

  5. Please don't make me put smileys in my comments; I was simply illustrating that every religion I have studied has at least a few bad characteristics.

    Why is the parable so hard to grok? The Grammar Pedant in me is compelled to point out that one can only obviate actions that have not yet occurred. I don't disagree that refraining from appalling bullshit is better than saying it, but as the parable indicates, going ahead and doing the right thing after saying appalling bullshit is better than saying the right thing and failing to help.

    I do not defend Robertson's calumny in the slightest; I deplore it, and I am puzzled you draw any inference to the contrary.

  6. gj, As to the logical disconnect, wow, you need a refresher course in logic there guy. And to classify it as an odd belief is flat out nuts. An odd belief is thinking that the Mafia were in on the Kennedy assassination (essentially harmless) thinking that the Haitians had a powwow with Satan to win their liberty, and God has been so pissed he has decided to torture their descendants for generations is not odd. It is insane and it is evil. And you seem simply not to see this. Drdanny is right, the only real response to this is to acknowledge he is soft in the head and should be put out to pasture.

    And for heaven's sake don't confuse State shintoism, which was the hijacking of an ancient religion for political ends, with the real thing. For centuries Kings in Europe claimed divine right based on Christianity, but we all know that is an utter crock.

    Now if you want to mock the Japanese and their predominant religion, go right ahead, but at least learn something about it first and keep your juvenile little bigotry to yourself. Are you the type of cretin that, whenever you see a French person mutters under your breath that they would be speaking German if not for us (with the bizarre implicit statement that you had anything to do with the liberation of France?). So stfu about the Japanese and your casual insults you little creep.


  7. Well, if there's one way to get under my skin, it's to accuse me of poor English skills. (And I believe you were being a usage pedant, not grammar. No?) Anyhow, while there is a contemporary sense of "obviate" as "do away with," it seems you are correct about its more proper and precise use. So I've learned something.

    On the other hand, I see no real point in discussing Robertson's good works. Why mention them in a repurposed parable if not to imply that his slander to the Haitians isn't all that bad?

  8. Whoa, wait, I'm not at all attempting to get under your skin, perish the thought! I'll put Grammar Pedant back in the oubliette after saying that my understanding is that grammar encompasses word semantics and that I make usage errors more often that I care to admit. OK, done with that.