"Gay people will curse our country and we already have curses."
I hate to say it, but Pat Robertson may have been right: Haiti is an island that is cursed. Cursed with hate. Good old fashioned Christian Right hate, but hate nonetheless.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Two men, assumed to be gay, were beaten and killed on Friday during an anti-gay protest in Haiti led by religious organizations.And it took 3 hours for the police to respond to the situation.
According to one Haitian newspaper, some protestors, who shouted anti-gay marriage slogans and homophobic slurs, were also armed with knives, sticks, blocks and other objects, and attacked several people they accused of being gay.
Back in January of 2010, Pat Robertson said that Haiti suffered "terrible things" (and a devastating earthquake) because its leaders had signed a pact with the devil back in the 18th century. What Pat meant by "terrible things" was meshed in his addled reasoning, but people took the phrase as "cursed".
Maybe it is: cursed with ignorance, self-righteousness ... and hate. The below video is in Haitian-French, but the distorted faces and anger need no translation. Some of them were reported to shout "We'll kill them. Destroy them. We don't need that in this country."
The rally was a response to a proposal by a gay rights group to Parliament to legalize same-sex marriage. It was brought together by Protestant and Muslim faith-based groups, threatening to burn down parliament if the measure was considered.
Like Jamaica, Haiti is virulently anti-gay and many people fear for their lives and cannot report hate crimes for fear of reprisal by their own government.
The fact that the one thousand protesters were Protestant (amid some Muslims) is indicative of American Christian Right influence in Haiti since most Haitians are Catholic, so whether or not pope Francis I will respond to the violence may well be moot. Should his ecumenism dictate a response? Probably, but Francis has yet to reach out to the American Christian Right community (Evangelicals, Southern Baptists, etc) and he may well think it wise not to cast aspersions on anyone yet.
The World Mourned But God's Ambulance Chasers Rejoiced
During the chaotic and pestilential aftermath of the earthquake, it was noted that religious groups attempted to come into the country with more than food and medical supplies. One group tried to set up automated "talking bibles" ($100,000) broadcasting the word of God among the starving and medically unkempt. Some of them adamantly stayed on, rejoicing that they had an audience - however captive it night seem. Despite the obvious criticism, they made inroads in some areas of the country and, much like Scott Lively (Uganda's "Kill the gays" bill instigator), they began to sow the seeds of hostility.
Huffington Post's Paul Raushenbush:
It started at the Haiti earthquake. Robertson's explanation was that God sent this earthquake because of a "pact with the devil" the Haitians had made to throw off the oppression of the French. Robertson reminded us that our patience with religious leaders who talk such nonsense has run out.
Unfortunately, some in Haiti have been more patient than the rest of the western hemisphere: they've accepted the Christian Right's focus on hatred and superstition, self-righteousness and bigotry. How long this will last in the impoverished country, few have any idea: look at Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Moldava, and Russia.
Love has a long, long way to go in these countries.