So it is no wonder, although immensely sad, to see a more learned but similar response reported by Ruth Gledhill in an article, "Voodoo faith 'could hinder Haiti's recovery from quake'. The article is built from comments by Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, who no doubt loves Haiti and its people. He unfortunately is given to yet another rotten bit of theological analysis.
"Lord Griffiths said: “The Haiti people have had so many batterings that when something terrible happens, they just say, “Bon dieu bon", or “God is good”, whatever happens. In other words, it is God’s will, we must accept it, there is nothing we can do about it.
“The task for Christian evangelism is not to make voodoo worshippers into Christians but to help deal with the fatalism that does not allow voodoo worshippers to see themselves as agents of their own improvement.
"The problem is the competition between these two mindsets, the fatalism that says they can do nothing and the right perception that they can do a lot. That is the spiritual struggle.”God is good, by the way. It is not fatalism to believe that that is true, even in the midst of terrible suffering. And, if my own observations from more than fifteen trips to Haiti over the past forty years are at all true, the high energy and amazingly creative efforts for survival of Haitians in the midst of poverty and calamity is not a sign of fatalism or lack of a sense that they can be agents of their own improvement.
The instant analysis that Haitians are somehow deficient because they practice voodoo is another charge in the line up that suggests that Haitians cannot govern themselves and that they are impoverished because they are evil, foolish or dumb.
The real charge against Haiti and its people is the unforgivable sin of revolt by black people against their oppressors and that charge creeps back in to the religious analysis of those who would offer aid, but with the caveat that aid is needed because the poor Haitian is incapable of salvation or recovery without the advanced aid of Christian belief and white people.
The whole thing is sick, and the beginnings of that sickness is the notion that God did this to the Haitian people. But the next bit of the sickness is that because Haitians are not "good" Christians they will fail at recovery.
I do not believe God did this to the Haitian people. I do believe that God is good. I don't believe that practicing voodoo (whatever that means) makes people fatalistic and unable or uninterested in improvement. I do believe we should offer all the support we can for the people of Haiti and help them recover. But dear friends it will be THEY who recover.
Perhaps we one day will also recover - from the belief that those who have are somehow better blessed by God and that purified and rarefied protestant Christianity is somehow breeds positive action.
Meanwhile, perhaps we could do without the rotten theological analysis of Haiti's plight. There is enough to do without having to deal with such foolishness. Give - through Episcopal Relief and Development and other sources.
Pray for the people of Haiti. And let's try not to forget them when the next crisis averts our eyes once again from this amazing people whose only international crime was to be black and free.