Earlier this week I was seeing and reading the first reports of the earthquake in Haiti and at almost the same time confronted with video of Christian “leaders” (quotes indicate sarcasm) like Pat Robertson painting those same earthquake victims as God-less scum. Suffice to say, I found it hard to contain myself, and didn’t…
Here was my immediate reaction at the time on facebook:
“Pray for Haiti (despite the fact that Pat Robertson says they deserve it because of “selling themselves to the devil” …in all Christian love, I hate that guy).”
and later I wrote:
I do think that it has been far too long that people like Pat have been given a soapbox to speak for all of Christendom… purveying hate and the complete opposite of love for people of other cultures and ideals. Pat has been quoted in the past as saying that “Katrina was God’s retribution against the sinfulness of New Orleans” and other such horrible unloving nonsense. Now he is saying that Haiti made a pact with the devil to gain independence, and now they are getting their divine justice…
That kind of “Christian leadership” does NOT represent the attitudes or beliefs of the majority of Christians, and it is high time we say so. The people of Haiti deserve empathy, mercy, and love… along with all those who suffer terribly.
Now, I didn’t start thinking this way on my own… in fact, I should probably take a moment to credit Brian Mclaren, Shane Claiborne, Jim Wallis, and others for the ideas. Not that I am quoting them, nor probably doing their writings justice, but at least the attitude of purveying love and mercy rather than judgment and condemnation has come straight from their pages.
…and in that vein, I spent the better part of the week seeking how to deal with my emotions concerning those like good ol’ Pat. I HATE IT when people say things like “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” 99.999% of the time, that actually means, “I have an excuse to justly proclaim condemnation over you while [falsely] saying I care about you. What I actually care about is making sure you follow the rules, and if not, you’re out.” You most commonly hear this kind of two-faced talk when speaking with persons who are Christian and anti-gay when referring to gay individuals.
Now, don’t get hung up on the last sentence of the last paragraph… because I almost caught myself this week thinking the same way about Pat. I caught myself thinking, “I believe in mercy for all persons, but I really hate what this guy says. I can’t love him at all because of what he says.”
Now, I will still say that I completely disagree with him. I completely disagree with his approach to ministry. From a ministry stance, I can boldly say that he does not speak for the majority of Christians, and certainly not for me. But what about my personal feelings toward him? On a personal level, I fight the feeling of utter disgust for Pat Robertson and others like him.
Suffice to say, I’ve mulled this around quite a bit, and I don’t have a cohesive conclusion yet. However, this blog by Donald Miller (author of Blue like Jazz) gave me a good alternative view… at least, a starting place.