Image by plattyjo via Flickr
By now, every one has heard about the unimaginable tragedy in Haiti. A country mired in misery and just barely getting by has been devastated by an "act of God" that just heaps more suffering on top of them. Americans, like we usually do, are responding with a great deal of compassion and aid, as we should. My heart is always filled with joy and sadness at times like these. Sadness that Haiti is in the position it was in to begin with. Sadness at the earthquake that has devastated so many lives. But, joy at the amount of compassion human beings can have for each other. People who really feel they can't afford it are texting $5 and $10 donations and collecting supplies for the Haitian people. America is a wonderful country.
What you have also probably heard by now are Pat Robertson's disgusting remarks about how the Haitian people made a pact with the devil decades ago and thus, have essentially brought this on themselves. I don't need to rehash for you how many times Pat has made such a stupid proclamation. The man has been thoroughly dragged through the mainstream press over it, although it seems he still has a number of followers who agree with him (how sad is that?). Many of my on-line friends have found it necessary to separate themselves, as Christians, from Pat's twisted theology. And, I can understand that. It's sad that we have to stand up and say this is not what Christianity teaches. It should be obvious. But, it's not obvious. So, we must renounce Reverend Robertson's remarks and I do. Unequivocally.
However, in throwing Mr. Robertson's theology under the bus, many are rolling over Pat, also calling him vile and evil. Keith Olbermann, in one of his rants, questions the values of the souls of Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh and equates Pat Robertson with the devil. In addition to renouncing the stupidity of Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson, I also renounce the personal attacks on Pat Robertson. The man is misguided. I think he's mentally unstable. I wonder if he's suffering from some form of dementia (besides the dementia of serving such a monstrous god for all those decades). But, as someone who aspires to practice Boddhichitta, I become the very thing I hate when I do not have compassion for someone with as warped a worldview of Pat Robertson. It's easy to feel compassion when I look at images of suffering Haitians. It's not so easy to feel compassion when I look at Pat's image above. Even, Pat Robertson's own organizations are giving aid to the Haitians (demonstrating how illogical his theology is. If God is punishing the Haitians for making a pact with the devil, should Pat be giving aid and comfort to God's enemies?) It's not easy; but feeling compassion for Mr. Robertson and even for Rush Limbaugh is something I must do. I prayed for the Haitians, of course. But, I also pray for Pat Robertson that his eyes will be opened and he'll come to understand the unlimited love and compassion of the G-d that I serve.
I've called him a charlatan and a false prophet, but I don't believe anyone is irrevocably evil.
People do evil things. People are not evil. Pat Robertson has said some vile things and those things must be condemned. But, the man is driven by a theology that I was once told was true myself (although I never really accepted it). To use his terms, he has been deceived.
Then hopefully he will one day become an ex-charlatan and an ex-false prophet.
Maybe not this lifetime, Mike. But, one day he will.
Well, we'll be ex-something eventually. ;-)
I appreciate your positivity and optimism.
Maybe compassion for Robertson is similar to the sort that Jesus had for the religious leaders of his day? Maybe confronting him and pointing out sickness of his theology is the most compassionate thing we can do?
I agree that we have to point out the problems with this theology and that we can and should do it in a compassionate way. I have no problems calling his theology vile and evil. But, I do not believe he is evil or his soul is worth less (or more) than anyone else's.
Agree Brian. Just saying that compassion does not always look the way we want it to.. sometimes compassion is tough.
It is a lot easier to be compassionate toward someone who has never directly harmed you or your loved ones. Haitians, New Orleans victims, Iraqis have had hell on earth - for them I have compassion - and since I believe we all end up at heavens door, Robertson's mouth will be forgiven - but that said, my mother worships and believes the tripe this man preaches. These TV evangelicals probably know better - as Carlton Pearson knew the history of scripture and finally set aside the Hell Fire teaching for what he could finally glean from his heart (along with scripture) - how can God be God and not be any kinder than any other human being who seeks revenge. If I really believed that TV Evangelicals really believe that what they teach is truth, maybe it would seem forgivable to me but I don't believe that. Benny Hinn will not discuss his finances, Pat Robertson is an attorney and he's taught the same stuff for years because there are masses who follow their teachings and none of them have had the guts to stand up and say I am wrong when it would mean the loss of their entire network - it happened to Carlton Pearson in Tulsa - one man of real faith and conviction out of hundreds of Faith healers and Prosperity teachers. They go with the flow of the almighty dollar. Pat Robertson has harmed my family - my mother is incapable of knowing the goodness of God because she watches this man and others like him - and she tries to force feed this crap to me. What he teaches is vile - will God forgive him - of course, it was done a long time ago if you believe in the death on the cross - in my faith, he is still responsible for his actions - his actions do harm. I feel sorry for all the people who flock to these charlatans - I feel sorry that TV evangelicals don't seem to care who they harm as long as they are making money because their words hold power. Their words allow and condon death - and when that happens, my compassion dwindles to nothing. Just as I believe Hitler will stand near an entry point asking souls to forgive him, Pat Robertson will stand and ask the same thing. Then even I will have to ask for my own forgiveness for not having compassion here for his actions. But in my earthly life, he is not worthy of my trust, faith, compassion, or time.
Well said, Donna V! :-)
Thanks for your comments. I understand your sentiments. If I believed in hell, I would want a special place for people who fleece the sheep in the name of G-d. At least the people who tormented me with this twisted image of G-d really believed what they were teaching. I find it hard to believe people like Benny Hinn believe in G-d at all. I believe that when Carlton Pearson was in that stuff he really believed it. But, when his heart finally got through to his head, he left, at the cost of his ministry and all of his friendships. I really respect him.
I'm sorry about your mother being caught up in all of this. It must be terrible. I do not think these men will get off with no consequences. While I do not believe in permanent hell, I do believe there is judgment.
I have watched Carlton on video renouncing the idea of hell but I have not heard him renounce the health and wealth stuff. I wonder where he is at on that stuff?
Carlton Pearson isn't in Tulsa anymore. His remaining flock became a part of the Unitarian church. Carlton teaches that we suffer here on earth when we make errors in our judgement - God spoke to his heart - finally regarding groups in Africa suffering and he was praying and sorrowful that they would die sinners and go to hell - God asked him if that was who Carlton really thought he was.
I don't think he ever taught more on health and wealth after his eyes were opened - Oral Roberts threw him to the curb. That kind of teaching is what drove me out of the Assembly of God church. I still tell others God isn't a Sears and Roebuck wishbook and I find that teaching to be one of the lowest common denominators of that culture.
Pearson's last big event at his church included Ghandi's grandson speaking on non-violence - it was one of the most amazingly beautiful events of my life and when I got home, my mother had left a message and when I called her back, she asked me where I had been. When I told her, she flew into a rage, told me I'd go to hell for even getting near his preaching. I don't go to church at all - I don't have to - I have a garden. But I did attend a few more events where Carlton spoke, saw a great change that totally diminished his ministry because I am smack dab between Oral Roberts and the Rhema dip. We have the hardcore Southern Baptists and the late, great Billy Joe Doughterty - mega churches that seem as radical as the Taliban.
Once years ago, when I sat by my mother on Mom's day, listening to the minister extol the virtues of Job, I leaned over to my mom and asked her if it was equal payback from God to replace all his first kids, would it work if all her children died and then she had more? I know there is supposed to be a good point to that story, but I cannot get past that idea that God and Satan would gamble with a human life. Aeseop's (sp) fables comes to mind.
I know I will owe others apologies - but it won't be because I told them that God doesn't love them enough because they didn't see it my way. And Yes, it is good I am not God - very Good. I'd be way too human.
Thanks for that update Donna. Carlton seems to have landed on his feet 6,000-member Christ Universal Temple at Chicago's 6,000-member Christ Universal Temple.
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