Sunday, January 24, 2010

A deal with the Devil?

Week before last, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune published a letter from Satan to evangelist Pat Robertson, responding to his comment that Haiti 's persistent troubles, including the earthquake, are due to a pact the nation made with the Devil.  Hard to understand the theology back of such a notion, but then, I've never understood Robertson, nor his appeal. 

Actually, it wasn't Satan who wrote the letter but Lilly Coyle of Minneapolis writing in the persona of the hellish one.  I'll let you judge for yourself Ms. Coyle's assessment of the celebrity preacher's idea.  For me, she's dead on right. 

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action.

But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher.

The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle.

Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"?

If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing.

An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll.

You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad.

Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.



Daniel said...

If anybody's made a deal with the devil, it's US.

c hand said...

Walter Williams writes - "Crime and lawlessness are rampant in Haiti. The U.S. Department of State website (, long before the earthquake, warned, "There are no "safe" areas in Haiti. ... Kidnapping, death threats, murders, drug-related shootouts, armed robberies, home break-ins and car-jacking are common in Haiti." The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns its citizens that, "The level of crime in Haiti is very high and the police have little ability to enforce laws. Local authorities often have limited or no capacity to provide assistance, even if you are a victim of a serious crime." Crime anywhere is a prohibitive tax on economic development and the poorest people are its primary victims.

c hand said...

Daniel - What deal have you and I made with the devil?

Daniel said...

Funny c hand... I know several people who went to Haiti and said those crime reports are drastically overstated. I guess foraging through rubble could be construed as a crime, but it sure seems pretty crass.

The deal the US has made with the devil involves the exchange of expensive material goods off the backs of the international poor -- we'll pay for it one day. The devil always calls in his debts.

Anonymous said...

another funny response to pat robertson:

Anonymous said...

Daniel - if you despise the US so much, then get the heck out of this country.

c hand said...

Daniel - Why did Hillary Clinton's State Dept. issue false travel warnings about Haiti?

Are you saying that the US has too much economic involvement with Haiti?

Daniel said...

Yay, someone, somewhere on the internet doesn't like me and is berating me behind the cloak of anonymity -- this must be a wise, virtuous person. I need to sit at the feet of this blind allegiance.

I never said I despised America. I thankful I live here, but I'm also not blind to the effects of my decisions on the rest of the world. I'm sorry that you can't accept someone who acknowledges and values criticism.

c hand, I have no idea of false warnings. I seriously doubt the crime in Haiti is any different than any other country, except for the fact that Haiti is full of poor blacks -- therefore, people play the fear and bigotry game.

I'm saying the US has too much economic involvement in every developing country that allows US corporate interests to dominate the economic production in that country. Last I heard, we're planning to redevelop Haiti's economy for the garment industry -- Bangladesh and the Philippines will be upset when the clothing industry abandons them to pay Haitians pennies a day to make clothes for America. But we'll save money over shorter transportation costs -- oil's downright expensive now.

c hand said...

Daniel - Do you really "seriously doubt the crime in Haiti is any different than any other country"?

What would your reaction be upon learning that your assumpions are completely upside down? Even compaired to Dallas after dark, Haiti is much much worse.

Daniel said...

So you live in Dallas, and you're trying to tell me what life is like in Haiti -- you're a knowledgeable source. No Thanks!

Karen said...

Love the Lilli Coyle letter to Pat Robertson. Right on target.

I reminds me of The Screwtape Letters by C.S.Lewis.

Re: criticizing America and 'love it or leave it...' really? Are those the only options for Daniel and the rest of us who love our country but see its flaws? Anon, at least make up a fake name -- it's so cowardly otherwise.

To me, patriotism sometimes -- often -- involves admonition of the country we love, just like being a good parent involves pointing out the ways our children are going wrong.

Darin L. Hamm said...

Not that it will really matter but I think she is way off base. I’m not sure where the text came that says dealing with Satan gets you all kinds of great stuff. Not reading where following Satan’s council got Adam and Eve any really big prizes or parting gifts.

It would seem that sin is destructive and I don’t know of people who give themselves over who don’t suffer the consequences.

I don’t think financial success is a measure of either. America’s place doesn’t necessarily mean either God has blessed it or Satan is taking care of it and neither does Haiti’s.

The Bible has much to say about such things but I’m not really sure we are that interested beyond what we feel is right about it.

belinda said...

"if you despise the US so much, then get the heck out of this country"

What a stupid comment . . . no one despises the U.S. - we just want it to be better . . .

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:37:

A quick quiz:

"Love it or leave it" is the refuge of (1) people with blinders on (the US is perfect); (2) the intellectually bankrupt with no actual arguments to make; (3) the assinine; or (4) all of the above.

If you guessed "all of the above," you get a prize!

Engaging in critical reflection about one's country is not only a right, but a duty. How else can we make things better?

Anonymous said...


I think the author is writing in a long tradition that includes the Faust stories about people who make a "deal with the devil" in exchange for some earthly power or gain. It may not be Biblical, but that was clearly the spirit in which Pat Robertson made his original comment, so it seems appropriate to use in response.

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