In the midst of the devastation and unimaginable suffering of the Haitian people exacerbated by the recent earthquake, too many religious leaders chose to interpret the event in the framework of a self-serving theodicy. Christian pontifications that the practice of voodoo religion among Haitians is derivatively demonic and constitutes devil worship functioned to construct the Haitians as the external Others in need of salvation. Some religious leaders concluded that the Haitians brought this destruction on themselves; that God was punishing the Haitians because of their so-called practice of witchcraft, magic, and voodoo. Haitian men, women, and children sang and testified of God’s goodness while trapped under the rubble. They praised God because they escaped death’s grip; they sang even though their mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters died before their eyes. They sang God’s praises when the sky was the only roof over their heads and when hope alone cradled their grief and succored their hunger. Yet, some Christian leaders persisted in using this catastrophe as an opportunity to distinguish between themselves and the Other. Such leaders would proclaim that their own misfortune is primarily because the devil is after them. But Others’ misfortunes is because they are the devil or children of the devil.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Your Christianity is My "Voodoo"
An excerpt from my book The Literary Construction of the Other in the Acts of the Apostles: ~ In the Wake of the First Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haiti ~ Smile4Haiti