Sunday, January 17, 2010

Garden of Evil

This gardening blog celebrates the joy of the earth and its bounty - but Mother Nature can be as cruel as she is generous. For the people of Haiti, there is little to feel joyous about after the earth shook beneath their feet and their homes, workplaces, grocery stores, hospitals and public places collapsed. The numbers are almost impossible to comprehend - possibly more than 100,000 people dead, many more thousands injured and in need of treatment, and millions homeless. The grief and despair are palpable in the photos of parents holding a dead child or kneeling inconsolably in the rubble where their loved ones lie buried. How hard it must be to find hope in the midst of such pain.

And then comes Pat Robertson, who dares to use the pulpit to spread a message as far from the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as evil is from good. Robertson's vile statement that the Haitians are being punished for transgression is inexcusable. For a person who professes to be a man of God, Robertson is as empty of grace and compassion for those he deems unworthy as Jesus was full. We live in a natural world, a complex planet full of volatile materials and surrounded by forces of nature that are unpredictable. God didn't "send" this earthquake.
People like Robertson who call themselves Christians and then preach a message of hate and exclusion - which is not what Jesus preached - hurt all people of faith and give ammunition to those who are distrustful of Christians because of what they read or hear said in the faith's name. The Christians I know are nothing like Robertson, just as the Muslims I know are nothing like Osama bin Laden. I hope all people of faith will join in praying for the people of Haiti, and offer help to all who suffer. While we cultivate a garden of food for those who are hungry, we also need to cultivate a spiritual Garden of Good, not Evil.

I wonder if when Robertson comes face to face with his God, he will receive far more compassion than he was willing to give.

May God comfort the people of Haiti and hold them in His hands.

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