Abash'd the Devil stood,
And felt how awful goodness is. . . .
Milton, Paradise Lost
Commentators should not be dismissive of Pat Robertson when he says bad things that happen to others are because of their alliances with the Devil. There are few men of the cloth, with the exception of some Irish priests, who are more qualified to identify what acts are inspired by the Devil and his surrogates than Pat Robertson.
The Devil's activities were brought to mind by two events, one involving the Pope and one involving Pat. Pat's event was his explanation (non-geological) of the cause of the earthquake in Haiti. Pope Benedict's event was his summoning of 24 Irish Bishops to the Vatican to discuss the sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the Church in Ireland.
Pope Benedict's invitation to Irish Bishops was extended because of a 700-page document called the Murphy Report, the report of an independent commission appointed to examine the Church's involvement with the Devil in more than 300 cases of child abuse that took place in the Archdiocese of Dublin between 1975 and 2004. When the report was first released, the Catholic News Service said the Pope was going to write a special pastoral letter to the Catholics in Ireland that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said was "quite a significant document" and would mark the beginning of a process aimed at "a very significant reorganization of the Church in Ireland." The Pope has now decided that the behavior of the Devil's disciples deserved more than a letter and their supervisors, the 24 serving Bishops, were summoned to Rome in mid-February. The outcome of their meeting with the Pope has not been reported.
Meanwhile Pat Robertson, who has had business dealings with one of the Devil's earthly surrogates, explained in non-geological terms how Haiti's earthquake came about. He said: "They [Haitians] were under the heel of the French ... And they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.' True story. And so the Devil said, 'OK it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out ... But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another." Pat Robertson is uniquely qualified to comment on the activities of the Devil since he, like the Haitians, has consorted with him. The Devil's surrogate with whom he worked was Charles Taylor.
Charles Taylor was the former president of Liberia. On February 19, 2010, he concluded 7 months of testifying in defense of himself in a trial in the Hague before the Special Court for Sierra Leone in which he faces 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. During his tenure as president of Liberia it is alleged he backed the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a rebel group in neighboring Sierre Leona that was attempting to overthrow the government. The RUF was especially famous for using child soldiers in its fights and training them to cut off the arms and legs of its enemies thus creating an enormous population of amputees unable to support themselves. When Mr. Taylor ran for president in 1997 one of his campaign slogans was "I killed your ma, I killed your pa, you will vote for me." Notwithstanding the catchiness of that slogan and its suggestions of the absence of benevolence, Mr. Taylor spent 7 months before the court proclaiming his innocence.
The kinds of activities that Mr. Taylor is on trial for having allegedly supported, odious as they were, did not dissuade Pat Robertson from doing business with him. According to a report in the Virginia Pilot, in 1994 Mr. Taylor gave Pat the right to mine for diamonds in Liberia. Pat reportedly used aircraft owned by his Operation Blessing not only to carry the victims of Rwandan violence to safety as he told people on his radio program but to haul mining equipment to the mines he owned. In 1999 President Taylor gave Pat a concession to run a gold mining operation in southeastern Liberia. Grateful for the concession, Pat gave Mr. Taylor a 10% interest in the operation. Mindful of how pacts with the Devil can go south, he approached Bush officials in 2002 (before Mr. Taylor was forced to flee the country) and urged them to take steps to help Mr. Taylor stay in power, his tenure being threatened by those opposed to his violent ways and Pat's lucrative contracts being threatened by Mr. Taylor's downfall. His plea fell on deaf ears and in 2003 Mr. Taylor and his cohorts fled from Liberia. Pat was distressed and accused then President George Bush of "undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country."
The Devil has the upper hand in all this. It's a certainty that he'll still find surrogates in the priesthood to do his bidding and Pat Robertson is busy at it every day in countless ways. The Lord should be so lucky.
Christopher Brauchli can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. For political commentary see his web page at http://humanraceandothersports.com