Haitian Earthquake: What has voodoo got to do with it?

  • post Type / Young Humanists International
  • Date / 22 February 2010
Existing internet social networks (dot com) sites like facebook.com and Twitter.com, indisputably offer countless opportunities. But sometimes, as have been discovered, these networks could be haven for promoting seemingly non-sensical groups and dangerous beliefs. One of such is the “Why Help Haiti when They practice Voodoo?”, a facebook.com group created by one Trisha Lee. Although, the creator has the right to create whatever group, this, as I see it, is one freedom taken too far.

Related to this, also, is the statement credited to US Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson that Haiti was “cursed” because of what he called a “pact with the devil” in its history. Of course, what he was refering to is the commonplace practice of voodoo in the country. Voodoo is fundamentally a home-based cult where each Haitian family has their own collection of household gods, including many images of Catholic saints, that they worship.

Statements and actions such as these are irresponsible and ought not be taken lightly without generated discourses, most especially by humanists. Although Trisha’s group has only 2 members and Pat Robertson has denied the statement, the fact remains that these persons are not attuned to the contemporary reality of societal religious plurality and tolerance.

It is a thing of joy, however, to see the numerous humanist activities dedicated to contributing to the reconstruction of Haiti, disregarding such annoying assumptions as that of Trisha and Pat. Commendable among other humanists, working on the field, is Sebastian Velez,the Harvard evolution biologist working with the locals in Haiti with the financial support of humanists worldwide. The Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, coordinated by the Humanist Charities (http://www.humanistcharities.org), with donations from the IHEU, AHA, HAMU, among others, is a worthy contribution and a sign of our, humanists, commitment to the tenets of a plural society that sees humans as end in themselves, regardless of their beliefs.

Yemi Ademowo Johnson
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