David Stokes

Here we go again. While the world watches unspeakable horror unfolding in the wake of the beyond-words tragedy in Haiti, and as millions of people sift through the rumble searching for their loved ones and lives, the predictable idiocy of self-anointed neo-prophets is ever present to tell us exactly why God “did” this. As a minister of the gospel (now in my 33rd year) I am deeply offended each and every time some big giant talking theological T.V. head weighs in and speaks for God as some kind of insider heavenly hedge fund trader.

Of course, you know what I am talking about, right? The other night, Televangelist Pat Robertson waxed un-eloquent about the earthquake in Haiti.

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal—ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other."

Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution

So, there we have it. From the mountain. True story (Pat said so). Take it to the bank. Because the Haitians wanted to get out from under “You know, Napoleon III, or whatever,” God sent a great earthquake to kill tens of thousands.

I have a suggestion for Mr. Robertson and others who seem to just wait for opportunities to step up to insert feet in mouth during moments of inexplicable tragedy. Stop and pray—pray a sort-of Serenity Prayer, one that says:

“God, grant me the humility to not try to explain what I don’t know; the courage to bear witness to what I do know; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Personally, in such moments as these, I find myself saying, “I don’t know—I simply don’t know,” when asked by a congregant or man on the street about why things like the earthquake in Haiti happen. Sometimes that answer is met by a look that seems to say, “But I thought you were an expert on God?”

No one is an expert on God. That’s what makes him God and me, not.


David Stokes

David R. Stokes is a best-selling author, pastor, columnist, and broadcaster. His latest book is a novel: CAPITOL LIMITED: A Story about John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Based on a true story, it's about a unique moment in 1947, when Kennedy and Nixon shared