In the excellent Washington Post article, Suffering and the Vain Quest for Significance, Paula Kirby explores Pat Robertson’s comments on the Haiti earthquake, and the link between sin and suffering.
It would be comical, hilarious, side-splittingly funny – but for one thing. This obsession with human behavior and the ugly conviction that there is some kind of link between suffering and sin, whether individual, national or original, leads to the kind of repugnant, sickening, disgraceful attitudes voiced by Pat Robertson this last week. Just when the rest of the world is overwhelmed with compassion, with the urgent desire to help those whose suffering is beyond our capacity to imagine it (with initiatives such as Non-Believers Giving Aid, for instance), Pat Robertson and others like him are saying, ‘They brought it on themselves’. It is not enough, apparently, that they should be traumatized, grieving and in pain. They should be feeling guilty as well. It is not enough that we should help them. We should judge them too.