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Jewish Journal

Religious unity among the horror in Haiti

by Brad A. Greenberg

January 17, 2010 | 5:04 pm

 

Fortunately, Pat Robertson and his views on the suffering of Haiti are in a league of there own. By comparison, many religious communities have responded with compassion. And what has been the response from Haiti’s own religious communities?

The Washington Post reports:

“It doesn’t mean anything if Satan hates me, because God loves me,” sing the women at Jeremy Square, their faces almost invisible in the darkness of this powerless, shattered downtown. “God has already paid my debt.”

Haiti is known as a society of devout Christians—Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, evangelicals—and followers of voodoo. Faith has long played a powerful role in this impoverished nation, giving hope to the poor and fulfilling social functions that the government is incapable of handling.

But in the days since the earth pitched and rolled here, pulverizing shanties and mansions alike, the religious differences that sometimes separated Haitians have come crashing down.

Port-au-Prince has become a kind of multidenominational, open-air church. Tens of thousands live in the street together, scraping for food and water, sharing their misery and blending their spirituality.

The women singing together in Jeremy Square might never have worshiped side by side before the disaster, but now their voices harmonize and soar well past 2 in the morning. Lionelle Masse, a stringy woman with a deep, sad voice, lost a child in the quake. She sings next to Rosena Roche, a fiery-eyed Catholic whose husband is buried under tons of rubble.

“I still have faith in God,” Roche says. “I want to give glory to God.”

Amen.

If you haven’t done it yet, please donate to the relief effort. The easiest way is by texting “Haiti” to 90999. It’s legit. The Red Cross has already raised $5.2 million this way.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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