Runnin’ With the Devil

Quote of the Day:

You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy Willie Brown; You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy Willie Brown; Lord I’m standin at the crossroad, I believe I’m sinkin down.” –Robert Johnson

By now you’ve all heard or at least seen Pat Robertson’s assertion that Haiti’s devastating earthquake was a consequence of “their” deal with the devil to obtain freedom from France in the nineteenth century. Where do I start? Why didn’t the good reverend tell us about this most interesting bargain last week? Did every person in Haiti join the pact or did just one dude bind all? Or did the land itself make the deal? Was God in favor of keeping the Haitians enslaved? Have the preceding hundred years of suffering there not been punishment enough? Couldn’t Haiti have gotten a better deal in the first place? Did they even have a lawyer? What other cities, states or countries have deals with the devil and or have made God so angry he’s sending a volcano their way?

Another thing that is odd about this–in the long documented history of  devil dealin, never have things previously turned out so good for Lucifer:

  • Satan tempted Jesus with all the worldly goods and titles imaginable and failed to strike any bargain whatsoever.
  • Dr. Faust obtained limitless knowledge and in the end even got a bailout on his soul price by an intervening angel.
  • Robert Johnson got the blues and some sweet licks at the crossroads in return for an untimely death. But, he gained a measure of immortality as the forefather of Rock and Roll. On top of that he sat for one of the coolest photographic portraits of all time.
  • Joe Boyd dealt for youth and the ability to hit home runs, leading the downtrodden Washington Senators over the Damn Yankees for the American League pennant and then invoked his well constructed escape clause at the moment of success.
  • Johnny got a golden fiddle out of a competition most folks think he lost. But the devil bowed his head so you can read it in the paper, as they say.

Notably, never before in the history of Beelzebub Bargains have multiple parties, much less an entire nation, been involved in negotiations. And never has Satan been so patient–over two whole centuries–in collecting his bill. Most intriguing is that God has either stayed out of these dealings entirely or intervened to thwart the devil from getting his due. Never before has God actually punished the aspiring mortal deal maker, at least not publicly. Brother Pat couldn’t possibly be mistaken on this revelation, could he? I’ll continue with the assumption he is not and play the….you guessed it…..devil’s advocate. This is how the negotiations must have gone:

Prince of Darkness–Ok, all of Haiti, including your descendants, the aged, the infirm and most of all the babies get to live in the midst of violence, oppression and abject poverty until God decides you’ve been livin high on the hog long enough, which should be about 2010 by my calculations, then they get obliterated by an earthquake. In return, I’ll help you drive out the French.

Haitian Voodoo Priest–Hmmmm, it all sounds too good to be true. But it seems like a square deal. Weeeeeeeeeee’ll take it!

Prince of Darkness–Exxxxxxxcellent.

Nah, I ain’t buyin it. Mankind has a long and sordid history of dealing with the Devil. Never has man bargained so poorly. Not since He booted Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden has God been so angry. And even then He meted punishment out not only to the folks, but to the fiend. I know where Brother Pat got his idea. There is a legend that a voodoo prince cut a deal with the devil to help drive out the French from Haiti. There are also legends that a leprechaun keeps a pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow, that a headless horseman roams the countryside of New England and that Bagger Vance helped Matt Damon beat Bobby Jones in golf. Maybe Bro Pat should stick with his faith healing, or his praying hurricanes away from himself and into other American states, or counting the blood money from his Liberian gold mine investments. In all seriousness, how a sideshow freak like Bro Pat has become a “leading Evangelical”, how he has become rich beyond imagination, how he has become a political force in modern America is beyond my grasp. There can only be one logical explanation. I bet he knows his way to the crossroads.

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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18 Responses to Runnin’ With the Devil

  1. Mac says:

    Very good writing Brothen TB. Weird how you brought this very subject up just prior to this breaking. Have you given any thought to the prophet biz? There’s good money there, I hear.

  2. Jessie Lou says:

    I think BP was one of a few that said Katrina was sent as a punishment to NOLA. Don’t you think it would have been a direct hit if that were the case? I wonder how much fun it is to be paid to make an ass of yourself on national TV all in the name of religion. All the while pushing people away from what you are supposed to draw them to by your arrogance.

    Good writing by the way! I read it outloud to my c0-workers.

  3. Jessie Lou says:

    I saw the French getting off their plane this morning on the tarmac in Haiti coming to aid in the relief effort – does this mean the pact is over?

  4. Barista says:

    I love when the holier than thou idiots come out post-disaster and call it punishment. Warms my heart.

    Great post, btw.

    • Angel says:

      cammie – Gorgeous shots, I know you must have had a blast shooting this wieddng! Loving the motorcycle shot and wow, her dress!!! What a classy couple.

  5. calicobebeop says:

    Yet another case of a camera filming inanity.

  6. Madd Dawg says:

    As we are all in agreement that the recent earthquake in Haiti was not the result of some pact with the devil and/or of some punishment by God, are we also all in agreement that the following events also were not the result of some pact with the devil and/or of some punishment by God but, rather, some natural event that was later explained/rationalized by attaching a religious meaning to it:

    -the great flood and Noah’s Ark
    -the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
    -the Eqyptian plagues (except for the final one)
    -the parting of the Red Sea

  7. Ahhh, MD, a challenging and probing query. The TBU would like to see more of this out of you.

    As for me, it should come as no surprise that I am no literalist when it comes to the Bible. I also think that the question of whether such events actually happened exactly as described in the English translation of the Ancient Greek texts of the oral traditions passed down for thousands of years is not central or all-important–though I won’t use that as a cop out. The “change” that came over God when the calendar switched over from “BC” to “AD” has always been of interest to me. I feel pretty certain the change was less about Him and more about the people doing the writing.

    So, to recognize the usage of allegory and symbolism in the Bible in the abstract is not a leap at all for me. Still, to completely reject His involvement in all of these things is for now a bridge too far. But I don’t think God is a micro-manager and I don’t think he was so small for millenia so as to only toy around with Israel/Palestine/Mesopotamia, so…..

    I think its time to pass the collection plate.

  8. Jessie Lou says:

    I’m interested in what you refer to as the “change” in God from BC to AD. Don’t you think it has to do with why He sent his only son into the world? Or perhaps you mean something else entirely when you use the word “change”.

    The rest I could not have said better. That MS State education is paying off for you.

  9. What’s interesting about this whole notion of God sending natural disasters to places of evil is that there’s a town here in the United States where I can gamble and drink 24 hours a day. Then when I tire of all that debauchery, I can call up a prostitute or head off to a “bunny ranch” and pay for sex. (Like I’d ever have to do that. Pfft.)

    It’s called Las Vegas, and as far as I know, it never has tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, ice storms, earthquakes, locusts, famine, etc.

    However, it does get hot, so I guess that’s God’s way of telling them to straighten up and fly right.

  10. Jessie Lou says:

    Didn’t you know that a massive earthquake is supposed to hit California and cause it to slip into the Pacific Ocean never to be heard from again because of all the “bad” things that happen there? From Hollywood to Redwood Forrest and all the Homos (not that there is anything wrong with that) there is alot of sinning going on in Cali.

  11. ZEEK says:

    It is like I said before, people needed a way to explain things in ancient times that were beyond their mental capacity and/or scientific understanding. They also needed a way to keep the chaos down and maintain order. It amazes me still how certain sects condem others in the name of their “Lord”, while he(or she–JLou) is looking down laughing while shaking his/her head. Don’t trust man, never have, that is why I have to admit I do not trust the Bible.(It was written by man)
    **Best faith-based advice I ever got was from an old (bout 80 years old) preacher who told me, “As long as you’re following that Golden Rule, you’re probably okay.”

  12. Jessie Lou says:

    Zeek – What was I condeming?

  13. irvineredd says:

    Zeek, I’ve made the same argument about the Bible before. When I was around 17, I made that comment in a Sunday School class, and a couple people took a big exception to it. The teacher backed me up on that though, thankfully. It’s also one of the reasons a friend once told me the Devil was leading me down the wrong path.

    It just goes back to why I like Dogma. We took a good idea and butchered it by making a belief and power structure out of it.

    Also, has anybody seen the episode of Futurama where Bender meets God, who was just a glowing set of stars out in the middle of the universe? God tells Bender that when he does things right it appears that he’s done nothing at all. Later in the episode Bender saves a group of monks because, “God’s not going to do anything to help them.”

    JL, I don’t think Zeek was saying you condemned anybody, I think it was just saying she in relation to God, in an acknowledgement of your womanhood.

  14. Mac says:

    It is probably a wise move not to take the bible literally as it was written by man and we all know how fallible an animal he is. Just as the Gregorian calendar that the world uses was introduced by the Pope in 1582. Read-sixteen centuries after the birth of “Dear Lord baby Jesus, lyin’ there in your ghost manger, just lookin’ at your Baby Einstein developmental videos, learnin’ ’bout shapes and colors.” (Ricky Bobby) Here is the link to wiki for the calendar. It is really pretty dang interesting.

  15. Jessie Lou says:

    Ahh, I see said the blind girl. I was trying to err on the side of caution because comments can be misread (as I hope I did). There is no telling what kind of trouble my mouth (or my fingers) can get me in to.

    Last time I got in trouble in Sunday School it was because I said I loved to watch the Moss Point Tigerettes dance! I had several look down their noses at me for that immoral statement. Those would be the same ones oogling the girls in silence I am sure.

  16. ZEEK says:

    Not aimed at you JL.

  17. Jessie Lou says:

    I am glad to hear it. Thanks!

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