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#94: Democracy in Haiti : Driver replies to Veneman

From: Tom F. Driver <tfd3@columbia.edu>

Tom Veneman's letter to me (#82) is mostly about our differing ways of
understanding Christianity.  I'll reply only briefly because this list
should focus on Haiti, as Uncle Bob never ceases to remind us.

> Dear Tom F. Driver,
> Where have we lost our way in Haiti?  Democracy has been touted as the
> solution because it works here.  Haiti was founded on Voodou, the US was
> not founded on Voodou.  The mind set of Haitians is different.  They
> believe that democracy means freedom to do what they want.

Such generalizations about Haitians seem to me nothing but prejudicial.
Some Haitians may think democracy means doing whatever you please, just
as some North American individualists do.  But to say this is
characteristic of the entire people is baseless and injurious.

> God is an absolute God and what He says is
> absolutely true, in all situations.

This sentence is an expression of "heternonous authority."  Although I
know it has a long history in religious and political thought, I do not
believe that heternonmous authority is genuine.  A second problem here
is to confuse the Bible with God.  Many theologians recognizie that this
oh-so-familiar mistake comes very close to idolatry.

We're many theological miles apart.  Let's not argue too much.  I think
the better question for this list is whether HAITI (that is, its
political life) should be more democratic than it is.

Tom F. Driver
Member, Haiti Task Force
Witness for Peace