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7564: Re: 7345: Dialog between Vodou and Christianity in Haiti and in the USA (fwd)

From: "James R. Ruckle" <jruckle@citynet.net>

> It doesn't matter if Vodou is "accepted into a dialog with Christianity"!  This language pre-supposes
> that Vodouisants live in envy of such a dialog, and that it is in the power or Christianity to grant or
> withhold "acceptibility" to Vodou!  Not so - Christianity is a religion and so is Vodou, neither one is in
> a position to grant "acceptibility" to the other.

The purpose of religious dialogue is to establish truth in the face of opposing opinions. To not desire dialogue
is to not care what the truth is. And yes, I do see in your diatribes against Christianity and for official
recognition a desire for "acceptability".

> Now let me rewrite the first sentence:
> "One thing I emphasize to other Vodouisants like myself here in Beluthahatchee-
> MeNoSenYouNoCome is that Christianity is a real religion, not just a collection of superstition
> revolving around ceremonial cannibalism and vampirism of a man who died several thousand years ago.
> Just as we dialog with the Makaya Bokors, we should dialog with the Christians, no matter how strange
> we privately feel that they are."

I do not mind being "strange", I rather enjoy it, like most USians. I did not describe Vodouisants as "strange",
I said you had a real theology. The correct translation would be:

"One thing I emphasize to other Vodouisants like myself here in Haiti is that Christianity is a real religion,
not just a collection of superstitions revolving around white domination and ignorant prejudice." I think that
would be a remarkable statement coming from you.

>  I really do not care what Christians think of us, I only care what they do to us.

> Our congregations are in poverty!  More than three quarters of our people do not get enough to eat.
> The men of my peristyle are unemployed or underemployed, the women are employed in grinding
> drudgery or penny marketing, they are of course uninsured for health care, and so on.  THAT is what I
> care about, not whether Christians consider our religion legitimate!

I suspect that is just as true of Christian Haitians. As far as poverty goes, it is caused by that form of
atheism called "capitalism" - an ideology that causes the US to feel not a smidgen of guilt over having less than
5% of the world's population and consuming over 30% of its natural resources. Christianity in its unaltered form
teaches that materialism is selfish and dehumanizing, both to oneself and to others - satanic. If Vodouisants
believe you have to compromise with Satan to survive, you have a lot of company on Wall Street, in Hollywood and
in DC.

Prejudice against Vodou is rooted in "positivism", a belief that material prosperity replaces superstition in
developing countries as they become more "advanced" - and that European values replace African ones. This
ideology is particularly strong in Brazil, and most USians hold this belief without knowing it. Like the belief
that bulbous lips are associated with stupidity (guess which race has more prominent mouths), it is assimilated
uncritically. When you hear someone from Uncle Sam speak of a "demographic transition" or "modernization", that
is what they mean. Jesse Helms is more blunt and, believe me, he has no more respect for most of his compatriots
than he does for Haitians. As a Bostonian, I am sure you know that.

> It's incredible the total lack of social services available to Vodouisants in Haiti.  There is no parallel to
> the "Adventist Hospital" or the "Ecole Meres" or whatever, we do not run our own schools or clinics,
> and THAT is what I care about, not whether the worthy "Meres" will ever smile at me!
> Professor Patti K. Harris took her students on a quantum leap to higher knowledge indeed, when she
> involved them in development activities in Vodouisant communities.  The next quantum leap will be to
> assist those communities to obtain alternative funding for Vodouisant-run schools and hospitals, and for
> public assistance programs centered in peristyles.  As we develop our own social structures, that
> mystical magical "stigma" will fade away in the minds of those who imagined it in the first place.

What about Dr. Boulos' hospitals? Are they parochial, or public? If parochial, do they discriminate? And what's
wrong with a "mystical magical" idea, anyway? :-))

James R. Ruckle
"And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which means, God with us."
"Y llamarás su nombre Emmanuel, que declarado, es: Con nosotros Dios."