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557: Re: a295: God and colour in Haiti: Chamberlain's comments (fwd)
This is an interesting topic, and I wanted to take a little time to organize my thoughts.
I have heard enough different Haitians in enough different places say that "Bondye se blan li ye", "God is white". Most Haitians also believe that God is male. Most Americans believe this too, by the way.
Part of the reason is of course the Roman Catholic church and now Protestant denominations, some of which even specifically teach that God is white and that black skin is the "mark of Cain". As in other places, images of God or of Jesus Christ often represent these two as white men.
Part of the reason, though, has to do with Haitian perceptions of themselves and of "blans". I once challenged a Houngan in Cite Soleil who asserted that God is white, and demanded to know his reason for believing this.
"Because", he said, in a tone which suggested he was explaining obvious matters to a total imbecile, "if God were black, he would be too mean! He wouldn't love everyone like he is supposed to, and he would lie, you wouldn't be able to believe anything he said."
Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com> asks:
<<What are white priests doing in Haiti at all, if there is no serious battle against depicting God as white?>>
The problem is not white priests. The existance of many black Christian priests and ministers have not led people to believe that God is black. The problem is the doctrine, and the support of retrograde social systems which permit racist doctrines to flourish. Expelling all white priests from Haiti would just be another racist act, and I bet it wouldn't make much difference anyway.
<<It is one of Haiti's tragedies that it has been used as a "laboratory" by so many foreign religious people. Circumstances (the failure/absence of the Haitian state) have given them the lucky break of being able to provide much of the educational and health services, and they indeed do much good work.>>
That "good work" might not be so good as you think. No one is unaware at this point of how much "magouj" is associated with food and medical aid, how much of the donated goods get sold off privately to enrich the pastor and how little actually reaches the members of the congregation.
Nor do we need to be reminded how food aid is used to leverage conversion and shore up hatred against Vodouisants. I have heard Haitian pastors preach that the reason Americans send that food is because they want people who are "in Christ" to live and people who are not "in Christ" to die off, and that God approves of this plan!
<<But how about a bit more attention to the fact that _in practice_ Christianity is straight, race-based cultural imperialism?>>
Amen, hallelujah! I once took a group of missionaries on a surprise visit to a peristyle (we were walking back from the beach where I met them, and my horse was tied there). One of them, a white Midwestern woman about twenty five years old, made some remark which included the word "Satanic", and pretended not to understand and I said, "Oh, no, the Satanic days are over, the white enslavers have been out of power and dead for a long time now, we are free to serve God as we choose, and to have reverence for our ancestors." The poor woman just withered.
<<<OK, all you priestly Corbetteers, let me feel the heat of your flames consigning me _in practice_ to the nether regions.>>
Maybe Mark Gill will come at you with pitchfork in hand!
<<Mambo Racine, you have My blessing...
Church of the Perpetual Conspiracy>>
Teee heee! That's really good.
But you know what? Even paranoids have real enemies. I have said it before and I will say it again, I couldn't care less what those flaming Christians think of us, I only care what they do to us. No "rejector's campaign" is ever going to happen, ever again.
Peace and love,
Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen
"Se bon ki ra" - Good is rare
The VODOU Page - http://members.aol.com/racine125/index.html
(Posting from Jacmel, Haiti)