As we all know Haiti has suffered a catastrophic earthquake that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, where countless additional lives hang in the balance due to lack of water, food and medical care. What many may not know though is that Haiti is a nation in darkness, spiritual darkness as it is largely given over to Voodoo and has been for years.
Before continuing, what exactly is Voodoo? According to Dictionary.com, it is said to be:
A religion practiced chiefly in Caribbean countries, especially Haiti, syncretized from Roman Catholic ritual elements and the animism and magic of slaves from West Africa, in which a supreme God rules a large pantheon of local and tutelary deities, deified ancestors, and saints, who communicate with believers in dreams, trances, and ritual possessions. Also called vodoun.1
From the same source, animism is said to be:
1. The belief in the existence of individual spirits that inhabit natural objects and phenomena. 2. The belief in the existence of spiritual beings that are separable or separate from bodies.2
So we can see that “Voodoo grew out of the animist religions [which were] brought to the country by [African] slaves.” This religion “…was then overlaid by the Catholicism of the plantation owners … [which] led in many places to syncretism, or fusing, of the two belief systems.” 3 A fusing that has given Haiti its dominant syncretistic religion that mixes Catholicism and Voodoo; a religion it has practiced for hundreds of years.
But Voodoo was never a recognized religion in Haiti even though most practiced it in one form or another. All of this changed in 2003 when Voodoo was “…recognised as a religion on a par with others worshipped in the country.” 4 This formal recognition was done by Haiti’s President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
A godly nation would have wept at such a decision, but not so in Haiti since it is said that “…over 90% of Haitians are voodooisant.”5 Voodoo being a religion that is practiced in the open and in the home “…where each family has their own collection of household gods, many of them Catholic saints. In many households, it sits comfortably alongside a family’s Catholic observance.”6 Catholic observance that is not merely winked at but supported as the “…Catholic church officially backs the right of families to practise voodoo.”7 How accommodating of the Vatican!
Yet there is hope for the people of Haiti even in the midst of such unimaginable suffering. Hope that will not be found in Voodoo any more than it will be in Catholicism. Rather, the hope is in Jesus Christ, the light of the world that came to destroy the works of the devil and darkness; the very works that Voodoo glorifies and embodies. Jesus can set the people of Haiti free but it must be the Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures and not the idols of Catholicism or the “Eucharist Jesus” which lead not to freedom but more bondage.
Thankfully, the gospel message is being preached in Haiti as there are believers and missionaries there. Individuals who obviously need our prayers and support not only due to their physical sufferings, but also the spiritual darkness that covers their land. We can only hope that the earthquake will engender godly fear in the people whereby they repent lest a worse thing happen unto them.
Below I have included a few videos for the readers of DefCon to get better educated on Haiti so you can properly pray for the people of this land. Note that the first two videos show demonic posession. If you only watch one video, please make sure it is the last one.
1 – “voodoo.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Jan. 2010. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/voodoo>.
2 – “animism.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Jan. 2010. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/animism>.
3 – Gledhill, Ruth. “Voodoo faith ‘could hinder Haiti’s recovery from quake’.” TIMESONLINE January 15, 2010. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6990002.ece
4 – BBC News. “Haiti makes voodoo official.” BBC News April 30, 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2985627.stm
5 – Ibid.
6 - Gledhill, Ruth. “Voodoo faith ‘could hinder Haiti’s recovery from quake’.”
7 – Ibid.