Dear Mr. President,
"To the people of Haiti, we say clearly, and with conviction, you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. The world stands with you." Your words to Haiti were such a relief after the appalling ignorance of Pat Robertson the day before. After tragedies like this, I often feel as though I should have studied something more practical, like medicine. This helplessness is mitigated (though not completely assuaged,) by the secure knowledge that my government, at least, is doing all it can.
I hope this latest display of bigotry and hate will finish Pat Robertson's career for good. Sadly, there will probably always be those who listen to what he says and believes him, simply because he claims to be a man of God. I wasn't raised in a religious household, and my forays into Christian churches were always because I had friends inviting me along for dances, camps, or some other social activity that only peripherally involved God. Now, I have friends who are Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Wicca, Buddhist and hardcore atheists. I don't know where I fit in amongst them. I used to think I was an atheist, but absolute knowledge has never suited my disposition, and being sure, absolutely sure, that there is no God or power too complex for me to understand, is, in my mind, arrogance on the same level as any religious zealot.
One of the Arabic tattoos I have reads, "In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful." This line is often said or written at the beginning of things in the Muslim world, letters, stories, meals, and the Qur'an. The idea that everything I do, every action though, and word; every heartbeat, is done in the name of whatever force and reason governs the universe appeals to me. If there is one tenant of Islam that resonates with my own belief system, it is the tawheed, or supreme oneness of God. The idea that God is not some bearded patriarch, or some moody tyrant, is something I can reconcile with my intellectual side. And it doesn't leave much room for Pat Robertson's Devil. This may not make me a particularly good Muslim, in the traditional sense, but Muslim is literally "one who submits" and what choice to any of us have but to submit to the higher laws of our universe? The nature of those laws may be more like scripture or Karma, or as impersonal as gravity, but I don't claim to know enough about them to say for sure.
I know your faith is in all likelihood closer to the defined, unambiguous faith of Mr. Robertson than my own nebulous collection of dishes from the theological buffet. That being said, I don't think that, just because you're a Christian, you should have to dignify the words of Mr. Robertson by denouncing them, in order to demonstrate that not all Christians are ignorant nutcases. I feel the same way when Muslim groups feel compelled to denounce acts of terror or the hateful words of holocaust deniers or other crimes, just because they are perpetrated by those claiming to be Muslim. The faith of true Muslims stands in opposition to these acts, and that faith alone should suffice as a rejection of them.
Anyway, I know people of all faiths are praying for those in Haiti, and I suppose that can't hurt. Thank you for sending aid, and for the addressing the people of Haiti with the respect due to them. I don't think that my idea of God can forsake people, so I'll just hope that America, really that the whole human race, collectively forsake Mr. Robertson and that one day he finds himself lost, alone, (preferably somewhere being occupied by the 18th-century French) and is forced to reflect, honestly, on his life.