The spiritual roots of the current crisis in Haiti

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Site Search
Give

Current events

The spiritual roots of the current crisis in Haiti

What hope is there for Haiti and her people?

March 21, 2024 -

A demonstrator holds up an Haitian flag during protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, March 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

A demonstrator holds up an Haitian flag during protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, March 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

A demonstrator holds up an Haitian flag during protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, March 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

The headlines are a combination of heartbreak and déjà vu! Haiti again descends into chaos. The prime minister resigns. Anarchy pounds on the door and, as a result, millions of moms face growing challenges simply to care for their kiddos.

Healing Nations founder and executive director Mike Bell has been to Haiti numerous times over the past fifteen years. He cares and thinks deeply about the situation and puts his time and money where his mouth is: He and his wife sponsor and provide a home for a young Haitian man allowed to move to the US through a special humanitarian parole program.

In a recent conversation, I asked Mike for his thoughts on why Haiti faces such crushing struggles.

Why is Haiti the way it is?

If you look back in history a bit, Haiti is the result of the only successful slave revolt (1791) in the Western Hemisphere! But the revolt was not for religious freedom, liberty, or justice. Just mainly to get rid of the French! Having kicked them out, they then treated each other as badly as the French had treated them!

No sense of God-given rights. No Christian worldview.

What effect do you see Voodou and its animistic roots having on the country?

Voodou has its roots in the religion of the people of Benin, who were brought over as slaves by the French. In it, people think God and the spirits are capricious and need to be bribed to give them good things. (Voodou leaders literally sacrificed a pig before slaughtering the French to kick off the revolution.)

The spiritual culture of bribery leaks into the physical realm, making it hard to get anything done without greasing someone’s palm. This also develops a huge lack of trust in culture.

The beliefs of Voodou also give rise to both a sense of fatalism and a “me first” focus. A “zero-sum” conviction of reality means if I’m going to gain anything, that will happen by you losing something.

What impact can Haitian Christians have?

Well, there’s no quick fix. People say that Haiti is 30 percent Protestant, 70 percent Catholic, and 100 percent Voodou!

Christians too often don’t connect the faith dots to loving neighbors and living a virtuous life. So Christians in Haiti, like Christians in the US, live lives that are different on the outside from the inside, yet still go to church.

But there is hope for the country to get its footing through prayer and the activity of Christian leaders in the country. There’s a chance. There must be some virtuous leader who can break out of the vicious cycle of corruption.

My friends and ministry partners at United Christians International are working to raise up a whole generation of Christians who can lead the way. I really love these guys. They’re doing the heavy lifting of teaching kids, leading Voodou practitioners to Jesus, and planting churches. They give me hope.

What’s good about Haiti?

The people. The average countryside Haitian is a sweet-spirited, loving person just trying to survive. They desperately want peace, stability, and flourishing. They love their neighbors.

Being there and experiencing them as a community is one of the best experiences of my life. That’s why it grieves me to no end that the country is a dumpster fire. That’s why I continue to invite people to join me in going to Haiti (even in its current conditions, there are safe ways to get to our partners) to come alongside leaders like JeanJean and Kristie Mompremier at United Christians International, and to pray for God’s kingdom to come among these beautiful people.

What did you think of this article?

If what you’ve just read inspired, challenged, or encouraged you today, or if you have further questions or general feedback, please share your thoughts with us.

Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Denison Forum
17304 Preston Rd, Suite 1060
Dallas, TX 75252-5618
[email protected]
214-705-3710


To donate by check, mail to:

Denison Ministries
PO Box 226903
Dallas, TX 75222-6903