Mission Aviation Fellowship is an Evangelical airline, dedicated to “delivering missionaries and the Gospel to remote parts of the world.” It additionally provides a valuable transportation service to remote parts Haiti, allowing access for medical professionals and the like, and for that its owners are to be commended. However, I disagree with their argument that Haiti is “dedicated to Satan” due to Voodoo.

Haiti is on the Western half of the island first conquered by Columbus, and was ruled by the French for over two centuries until the Haitian Revolution, in 1800.On the eve of the Revolution, the colony consisted of 40,000 whites, 30,000 mulattos, and 400,000 black slaves, many scourged and beaten, or treated as concubines.

Voodoo is the result of the marriage of African tribals faiths to Catholic Christianity. Many slaves in Haiti learned Christianity from the Jesuits, who offered sanctuary to runaway slaves, and encouraged blacks to fully participate in Church life. “All are equal before God”, the Jesuits declared. For such “heresy,” the Jesuits were expelled.

The subsequent Slaveowner-controlled, “purified” Catholicism was callous in its treatment of slaves. Many began to merge their older African faiths with their newer Catholic Christianity—– easy because of shared ideas about humility before God, a pantheon of saints and spirits (the Haitian lwa), and respect for heritage. Practiced mostly in secret, and ritualistic, Voodoo is passed on from oungan (priest) to disciple, in each generation, a process open to women and men. Voodoo often has been persecuted by elite in Haitian society,though during the Duvalier regime (1956-1986), Voodoo priests loyal to the dictatorship were used to help control the population, much like Slaveowner Catholicism. The “Dark Voodoo” often seen in the movies is a small cult within Voodoo. It is to Voodooism what Satanism is to Christianity.

Many Voodooists firmly believe that Catholicism supplements their faith, and see no contradiction in acculturating the African and the Catholic traditions as one. Some Catholics do take issue with this amalgamation and at various points in Haitian history have acted as they deemed accordingly, including forbidding the speaking of Creole, the Haitian native language, in parochial schools, to restrict linguistic access to the traditions. Yet it is remarkably simplistic to ignore the historical context, and the genuine spiritual yearnings, which lead to the development of Voodoo. Regardless, do your own research, than decide whether this island nation, with a long history of internal struggle and outside exploitation, is married to Lucifer.

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