Tension Among Haiti's Religions Grows After Quake

February 12, 2010

Author: Paisley Dodds

Source: Google News

Wire Service: AP


Christian and Voodoo leaders put aside their differences for a moment Friday, joining hands under a canopy of tropical trees as some earthquake survivors on crutches and in wheelchairs mourned the more than 200,000 Haitians killed by an earthquake one month ago.

The catastrophe has driven a wedge between Haiti's religions as Christian groups make inroads among shaken Voodoo followers — some drawn by the steady flow of aid through evangelical missions and others frightened by a disaster they saw as a warning from God.

"People see rice being distributed in front of churches and those homeless now needing papers are being offered baptism certificates that can act as identity documents," Voodoo priest Max Beauvoir told The Associated Press before speaking at Friday's service. "The horrible thing though is that by rejecting Voodoo these people are rejecting their ancestors and history. Voodoo is the soul of the Haitian people. Without it, the people are lost."

Beauvoir said it took weeks of negotiations to arrange his participation in Friday's ceremony, and that some didn't want Voodoo represented in Port-au-Prince on Friday's national day of mourning.