Artists, musicians in particular, have been accused of selling their souls long before Robert Johnson (1911-1938). The great bluesman was so nice on the guitar and got so nice so quickly that people—particularly people that weren’t as nice—figured that the devil had to be involved. Johnson was quick to add to his own legend, even going as far as to tell how he met the devil at the crossroads and the devil tuned his guitar for him, but it’s pretty much understood that Johnson was joking.
Of course, sometimes musicians, being goofballs, idiots, or possibly even honest, have had other real or imagined run-ins with the devil. The Beatles became such a phenomenon that they were accused of being satanic and when John Lennon went as far as to say that he and his band were “more popular than Jesus”, he got death threats and the group’s music got banned in the Deep South. One of the Rolling Stones’ biggest songs was the uptempo and easy to dance to Sympathy for the Devil (1968). And former Black Sabbath front man Ozzy Osbourne is a known and celebrated Satanist who has alternately bitten the heads off of a dove and a bat.
When 700 Club head Pat Robertson proposed that the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti was a result of a “pact with the devil” made by the island-nation to free themselves from the yoke of chattel slavery as imposed by the French, something much more insidious was at play. By falsely claiming that the Haitians were under Napoleon III, not only was Robertson demonstrating his reluctance to acknowledge the blow to his White Pride—that Napoleon Bonaparte, supposedly the greatest military strategist since the days of Alexander, was handed his very first “L” by Black people—but also by implying a need for satanic intervention towards Black liberation, Robertson’s suggesting that the moral, Godly and holy condition of Black people is enslavement. It’s unnatural for us to be free. It goes against God’s will.
Now, while it’s easy to chalk up as sour grapes the Youtube loonies that are mad that Jay-Z gets more attention than they do, when a so-called religious leader gets to talking as crazily as Pat Robertson, I’ve gotta wonder if the devil’s making him do it.