As Unity Unravels, a Battle for Haitian Souls Is Stirring

April 18, 2010

Author: Jacqueline Charles and Trenton Daniel

Original Source: The Miami Herald


At first Haitians of all faiths turned inward, transforming their bedsheet camps into all-night religious revivals as they clung to faith and resilience, crying and praising Jezi.

But in the three months after the earthquake, the relationship among faiths has evolved from one of rare unity to a fight for the Haitian soul. All hope to increase followers even as they assign blame for the quake.

In the makeshift camps, along rubble-filled streets, Protestant preachers are battling Catholics as well as followers of Vodou, hoping to lure more congregants.

``When I hear some of the Protestant churches in the neighborhoods, you have the impression that only Catholics lost people in the earthquake,'' said William Smarth, a theology professor and diocese priest who was part of the liberation theology movement that helped oust former dictator Jean-Claude ``Baby Doc'' Duvalier.