Most Haitians are Roman Catholic, while a growing number claim to be Protestant (estimates range from 20 to 30 percent).  But surveys have found the vast majority of Haitians – regardless of religious affiliation – hold at least some Voodoo beliefs.

Voodoo (also Voudou) can be loosely defined as a patchwork of spiritual beliefs, practices and superstitions imported by African slaves more than two centuries ago and melded with parts of Catholicism.  Compared to most major world religions, it is loosely structured and often improvised by its practitioners. It is also not well understood.

Voodoo most often takes the form of animism (the belief that everything in nature has souls or spirits) and syncretism (a blending of animism with other religious faiths such as Christianity).  Voodoo is practiced in varying degrees.  Some Haitians are thoroughly secular.  Others only nominally believe in superstitions and “wives’ tales” with Voodoo roots.  And still others practice it zealously – particularly Voodoo priests, priestesses, and witch doctors.

As with any religion, Voodoo is also subject to manipulation by its leaders, who sometimes use it to gain power, abuse others, and fatten their wallets.

We believe that any religion that does not acknowledge Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world ultimately leads us astray.  As such, Voodoo spiritual beliefs are a real and powerful obstacle to a close relationship with God. We also believe that Christ has overcome the world – including Voodoo – and that He invites everyone to believe in Him.

 

Voodoo and Haitian History

As the story goes, the Haitian revolution kicked off on a night in 1791 at a place called Bois Caiman.  A group of slaves, led by a Voodoo priest named Boukman, met together and vowed to overthrow their white oppressors.  According to accounts, someone sacrificed a pig and the assembled group drank the pig’s blood.  Eight days later, the uprising began.

It is often said that during this ceremony, Haiti’s soon-to-be leaders made a pact with Satan, dedicating the land to him for 200 years in exchange for victory.

This story is taken as fact by many Christians, both Haitian and non-Haitian, and is often given in response to the question, “Why is Haiti so poor?”  The details of the Bois Caiman meeting are, in fact, challenging to either prove or disprove, because very little historical account exists surrounding the gathering. Historians and scholars have not found any written record of a satanic pact being made, but many today continue to hold these beliefs

The French were defeated after more than a decade of struggle.  When Haiti’s founding fathers drafted various versions of the nation’s constitution, it included no language about Satan or even Voodoo.  The Constitution of 1807 established religious freedom but made Roman Catholicism Haiti’s official religion – stating that no other religion (including Voodoo) could be practiced in public. Many scholars believe, however, that the declaration of Catholicism as the official religion was largely a political move by then President Toussaint L’Ouverture to appease various European powers.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, many Protestant missionaries came to the country.

In a controversial move in 2003, Haiti’s Catholic president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, made Voodoo an official religion in the country, giving certain Voodoo ceremonies such as marriage equal standing with Christian ones. Many historians believe that Aristide’s decision, like L’Ouverture’s before him, was also largely to curry political favor.

Proponents of the Bois Caiman devil-pact theory say Haiti has lost God’s blessing, as evidenced by Haiti’s status as the Western Hemisphere’s most-destitute and least-stable country. Critics of the theory say it ignores historical factors of Haiti’s poverty, such as discriminatory foreign policies, unfair trade practices, and a tradition of corrupt and oppressive rulers. Whatever the true case may be, the truth is that the God who created the universe offers hope and redemption that no other religion can, through his Son Jesus Christ.

6 thoughts on “Religion in Haiti”

  1. Bullshit—-religion was only a way to keep people that were being robbed by the people in power that were abusing poor people by keeping them in constant fear to let them feel like they were going to be spiritually condemned to hell and to subdue them into obedience and not retaliate against the empowered thieves in their country
    And almighty God would punish the wicked thieves at the end of their wicked evil LIVIES and only he could take revenge against the abusers and the people that were being abused would receive their reward anD ever lasting life after their own death!!! Such media Cheryl bull’shit!!!!! Good story from the Jews like sleeping beauty!!!! They were the authors of the written. Bible think good and hard about it!!! And they were the ones to ordER the death for Jesus Christmas son of god!!! And there the ones that have all the money and high positions in the professional work field in our country—-how come they prospered and Hati with their voodoo didn’t!!!!! Sounds pretty contradictory in religious theory!!!! WAKE up die right and come out of your comma!!!! Once you have used up all your energy your gone and dried up like a dead leaf—-why do you think that the wrote in the bible after you die no more tears or sickness or sorow for your life—because all the Jews have worked you to death and took all your money as well as your energy—away from yourself!!!!

      1. I believe that the Bible is true, and that’s why I would want to go to Haiti. Voodoo practices contradict the Bible. Personally, I have no other intention except to spread the hope I have. I would maybe point out that those who may have used Christianity or the Bible as a means of control didn’t genuinely believe it themselves. If you have any questions or would like to chat feel free to shoot me an email at evans.kelseygrace@gmail.com. I hope you are having a great day!

  2. It would be better to read a history book about Haiti before writing about it. Your sentences “The Constitution of 1807 established religious freedom but made Roman Catholicism Haiti’s official religion – stating that no other religion (including Voodoo) could be practiced in public. Many scholars believe, however, that the declaration of Catholicism as the official religion was largely a political move by then President Toussaint L’Ouverture to appease various European powers” are pure nonsense.
    Toussaint was never President. Especially not in 1807. He died in 1803 – in Fort-de-Joux near Besancon, France.
    Regards
    Wolfgang Windel

  3. It’s a load of crap!!! Roman Catholic have never been our religion, it was impose to us by the white masters during slavery and was still imposed to us by the son of a white master and a Haitian mulatto girl after slavery, who claimed to be one of the founding father of our nation, but it’s a lie. The true hero of our independence Jean Jacques Dessalinnes practiced voodoo and it was the only religion that he recognized but Alexandre Petion, the mulatto, the man who stole Dessalinnes’ victory by not letting any scholars write about the true hero after he cowardly assassinated him at the request of the white men but was too happy to write about himself for history to know, have fabricated an act that says that catholic is our religion, but it’s a lie. The true constitution act was stolen by France and you won’t find catholic as our religion in it. Also the people from the church who are so eager to give us Jesus know them well that their is no satan that exist. All that exists is energy and somehow the Haitian people in it’s misery was able to channel that energy and used it to get out of slavery. That’s why the missionaries never stops pupping in Haiti, they wanted to know how we did it and so they’ve been studying our culture and brought the knowledge back to their people, in fact more and more white folks are being ordained every year to become voodoo priests or servants. Also, the country is poor, not because of a stupid pact made with satan as the church was too happy to let people know over the years, but because France wasn’t happy that we got our independence so after they assassinated Dessalinnes with Petion’s help, who would never have agreed to their terms, they had Petion the mulatto guy to agree to pay them money for being free. It was the only way they would let us exchange our products with other nations otherwise we would be forced to use only what we could produce cause no one was about to deal with us. That amount that we paid is worth billions of dollars today, if France would give it back we could restore our country. Also all the aid the churches and other organizations says that they’ve been giving to Haiti is a big lie. The money is mostly spent on driving big cars renting big houses getting paid a colossal amount of money for their work, this mostly happens with the ONG’s. You all know the truth so stop acting like you don’t know and spread lies about my people. All i know is that the energy is still there if the white men could stole it, they would have, it is been waiting patiently for the Haitian people to say “enough” and call upon it.

  4. sooner or later you have to decide to live for the future and your future is in Christ Jesus our Lord. many blacks in america were enslaved and treated indescribably horrible yet there faith in voodoo was replaced by the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. this was a major factor in removing slavery from our country and around the world. many of the the greatest words of encouragement in the form of black spirituals came from those who were slaves at that time. i really feel for the people of haiti but the condition of man without christ is still slavery to a sinful nature. in order for haiti to change it needs to change its foundation. take a lesson from my country the united state. it is moving further and further from a christian foundation and is now finding itself fighting more and more wars, the elite politicians continue to display a lying personality, the country is 20 trillion in depth, homosexuality is accepted for marriage, and the list goes on. it won’t be long until we see the fall of the united states as the leader of the free world. we all need the truth in jesus christ because our real freedom is in him alone.

Leave a Reply