Faith-Based Nonprofits Versus Haiti
Our mission is “to facilitate the intellectual, spiritual, and character development of Haitians who demonstrate leadership potential and to assist them in becoming self-supporting, responsible, community-minded members of their society.”
–Haiti Share Inc.
“We promote the gospel of Jesus by encouraging Haitian children and adults to work with their local church body to help provide for basic physical needs.”
–Hope for Haiti
Our vision aims to meet some of the Haitian people’s greatest needs:
Knowledge of the love and saving the grace of Jesus Christ
Christian discipleship and a Bible training facility; where Haitian pastors are trained to teach the Word of God through the method of inductive Bible studies in their own language.
–Housetop for Haiti
Everyone has the right of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18)
Nearly all nonprofits are faith-based organizations where they serve in an area most widely known for witchcraft and voodoo.
Approximately 80 percent of Haitian citizens are Roman Catholic. Most of the remainder belong to a variety of Protestant denominations. The largest of these are Baptist (10 percent) and Pentecostal (4 percent). Other significant non-Catholic Christian groups include Methodists, Episcopalians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Adventists, and Orthodox. There also are many non-denominational Christian congregations. The percentage of Protestants generally is acknowledged to be growing, but reliable statistics are unavailable. Small numbers of non-Christian groups are present, including Jews, Muslims, Rastafarians, and Baha’is.
Voodoo, a traditional religion derived in part from West African beliefs, is practiced alongside Christianity by a large segment of the population. Even though the government officially recognized Voodoo as a religion in April 2003, Voodoo continues to be frowned upon by elite, conservative Catholics and Protestants. Additionally, the official announcement taken by the government provided no legal status for Voodoo except for its recognition as a legitimate religious practice.” (U.S. Department of State, 2003)
As a nonprofit, your raison d’etre should not be to eradicate an individual’s beliefs system.
Faith-based organizations are taking up the responsibility to “cleanse” Haiti by exchanging services with baptism reluctant to acknowledge that Haiti is extremely religious and it was recent that the government recognized Voodoo as a religion. For the past century, what has religion done for Haiti? If you cannot answer that question, you need to re-evaluate your mission in Haiti.
A nonprofit should be sensitive to the moral values, religion, customs, traditions, and culture of the communities they serve.
A nonprofit should respect religious freedom.
Please be advised that this is not an attack on religion; rather, it is an eye-opener for you to know that religious freedom is a universal ethical code and that you must serve and protect those who are vulnerable without forcing your religion onto others in order to benefit from your programs. Now if you are someone who thinks Voodoo is of the devil, that Haiti is the way it is because it worships the devil, please take the time to learn your history and a little more about the religion you so dearly cherish. #lavagedecerveauenhaiti