30 August 2005

A Christian Disgrace...

And the hits keep rolling in...


Pat Robertson, Christian Disgrace
Article published Aug 28, 2005

Pat Robertson, Christian disgrace All religious leaders should shun him


A few days ago, Pat Robertson, failed GOP presidential candidate, proud proprietor of an evangelical TV show beamed into millions of homes worldwide and founder of the Christian Coalition, declared that it would be good public policy (and cheap, to boot!) to get into the assassination business.

He called for a hit on left wing but legitimately elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Since Chavez regularly frets aloud that the United States is out to kill him, announced Robertson, we just ought to do it. "Take him out," said the spiritual adviser to millions of Christians. It would, he said, be a lot cheaper than going to war against him.

Aha, I thought, the outcry from his fellow evangelicals will be deafening. Christianity is a religion of peace, they'll stress. We preach turning the other cheek, loving our fellow men (if only figuratively). We believe in the rule of law, and we believe that murder is a sin.

Instead, the silence was deafening. In fact, while some liberal religious leaders condemned Robertson, almost all of his conservative buddies were, their various spokespersons declared, "too busy" to comment on their co-religionist's call for state-sponsored murder.

One of the few even willing to discuss Robertson told Hardball's Chris Matthews that, essentially, Pat was being Pat - a little excitable, and anyway, "Take him out" could mean any number of things. Yep, Pat just wanted to treat Hugo to a McDonald's Happy Meal.

Nearly as tight-lipped was the administration. Taking a few minutes out of their uphill mission to savage Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan and to salvage George W. Bush's extended summer vacation, its mouthpieces muttered that Robertson was just a citizen and didn't make U.S. policy.

Never mind that the same band of operatives eagerly makes use of Robertson and his army of shock troops every election day. It was Robertson himself whom God told in 2004 that Bush would win in a "blowout election" later that year. "The Lord has just blessed him,"

Robertson explained.

The truth is that Robertson is a wicked, bitter, nutty man who has made a career of saying things so profoundly outrageous he should be shunned by all but hardcore zealots. Instead, he's simply indulged, like a loony uncle in our national attic.

It's disgusting. We glow with white-hot righteous fury when we denounce, say, some of the dreadful Islamic imams who call for death to Americans. But when Robertson, hiding behind an avuncular smile and a head of white hair, calls for state-sponsored murder, we just shrug.

Gems from Pat

Here's a sampling of Robertson's pithier quotes, thanks to the Internet and the wonderful oddballs whose mission in life is to catalog such things. Notice a decidedly jihadist bent to Robertson's words of wisdom.

On ecumenism, 1991: "You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions, but I don't have to be nice to them."

On history, 1992: "When lawlessness is abroad in the land, the same thing will happen here that happened in Nazi Germany. Many of those people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals - the two things seem to go together."

On feminism, 1993: "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, antifamily political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

On the Constitution, 1981: "The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian and atheistic people, they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society."

On political theory, 1992: "The strategy against the American radical left should be the same as General Douglas MacArthur employed against the Japanese in the Pacific. . . . Bypass their strongholds, then surround them, isolate them, bombard them, then blast the individuals out of their power bunkers with hand-to-hand combat. The battle for Iwo Jima was not pleasant, but our troops won it. The battle to regain the soul of America won't be pleasant either, but we will win it."

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 came about because we "have been consumed by the pursuit of . . . health, wealth, material pleasures and sexuality," Robertson declared. "This is God's power and he sent this thing to warn us. . . . We needed a shock."

In 2003, he beseeched his viewers to join him in a 21-day "prayer offensive" asking God to "remove"- just how he didn't specify - three Supreme Court justices who had ticked him off. And he suggested we could "shake things up" by throwing a "small nuke" on the State Department.

Cynical hearts

Quite a guy, our Pat. Plus, it turns out his call to bump off Chavez is not the first time he has rhetorically put out a contract. In fact, he loves to do it.

In 1986, he called for the "godly fumigation" of the non-Christian "termites" who have taken over American institutions. By 1999, his hit list had gone global, nicely combining bloodlust and thrift. "You could send a squad in to take out somebody like Osama bin Laden, or to take out the head of North Korea, but isn't it better to do something like that, to take out Milosevic, to take out Saddam Hussein, rather than to spend billions of dollars on a war."

Robertson is either a madman or a moral moron. He does incalculable damage to the image of the country abroad, particularly among people who might think a so-called religious man with close ties to our president actually speaks with a degree of authority. He regularly trashes all that is good in Christianity by spewing such hatred.

He even makes Chavez - by all accounts a bullying demagogue and quite possibly as nutty in his own way as Robertson - a sympathetic character.

Robertson's rants should be condemned not only by all religious leaders but also by the politicians who have curried favor with him knowing in their cynical hearts that he's a bigoted hater. My hunch, though, is that before that happens, pigs will be doing magnificent aerial loops over our rooftops.

(Monitor columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)


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