Chalk another one up for the Religious Right

If you haven’t already heard . . . this game may be fun. Guess who said this:

“We have the ability to take (Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez) out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the same job and then get it over with. You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of asssassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assisnate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”

A.) A war-mongering U.S. President
B.) Donald Rumsfield
C.) Rambo
D.) Some crazed U.S. Navy Seal special forces member
E.) A beloved Christ-follower

Pat Robertson is an idiot. I can think of many other terms for him, but I none that I think are kind enough to type here. Jackass is about the meanest I’m willing to call out here.

Pat Roberton, host of 700 Club, instigator of Christian Coalition, and all-around misrepresenter of the Gospel to the United States made these comments on the 700 Club Monday. These comments are so ignorant and so un-Christian it grieves me to hear them made by someone so beloved for his “ministry.”

I would love to retort with comments of my own, but I think the comments from Venezuela suffice to cover the problem with his words.

The Venezuelan vice-president said it would test the U.S. anti-terrorism policy. If an Islamic leader in the Middle East made these same comments about George Bush, we’d be up in arms and ready to bomb them. Jose Vicente Rangel (VP of Venezuela) said this:

“The ball is in the U.S. court, after this criminal statement by a citizen of that country. It’s a huge hypocrisy to maintain this discourse against terrorism ans at the same time, in the heart of that country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those.”
I guess the U.S. is getting a bit of taste of it’s own medicine. I guess the comment I found most ironic in this whole situation is the fact that, Rangel sarcastically noted how “Christian” Robertson’s comments were. It’s amazing how all those “pagans” outside our country know the heart and mind of Christ, while those inside who stand in the midst of Christian glitz and glamour often show little awareness.
Maybe some day we’ll move to the point where ignorant comments made by ignorant men won’t be in the newspaper, but until that happens, we must come out and defend the true “love your enemy” faith calling Christ calls his disciples to. For whatever reason, Christian activists think that this doesn’t apply on a world-level and in diplomatic relationships.
In a related vein, Stanley Haurwas has an interesting study regarding the non-violent resistance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a Lutheran Christian protesting WWII who eventually lost his life days before the Allies liberated his camp): Performing the Faith Bonhoeffer and the Practice of Nonviolence.
Even the Bush camp had to separate itself from these statements. It amazes me that there are actually people out there who believe that garbage. It’s unbelieveable.
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2 thoughts on “Chalk another one up for the Religious Right

  1. By the way, Pat Roberson apologized for his statement. I’m sure you have the grace of God within you to forgive him. Will you apologize for the derogatory comments you made about him? Interestingly enough he made a similar statement about Osama Bin Laden about six years ago…called for a covert operation resulting in his assasination …saying that covert missions are better than all out wars that kill innocent civilians. Would you agree with that? How many lives could have been spared if Osama had been dealt with in that way. Is killing ever justified? Also, read Matthew 5:21-22. Your name-calling and abusive belittling of people you don’t agree with is just as hypocritical. Many times you share some great thoughts on your blog, but your name-calling makes you come across as being self-righteous and somewhat abusive, too, as if you have it all together and that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is somehow less of a person. I don’t know if you attend to come across this way, but you do. I read your blog often, but rarely respond because I think you think you are better than me and smarter than me. That’s also why I am writing this anonymously. It doesn’t seem that you want to dialogue…you just want to declare that what you say is right.

  2. Though it may be hard for you to believe . . . I appreciate your comment. Sure, I should knock out the namecalling. The problem with blogs (and the whole Internet venue) is that it allows you to voice opinions without coming face to face with those holding opposing views. I’d like to think that I am above that, but, for whatever reason, it comes out in the midst of bloggery. I am suprised by the comments regarding the arrogant and self righteous tone perceived in my comments. I sincerely apologize for that and will strive to better represent myself more humbly in the future. I do not consider my comments more important than anyone else’s, and I definitely don’t feel as though I am better informed to address any subject matter I babble about here. But . . . (you had to know there was a but) I do wonder if your concerns stem mostly from my politically-inclined subject matter. I have noticed that anyone not falling in line within conservative red-state-mania and claims to be an evangelical is up against a mighty force. There is plenty that conservatives believe that I’m all for . . . however, I am leary of how quickly and indellibly Christians involve themselves in the political process. Check out John Howard Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus. Also, Stanley Haurwas is a great resource regarding Christians and politics. Maybe I come across as though “I just want to declare that what I say is right,” but I’d like to think I simply state the other side . . . often politcally which is pretty charged. As for Robertson’s comments regarding Osama Bin Laden . . . I’d sure hate to follow whatever whim or quick thought that any political leader in this country has regarding assassinating another world leader. This mode of thinking is theocratic, which is a form of goverment that all Americans should fear. Hope that helps clear things up where I’m coming from. Sorry to come across so negatively. I really want this to be a place for dialogue (which I think will slowly happen). This ends my comment, but I have included below, for whoever is interested, a copy of a Jim Wallis’ article regarding Pat Roberton’s comments. thanks.[Sorry to make it so long.]Pat Robertson: An embarrassment to the churchby Jim WallisPat Robertson is an embarrassment to the church and a danger toAmerican politics. Robertson is known for his completely irresponsible statements -that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were due to American feministsand liberals, that true Christians could vote only for George W.Bush, that the federal judiciary is a greater threat to Americathan those who flew the planes into the World Trade CenterTowers, and the list goes on. Robertson even took credit oncefor diverting a hurricane. But his latest outburst may take thecake.On Monday, Robertson called for the assassination of VenezuelanPresident Hugo Chavez. Robertson is worried about Chavez’scritiques of American power and behavior in the world,especially because Venezuela is sitting on all that oil. Wesimply can’t have an anti-American political leader who couldraise the price of gas. So let’s just kill him, the famoustelevision preacher seriously suggested. After all, having someof our “covert operatives” take out the troublesome Venezuelanleader would be cheaper than another $200 billion war, he said.It’s clear Robertson must not have first asked himself “Whatwould Jesus do?” But the teachings of Jesus have never been verypopular with Robertson. He gets his religion elsewhere, from thetwisted ideologies of an American brand of right-wingfundamentalism that has always been more nationalist thanChristian. Apparently, Robertson didn’t even remember what theTen Commandments say, though he has championed their display onthe walls of every American courthouse. That irritating oneabout “Thou shalt not kill” seems to rule out the killing offoreign leaders. But this week, simply putting biblical ethicsaside, Robertson virtually issued an American religious fatwahfor the murder of a foreign leader – on national television noless. That may be a first.Yesterday Robertson “apologized.” First he denied saying what hehad said, but it was on the videotape (it’s tough when theyrecord you breaking the Ten Commandments and the teachings ofJesus). Then he said that “taking out” Chavez might not requirekilling him, and perhaps kidnapping a duly elected leader woulddo. But Robertson does now say that using the word”assassination” was wrong and that he had been frustrated byChavez – the old “my frustration made me say that somebodyshould be killed” argument. But the worst thing aboutRobertson’s apology was that he compared himself to DietrichBonhoeffer, the German church leader and martyr who ultimatelyjoined in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler. Robertson’s political and theological reasoning is simplyunbelievable. Chavez, a democratically elected leader in no lessthan three internationally certified votes, has been an irritantto the Bush administration, but has yet to commit anyholocausts. Nor does his human rights record even approach thatof the Latin American dictators who have been responsible formassive violations of human rights and the deaths of tens ofthousands of people (think of the military regimes of Chile,Argentina, El Salvador, and Guatemala). Robertson nevercriticized them, perhaps because many of them were supported byU.S. military aid and training.This incident reveals that Robertson does not believe indemocracy; he believes in theocracy. And he would likegovernments, including our own, to implement his theologicalagenda, perhaps legislate Leviticus, and “take out” those whodisagree.Robertson’s American fundamentalist ideology gives a lot of goodpeople a bad name. World evangelical leaders have alreadyresponded with alarm and disbelief. Robertson’s words will taintand smear other evangelical Christians and put some in actualjeopardy, such as Venezuelan evangelicals. Most conservativeevangelical Christians are appalled by Robertson’s hateful andliterally murderous words, and it’s time for them to say so. Totheir credit, the World Evangelical Alliance and the NationalAssociation of Evangelicals have already denounced Robertson’swords. When will we hear from some of the groups from the”Religious Right,” such as the Family Research Council, SouthernBaptists, and other leaders like James Dobson, Tony Perkins, andChuck Colson?Robertson’s words fuel both anti-Christian and anti-Americansentiments around the world. It’s difficult for an Americangovernment that has historically plotted against leaders inCuba, Chile, the Congo, South Vietnam, and elsewhere to beeasily believed when it disavows Robertson’s call to assassinateChavez. But George Bush must do so anyway, in the strongestterms possible.It’s time to name Robertson for what he is: an Americanfundamentalist whose theocratic views are not much differentfrom the “Muslim extremists” he continually assails. It’s timefor conservative evangelical Christians in America, who are notlike Islamic fundamentalists or Robertson, to distancethemselves from his embarrassing and dangerous religion.And it’s time for Christian leaders of all stripes to call onRobertson not just to apologize, but to retire.

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