August 24, 2005 by lonbud
Not In My God’s Name
Proving conclusively that Islamic mullahs have no corner on the market for incendiary hate speech, America’s own notorious televangelist, Pat Robertson –the one-time Republican candidate for President and long-time confidant of George W. Bush– called this week for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Mr. Robertson touted his foreign policy directive Monday on the ABC Family Network television program, “The 700 Club,” telling his audience of over one million viewers that assassinating the democratically elected leader of the world’s fifth-largest oil exporting nation would be “a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.”
For his part, when informed of the news of Mr. Robertson’s fatwa, Mr. Chavez said, “I haven’t read anything. We haven’t heard anything about him. I don’t even know who that person is.”
CBS News reported that Chavez said he’d rather “talk about life” than death.
Today, Mr. Robertson responded to a firestorm of criticism over his remarks (the least of which, perhaps, came from our own State Department, whose spokesman allowed they were inappropriate), by employing the time-honored tactic of denying he ever made them. “I didn’t say assassination. I said our special forces should take him out. Take him out can be a number of things including kidnapping. There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted.”
Actually, Mr. Robertson wasn’t misinterpreted at all, since he did in fact clearly call for the Venezuelan leader to be assassinated on Monday.
My question is, how do we receive his apology on Wednesday, when he merely downgrades his call from assassination to kidnapping?
Mr. Robertson is the founder of the Christian Coalition of America, a conservative organization claiming nearly 2 million members and 1,500 local chapters in all 50 US states, supporting what he says is a pro-family, non-partisan agenda while educating “people of faith” to influence all levels of government. The group’s issues include ending abortion rights and supporting the nomination of conservative judges –and now, apparently, killing (or at least kidnapping) leaders of countries with whom they disagree.
I may open myself to criticism from the left flank here, but I believe –as long as it appears much of our political and social policy-making in this country is going to come garnished with “faith-based” theological underpinnings and platitudes– it is high time we embraced large-scale religious education.
Every school child ought to read and study the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Baghvad-Gita, the Dhammapada (Teachings of Buddah), the Analects of Confucious, and any other tome of moral and ethical comportment that might help each and every one of them recognize a godless charlatan like Pat Robertson when they see one.