After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I dubbed Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson “The American Taliban”. In the four years since, not much has changed. In 2005’s 9/11 issue of True came this story:
The American Taliban, Alive and Well
American evangelist preacher Pat Robertson has backed off his suggestion that the U.S. government should assassinate Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela. “If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war,” he said on his religious TV show, the 700 Club. “We have the ability to take him out and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.” But after an international outcry, Robertson backpedaled. “I said our special forces could take him out,” he said on a later broadcast. “There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted.” (New York Times, Reuters) …”Thou shalt not bear false witness.” —the Ninth Commandment
The problem isn’t religion — whether it’s Islam or Christianity. The problem is radical fundamentalism — whether the practitioner is Islamic or Christian. What is the difference between an Islamic terrorist like bin Laden and a Christian terrorist like Robertson?
There is little difference. They both urge others to do terrorist deeds. Bin Laden urged blind followers to crash planes into the World Trade Center and other targets to assassinate civilians, and Robertson urged blind followers (who he hopes work in our government) to assassinate elected political leaders (and more: see the box at right). In doing so each is a traitor to the peaceful practice of his religion. And each should be called to task.
Robertson clearly hasn’t learned a thing after the first outrage he participated in. That pretty much shows a long-term thought pattern, doesn’t it?
Robertson’s stance is fundamentally wrong — then and now.
Robertson later apologized for his words. “Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement,” Robertson said. “I spoke in frustration.” He still sought to justify his call for assassination, however: “I said before the war in Iraq began that the wisest course would be to wage war against Saddam Hussein, not the whole nation of Iraq,” he continued. “When faced with the threat of a comparable dictator in our own hemisphere, would it not be wiser to wage war against one person rather than finding ourselves down the road locked in a bitter struggle with a whole nation?”
Robertson has also suggested bombing his own government with nuclear weapons (“What we need is for somebody to place a small nuke at Foggy Bottom,” he said, referring to the location of the State Department headquarters), prayed that God would “create vacancies” on the Supreme Court (and shortly after, conservative chief justice William Rehnquist died — is that who Robertson had in mind?) and, when Disneyworld hosted a “gay pride” day, Robertson suggested Orlando would see “some serious hurricanes … terrorist bombs … earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.”
Robertson isn’t really worried about terrorists, however. U.S. judges are worse — at least, the ones he doesn’t agree with. “Liberal” judges, he said, are a more serious threat to America than “a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings.” Gee: I can think of one person who’s a more serious threat to America than that. How about you?