Televangelist Pat Robertson has really stepped in it now.
On the August 22 edition of his Christian Broadcast Network program The 700 Club, Robertson said of leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, “We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.”
He added that covert operatives could carry this out and save us the cost of a $200 billion war (could the financial reference indicate a rift between Robertson and the president he wholeheartedly backed for reelection in 2004?).
This is the first time I can remember a public figure so unambiguously calling for the murder of another public figure. Robertson did so in a very public manner – live on TV. All self-respecting people should condemn his remarks, but especially those who are his supporters.
This incident reminds me somewhat of when, after the 9/11 attacks, Robertson colluded with fellow Christian soldier Jerry Falwell in blaming feminists, gays, the ACLU, the Druids and Bigfoot for that day’s tragedies.
But this really shows the man’s true colors. Robertson’s 9/11 buffoonery pales in comparison to his advocating the murder of an elected leader with whom he is at ideological odds. I imagine before long, though, Robertson will be saying his comments were misunderstood and people with a left-wing agenda took him out of context for their own political gain.
This incident is a perfect illustration of what I see as the major paradox of the modern religious right. Some of the most high-profile, vocal figures of that ilk are staunchly pro-life, yet espouse pro-war, pro-gun and pro-death penalty stances without a second thought.
Now it looks like we can add pro-politically motivated assassination to that list.
The real paradox is that the message of love, peace and caring for your fellow man today isn’t coming from the Christian sector, despite their stated ideals; it’s primarily coming from the “angry left.”
8/24 ADDENDUM: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/08/24/robertson.chavez/index.html
9/22 ADDENDUM: http://campusprogress.org/tools/543/know-your-right-wing-speakers-pat-robertson