Pat Robertson Issues Fatwa against Venezuelan President

Tuesday, 23 August 2005

Religious Right leader Pat Robertson yesterday called for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. On an episode of the 700 Club, Robertson claimed that Chávez is leading his country to become "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism." "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war," Robertson added.

On one point Robertson is right. It's a whole lot cheaper to assassinate someone than to start a war against his country, at least in the short term. If economic expediency is the measure by which one judges whether murder ought to be committed, perhaps we should all become hit men. It turns out, however, that most people believe that murder is a moral, not a financial, matter. Not Robertson, apparently.

Spokespeople for the White House quickly distanced themselves from Robertson's comments, although their rejection of Robertson's suggestion is more than a little suspect, considering that the White House and CIA were behind a failed coup attempt against Chávez in 2002. Perhaps their primary objection to Robertson's remarks is that he made them publicly rather than privately in a smoke-filled room.

The sheer idiocy of Robertson's comments aside, the biggest problem with what he said is that it is a dreadful commentary on the state of Christianity in America today. Robertson and his ilk have spit in the face of Jesus, rejecting his call to love one's enemies and embracing the Bush doctrine of preemptive strikes as an alternative gospel. Like the Muslim terrorists whom Robertson so regularly rails against, he has issued a fatwa against an elected head of state with whom he disagrees. How is this any different than the fatwa against Salman Rushdie? It's not: both are an abomination, whether issued by a purported Muslim or a purported Christian.

The Christianity represented by people like Pat Robertson, and all those who fail to denounce him, is a gross perversion of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Supporters of Robertson would do well to remember the words of Paul to the Galatians: "But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed!" (Gal 1:8).

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