Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I didn't want to write too much about Robertson last night, I have a policy against posting late in the evening. I've had some bad experiences.

Looking over Pat's comments again, it occurs to me that perhaps I missed the Sunday school class where they told the story of Jesus and his disciples creeping through the jungle with suppressed weapons.

23 And lo they did come upon the Roman governor's villa, and Jesus did motion to them to fan out in defense pattern delta delta, eyes and ears. 24 And Jesus and John, whom He called Beloved, did silently climb the creeping vines and with a ruthless efficiency did garrote the two guards on the balcony. 25 And therein they did find the governor, relaxing in the tub with some candles and a good magazine. 26 And Jesus did walk right up on him and put two in his dome. 27 And then the Son of Man and his Twelve Deadly Fishers of Men did melt back into the jungle like holy ghosts.

But then, I also missed the class where Jesus told his followers to forget everything he'd said about living a life of poverty and service and to instead buy lots of fancy clothes, create media empires, oppose birth control, predict the weather, and take over the government and create a Christian state.

All this is to say that I find character and spirit of the Christ of the Gospels to be entirely absent from the rhetoric of Pat Robertson. Leaving aside the question of whether Jesus was a pacifist, I think most people who aren't freaking batshit insane can get on board with the idea that he wouldn't have supported political assassinations. Jesus' lone act of recorded violence was clearing the money changers out of the temple, and we should consider the context and focus of that act. Jesus wanted to protest the desecration of the temple by financial predators, the pollution of religion by commerce and politics, and the corruption of temple officials who sanctioned and profited from it. Now consider Pat Robertson: which side of that equation do you think he's on? Where in that scenario do you think he fits in?

This doesn't need pointing out, but Robertson isn't just some Elmer Gantry type. He is one of the two or three most prominent Christian leaders in this country. He attends regular meetings with leading Republicans and with the president. He has himself run an almost credible campaign for President. This isn't Barbra Streisand condemning the president for withdrawing from the Kyoto accord or Alec Baldwin questioning the war in Iraq (both of which the Right Wing Machine would dine out on for weeks), this is an American religious leader with substantial political influence using his television show to advocate, in what amounts to a Christian fatwa, the murder of the democratically elected leader of a country with which we're not at war. Wingnuts are always complaining that moderate Muslims don't condemn the violent rhetoric of radical clerics loudly or publicly enough, well, now's their chance to show us how it's done.

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