Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Evangelism is Dead

At least on TV.

How do I know? Pat Robertson. To get a fuller picture of what he said, check out this article in the NY Times. In case you want the short version, the headline says it all:

Televangelist Calls for Assassination of Chavez

I'm not one to shy away from direct rhetoric, or a clear course of action being proposed by anyone in a position to do it. But this crosses so many lines as to be almost a farce.

Any of you lawyers out there know off-hand what the penalty for threatening someone--especially the head of a foreign government--with death? But even that isn't the point.

Robertson is supposed to be a man of God. Not just of God, but of Jesus. I'm not particularly strident in my faith, nor am I a devout church-goer. I haven't memorized the bible. But I have read most of it once or twice. And nowhere in the bible do I remember Jesus calling out for the death (or even maiming, or inflicting of pain) on anyone. In fact, if I remember, he was the crazy guy wandering the desert who said the greatest commandment was to, "love your neighbor as yourself" and to an enemy, "turn the other cheeck."

I don't remember Jesus talking about the Scribes, or even the Romans like this, "''We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," but aparently it's OK for Pat Roberston to suggest we do these things. In case there was any doubt, Robertson clarified that this really wasn't a religious statement, but a political one, "''We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator."

For those of you who are willing to put aside strongly-held religious convictions in order to achieve political ends, a quick history refresher on how good the U.S. is at picking winning sides when we overthrow governments:
Iran 1953: The U.S. overthrew/assassinated a democratically elected prime minister, Mosadeq, and replaced him with the Royal Shah. That lasted approximately 26 years until the Grand Ayatollah Khomenei came on the scene, and we ended up with American hostages held in Iran for 444 days. Oh, who still calls us the "great satan?" It's not Britain.

Chile, September 11, 1973: The U.S. backs a coup of democratically elected Salvador Allende in Chile. Chile, which, up until 1973 was the second longest functioning constitutional democracy in the western hemisphere (after the U.S.). We aided in the installation of a friendly guy by the name of Pinochet (Spit!) who rounded up and executed, or dropped in the ocean from several miles in the air, people who disagreed with a coup.

For the sake of time and space I'll simply mention our great endeavors in: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

But let's not forget our biggest achievement in backing the wrong horse in other countries' domestic power-struggles: Vietnam. People my age don't "know" about Vietnam except through movies, news footage and books. But people Pat Robertson's age certainly remember it, and just how great the U.S. throughout that time.

This is my request: since Mr. Robertson seems to have lost touch with the religious convictions (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt) that gained him prominence, and since he is clearly exhibiting poor personal and political judgment, I request that Mr. Robertson seclude himself on a mountain somewhere. Where there are no phones, cellphones, computers, internet, tv, or radio. For about 2 months. Maybe 2 years would be better. Yes, I'll request a 2 year retreat. Of peace, and quiet, and reflection.


Loren said...

Wouldn't a more Robertson-like strategy involve sending Chavez the Jesus DVD and getting together a squad of evangelicals to hold an intervention? Just what we need, the Christian right calling for wars or assasinations.

alektra said...

Can we also put Bush there?

I do think this is called a "Crusade". As a Christian, I am amazed what we forget. Things like "render unto Cesar's what is Cesar's". And yet we polute our God with our money.