Monday, August 22, 2005

Pat Robertson Shames the Body of Christ

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhen I think of embarrassing Christian leaders, the Rev. Ian Paisley of Northern Ireland comes to mind. His militant, hateful and violent approach to Roman Catholics caused him to be condemned and disavowed by the Presbyterian Church of Ireland (of which he has never been a member. In 1946 he was "ordained" without the authorization of any recognized ecclesiastical body and has paraded himself around the world as a "Presbyterian" minister ever since. By any stretch of the imagination the title, "Rev.," which always appears in front of his name, should be, if not deleted entirely, at least be put in quotation marks!

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNow, joining Paisley in the pantheon of "Embarrassing Christian Leaders," is the Rev. Dr. Pat Robertson. Now Robertson has been in and out of the pantheon for many years. Who can forget his claim that his prayers were responsible for steering hurricane Gloria away from the Atlantic coast ("It was extremely important because I felt that if I couldn't move a hurricane, I could hardly move a nation");

Or his claim to have been a "combat Marine" in Korea (when it turned out he had been nicknamed, "the liquor officer" who never got near the front lines).

Well, today on his "700 Club" television program, Robertson called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela. Here is the transcript of what he said (courtesy of Captain Ed):

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him[Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but 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. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with. (emphasis added)

It would be considered madness for a politician to suggest such a thing openly. But for a prominent Christian minister to declare, apparently without a single moral qualm, that for the sake of America's need for oil and the insane idea that Chavez is inviting Al Qaeda into his country, we should sent in covert operatives and murder a Head of State simply for the sake of convenience?

Has he completely forgotten the lesson of scripture?

In John 11:49-50 we read that, when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem were debating what to do about Jesus of Nazareth, "one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, 'You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.'"

Now that sounds like an idea that would easily elicit a hearty "Amen!" from Pat Robertson.

Unfortunately, the strategy that Robertson seems to favor is the same one that led to the arrest, suffering, crucifixion and death of his own Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ ("go get 'em, Caiaphas!")

In retrospect, perhaps saying that, "the Rev. Dr. Pat Robertson Shames the Body of Christ" was not really an appropriate thing for me to have said. More appropriate would have been for me to have said that, "It appears that the Rev. Dr. Pat Robertson has lost his mind....and that he has shamed the Body of Christ as well!"

This time, when he enters the pantheon of embarrassing Christian Leaders, will somebody please close and lock the door behind him?