I probably should be surprised by this completely insane remark by Pat Robertson, but it seems like par for the course for a political operative who’s been disguising himself as a religious man for more than forty years now. (via Atrios) :
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.
Now think about this for a second…Pat Robertson – the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Coalition – is calling for the murder of another human being. I cannot imagine how any honest Christian can look at this man and not come to the conclusion that he’s, at the very least, a complete fraud. The fact that the more devout members of the WWJD? crowd would follow Robertson rather than decry him as the anti-Christ tell you all you need to know about the personality-driven nature of “mainstream” (read : overbearing, xenophobic, paranoid, mass-media based subset of) Christianity in America.
This sort of thing makes my blood boil. I hate Christian sects that insist that their interpretation of the Bible is the only “true” Christianity, but I feel rather justified in saying that anyone who actively supports Pat Robertson’s ministries at this point is a “bad” Christian. There is no way you can reconcile Pat Robertson’s apparent bloodlust with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Period. Even attempting to justify a remark like this is tantamount to putting “thou shalt not kill” and “love thy neighbor” behind less important teachings like “thou shalt cover they televangelist’s ass”.
As far as the political aspects of a remark like this, I think it’s high time that the Democratic party borrow a page from the Republican playbook and insist that high-profile conservatives like George Bush, James Dobson, Bill Frist, John McCain, Rick Santorum, Tom DeLay and the like go on record about whether or not they agree with Pat Robertson’s call for the killing of Hugo Chavez. Do you agree that Chavez should be assassinated or not? Since you’ve been so willing to speak for Jesus in the past, do you think he’d support sending someone to murder the democratically elected leader of a foreign country?