Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Pat Robertson is a dangerous idiot

I'd prefer not to resort to ad hominem attacks like the one above, but there's no other way around it here. As some of you may know by now, televangelist extraordinaire Pat Robertson has called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:

Pat Robertson, the conservative Christian broadcaster, has attracted attention over the years for lambasting feminists, "activist" judges, the United Nations and Disneyland.

Now Mr. Robertson has set off an international firestorm by saying on his television show that the United States should kill the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, a leftist whose country has the largest oil reserves outside the Middle East.

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Mr. Robertson said Monday on his show, "The 700 Club." "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

An idiot? Yes. A dangerous one? Yes again. Robertson may not have much in the way of direct political power, but he continues to be an extremely influential voice on the evangelical right -- a voice with its own TV show -- and that makes him quite powerful, indirectly. But who knew that this leader of the evangelical right would go so far as to broadcast a call for the assassination of a world leader -- and all for the sake of oil? Is he just out of his mind, or is this what certain elements on the evangelical right have become?

Can we have some outrage, please? I mean, can you imagine how the right would have responded had some left-wing fanatic said much the same thing? To be sure, the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department have all disavowed Robertson's comments, the first two quite lamely, but what is needed here is some serious condemnation.

UPDATE: My friend Grace Miao, author of Flighty Child, has two excellent posts on the Robertson idiocy here and here. Her mood has, understandably, gone from disgust to rage.

UPDATE II (8/25/05): Joe Gandelman reviews the Robertson comment/denial/apology here.

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