23 August 2005

Love, er, I Mean Kill Your Neighbors

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson has called on-air for American operatives to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying it would be “cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop.” Among other things, Mr. Robertson accused Mr. Chavez, a personal friend of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, of wanting Venezuela to become “a launching pad for communist infiltration” and “Muslim extremism.” Mr. Robertson has made controversial statements in the past. In October, 2003, he suggested that the U.S. State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to “kill their children, practise witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” (Associated Press, August 23, 2005)

Sigh. While this blog is concerned largely with global music culture, we couldn't let this one pass without comment. Mr. Robertson has lost his way, and needs a What Would Jesus Do? refresher course. Even if you're not a student of the Bible, these biblical references might sound familiar:
  • "Thou shalt not kill."
  • "...do not plot evil against your neighbor"
  • "...love your neighbor as yourself."
  • "But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell."
And so on... I can't pretend to know what motivates Mr. Robertson or why he has forgotten that love and compassion are at the root of Christianity, but the kind of thinking his comments reveal is clearly just another brand of extremism. And more than anything, extremism in all its forms is the enemy of civilization today. The United States needs to acknowlege extremism within its own borders as much as that eminating from the Muslim world. How ironic and disappointing that at a time when so many Islamic leaders are denouncing extremism, a prominent Christian like Robertson eagerly steps forward to endorse it. Compassionate, tolerant people of all faiths (or none), it's time for you to speak out. Don't let extremists become the spokespeople for the USA. For more, read the article Pat Robertson is Not a Christian by Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler
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