The criminal and dangerous statements made by far right “Christian” leader Pat Robertson on his Aug. 22 “700 Club” television show, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, should be swiftly condemned by the White House and Congress.
Administration officials say this is just the statement of a “private citizen.” Who is this “private citizen”? He is the founder of the Christian Coalition, and controls a vast media empire. He is a major force in the Republican Party and extremely close to the Bush administration. In fact, Robertson helped Bush into office, mobilizing vast sections of the evangelical Christian community to vote for Bush. Maybe this explains why the president seems too timid to actually condemn Robertson.
The leader of the 45-million-member National Council of Churches, the Rev. Bob Edgar, said Robertson’s call for murder is “appalling.” Edgar condemned the televangelist for dismissing “thousands of years of Judeo-Christian law, including the commandment that we are not to kill.”
Apparently Robertson thought he could find a loophole in the Ten Commandments!
Robertson issued his call shortly after Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld returned from a trip to South America. Rumsfeld pushed governments in the region to reject the democratic and leftward aspirations of the people and to isolate Venezuela (along with Cuba). Robertson’s statement could be a trial balloon to see how Americans would react to the idea of a new U.S.-backed intervention or assassination in the region.
Robertson called for an act of terrorism — the assassination of a democratically elected head of state. It’s particularly inflammatory since his friends in this administration are currently shielding terrorist mastermind Luis Posada Carriles from extradition to Venezuela, where he faces trial for the bombing of a Cuban passenger airliner that killed 76 people.
The FCC should be forced to investigate Robertson and his 700 Club. Criminal acts — like issuing death threats — have no business on public airwaves.