The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cenk Uygur -- Pat Robertson's Fatwa

Cenk Uygur

Pat Robertson's Fatwa

Reverend Pat Robertson suggested we assassinate the elected leader of Venezuela today. Someone explain to me how that is different than a fatwa an extremist Muslim leader might put on the head of someone they disagree with?

“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 … We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.”

Reverend Pat Robertson, on “The 700 Club” -- Aug.
22, 2005

Robertson doesn’t suggest Hugo Chavez is an imminent threat to the United States. I don’t think Venezuela will be invading us anytime soon. He doesn’t suggest Chavez has even done any violent act that would require a forceful reaction. He simply sits on “a huge pool of oil” and has the temerity to disagree with Robertson.

I’m not even entirely sure I know what’s got Reverend Robertson so bothered that he has called for the summary execution of this man. Chavez borders on socialist and doesn’t agree with American foreign policy – does that warrant a death sentence these days?

It does if you listen to the American Taliban.

This isn’t the first time Reverend Robertson has called for the assassination of foreign leaders. In 1999, he called for the covert execution of Kim Jong Il, the leader of North Korea, Slobodan Milosevic, the leader of Serbia (not being as bloodthirsty as Robertson, we bothered to actually arrest him and bring him to justice instead) and Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq. Reverend Robertson didn’t exactly get his wish with Hussein, but he and other members of the Christian Right played a role in encouraging the invasion of Iraq to accomplish Robertson’s goal by other means. Reverend Robertson has to have his pound of flesh, one way or another.

If you think what Pat Robertson says about foreign leaders is bad, wait till you get a load of him on domestic organizations he disagrees with. Reverend Robertson said in 2003 that he’d like to blow up the US State Department with a nuclear bomb. And we were worried about the Iraqis having weapons of mass destruction.

I have called Pat Robertson a Reverend on several occasions in this piece. Does that bother anybody? It bothers me. This man claims to preach for the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, and goes around advocating the murder of innocent people (Hugo Chavez has not been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime and is the popularly elected leader of his country). So, is this what the Christian Right believes Christianity has come to? Murdering people you disagree with.

Please don’t try to tell me Pat Robertson is an insignificant member of the Christian Right. He is one of the founding fathers of the movement. He ran for President of the United States of America. He was taken seriously, included in the Republican debates and gathered the support of three million Republican voters.

He is among the “religious leaders” in this country that is granted audience with the President on a regular basis. Robertson claims one million people watch his 700 Club every day.

The Christian fundamentalist leadership in this country has claimed the mantle of Christianity while advocating for murder, war and mayhem. Reverend Jerry Falwell said recently on CNN in regards to Iraq, “blow them all away in the name of the Lord.” Has anyone read the New Testament?

I don’t remember the verse on preemptive strikes. I don’t remember the sermon on assassinations. These people have corrupted the teachings of the Bible just as extremist Muslim leaders have corrupted the teachings of the Koran. They use these holy books to advocate violence and murder. And the followers play along with nary a peep of criticism.

If you don’t believe in their statements and you think Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell do not represent you or your faith, then stand up and be counted. Drive them from the pews, drive them from the pulpits where they claim to speak for you, drive them for positions of leadership and drive them from the Temple.

The one thing that should be clear after these outrageous statements though is that, no matter what the Christian Right decides to do with the Robertsons and Falwells in their midst, the mainstream should shun these hate-mongers and strip them of any credibility.

What kind of country do we live in when our mainstream media and elected politicians believe that people who advocate peace are not in the mainstream but people who advocate the execution of innocent world leaders are within the mainstream?

Pat Robertson should never be considered a legitimate voice in American media again. He should not be interviewed as if he credibly speaks for a mainstream organization. Elected officials should not seek his advice or counsel, unless they are willing to accept that they have no problems with a man who issues Christian fatwas of death. It’s one thing for Pat Robertson to be a member of the American Taliban; it’s another for the mainstream to think there’s nothing wrong with that.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/pat-robertsons-fatwa_b_6068.html

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