Wednesday, August 24, 2005

White House, Religious Right Fail To "Condemn" Robertson's Fatwa

Religious Right leader and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson declared a fatwa on Aug. 22, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Surprisingly, the Bush Administration and major Religious Right organizations have failed to condemn the comments.

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said of Chávez 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."

Robertson, on his show today, backtracked, claiming he was misinterpreted:

ROBERTSON: Wait a minute, I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should, quote, "take him out," and "take him out" can be a number of things including kidnapping. There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time.

Maybe those who should be condemning Robertston choose to live in the alternate universe that allows Robertson's lie to replace the truth. How else can you explain the lack of an appropriate response from Republican and Religious Right leaders?

***

The tame response from the administration focused on the idea that assassination was not administration policy.

"Certainly, it's against the law. Our department doesn't do that type of thing," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the top administration official to remark. "Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time."

Of course, most private citizens don't have their own nationally broadcast television shows, reaching about 1 million people per broadcast. Most private citizens don't have a voice in national politics, either.

Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, called Robertson's comments "inappropriate." He said the U.S. government "does not share his view" and is not plotting to kill Chavez.

And that was about it. No strong words. No condemnation. Please ignore the crazy man on television, and oh by the way, make sure his viewers continue to vote for the GOP.

Robertson has often used his show and the political advocacy group he founded, the Christian Coalition, to support President Bush.)

When has the administration used the word "condemn"? Following terrorist attacks worldwide and suicide bombings in Iraq, for sure. But it also has condemned assassinations, such as the 2001 assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, or the 2002 assassination of Haji Abdul Qadir, a vice president of the Afghan Transitional Administration. Just this month, the administration condemned the assassination of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

So, does that mean the world has to wait for a Chavez assassination before the Bush Administration will condemn it? Or is it just that the administration only uses the word condemnation when the victim is a friend of the U.S.? (Something Chavez, officially, is not.)

***

Also silent were many conservative Christian organizations. Leaders at the Traditional Values Coalition, the Family Research Council and the Christian Coalition saying through spokesmen that they were too busy to comment.

It's ironic. They have so much time to comment on other things, such as embryonic stem cell research or what videos are shown at the Lincoln Memorial.

***

In a separate reaction, liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America sent a letter urging the ABC Family network to stop carrying Robertson's program. The network broadcasts The 700 Club three times each weekday.

In an Aug. 23 statement, ABC Family said the company was "contractually obligated to air The 700 Club and has no editorial control over views expressed by the hosts or guests."

But that's a bogus statement -- in 2003, MSNBC fired controversial conservative talk show host Michael Savage after he referred to an unidentified caller as a "sodomite" and said he should "get AIDS and die."

"His comments were extremely inappropriate and the decision was an easy one," MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said at the time.

And certainly declaring a fatwa is as serious as anything Savage has to say.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat Robertson:

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it," said Robertson on Monday's program. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war."

How the hell did the AP misinterpret that? Robertson CLEARLY called for killing Chavez -- there is no other explanation for this statement.

Of course, the media will not report "Robertson lies in effort to dampen public outrage." No, they give us the headline "Robertson says he was misinterpreted," then they quote Robertson's explanation, then they "report" what he originally said, but they make no judgment and offer no explanation.

First, I call bullshit on Robertson's "explanation."

Second, I challenge the media to stand up to this guy's blatant lies and deception and expose him for what he is -- a lying, conniving businessman posing as a religious leader.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Pat Robertson (a great and loyal Bush cheerleader) is an idiot. But I'd hate to see him brought down only over what he said about Chavez. I mean what about his call to God to "remove" three liberal-leaning justices from the Supreme Court. It's a lifetime post so, exactly what did people think he was asking for?

Then he hoped God would send hurricanes and meteors to punish Orlando and Disney for it's marketing to homosexuals.

The point is, even if the White House did condemn Robertson for this specific show of idiocy, the Republican Party should still be held accountable for their relationship with this guy.

Robertson's Christian Coalition has spent a great deal of money over the years to yank the American politic towards the right. As just one example, in 2004 they handed out 2 million "voter guides" in Ohio in order to show Bush as the more "Christian" candidate. People For The American Way once called the Christian Coalition's guides a "fraud perpetuated by a plainly partisan group."

I don't care so much about empty condemnations. I want to know: Will the Republicans return any money given to them by Robertson's various groups? And will they turn down campaigning and lobbying efforts?

Finally I'd like to know if they will stop the paybacks of your tax money to Robertson's Operation Blessing group.

Well, Bush promised to run the government like a business, and Robertson has certainly turned God into a business. You got what you paid for Red States. Way to go.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Ranting Tommy said...

Robertson is a moron and he thinks we are all as stupid as his audience.

If there was a god, guys like this would not exist.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Democratic Underground:

bush didn't condemn the swiftboat liars either..they are all just like him..I guess bush didn't want to seem like a hypocrite.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Write your congressmen and the chairman of the fcc asking for a revocation of robertson's tax-exempt status and his fcc license.....................................................
now quit bitching and start writing.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous wandy said...

Pat Robertson has given me one more reason to be glad I am an agnostic. As I do not know the name of my god I can not call for the takeing of a life in that name.
Pat's apolagy was the typical chickenshit we hear so much of these days as in......
I din't say we should assassinate him; I just think we should assassinate him.
Sad that so many people would 'tilth' to a 'man of god' that would take a life for their own trivel cause.
Wandy

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

His status as tax exempt should be yanked immediately. If he is exempt from taxes and can obviously inject himself into politics, I am making up his savings by my taxes being higher. I don't support his mass murderer views, why should I have to pay his taxes?

12:43 AM  
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