Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Convenient Christian

I'm having a busy week, so I don't have the time I'd like to dissect the idiocy of Pat Robertson. But since Venezuela is the largest supplier of oil in the western hemisphere, and oil is a bit of an issue right now, let's hit a few of the lowlights on this one. First, Hugo Chavez is a democratically-elected leader. That's more than many of our closest allies can say including the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, Kuwait and others. Second, Chavez is extraordinarily popular in Venezuela. Some opinion polls have put his approval rating at 70%---shocking in Latin America, where anything north of about 20% has always been rare. Do we need to mention President Bush's current approval rating?

But Robertson's comments are particularly shameful and hypocritical in light of an episode in his recent past.

Until being forced to abdicate in 2003, Charles Taylor was Liberia's Saddam Hussein. Having seized power as a warlord and then winning a farcical election, Taylor was infamous for his brutality and corruption. He essentially ran Liberia as his own personal cash register, and eventually was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by a UN-backed tribunal. In the summer of 2003, with hundreds of thousands of Liberians dead in a civil war and its embassy in the country under siege, the U.S. finally intervened and demanded that Taylor step down.

Pat Robertson wasn't happy about that. From a WaPo article in 2003:
Charles Taylor, the Liberian president who has been indicted by an international court for crimes against humanity, has few remaining supporters in the United States. But one prominent American who has stuck with the West African leader is religious broadcaster and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson.

In recent broadcasts of his cable TV show "The 700 Club," watched by an estimated 1 million households, Robertson has defended Taylor as a fellow Baptist and Liberia's "freely elected" leader. The "horrible bloodbath" taking place in Liberia, he has repeatedly said, is the fault of the State Department.

What Robertson, 73, has not discussed in these broadcasts is his financial interest in Liberia. In an interview yesterday, he said he has "written off in my own mind" an $8 million investment in a gold mining venture that he made four years ago under an agreement with Taylor's government.

Yet, he added: "Hope springs eternal. Once the dust has cleared on this thing, chances are there will be some investors from someplace who want to invest. If I could find some people to sell it to, I'd be more than delighted."
A few more quotes as reported by CBS News at the same time:
"How dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, 'You've got to step down,'" Robertson said Monday on "The 700 Club," broadcast from his Christian Broadcasting Network.

"It's one thing to say, we will give you money if you step down and we will give you troops if you step down, but just to order him to step down? He doesn't work for us."
How about that last gem in light of his comments about assassinating Chavez?

As Robertson was opining about U.S. policy towards Liberia in 2003, that country was engulfed in civil war and its citizens were stacking dead bodies at the gate of the U.S. Embassy at Mamba Point, Monrovia's diplomatic enclave (photo here, and here). But Pat Robertson---compassionate Christian---appeared to have others things on his mind.

Maybe all Pat needs to lighten up a bit is a little scratch at stake in Venezuela, eh?

62 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How sad and frightening that our "much heralded" mainstream news outlets cannot seem to inform their readers.

8/24/2005 12:24 AM  
Anonymous ctbill said...

Very, very interesting stuff. Did not know this about Robertson.

8/24/2005 1:01 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Gardner said...

Good comments. Great blog.

8/24/2005 1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

indeed, interesting background on Robertson. Thank you.

8/24/2005 1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give him a gold mine in Venezuela!

8/24/2005 2:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or a % in an oil field :)

8/24/2005 2:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robertson is just another shyster making a buck hiding behind his religion. I have the feeling his little talk about Chavez the other night wasn't entirely his own idea. Maybe somebody in DC wanted to send a message or float the idea in public to see the reaction? Interesting that with oil prices going through the roof now he'd make that statement.

8/24/2005 5:28 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

The Bush administration may stop short of assassinating Chavez but it very much wants him gone. Meanwhile, the administration has been busy, meddling in the affairs of South America.

An 8/19/05 NYT story about Rumsfeld's trip to Peru and Paraguay quoted "officials" who said that "Coupled with chronic problems in Latin America of corruption, drug trafficking and gang violence, the efforts of Mr. Chávez and Mr. Castro were raising the threat of rising instability."

The US is rumored to be building a military base in Paraguay which may have been one of the reasons for Rumsfeld's visit.

From an April 1997 James A. Baker Insitute for Public Policy report on energy:

"Moreover, as the US considers its future role as the protector of the free flow of oil from the Mideast and into Asia, it will have to address domestic constituencies that may not fully understand the global nature of oil economics and will as such, question US military policies in an environment where the imports entering the US may not in great measure be from the Mideast but rather from Venezuela, Mexico, Canada and Latin America."

8/24/2005 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always find it funny that the Navy Exchange gas station next to the Pentagon is Citgo, which is a part of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

8/24/2005 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget, Robertson is in his 70s..

When he was younger, the U.S. used to topple South American leaders (without invading) on fairly regular basis. Sometimes twice on Sundays.

It's like when your old granduncle use the N word -- you wanna tell him get with the times, but it's hopeless.

8/24/2005 8:32 AM  
Blogger Spider said...

It's amazing the stuff that comes out of Pat Robertson's mouth, and Jerry Falwell's too. The claim Christian, but by their actions you know deep down that Christ would never claim them.

It is people like him that make me feel like it is the Church that walked away from me, rather than me from the church. In similar fashion to my Republican friends who have good morals, strong ethics and sound economic ideas (like the Cunning Realist); they didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left them.

8/24/2005 9:40 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Onward Christian Soldiers...

His comments on Ismail and Islam were even better last night.

I enjoyed Hugo's reaction. This kinda' nonsense plays right into his hands. So, in addition to hypocrisy and hate, let's add ineptitude.

8/24/2005 10:22 AM  
Anonymous charles said...

Wouldn't it be great if Hell really existed, just to know that people like Robertson would end up there?

8/24/2005 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just decided that Pat, Jerry, and the "preachers" of that ilk don't pray to and believe in the same God I do. I have a hard time believing that the God I belive in would countance talk or actions such as this. I have a hard time that Jesus would either. I sometimes wonder if they really are Christain and if all of their strident talk is cover for their lack of belief/faith.

8/24/2005 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt very much that there is a real christian in the whole administration, starting with Bush, who just loves spilling blood, so long it isn't his or his family or his friends.
Saying that one is one does not make it so. Only your action show it, and boy oh boy does this administration show just how unchristian it is.

8/24/2005 11:37 AM  
Anonymous JWC said...

Like the previous commenter, this is not my church or the religion that I grew up in. Robertson didn't read the same bible that I did. I have not given up my faith. I have however, given up on formal religion.

I can't believe that the president has not come out and denounced this... oh, of course, he's taking a vacation from his vaction, how silly of me to expect he would notice.

8/24/2005 11:37 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

Why waste time dicussing some religious wacko with no power or influence with any sane person? Robertson is a joke, but I have to agree with the person who reminded us he is in his 70's and those old people must be allowed some insanity.

8/24/2005 11:59 AM  
Blogger uptowngbv said...

Roy, while I agree with the overall thrust of your comments, you'd be wise to check out what kind of influence that sociopath has in certain regions. He wouldn't be on the air everyday (with a HUGE audience for his time slot) if people weren't hanging on every word he says. Ask John McCain how much influence Robertson has in red states. His 2000 GOP run didn't survive Virginia, South Carolina, et al.

On a funny note, check this out:

http://patriotboy.blogspot.com/

The August 23 letter to Pat Robertson is great. "Unfortunately, Jesus' love of mayhem is no longer taught in the churches." Classic.

8/24/2005 12:44 PM  
Anonymous EWK said...

Roy,

Bush is in office because of that "joke" Whose organization do you think it was that destroyed McCain in South Carolina?

A not insignificant portion of the country watches the 700 club as their sole news source.

8/24/2005 12:49 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Bush is in office because of voters like myself and my family who have never voted Republican (not even for Reagan) until this election. I believe James Dobson and Farwell have more influence than Robertson. That being said he does have influence but the people who do listen are beyond help and will never vote rationally. As for McCain (my choice for Pres) he is opposed by many conservatives not just the Robertson wackos, because he tends to be independent and not a party hack.

8/24/2005 1:11 PM  
Anonymous greg said...

devastating evisceration of robertson's manifest hypocrisy cunning, and this from someone perhaps more dubious than you w/r/t chavez's 70% popularity ratings...

8/24/2005 1:39 PM  
Blogger Robert Bayn said...

The big problem with people like Pat Robertson is he is a christian leader in america. That's one of the reason's i think many people outside the christian faith and across europe, don't get the christian americans. Pat Robertson is suppost to represent christ, but i'm almost sure christ would not advocate to kill someone. Robertson and the 700 club, hide behind religion, when really they are no better then the KKK or any other hate group, sence the advocate violence, of course this not the first time Pat has had his foot in mouth.

2001 - Called the 911 attacks a blessing from god, too kill gays.

Just 3 weeks ago - Called for the death of more supreme court Justices.


Now i ask anyone who professes to be a christian, is this what christianity has become?

8/24/2005 1:43 PM  
Anonymous ruffian said...

john Mcain-well maybe not a party hack but certainly without any principles in the last election...I was a big McCain fan in the past. He showed what he was made of in the last election and sell outs and kiss asses are not the type of leadership we need.

8/24/2005 2:16 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Robert--
I think the problem is that people who are most vocal about their christianity now are those who don't care for any bit of the bible except for the "kill the homos" verse of Leviticus (20:13) and Revelations, a chunk of writing so weird that William S. Burroughs at his most tripped out couldn't have written it.
They don't even pay attention to the rest of Leviticus, like 19:27, where beard-trimming is forbidden, much less the gospels and the later texts (except for aforementioned St. John the Frigging Lunatic's rant). I'll go so far as to bet that the only time most of them have ever encountered Second Corinthians is at weddings.

8/24/2005 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robertson's remarks seem to be in violation of sections 802 and 808 of the Patriot Act, as well as a host of other laws. Don't hold your breath for a prosecution, though.

8/24/2005 3:03 PM  
Blogger D.Boyer said...

Let us not forget what derailed Pat Robertson's Presidential ambitions in 1988.

http://www.schlatter.org/liquor_officer.htm

Pure comic gold there in that link. Do a search for "non-specific drip", that is where things get really funny.

Contrast that excerpt from his life with what the official Pat Robertson web site offers as his military service record.

http://www.patrobertson.com/militaryservice/

Some gaps there apparently.

The man is a religious profiteer, and a darn good one at that. He has no moral standing though, and that should always be a known issue when contending with his message.

8/24/2005 3:36 PM  
Anonymous EWK said...

Roy,

We are talking about the 2000 primary. McCain had just won New Hamsphire and was in a position to start running the table. In South Carolina it was Pat Robertson's organization that run the slime attack via push polls that derailed McCain, in all liklihood McCain would have cruised to an easy victory over Gore, Bush would have gone back to running oil companies into the ground.

8/24/2005 4:25 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

EWK

McCain has had his independent streak prior to the 2000 primary which is why he could not win the primary. If he was not attacked by Robertson's group he would have been opposed by another political group, after all that is the way primaries go in this country. Dems and Repubs feed off each other playing to their base then when they win the nomination they run to the middle then they get elected and cater to business. McCain was not going to win the nomination because he was not loyal enough to his party.

8/24/2005 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch the 700 Club and you'll think you are watching a version of Al Jazeera, same disturbing rhetoric, different religion. It is freak'n scary.

Robertson criticized the administration during a "700 Club" segment and shortly after his organization received a "faith-based initiative" federal grant. So now our tax dollars goes to this fundamentalist.

Remember these guys started Universities too. The other night Robertson was standing in front of a picture of our Supreme Court basically declaring they are going to take over now.

Disney keeps the 700 Club on where they are constantly saying outrageous stuff like this recent spurt (untruths, fabrications, dangerous and intolerant threats) during Family viewing hours, but Bill Maher who was on at 1 in the morning, they kick off; he actually promoted tolerance and discussing issues with open minds and diverse groups. What's with that!

snippet: Robertson blamed gays for divorce, abortion, and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; predicted that a gay-oriented event would lead to "terrorist bombs earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor," and said liberal judges are a bigger threat to America than al-Qaida.

It'll be interesting to watch the conservative-media, and talking heads, to see how they spin this. It does seem like a lot of them are going for the sympathy and emotional tack. Oh he's old, you can't expect him to be responsible for what he says. And I like that he is now saying it was taken out of context. Which part, the assassination part, or the war with Venezuela part?

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

War! Venezuela! Does Robertson know something we don't? Holy Christian values Batman!

8/24/2005 4:49 PM  
Anonymous thirdeye said...

"Christian Coaliation issues Fatwa"

The hypocrisy is staggering. I'm ashamed and bit worried we'll never be able to patch this up with the Muslims. They're going to fight us for the next thousand years and I'm afraid our only chance is to annihilate the lot of them.

8/24/2005 5:03 PM  
Anonymous suzyq said...

great stuff, thx TCR!

8/24/2005 5:33 PM  
Anonymous EWK said...

Roy,

We'll never know of course, but McCain had just won New Hampshire and was winning in South Carolina, he may have had enough momentum to overcome the party bosses.

Either way, what Robertson's group did was despicable.

8/24/2005 5:46 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

After thinking about it today, I suppose that if Bush insists that Chavez has to go, I prefer that Chavez be assassinated rather than get into another war.

If Saddam had been assassinated, maybe we wouldn't be in this war. Remember, Bush, right before the war started, said he only wanted to get rid of Saddam. When it comes right down to it, Saddam was a brutal thug and I could have cared less if he was killed.

I bet there's any number of Baathists today who wished they'd offed Saddam.

8/24/2005 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys! Knock it off with the "he's old" explaination for Robertson's lunacy. He has always been a religious zealot. And, has used that zealotry to defraud his followers of millions.
I'm old as dirt, but in no way deluded.

8/24/2005 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction: The USA imports more oil from the blue-eyed Arabs to the north than from anyone, yes, anyone else. That said, better Robertson focus his lunacy on Chavez than us.

8/24/2005 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Jay Walsh said...

Go take the splinter out of your of your own eye first.. You thirst for wealth-just like those including Mr.Pat Robinson---your avarice is done by you everyday---you alsoare a HYPOCRITE__GOD describes you in the BIBle "false preachers" >if fact your SATAN ways are explained in detail in THE Gospels. Clean up your own act-1ST

8/25/2005 2:32 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Jay Walsh said...

Every person writing on here is a HYPOCRITE. and seekks wealth. Your all Pat Roebertsons--"so go clean up your own act --fools"

8/25/2005 2:36 AM  
Blogger owenz said...

Mr. Walsh,

Are you saying "let he who is without sin cast the first stone"? I agree! Of course, you coming to this page to accuse us of being hypocrites, fools, and the tools of satan is a brand of stone casting all its own, correct?

If Adolf Hitler was going about right now, would you suggest we stay quiet to avoid hypocracy (since we're all sinners)?

What I love most about your post is how you defend Robertson by attacking TCR's readers without defending Robertson's actions yourself. You and Pat's hands are clean and ours are dirty...

8/25/2005 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good post, but you forgot to mention his ties to Mobutu Sésé Seko, former dictator of Zaire. Just google Mobutu and Pat Robertson together for some interesting reading. I think Jerry Falwell was also buddies with this fine dictator.

8/26/2005 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just learned about this organization
DefCon - Campaign to Defend the Constitution because the religious right is wrong.

I think the 700 Club and Pat Robertson-type folks are very scary when it comes to the future of our country; everything from our courts, to the separation of church & state, denying personal rights, etc. Bush is really bending over backwards to please the radical right with hundreds of millions and legislation.

These guys seem to be loaded, and I find this really odd, given they are "christian" men, they aren't against doing things criminally or what a normal person would call ethically wrong, but when it comes to their picking and choosing of what they want from the Bible they are ready to slam it down our throats by any means. The big things seem to be we don't have a right to die in peace or to our own bodies or personal life, gays are evil, science is evil. When the rest of the world is progressing, we'll be going back to the 17th century.

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