Televangelist lambasted for urging US government to murder Venezuelan president
Pat Robertson, the televangelist who famously blamed gays and abortions for the September 11 terrorist attacks, is suffering another bout with foot-in-mouth disease. On Monday, the founder of the Christian Coalition encouraged the Bush administration to assassinate President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, calling the leader a 'terrific danger' to the United States, who would turn his country into 'a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.' 'It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war,' he said on his show The 700 Club. 'We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, ya know, strong-arm dictator.' Watch video of Robertson's statement, thanks to MediaMatters.org
On Tuesday, August 23, Robertson's comments drew a hail of criticism, reports the progressive news site Venezuela Analysis, as the US human rights group Global Exchange and the National Council of Churches issued statements condemning the preacher. The Rev. Jesse Jackson called the statements 'morally reprehensible and dangerously suggestive,' and Venezuelan Vice President Jos? Vicente Rangel described them as 'terrorist remarks' and noted that 'religious fundamentalism is one of the greatest problems facing the world today.' Even the Pentagon and State Department distanced themselves from Robertson. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Robertson is 'a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.'
Paradoxically, or perhaps not, some other conservative Christian organizations - including the Traditional Values Coalition, the Family Research Council, and the Christian Coalition -- told news organizations such as The New York Times that they were too busy to comment.
Not surprisingly, the blogosphere was abuzz about the
controversy. According to the blog search engine Technorati.com,
'Pat Robertson' was the
popular keyword search term on August 23 and 24, and bloggers
already have made thousands of posts on the subject, almost
universally critical of Robertson.
-- Leif Utne
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