Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Pat Robertson = Batshit F-ing Crazy!!!

The religious right is just absolutely nuts. There's no other way to look at it. I mean, look at this. They spend all kinds of time and money trying to get the Ten Commandments posted in schools and courtrooms so that kids can be exposed to Christian morality. But then, one of their leaders, Pat Robertson, goes and starts talking about how the US should assassinate the President of Venezuela.

Uh, wait a minute, Pat. Isn't one of those commandments "Thou shalt not kill?" And even if you interpret it, as some do, to really mean "Thou shalt not murder," (so that good Christian boys and girls can kill people as long as someone else says it's okay and thus not "murder"), in what sense is an assassination not murder? In fact, according to dictionary.com, the definition of assassination is:

To murder (a prominent person) by surprise attack, as for political reasons.

This is Christian morality, folks, front and center, plain and simple. It's bullshit. Why do Christians condemn homosexuality as "abomination?" Because the Bible says it is? No. Because if that were the litmus test, then they would also be okay with buying slaves from other countries, selling children into slavery, and stoning kids who don't listen to their parents. But they ignore those parts of the Bible (which are all from Leviticus, by the way, just like the "abomination" verse is) because the truth is that Christians don't give a shit what God or Jesus wants. They just use the Bible to justify condemning things they don't like, like homosexuality, but then conveniently forget about the Bible when its commands don't fit them. Thus, two guys kissing each other is a terrible sin because the Bible forbids it, but it's okay to murder someone you don't like even though the Bible forbids that, too. Because they're just making it up as they go.

Don't ever fall for that old, "there's no morality without God" bullshit. There is no morality with God. Because true believers commit immoral acts in the name of their God all the time, whether it's flying planes into buildings or calling for the murder of someone they don't like.

4 Comments:

At 6:28 AM, Blogger R. Paul Wiegand said...

Disclaimer: I am not trying to excuse Pat Robertson in any way, as I've found him to be a vile, immoral fool long before he uttered this absurd statement.

However, as I was doing my own railing at Robertson's comment at home, my wife reminded me of an interesting point: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who many people consider to have been a great man of faith and spirituality, didn't just call for the assassination of someone, he actively participated in a plot to kill Hitler ... and wrote and entire work that was dedicated (in part) to qualifying this as ethical behavior.

I am not trying to put Robertson in the same Universe as Bonhoeffer, but I wonder: How do we judge Robertson for his statement, and how do we judge Bonhoeffer for his statements and actions in terms of this issue?

Tone is hard to convey here, so I'll be explicit: I am not suggesting they are equivalent, I am raising the issue as a discussion point. What is or is not the overlap here? If there is no overlap, is Bonhoeffer more moral in his own assassination discussions than Robertson? If so, why? Because Hitler was so bad? What if Robertson really believes Chavez is as bad as Hitler? Does that change how we see him from a moral perspective?

It's an interesting question, I think. Especially given the striking contrast in mental, theological, and moral acumen of the two men.

 
At 7:57 AM, Blogger mooglar said...

Your comment touches on the same territory as my latest post about Romeo Dallaire and the Rwandan genocides. I would like to think that there is a clear difference between someone like Chavez and Hitler or the genocidaires in Rwanda. Bringing "communism" to South America, as Robertson has accused Chavez of doing, seems different not only in degree but in kind to committing genocide. But, of course, I would have to construct a theory of morality that clearly proves the difference, which is easier said than done. So, on the moral issue, you certainly have a point, if only that we need to find a way to discriminate between "it's okay to kill someone committing a genocide" and "it's okay to kill someone whose policies I disagree with."

However, I would point out that the thrust of my initial post, that Robertson, and other Christians who condemn homosexuality but then think it's okay to assassinate Chavez or kill abortion clinic workers are hypocritical and inconsistent in their application of the precepts of [i]Christian[/i] morality. That if you can just toss out "Thou shalt not kill/murder" when it suits you, then why cling so tightly to "homosexuality is an abomination?" There's no consistency there.

Now, following Christian moral precepts and being moral, in a philosophical or secular sense, are not the same thing, in my opinion, despite what theists would have us believe. For instance, Jehovah's Witnesses actually follow the commandment not to kill, to the point that they were used as barbers by the SS in the extermination camps, because they wouldn't cut the SS men's throats when shaving SS men with a straight razor. Personally, in my sense of morality, it would be justified to slit the throat of an SS officer in Auschwitz. But, in terms of Christian moral precepts, the Jehovah's Witnesses were at least following them consistently, even when they had absurd consequences.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger R. Paul Wiegand said...

This is a good point, and I certainly agree that the position of Robertson et al. seems extremely inconsistent. It is precisely this inconsistency that makes me wonder about Bonhoeffer. I admit to knowing very little about his views. I wonder: do you know how he defends this in Ethik?

As for the difference of sufficiency of cause for calling for assassination, we in total agreement. Communism is an ideology, while genocide is an activity. Even if one accuses Chavez of the activity of bringing communism, and even if one believes communism is a bad thing, it is still hard to reconcile that this warrants murder.

Whose ideologies represent sufficient cause for destruction? Who decides that someone believes in this mortal ideology sufficiently enough to merit execution? If Chavez were to try to bring communism to his country, but fail, should he be killed? It is a squirly world when we start punishing people (with death) for what they believe or think.

Of course, presumably Robertson believes that Chavez's actions have and will lead to horrible consequences, so the greater good is served by eliminating him now. I guess Robertson would not say that anyone who merely thinks communism is a good idea should be shot. Still, it is hard to escape the conclusion that he is sentencing a man based on his beliefs.

Genocide is something different, of course. I doubt even Bonhoeffer would have agreed with the idea that anyone who thought genocide was a good idea should be killed (reviled, perhaps, but not killed). He was faced with the practical and experiential certainty that mass exterminations of people were going on right around him. It is easy to see how any seriously moral person would have to struggle with that dilemma. It would be obscene to suggest that Chavez constitutes that kind of present, extant malevolence.

Frankly, I cannot understand how truly spiritually-guided people can so easily accept views like Robertson's. My wife, who greatly admires and respects Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has to struggle with the moral implications of his decisions, in the context of his faith. How is it that so many Americans can hear Robertson proclaim something so utterly antithetical to the basic tenants of Christian theology and at least not question it? People are strange.

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Generation said...

Pat Robertson is crazy. But shame on you equating even a minority let alone a majority of American Christians with him... Most Christians think he is crazy too

Jesse Jackson does not speak for all black people (if any)
Rosie O'Donnell does not speak for all Gay's and lesbians. (if any)

All of those people make the news because they make crazy statements. We live in a world where news is for profit. The more people re-act the more advertising dollars they get. Why would they ever do stories about the amazing things that churches do in this country and around the world? no ratings = no story

 

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