Tuesday, August 23, 2005

WWJS? (Who Would Jesus Slap?

Here's a happy little ditty from Media Matters that's sure to warm the cockles of your heart (or something of that nature). Never mind that the guy has none of his facts right to start with, this is a 'Christian' leader calling for an assassination.

Pat Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

From the August 22 broadcast of The 700 Club:

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

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. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

If it pisses you off, then take action and leave a comment here at ABC Family. ABC Family airs Robertson's hatefest, The 700 Club.


Josh said...

It's like Robert Smith just said on the South Park episode I'm watching:

"I have to try. I can't let Barbra Streisand do this to the entire world."

No, it's not like that at all. But maybe Disintegration is the best album ever.

I read an OK article today about the disparity between the president's professed Christian ethic and his actions. I call it merely "OK" in that it probably applied the Christian ethic not too broadly, but too broadly to effectively persuade its key audience. (I suspect a lot of right-wing Christians aren't quite ready for the whole "helping the environment is part of the job too" notion.)

Anyway, what was heartening was how many Christians, apparently, did agree with the post.

Now if they'd just stop focusing on bake sales for a while and come up with a coherent system of thought, we might get our religion back on track. And that would be a positive thing for everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike.

Shawn said...

True dat Brother Bear...but some of those brownies are pretty damn good.

I will go to 'an OK article' forthwith and report back soon...

Shawn said...

Okay, I've read it and returned.

I think you're right about it slipping off target a bit, but I had to agree with most of what he was saying.

It reminded me of something else I read a while ago along the same lines. It was a review of a work that was basically the same questions directed at the Christian base of Kansas. It was pointing out that all the things they expected when they voted for Bush have failed to materialize.

I think it's about time that more moderate Christians step up and demand their religion back. Bush and Co. have pulled off an amazing con job on Christian-based voters. But just because they've been conned in the past doesn't mean they have to allow it to continue.

But that's a whole other world of conversation. For right now, just click the link and leave a message about Pat 'Hatemonger' Robertson.

I should also point out that Phoenix did a post on this too. The more viewpoints the merrier, eh?

Laura said...

" think it's about time that more moderate Christians step up and demand their religion back."

AMEN to that. Along with that why don't Republicans demand their party back from the neocons and Robertson's...

Gretchen said...

Glad you are helping to share the word. If it were someone calling for our current "leader's" rather than a foreign leader who won't kiss that same leader's feet, what do you think would be done?

Jason said...

Robertson marginalized himself years ago after a surprisingly strong presidential bid. He has to say stuff like this now to get attention. It's a big shrug to me.

tshsmom said...

It's one thing for ordinary citizens to say something stupid and hateful in public, but a supposed "man of God"? He's supposed to be teaching his flock to "turn the other cheek" and "love your neighbor". Isn't that what he signed on for?

Josh said...

Well, the scary thing—I mean, really scary—is of course the pro-Rapture ideology running through fundamentalist Christianity. I was thinking about it the other day, and I can't come up with any logical opposition to it. Briefly:

P1: Heaven is better than Earth.

P2: At the end of the world, you are going to Heaven.

C: You will be better off if the world ends.

So it's not just that some of these people can't see it would benefit them to broaden their worldview. It's that they actually have a vested interest in keeping it narrow. I can't think of a simple enough counterargument that would convince them otherwise.

And by the time everything goes to shit and Jesus doesn't step down from a corridor of light in the sky, our saying "I told you so" is going to provide only the most hollow sense of satisfaction.

The radical right can't be beaten with logic. Ergo, the rational people who want to stop them will have to start using faith. (And if it works, I suspect that it will cease to be a conflict—i.e., a question of one side "winning"—per se.)

Shawn said...

J - Yeah, I sort of agree about the big shrug part. I'm more bothered that so many people both listen to and believe this kind of tripe.

Gretchen - Thanks for the comment. I think I might have first heard this on your blog, but I was surfing around a lot so I forgot where I first heard it. Anyway, belated nod to you.

tshsmom - That's what you would think...

Brother JW - I think there's a lot to what you just said. Oddly, taken out of context, the logic is exactly that of the very Muslim extremists we claim to be so frightened by. The difference being of course that our Christian extremists are more than likely living pretty decent lives filled with many blessings.

I was listening to a Buddhist talk and one thing that struck me as applicable here was a question and answer.

Q: Are we, as a community, paying enough attention to our meditation?

A: That's not the right question to be asking. What you should be asking is, "Am I paying enough time to my meditation?" Don't worry about everybody else.

And I don't even think it's so much a conflict for many people, it's more like a unfiendly competition. It's become much more important to win...even if that means abusing the very faith you espouse.

Josh said...

Aye. I just posted something germane to the discussion over at my place, too.

My new take on Everything On Earth is this: Throughout human history, we have subscribed to a philosophy of progress based fundamentally on conflict—i.e., one group/viewpoint/side always has to win. We see this even in our individual beliefs, like, "Books are better than television" or "Rap sucks; I only like rock." We misapply concepts of quality, in other words, and in doing so set things against each other.

This philosophy will no longer serve. Conflict cannot be our primary means of progress anymore. On the macro scale, we saw that at Hiroshima.

If we succeed in evolving, it'll be when we adopt a philosophy of progress based on configuration—i.e., "Books are not better than television; they are better for some things than television. Television is better for other things."

(Feel free to substitute words like Muslim, Christian, gay, straight, reason, faith, etc., for "books" and "television." Try it! It's fun!)

Shawn said...

I just tried it and came up with, "Gays are not better than television; they are better for some things than television. Television is better for other things."

Obviously, I need to work on this...

The Zombieslayer said...

Thanks for the quote Shawn. I heard about them and just dismissed them as out of context, but then you actually posted the quotes. I just thought it was another day of nothing interesting in the news so they'd have to blow something out of proportion.

I've never been a fan of Mr Robertson, and I'm actually not surprised he said something like this.

By the way, he misquoted the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine states that the Americas are our Sphere of Influence. Anyone else coming in (meaning another First World nation outside of the Americas) and we'll just have to kick their asses. And yes, I do believe in following that. However, it does not call for the assassination of foreign leaders.

Josh said...

Shawn: See, I never worry that I'm adopting too serious a mien, because even if I am, the solemn facade will be shattered within minutes. That's awesome, dude.

ZS: I was pretty sure he was misapplying the Monroe Doctrine. Thank you for clarifying what I was too lazy to research.

Miranda said...

I don't know if it really could have been called a "hatefest," but it certainly wasn't bright.

As for Republicans claiming their party back from the Robertsons - it's unnecessary. Robertson has never had much control over the Republican party. Sure, he influences a few, but saying he controls the party is like saying Al Sharpton controls the Democrats.

If you want moderate Christianity, Bush is your man. But as far as I can tell, even a little christianity is intolerable to some on the left - unless Bill Clinton's preaching, because everyone knows he lacks sincerity.

Miranda said...

JW, the "OK article" might have been more convincing if the author had actually made a connection between his objections to Bush's presidency and Christianity. He probably
had some sort of link in mind, but all I saw were the same old anti-bush arguments I see from non-christians on the left so often. It was sort of a let down.

Shawn said...

M - I would say that Bush is a moderate Christian only in that he's moderately Christian...

It just seems that in much of the Christian community (which I know is a sweeping category encompassing a wide range of people and levels of belief) there are several 'hot buttons' that appear to be conciously or unconciously used to guage a public figure's Christianity.

In the case of Clinton he had two big strikes - he was a liberal and he was unfaithful to his wife. Add to that the fact that he didn't continually say he was against abortion and he was called out swinging. So, because of these three arbitrary 'hot button' reasons, he can't be considered a sincere Christian by much of the Christian Right.

One the other hand, Bush stepped to the plate as a Conservative, talking about his faith, showing he was faithful to his wife, continually repeating his abhorence of abortion and even - hurray of all hurrays - saying he thinks intelligent design should be taught. Clearly, a Christian home run hitter.

My problem with that is that being a Christian has nothing to do with being Conservative or Liberal (though I would argue that according to biblical text, Christ was one of the figures farthest from Conservatism to walk the earth) and all the 'hot buttons' sold to Christian voters are really of very little value in determining whether a politician cuts a proper Christian figure.

In the case of BushCo., they have parlayed all this fine Christian rhetoric into two terms in office. What have voters from the Christian Right received in return?

Essentially nothing that they didn't already have and in some cases they lost ground. Abortion is still legal, homosexuals have marriage rights in many states, there's no prayer in schools, leaders in government are still lying, the poor and meek are still poor and meek, we're sending young men to kill people in other countries...

But this is all another topic of rantage...

What's really yanking my chain now is that anyone who purports to follow Christ and his teachings would use their influence to propose assassinating someone. Hem and haw all he wants, Pat Robertson did just that. And that is - to put it frankly - spitting in the face of the loving kindness Christ stands for. In my opinion any Christian who isn't somewhat appalled by that really needs to examine their beliefs and question whether what they're feeling is really Christ based or not...

Whew...I'm spent.

I still love you by the way...in the agape sense as opposed to the internet porn sort of way.

*hands you a root beer float*

Josh said...

C.S. Lewis makes what I think is an important point in Mere Christianity: Being a Christian doesn't mean you have to adhere perfectly to all of Christ's teachings. (Otherwise, obviously, there wouldn't be any Christians.) All it takes to be a Christian is to profess your belief that he died and was resurrected, as that as a result you have been made free from sin, and to undergo the sacrament of baptism. (I think that covers it.)

So Lewis wouldn't say Robertson wasn't a Christian—he'd say Robertson was being a bad Christian. (Although I should reread that part of the book and make sure I have it right.)

I'm going to go post some applicable quotes you may enjoy over at my place, dude.

Miranda said...

First, thanks for the float!

Second, I've replied to you,
but I figured I'd use space
on my blog rather than cluttering
up your comments section.

JW: I can't believe you just quoted C.S. Lewis and Southpark in the same comment section :P

I haven't yet read Mere Christianity, though every year I promise myself I will. I guess I have to now.

Shawn said...

J-matic - I would have to agree that if being a Christian is defined by professing the belief that Jesus died and was resurrected thus taking our sins upon himself, and then undergoing the sacrament of baptism (the Christian that is and not Christ), then there are indeed many people who could be called Christians.

I would argue that you can't do that without accepting Christ's teachings as genuine and devinely inspired, thus needing to be followed.

To me the following question arises. Can you accept only some of Christ's teachings and be still considered a Christian? If not accepting something is the same as rejecting something, then it would seem that in rejecting some of Christ's teachings, a person is rejecting Christ himself. If a person rejects Christ, then a person is not a Christian. Whether that was their intention or not is irrelevant.

That doesn't mean that they couldn't be forgiven again, accept Christ and become a Christian again.

A person can fail to live up to the standards Jesus called for. That would seem to be inevitable since people are not perfect. Christ himself expressed his understanding of human shortcomings more than once and then, according to the Bible, made the ultimate sacrifice of taking all man's sins upon himself because he knew men could never live perfect lives.

In doing this, he set up a path of redemption. In essence saying - if you sin (which you will), repent of that sin, seek forgiveness through him and he will grant it.

But both the repentance and the request for forgiveness need to be there though. It's not enough to simply stop committing the sin, nor is enough to just ask to be forgiven while continuing to commit the sin.

And once again...I'm spent. This stuff hurts my head.

Josh said...

I agree that if your actions don't demonstrate any connection to the beliefs you profess, then they're not really your beliefs; and that it would be hard to call someone who professed to accept Jesus but acted significantly otherwise a Christian. But I don't really think it matters too much. I mean, it's really between that individual and God.

I just think it's an important point because it reminds Christians on the left, as it were, that the crazy-seeming right-wing Christians are their brethren (and sistas) too. You know, that they have some common ground.

Did you see Saved? I enjoyed it. One of the things I enjoyed the most was that the fundamentalist Christians weren't painted as crazy bad guys. They were the antagonists, as far as the story went, but they were sympathetic. They were clearly people who did want to do the right thing, and whose hearts (if not minds) were generally in the right place.

And I suspect that's a fairly accurate reflection of reality. Fred Phelps of godhatesfags.com fame and his ilk get a lot of attention, but there are probably plenty of right-wing Christians who believe homosexuality is an abomination but still think that guy is too fucking much. I mean, I just think there's more room for all of us to start talking than is typically acknowledged. And once we start talking, the hard part will be mostly done.

Ha. I said "ilk."

Shawn said...

Ilk has always been one of my favorite words.

And ultimately you're right about it all being between the individual and what- or whoever is on the other side of the great divide waiting for us when we go for the big sleep.

All I know is that I'm sort of hoping that when Pat Robertson gets to the River Styx, he's a coin short of the fare...but I'm a bit of a bastard that way.