Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Robertson's entitlement

Byron Williams - byronspeaks.com

08.30.05 - Perhaps it was tucked away in one of those seldom-used Old Testament passages that I never bothered to read, next to burnt offerings and sacrificial lambs.

I just don't understand the theological doctrine that supports going on the air and calling for the assassination of a foreign leader. Somewhere it must exist, or there would have been no reason for the 700 Club's Pat Robertson to call for the killing of Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez.

I thought it couldn't get any lower on the fundamentalist Christian class meter when the Rev. Jerry Falwell suggested on Robertson's 700 Club immediately following the 9/11 tragedy:

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

But Robertson may have topped him.

In a display of brazeness par excellence, the Christian broadcaster and 1988 presidential candidate stated recently on his 700 Club TV show that "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability."

Chavez made news last year when he warned Washington that if it invaded his country, "not a drop of oil would reach the U.S. from Venezuela." He also accused the U.S. of plotting his death -- charges Washington has denied.

The United States was believed to have been involved in the 1963 assassination of South Vietnam President Ngo Binh Diem along with attempts to assassinate Cuba's Fidel Castro. President Ford in the mid-1970's signed an executive order calling for the end of political assassinations.

To this, Robertson humbly stated: "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."

Venezuelan oil accounts for roughly 7 percent of the U.S. gasoline market. Chavez has made it clear that he would love nothing more than to sell his oil to someone other than the United States.

The problem with Robertson's statements beyond the obvious unmitigated lunacy is his sense of entitlement. Is the real issue Chavez's desire to stick an economic harpoon into the side of the United States or is it our dependency on foreign oil?

The emerging economic strength of China and India is a greater threat than the words of Chavez. It translates into two countries with more than 2 billion people collectively buying a larger percentage of the finite resources on which we are so dependent.

I think we should applaud Chavez. Not because of his anti-American rhetoric, but for serving as a necessary reminder that we must alter our behavior.

Neo-Manifest Destiny rhetoric is no answer for the need to reduce our foreign oil consumption. But entitlements are strange creatures. They can be easily justified without much regard for reality. Moreover, if unchecked they can lead one down a directionless path. Iraq has become the regretful gold standard.

As for Robertson, while others may not be as shameless, I would suspect that he is not alone in his viewpoint.

However, his words are neither Christian, American, nor human; there is no place for them in the public conversation.

(c) 2005, byronspeaks.com

URL: http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=19548
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