Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Blasphemy!

     Dictionary.com has three definitions for "blasphemy". 1) A contemptuous or profane act or utterance concerning God; 2) The act of claiming for oneself the attributes and rights of God; and 3) An irreverent act or utterance in regard to something considered inviolate or sacrosanct. The warm and fuzzy Pat Robertson of televangelist and Christian Coalition fame recently spoke out on the Family Channel that the democratically elected President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, should be assassinated. Chávez's crime? Claiming that the US was trying to have him killed. Talking badly about a country (the US) he doesn't live in and is not a citizen of. Now, I'm no biblical scholar. But I'm pretty sure it's not very Christian to talk about killing someone. And going back to the subject of blasphemy, let's review. 1) On a self-professed "Christian News and Talk" show, he suggests to viewers that someone murder the President of Venezuela. That sounds like a contemptuous or profane act concerning God (even if indirectly). 2) By deciding who should live or die, he claims for himself the attributes and rights of God. 3) Casually talking about the murder of someone is an irreverent utterance in regard to something considered sacrosanct (life).
     Like I said, though, I'm not a biblical scholar. Personally, I couldn't care less about "blasphemy". In my mind, blasphemy is just a polite way of saying, "If you disagree with me, I'll cut you!" But if Pat Robertson is going to set the rules for his game, he should play by his own rules. He is a multimillionaire because people believe he is a devout Christian who is out to save the world. For him to play by different rules goes beyond hypocrisy, it's fraud.
     Hypocrisy is calling your opponent unpatriotic because his war injuries weren't deadly, while you spent the war safe in Alabama. Fraud is when you broke the law and actually just went home to Texas before you finished your service. Fraud is Pat Robertson's game now, and it's unfortunate that his followers can't (or won't) see the distinction between religion and the vitriolic politics he spews on his show. Killing someone because you don't like what they say is not only un-Christian, it's immoral and illegal. Hugo Chávez is a brutal, power-hungry man. But he doesn't starve his people or kill them with chemical weapons. He has created social programs in Venezuela to provide free health care for the poor, to teach them to read and write, and has subsidized food prices so they can afford to eat. You may not agree with his politics, but as much of a jerk as he may be, he's not a monster.
     Unfortunately, knee-jerk apologists for this kind of behavior won't admit that one of their own is off the deep end. They're so far gone into their own rhetoric that they can't tell what's reality and what's not. Living in Georgia is like living in an echo chamber, where people just hear their own biases repeated louder and louder. (I suspect it's similar in places like New York, San Fran, and Texas) The Truth is, Chávez wants to be elected. And the United States and especially Bush are not popular in the rest of the world. It's good politics in other countries to campaign against the US and Bush. Just like it's good politics in Georgia to campaign against abortion and liberals instead of campaigning against your opponent. The candidate who screams loudest wins (except Howard Dean). For the Right to get to the point where they feel that it's acceptable to kill anyone who doesn't agree is chilling.

16 comments:

fatinspanish said...

i really recommend checking out the organization, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State...maybe even dropping a few coins in their till. they do the dirty work of keeping the far right nuts at bay. which, as we know, is getting harder and harder.

Everybody on the right calls them radical which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the current state of affairs.

Sylvana said...

Geez! Now if someone actually does kill this guy and says that they did it because Pat Robertson told them to, can he be charged with inciting his murder? They try to do it all the time with musical performers, and that's on none existent "messages".

sideshow bob said...

I would so love to be there when Pat meets Jesus and gets a sandle up his ass! Then he goes to Hell and spends eternity spit-shining the shoes of Jews and Negroes. That would be so sweet...

Ben said...

I don't know a single person, right wing or left, that thinks what Pat Robertson said was defensible. It was wrong, it was ridiculous, and you are doign jsut what I was afraid would happen- attributing what he said to the "right wing." This had nothing to do with the right wing. You say "For the Right to get tot he point where...." BS! Find me anyone who is defending Robertson! I've seen far more people on the left say things like "Bush should be killed" than people defending Pat Robertson.

ORF said...

Why on EARTH is Pat Robertson concerned about Venezuela in the first place? Doesn't he know it's a CATHOLICA country full of drug dealers and oil mongers...perhaps it's a vendetta he's got against Chavez who once wrote a check to El Club 700 that bounced.

Seriously, though, it's fairly evident to me that Robertson is unaware of the power he holds over people. Didn't anyone see "Requiem For A Dream?" Those widows who stay home and get hooked on smack will do just about anything you tell them, so hopping on a plane to Caracas with an AK is probably not out of the question.

va lefty said...

Ben,

There was an evangelical preacher on The Situation Room talking to Wolf yesterday whose name I didn't get, but he squirmed and went through alll the convolutions you could want to avoid saying he condemned what Pat said. I'm sure you can find the video somewhere if you want to see reality instead of denying what people on the right think and act like.

canis lupus said...

As a (struggling) Christian, I'll be redundant in saying that Mr. Robertson does not speak for Christians. Somewhere after his failed '88 political aspirations, I saw the writing on the wall. You cannot call yourself a "man of God" and be meddling with politics at the same. Politics is very secular (or biblespeak: worldly). You can't be of this world and claim to be God's messenger ... it is a contradiction. Needless to say, I'm not shocked by this outburst. The fact that he has made CBN into another political megaphone tells me that this sheep in wolves clothing (which the Bible does warn against). I'm sure I probably don't agree with some (if not all) of Chavez's politics. There is no law against people bad mouthing. Folks talk smack to each other every day. I do sometimes on my own blog. But not because I DISAGREE with someone means that I should make haste to dislocate their brains from the cranial structure. What happen to all that swagger about "culture of life"? Pure illusion. Sure I'm for defense and a good offense ... in time of peril. Not "offing" some dude because you don't like his tone. There is two possible ripple effects. Firstly, this feeds into ultra-liberal propaganda of the Judeo-Christian faiths. The second thing is, if some local twit in Venezuela decides to assassinate Chavez and succeeds, you know what those clowns are going to say? Let's thanks Mr. Robertson for dragging Christianity through the mud and possibly setting America up as the bad guy. Way to go.

kaitlin said...

So Pat doesn't speak for all Christians, but if we get one evangelical preacher who won't condemn him, THEN we can say that's what all Christians, or people on the right think? I'm sorry, but I fail to see why this one preacher makes a consensus.

I believe that Ben said he didn't know a single person who was defending Robertson. His denial was not necessarily of what they think, but a denial that the generalization of Pat's views to the "right wing" was flawed. It seems like it would be fairly obvious that vast overgeneralizations can typically be countered by just anecdotal evidence. People get tired of being characterized based on something such as their religion. There are great variations in and among people who purport to believe the same thing.

Ben said...

Va lefty... I am on the right, and I don't think or act like Robertson or many others on the right. For one, I'm Jewish, so I'm not spouting about how the country must be guided by the bible.

Senator Robert Byrd was a member of the KKK, and is a lefty. I don't think for a second that means that you also share views similar to the KKK's. On the toher hand, I'm pretty sure that someone that identifies themself as "VA lefty" is probably blinded by Bush hatred and won't be reasonable on a number of issues because of it.

Sylvana said...

Geez, Ben, you go on to say that just because you are a right winger does not mean that you are in the KKK, and that VA Lefty should know better. THEN go right into saying that if this person calls themselves a Lefty, then they must an unreasonable Bush hater. Do you even see the hypocrisy in this?

Ben said...

Not really. Some generalizations are obviosuly wrong, like saying everyone on the right wants to assasinate foreign leaders. On the other hand, most every single person I've ever met who went out of the way to identify themselves as a lefty is pretty hardcore left and hates Bush. Some generalizations are based on truth, and his assumption that righty must agree with Robertson made him even more likely to fall into Bush-hater group. If someone identified themself as a Pat Robertson follower, I could make a generalization that that person agrees with Robertson.

Erghhh.. What's with the word verification junk? I have a blog on blogger, I wonder if I can opt out of making commenters use it? The one I have to type this time is derogatory, with the word "jap" right in the middle.

sideshow bob said...

Seriously, don't f@#! with the 700 Club...one prank phone call = approx. 700lbs. of 700 Club pledge cards!

Jody said...

Kaitlan: I think a condemnation from the President of the Southern Baptist Seminary should count (link).

Sylvana said...

Oh yeah, I forgot. You're blinded by the right.

Mainline Mom said...

I will certainly call myself a member of the evangelical Christian right, and I think what Pat Robertson said was completely wrong, un-Christian, and sheer stupidity. Of course, I've never been a fan of televangelists in general, but I guess they do some good for some people. I dunno. I don't know enough about Robertson to say just because he said something wrong makes him an evil wacko. People make mistakes, ya know.

Ben said...

Mainline Mom, it seems you don't understand what it means to be evengelical right. You obviously don't know your own opinions, because you should be marching in lockstep, agreeing with Robertson just because you are Christian. Oh wait, I'm sorry, Scott said you must agree with Robertson, people with sense understand that you can disagree and still be conservative. It's the liberals that are intolerant of differences in beliefs, and conservatives who stand up for the right to disagree.

I love the Sheehan thing. People on the right ridicule her, as is their right, and people on the left say the right is cesoring her. Apparantely disagreeing with her is the same as censoring her.