With the embarrassing advocacy of Hugo Chavez’s murder by televangelist Pat Robertson (Of course in 1988 after the Iowa Caucus, Robertson got very unhappy with Tom Brokaw’s characterization of him as televangelist), a leading voice for over two decades of the religious right, the question of how Christian the so-called Christian right really is comes up for discussion once again. Rev. Jim Wallis in his excellent recent book on faith in politics discusses the corruption of the meaning of Christianity by the right, and mentions Robertson (as well as Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, and James Dobson) as a driving force behind the redefining of faith in politics. These so-called Christians have become nothing more than agents of the far right in politics. Just as many fundamentalist Christians defended segregation in the 1960s (Pat Robertson was an exception, though his father, the late Democratic Senator Willis Robertson disagreed with him on the issue and consistently opposed all civil rights legislation) when they were Democrats, as Republicans converted by Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, they advocated murder in Central America, the impeachment of judges who ruled based on written law, and the sweeping out of office, any elected official who didn’t agree with them entirely.
Whether Hugo Chavez is a thorn in America’s side is not an issue here at all. The real issue here is the continued advocacy by the so-called Religious Right of what certain politicians including the President want said. For years, Ralph Reed claimed to be non-partisan as head of Robertson’s Christian Coalition. Reed, a brilliant political strategist however was far from non-partisan. Under the guise of religion and family he and his operatives worked relentlessly to rally evangelical Christians to the Republican side even though President Bill Clinton shared more in common with Southern Christians than any previous President except for Jimmy Carter. (Whom the right also uses as a punching bag to fire up its activists) Reed worked tirelessly to build the grassroots and infrastructure of the Southern Republican party in order not to promote Christianity but to promote far right politicians. The Christian Coalition for example in 1995 included a vote on tax cuts in its ratings of Congress but not a vote on parental control of television to prevent kids from watching sexual and violent programming, an issue which one would assume true Christians would be concerned about. During 1995 and 1996 the GOP moved further and further out of the mainstream as Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson became darlings of the anti-Clinton Washington elite media.
Reed and Robertson carefully built the image of the Christian Right as American movement suspicious of anything that wasn’t wholesome and apple pie. But given the opportunity to show their true colors, the Christian Right has time and time again. With today’s conflicts in the Middle East, Robertson, Falwell and others feel they can do what the Popes in the Middle Ages did: kill in the name of religion. Almost immediately after 9/11 Falwell and others spoke of killing Muslim leaders and converting citizens of the Middle East to Christianity.
It is little discussed today but true that when Pope Innocent called the first crusade in 1095 the initial victims were Jews who happened to be living around over zealous and under educated crusaders who felt due to the pope’s calls they well doing god’s work. By the time the crusade reached Constantinople, the Emperor Alexius was so suspicious of the crusaders intent and probability to rape, plunder and pillage that he tried everything to keep them from entering the gates of the city. Like the Emperor, today’s mainstream Christians have a lot to suspect from the motives of Robertson and others. They are political creatures, whose agenda is power for their cronies and political allies at any cost. Sure Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela represents a threat to American interests in Latin America. That’s not being questioned. What is being questioned is the motives and actions of those who use religion as their veil to exploit the media and American public into believing and doing what they want.
Providing Unique Commentary and Insight into Politics, History and Society since 2005
- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.