Monday :: Jan 9, 2006

My Name Is Pat, And I'm An Insensitive, Lying Religious Hypocrite...

by pessimist

No 12-step program effective against Pat Robertson

ME: "My name is Chris, and I’m addicted to hypocrites. My drug of choice is politicians, but lately I’ve been binging on televangelists and talk radio. It started out innocently enough — a little Falwell before breakfast, a little Limbaugh after work, maybe some cable ‘news’ on weekends. But now I’m hitting the hard stuff — Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly. I’m really afraid of where this is headed."

COUNSELOR: "You sound like you’re on a Pat Robertson bender."

ME: "How can you tell?"

COUNSELOR: "He’s why many of us eventually seek help. For snotty humor columnists, hypocrites are like candy. Pat is the Double-Chocolate, Deep-Fried Oreo of hypocrites. Thousands of case studies have shown it’s almost impossible to resist the motherlode of empty calories he offers a columnist looking for an easy target on deadline."

ME: "I know it’s wrong to write about Pat, but its seems like every time he opens his mouth, he reaches new depths of shamelessness and stupidity. Before I know it, I’m down in the gutter with him, and it feels sooooooo good."

COUNSELOR: "Pat knows that, which is why he makes all these crackpot statements."

ME: "So how do I quit him?"

COUNSELOR: "I’m sorry, but there’s no cure. This is something you’ll struggle with for the rest of your life, or until Pat is called home to that Great Tax Shelter in the Sky."

ME: "I feel so dirty."

COUNSELOR: "Don’t we all?

We all should, not that we all do.

Democratic Senators Leahy and Kerry took uber-Pharisee Robertson to the woodshed for a little verbal application of the spared rod. Spoiled child Robertson's snide remarks about Ariel Sharon's stroke were so beyond the pale, even the tyro in the Bu$hCo White House slammed Pat!

Jewish leaders and liberal Christians decried Robertson's remarks as outrageous and shocking. "Their comments were not unexpected, but the searing criticism from evangelicals was unusual."

Searing criticism from evangelicals????

Ah, so! There certainly ARE some who are upset with Pat the Lord's Brat:

Robertson’s comments on Sharon shock SBC’s Land

"I am almost as shocked by Pat Robertson’s arrogance as I am by his insensitivity," Land added, noting he had conducted a small informal poll among students and faculty on the issue at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., while on campus to teach a class. "I did not find one person who agreed with Pat Robertson and who was not both embarrassed and incensed by his comments," Land said.

"A far greater expert on God’s will than Pat Robertson will ever be, the Apostle Paul, declared, ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?,’" Land said, quoting Romans 11:33-34.

Conservatives distance themselves from Robertson

The Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said that Robertson no more spoke for evangelicals than "Dr. Phil," the television show host, spoke for psychologists.

The Rev. Kevin Mannoia, chaplain at Azusa Pacific University and past president of the National Association of Evangelicals, was among those who suggested that Robertson's comments could have been a misguided effort to restore his once powerful standing as a religious and political voice in America by creating new controversy. "I wonder whether, consciously or subconsciously, this is an effort on the part of an individual who has significant influence in the church and the country and recognized that influence is waning," Mannoia said. "He continues to try to maintain that influence by increasingly controversial statements -- perhaps statements out of desperation, perhaps statements out of (wanting) more attention."

Richard Land said Robertson may have isolated himself from anyone but yes men. "When you're the head of your own organization if you don't cultivate people telling you what you don't want to hear, sometimes you don't hear it," Land said.

Comments 'awkward' for clergy

"He did stick his foot in it, didn't he?" said the Rev. Ken Parsley of the Church on the Move, which is located on Tieton Drive [Yakima, WA]. While noting that he appreciates Robertson — he was the Central Washington director for Robertson's 1988 presidential campaign — Parsley says his own views on the subject are different. Parsley also pointed out that his church has no doctrine that excludes anyone from God's grace. "My view is more a spiritual interpretation of the New Testament," he explained.

Although Robertson is an ordained Southern Baptist minister, his positions don't necessarily match those of The Cross Church, The Rev. Paul Clark of The Cross Church on Cornell Avenue said. "Sometimes in his boldness, Robertson ruffles feathers," Clark said. Robertson's linking of the stroke with Sharon's land policies may have "bordered on the insensitive," in Clark's view.

In Selah, the Rev. Robert Porterfield of Peace Lutheran Church acknowledged that God uses different methods to meet his ends, but said that his church "wouldn't make those outrageous remarks." While noting that he considers himself a conservative theologian, Porterfield said Robertson's notions "pushed the envelope."

And, finally, the Rev. Jon Oletzke of the Stone Church on Englewood Avenue termed Robertson's statements "awkward." "Pat Robertson wouldn't be representative of our church," said Oletzke.

Evangelical Leaders Criticize Pat Robertson

Officials of conservative Christian churches and organizations suggested that Robertson was losing religious and political influence as a result of his remarks on Sharon and other recent controversial comments.

The Rev. Kevin Mannoia, chaplain at Azusa Pacific University and past president of the National Assn. of Evangelicals, was among those who suggested that Robertson's comments could have been a misguided effort to restore his once powerful standing as a religious and political voice in America by creating new controversy. "I wonder whether, consciously or subconsciously, this is an effort on the part of an individual who has significant influence in the church and the country and recognized that influence is waning," Mannoia said. "He continues to try to maintain that influence by increasingly controversial statements — perhaps statements out of desperation, perhaps statements out of [wanting] more attention," he said.

Alan Wisdom, interim president of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, a Washington political action group, said he was embarrassed by Robertson. He said Robertson should have carefully weighed his words, if only because he was viewed by many non-evangelicals as the face of evangelical Christianity in America. "In some of these remarks and incidents, he's not speaking for the rest of us, particularly overseas in places like Venezuela and the Middle East where evangelicals have a lot of mission work," Wisdom said. "Statements like these make that mission work more difficult. In Venezuela he may have done serious damage."

Wisdom added: "I do want to say that other evangelicals appreciate the role that Robertson had as an evangelist bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ. There were numbers of evangelicals who came into the political process through his influence, but being responsible parts of the political process requires prudence, and a number of the statements he's made have not been prudent, to say the least."

Some churchgoers have even more to add:

Robertson's rants embarrassing

I have heard just about enough from Pat Robertson about his God. First, I don't believe God punishes people for trying to seek peace for their nation, even when their decisions are unpopular. That's what true leaders do. Second, I do not believe in the angry, vindictive, cruel God that Mr. Robertson apparently worships. If he truly believes in this spiteful deity, then may my merciful, loving God help him. He is an embarrassment to himself and to all true Christians. - Donna Church, St. Johns AZ

One Church-going columnist chimes in:

No 12-step program effective against Pat Robertson

I should actually try to say something more meaningful than "Pat Robertson is a human cartoon," something I wish more Christians would stand up and shout when this sad little man claims to represent the faith we share. Like most hypocrites trawling the darkest depths of American politics, Pat is all for democracy, as long as the vote goes his (small "h") way. God forbid voters actually use the free will endowed by the Creator.

Here goes: I am a Christian. Pat Robertson does not speak for me, nor for the Jesus I learned about in church and at home. The Jesus I know was and is a man of peace who taught love, compassion and understanding, who threw the moneychangers out of the temple and who was willing to die for the salvation of others. As far as I know, he never called for the killing of another human being in his father’s name or used his father’s words to enrich himself and his friends at the expense of those who trust him most.

Pat Robertson did these things and more. He is a moneychanger in the temple, and while he claims a burning desire to be face-to-face with Jesus some day, I’m not convinced such a meeting would go quite as well as Pat plans.

I could be wrong, of course, but then I don’t pretend to know the mind of God.

That’s Pat’s job.

A newspaper deep in Jesusland was equally upset with Pat:

Robertson's claims deserve denouncing

Pat Robertson long ago assigned himself to the fringes with earlier outrageous comments, but his most recent claim surely is as deserving of denunciation as any he has ever made. His remarks drew swift criticism, as well they should. "His remarks are un-Christian and a perversion of religion," said Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League in a statement reported by the Associated Press. "Unlike Robertson, we don't see God as cruel and vengeful."

Nor do many Christians, who were rightly appalled by Robertson's words, all the more so for being uttered as Sharon struggled for life.

Another newspaper added:

Preaching hate demeans both cleric and faith

Politically incorrect?

How about hateful?

Religion is not about hate and anger. Religion is about love and caring for one another. We should be finding ways to love each other and come together instead of driving wedges between faiths.

When Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for "dividing God's land," he was flat out making hateful comments about an individual and an entire religion. To speak for a religion, such as Robertson has for Christianity, and then espouse hateful doctrine is to go against the basis premise of the religion and commit one of the seven deadly sins.

Anger, which it appears that Robertson has in his heart, is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as wrath, one of the seven deadly sins.

Hateful speech is something we all should distance ourselves from. And Robertson is making comments that are not only demeaning to him but to all of Christianity. Robertson is wrong to make such comments, and we all should pray for the recovery of Sharon, who is a peaceful man trying to make a positive difference in the world.

Jewish spokesmen were understandably outraged at Robertson:

AJC Outraged by Pat Robertson’s Insensitive Comments on Ailing Israeli Leader

[S]aid AJC Executive Director David A. Harris, "Robertson's comment reflects the height of insensitivity and is also a perfect example of what happens when theological fanaticism clouds good judgment."

American Jewish Committee Outraged by Pat Robertson's Insensitive Comments on Ailing Israeli Leader

"While we appreciate Robertson's longstanding commitment to the state of Israel, we believe it's best left to the Israeli people and their elected leaders to make the fateful decisions on Israel's enduring quest for peace and security," Harris added.

Jewish Leaders Take Issue With Robertson Comment

Rabbi Mark Strauss-Cohn said Robertson's comment that Sharon was being punished for dividing Israel was insensitive and inaccurate. "We see very much God present in this world, but God does not manipulate matters -- especially when it comes to our physical bodies," he told WXII 12's Angela Pellerano.

Dr. David Hughes, of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, said Robertson is doing little to help Jewish-American relations. "If President Bush were lying at death's door and a rabbi in Israel said it was because of his policy in Iraq, I think all Americans, even those that don't agree with President Bush, would be offended," he said.

As I mentioned early, Democratic Senators had something to say about the 'Reverend' Pat:

Kerry likens Pat Robertson to 'tin-horn dictator,' 'petty thug' after Sharon remarks

"It is beyond shocking to think that as Prime Minister Sharon fights for his life, Pat Robertson would attack his character and disparage the risks Ariel Sharon took to bring peace and security to Israel," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement this morning.

"At a time like this, you'd expect bigoted tin-horn dictators and petty thugs like President Ahmadinejad of Iran to attack Sharon, but no American who claims to be a leader should stoop so low," he added.

"Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised to hear such venom from someone who claimed Hurricane Katrina was punishment for the people of New Orleans."

Senator Leahy Rebukes Robertson For Remarks On Sharon, saying Robertson continues to plumb the depths of hatred and disparagement and does not speak for the majority of Americans. Paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, Leahy said Robertson should spend less time saying God is on his side and more time wondering if he is on God's.

Is Pat still mentally sound? One observer doesn't think os:

Pat Robertson has totally lost it

Some people have no sense of decency.

As you'll recall, Pat Robertson warned the residents of Dover, PA - who recently voted out a school board more interested in indoctrination than education - that they shouldn't expect any help from God if a natural disaster were visited upon their town.

And you thought that was crazy! Now he's declared that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke, which has left him in critical condition, is God's way of telling Sharon that he shouldn't have withdrawn from Gaza.

As Dave Letterman said while castigating Bill O'Reilly the other night, "Honest to Christ."

UPDATE: The White House has sensibly denounced Robertson's absurd commentary.

Jews are also very sensitive about why they are of such 'friendly' concern by evangelicals and other fundies:

Among Evangelicals, A Kinship With Jews
Some Skeptical of Growing Phenomenon

"I feel jealous sometimes. This term that keeps coming up in the Old Book -- the Chosen, the Chosen," says the Rev. Lamarr Mooneyham, who has made three trips to Israel and named his sons Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. "I'm a pardoned gentile, but I'm not one of the Chosen People. They're the apple of his eye."

Scholars of religion call this worldview "philo-Semitism," the opposite of anti-Semitism. It is a burgeoning phenomenon in evangelical Christian churches across the country, a hot topic in Jewish historical studies and a wellspring of support for Israel. Yet many Jews are nervous about evangelicals' intentions.

Some Jews think that philo-Semitism is just the flip side of anti-Semitism. "Both are Semitisms: That is, both install the Jews at the center of history. One regards this centrality positively, the other regards it negatively. But both are forms of obsession about the Jews," said Leon Wieseltier, a Jewish scholar and literary editor of the New Republic.

The Southern Baptist Convention, to which the Tabernacle belongs, passed a resolution in 1867 calling on its members to convert Jews and renewed that call as recently as 1996. Its former president, Bailey Smith, declared in 1980 that "God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew," and it currently supports about 15 congregations of messianic Jews, who are popularly associated with the organization Jews for Jesus.

In recent weeks, leaders of three of the nation's largest Jewish groups -- the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Union for Reform Judaism -- have decried what they see as a mounting threat to the separation of church and state from evangelicals emboldened by the belief that they have an ally in the White House and an opportunity to shift the Supreme Court.

"Make no mistake: We are facing an emerging Christian right leadership that intends to 'Christianize' all aspects of American life, from the halls of government to the libraries, to the movies, to recording studios, to the playing fields and locker rooms . . . from the military to SpongeBob SquarePants," the ADL's national director, Abraham H. Foxman, said in a Nov. 3 speech.

Julie Galambush, a former American Baptist minister who converted to Judaism 11 years ago, has seen both sides of the divide. She said many Jews suspect that evangelicals' support for Israel is rooted in a belief that the return of Jews to the promised land will trigger the Second Coming of Jesus, the battle of Armageddon and mass conversion. "That hope is felt and expressed by Christians as a kind, benevolent hope," said Galambush, author of The Reluctant Parting, a new book on the Jewish roots of Christianity.

"But believing that someday Jews will stop being Jews and become Christians is still a form of hoping that someday there will be no more Jews."

Your fascist ancestors and their clients would be proud, Dumbya!

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