Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cartoon #205: “Pat Robertson”

Title: Pat Robertson; Text: (Pat Robertson behind 700 Club sign, 4 panels) 1. (Robertson says) If Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. 2. (Robertson struck by lightening, God says) Thou shalt not kill! 3. (Robertson, black and smoking, says) I never said 'assassinate.' 4. (Robertson struck by lightning, God says) Thou shalt not lie!

During his 700 Club broadcast Monday, Aug. 22, 2005, TV evangelist Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Two days later, following international backlash, Robertson apologized, but said he never said “assassinate,” and claimed he was misquoted by the Associated Press. Broadcast news media played both soundbites back-to-back to demonstrate Robertson’s lie.

Condemnation of Robertson’s statements was widespread and swift, but the silence from his fellow televangelists, and his fellow leaders of religious right fundamentalist Christianity, was deafening. (Cue the crickets.) One exception was the Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, a conservative advocacy group in Washington. Schenck said Robertson must immediately apologize, retract his statement and clarify what the Bible and Christianity teach about illegaly taking human life. Robertson should have listened to Schenck more carefully. Instead, he exposed himself as the false prophet his critics always knew he was. That is a serious sin for folks like Robertson.

The Bible has a lot to say about punishment by death, but it ultimately says that the punisher must be absolutly certain the punishment is just. If it is not just, the punisher will be put to death. Assassination aside, that is an insurmountable loophole for mortals who wish to practice capital punishment. Many so-called God-fearing folks have their favorite sins for which they feel it necessary to kill the sinner. The Bible cites several sins punishable by death. But it teaches that the next to worst sin is lying, and the worst sin of all is falsely teaching the Bible.

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