Sunday, January 17, 2010

Randomness as Acts of God

La Professora is the last to belittle anyone's personal religious beliefs, but even I have a hard time defending the latest pronouncement by Marion 'Pat' Robertson. For those of you not paying attention to the news -- and shame on you -- his zealotness announced that the earthquake in Haiti is part of the curse that hangs over that country as a result of "a pact to the devil." While his spokesperson pointed out that the earthquake itself was not a sign of "God's wrath" against the country, he did continue Robertson's theme: "History, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed".

The Haitian ambassador was not amused. In an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, Ambassador Raymond Joseph pointed out that, if Haiti had made a pact with the devil in order to become independent from France in the 1800s, and if the US was able to secure the Louisiana Purchase as a result of the conflict Haiti had with the French, then American benefited from that so-called 'pact with the devil' by gaining enough territory to create 13 states.

The White House made it clear that Pat Robertson does not speak for most Americans, if any. Robert Gibbs, the spokesperson for the Obama Administration, said, "It never ceases to amaze, that in times of amazing human suffering, somebody says something that could be so utterly stupid. But it, like clockwork, happens with some regularity."

And with regularity Pat Robertson does indeed stick his foot in his mouth. Seems that Robertson and his ilk have regularly exploited disasters and attacks for their own ends. What those ends are is anyone's guess, but I'd have to say it's to promote his vision for the proper American way of religious life. What follows is but a small selection of the idiocy produced by the man.

Let us start with the doozyist of them all: The attacks of September 11, 2001 was the fault of the pagans, the abortionists, the feminists, the gays and lesbians, the ACLU, and the People for the American Way. Okay, so it was Jerry Falwell who said, "I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'", but it was on Robertson's show on Robertson's network, and Robertson "totally concur[red]". Seems that defending the freedom from any religious doctrine that might restrict the rest of their liberties, the above named groups made "God mad" and that's why 19 fundamentalist Muslim terrorists used four planes in an attempt to get America to change its foreign policy toward the Middle East.

After the Katrina tragedy, Robertson had his own theory as to the cause. There are some environmentalists who believe the disaster was the result poor land management. For Robertson, it was clearer than that: the Old Testiment says that those who shed innocent blood will find that the land will vomit them out. His take on the situation was that the abortion of 40 million -- his number -- fetuses made God send a hurricane that killed 1,800 innocent people in the Gulf Coast.

Robertson isn't just in the business in laying blame retro-actively, he also has warned of possible future disasters for failing to live up to his idea of God's standards. For Dover, Pennsylvania, he predicted a vague tragedy as a result of voting out the members of the school board who favored intelligent design over evolution. "I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city .... I recommend they call on Charles Darwin."

While there was a rumor that Pat Robertson had said Katrina was the result of God's anger over Ellen Degeneres -- a well-known lesbian -- being selected to host the Emmy Awards that year, a rumor that proved to be false, he did 'predict' in 1998 that the Gay Pride Festival flags that Orlando, Florida, had set up around town would result in a hurricane. Specifically he said, "you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you." I'm only guessing, but there are probably more than one member of the gay community that is rather happy Robertson isn't them.

Yet, he is very clearly against people like Ellen Degeneres. In 1992, he wrote in a letter to raise funds to defeat an Equal Rights amendment to the Iowa Constitution, in which he said the feminist movement wasn't really about getting equal rights for all, "it is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Not be out done, fifteen years later, he tells the world that yoga is evil.

Fearing that America was being taken over by secularists, Robertson addressed the need to have more religiously conservative justices on the Supreme Court. "Operation Supreme Court Freedom" was a call to the faithful to pray that John Roberts would get a speedy confirmation to the US Supreme Court. On August 2nd of 2005, his prayer was rather specific: "Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court, and we ask for additional fine people like John Roberts."

Calling for the death of a political figure is hardly unique for Robertson. Turning his eye to the international stage, he weighed in on what the United States should do to leaders of other nations: assassination. Not having the slightest clue of either geography or ideology beyond his own, in 2005 Robertson stated that Venezuela was going to be "the launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism." Thus, he called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez. "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability." Being able and being morally and politically justified are two vastly different things.

When it came to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke in 2006, Robertson had an answer for that too. God's retribution for "dividing God's land". The same reason, according to Robertson, explains the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. "...I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or United States of America. God said, 'This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.'"

On the theme of Islam, Robertson continues to show his ignorance of others. Claiming that there's no such thing as a report of Christian extremists killing, he insists that the Koran clearly dictates that Muslims engage in violence against others. "Islam, at least at its core, teaches violence ... those who believe it sincerely in their hearts are those that think Osama bin Laden is their great hero." Not only is he wrong about Islam, he's also wrong about there being no such thing as Christian terrorism. He conveniently forgets about any number of terrorist organizations that have some form of Christianity at its base, the best known of which is the Irish Republican Army.

Four years later, after the Ft Hood attacks, Robertson compounds this stupidity by calling Islam a political system on the same scale as communism and fascism, and that America should treat adherents to the "political system" the same as we would members of a fascist group.

Likewise, following any other faith, especially a 'new-age religion', leads to a "severe price" as death is the penalty for seeking enlightenment outside the bounds of what Robertson believes to be the one true faith.

While Haiti may not actually be cursed, America certainly seems to be so -- with a bedeviling man named Marion 'Pat' Robertson.

Photo Source:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good work, kiddo.