Pat Robertson, one of the most public of Christians, has a tendency to believe that he speaks for God. That’s always a dangerous proposition.
His latest outburst concerns the grave condition of Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, who suffered a massive stroke on Wednesday and remains in an induced coma after several operations to halt brain bleeding. Mr. Robertson had this to say about Prime Minister Sharon’s condition:
"The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' God considers this land to be his.Presumably, PM Sharon’s apparent girth and his advanced age had no bearing on his condition. (In a video featuring Prime Minister Sharon and President Bush during Mr. Sharon's most recent visit to the United States, the contrast between the physical condition of the two men was striking--poor Prime Minister Sharon made the very exercise- and health-conscious President Bush look like Mr. Olympia.)
"You read the Bible, he says, 'This is my land.' And for any prime minister of Israel who decides he's going carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No. This is mine.'"
Ditto for the unimaginable stress that is inherent in long being the prime minister of 2006's Israel.
Mr. Robertson might want to watch out for that stray lightening bolt, heart attack, stroke, etc. if God is the type of deity which Mr. Robertson has repeatedly portrayed Him to be. It would seem to me that such a God wouldn’t take too kindly to slander or to driving people away from Him. And that is, most assuredly what Pat Robertson has done over and over again.
(Additionally, Robertson’s words serve to drive a wedge between two of the most natural of allies: Christians and Jews.)
One of the most insidious sins that plague mankind and have had the most long-lasting of bad outcomes is that of pride. Pride causes enmity between individuals, between peoples and between nations. Pride is the catalyst when one group of people attempts to assert its superiority over another. Pride allows a person to hold grudges long past the expire date and prevents that person from moving forward.
And pride lets a person believe that, because he has reputation for speaking for his beliefs and God has blessed him to own a platform for those beliefs, that he is always right and is always an unimpeachable authority in that realm.
The worst thing about people like Pat Robertson is that he has to know that whatever he says will receive the widest of media distribution. He’s got to know that there is always a microphone waiting for him to stand in front of to spout some “Christian theology.” The knowledge of this should make him mindful of his words and the effect that they will have, especially when he quotes Bible scripture. But it’s almost as if he wants to misrepresent what Christians believe. Specific for this case, it’s almost as if he has purposely forgotten other crucial parts of the scripture for the matter of sickness and death; namely, Jesus Christ’s words noting that misfortune falls on the just and the unjust alike. In other words, feces happens to us all.
If that isn’t so, what should Christians make of all of the strokes, heart attacks, untimely deaths in battle, via heinous crime or on accident? What should we make of those who live long, prosper and continuously perpetrate much evil all along the way? One wonders whether Mr. Robertson has forgotten the sin of Adam, which has allowed all of us to be subject to various forms of affliction and, ultimately, death.
I submit that Pat Robertson has long been a “respectable” version of the lunatic Fred Phelps—they both misrepresent what Christianity is and allow their pride of celebrity to spur them on--both men seem to go to absurd and disgusting lengths to get themselves talked about by all forms of the media and by the American man and woman on the street. In Mr. Robertson’s case, however, his Christian Broadcasting Network gives him the means to spread his slander of God to all and sundry. Good thing for him that God isn’t the Strategic Blunderer which Mr. Robertson makes Him out to be.
UPDATE: David Corn:
So God visited a stroke upon Sharon because God is opposed to the Middle East peace process? That's what Robertson is saying. (But if God didn't want progress in the Middle East, why did God let Arafat die? I'm confused.)Me too, David. It's nice when the Right and the Left can agree on something.
(Thanks to Pajamas Media)