Pat Robertson's fatwa against Venezuelan leaderSometimes I'm hesitant to characterize various elements of the far right, for fear I might accused of setting up a straw man cariciature. Fortunately, there are always folks like Pat Robertson to provide real life material.
Recently, the pseudo-Christian televangelist called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's leader.
"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability."
Some of my friends on the left thinks that because Hugo Chavez employs populist rhetoric about helping the poor, because he points out huge social disparities that are very real and because he bashes George W. Bush, then he must be a swell guy. (Many also think the same way about Fidel Castro and Jean-Bertrand Aristide)
No amount of charisma and fancy rhetoric changes the fact that Chavez, like his buddy Fidel Castro, is an ordinary autocrat. He has little regard for the most basic standards of human rights that progressives claim to care about.
While I wouldn't shed a tear at Chavez's departure, his assassination would only increase anti-Americanism in Venezuela and Latin America. His assassination would only prove to Latin Americans that the US doesn't respect their sovereignty. His assassination would only give weight and credibility to far left conspiracy theorists. Even aside from the pathetic spectacle of a so-called 'Christian' leader advocating cold-blooded murder, Robertson's call would endanger America's reputation and national security far more than a loudmouthed crackpot.
Robertson also accused Chavez of exporting Communism and Islamic extremism across the Americas.
If Communism is supposed to be 'godless,' as we were constantly told throughout the Cold War, then how can it be linked to religious extremism?
This is yet another example to show that religious extremists are dangerous to decent, civilized people whether the nutjobs are Crusaders or Jihadists.
Of course, given Robertson's support of Charles Taylor, the indicted war criminal who used to terrorize Liberia, perhaps Robertson's advocacy of murder isn't surprising... especially when millions of his own cash are involved. I wonder if Roberston had money invested in Venezuela...
Update: This editorial in The Chicago Tribune details some of Robertson's other lunacies.
Update 2: It makes you wonder... if a MUSLIM so-called preacher had called for the assassination of, say, Tony Blair, would he have been abducted in middle of the night and spirited off the Guantanamo Bay faster than you can say Insh'allah? I suspect it certainly would've been condemned with words far more harsh than merely 'inappropriate'.
And Robertson can call for the cold-blooded murder of a foreign leader without consequence, but the FCC can levy a fine of over half a million dollars merely because Janet Jackson exposed her breast? Does this dichotomy seem sane to anyone?