There are many iconic religious leaders in our western nations, but none can grab the headlines like Pat Robertson; evangelical television preacher and the leader of several ministries. Whether he is being taken out of context or simply has a different take on profound events such as 9-11 or Hurricane Katrina, Pat is always one who can inject controversy where there is none. I only wish he would stop trying to back down every time some in the media or the church express outrage.
This letter is not meant to be an affirmation of Pat’s beliefs, nor a rebuttal to them. It is not meant to be a religious article either. This man’s take on some important events in my life time and the reaction by many to those comments has me thinking. I am somewhat mystified as to why this man can evoke such emotion from those with whom he claims to be in fellowship with and from those who claim that he is a crackpot. Again, I am not trying to justify any of his theories as to why bad things happen in our nations. My interest is simply piqued at the response to them.
While I assert to being a Christian, many North Americans do not espouse to the same set of beliefs that I do. Having said that, I want to look at some of the statements that Pat has made and then look at the responses that they have received. Perhaps then I can explain why I am so perplexed at the outrage.
After the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell aired a program in which they discussed the fact that they felt America was being punished for its actions, among those the murder of 40 million unborn children, the move to legitimize homosexuality, as well as a host of other acts which includes organizations such as NOW and the ACLU successfully removing all or any mention of God from the public system of education, court houses, and many other arenas. Their thinking is that maybe God has removed his veil of protection from America.
I don’t want to sit here and theorize on whether or not this thinking has any merit, nor whether I agree or disagree. I do, however, find it strange that Christians and non-Christians alike were quick to jump onto this story to let their absolute outrage be known.
I also find it strange that the media was so quick to hype the words of these two men. It can’t be because they think it outrageous that God would do something like this, because they have made it clear that God has no place outside of a dark, secret closet in one’s own home. Why would the media care what a bunch of Christian’s think? I offer that the only attempt on the part of the mainstream press was to further demonize all Christian’s and their beliefs.
As for the Christian community, their outrage surprises me more. Have we, those North Americans who claim to believe in the Almighty, arrived at the place where we believe we are above the wrath of God? Throughout the old testament, we are reminded of how God allows evil to be visited upon those who refuse to turn away from abject sin. Have we redefined sin so much that we no longer feel that it has any bearing on us lofty westerners?
I am not suggesting that God decided to move these insane terrorists to do what they did, but merely trying to get to the root of the outrage.
Pat did it again when Hurricane Katrina slammed into Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as outlying states. He suggested that maybe the people of New Orleans had committed enough sin to fill the cup of God’s wrath. Again, those in Christian circles spoke out against Mr. Robertson and again, I have to wonder what their reasoning for that is.
I am not a bible scholar, nor do I profess to be. In fact, I once wrote an article that negated the fact that the Golden Rule is found in scripture. But the way that people of faith today react when someone suggests that maybe we aren’t immune to the Wrath of God strikes me as incredibly bizarre. It makes me wonder what book they are actually reading during worship. It is as if the religious community is willing to accept the blessings that God promises but reject that they could also be in line for his judgements.
No one would argue, especially in religious circles, that God has blessed both America and Canada richly. In fact, most secular Americans and Canadians would concur. (For those of you in college, that means “agree.”) We have two of the greatest nations that have ever sat upon the earth, with riches and abundance that others can only dream about. We have no problem with somebody standing up and proclaiming this as a blessing.
Should somebody suggest that perhaps that blessing is being removed from our shores, they are abruptly told to desist and be quiet. They are tarred, feathered, and discredited, even by their own peers.
While I disagree with many of the thoughts of Mr. Robertson and Mr. Falwell, I believe that some of their thoughts bare more credibility than those with whom they share a commonality are willing to give them.
Maybe they should read Psalm 34:16 or, perhaps closer to the truth, maybe I simply need a holiday.