08/25/2005: Pat Robertson is having to eat some humble pie for a change.
The other day, Robertson had called for the United States to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. His Random Act of Plain Stupidity earned backlash from evangelicals, the State Department, the Bush Administration, and most respectable fronts in the global scene.
Chavez–a Marxist who is buddies with that former aspiring baseball star in Havana–is a pain in the posterior for America. However, being such a nuisance hardly qualifies him for corporal punishment, let alone capital punishment. After all, we took Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein alive.
The bar for justifiable killing is very high, and with good reason. President Ford signed the executive order prohibiting the assassination of heads of state. Failing an extreme compelling reason–hard evidence of genocide, terrorism support, planning an attack on the U.S., aiding and abetting those who are, etc.–we need to stay the heck out of the business of killing heads of state. Even when we need to “take them out”, we should make the effort to take them alive.
Besides…why kill someone when you can sentence him to watch Ronald Reagan movies for the rest of his life?
Yesterday, Robertson first denied that he had in fact called for the “assassination” of Chavez, but merely said he wanted to “take him out.” In fact, he did use the word “assassination”. Confronted with that reality, Robertson finally apologized.
I must confess up front: I’m not a fan–nor ever have been a fan–of Pat Robertson. In 1988, I broke ranks with my evangelical friends and opposed Robertson’s run for Presidency. (His representatives openly courted people in the church at which I attended). I have significant differences with his business model, into which he has embedded a semblance of evangelical theology. Those, however, are topics on which I will bloviate on another day.
Hopefully, Robertson will take this as a wakeup call to be driven more by principle and less by ideology. When you are driven by the latter, then there is no limit to the depths to which you will sink.