"Thou Shall Not Kill" - Holy Bible/King James Version
"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it." - 'Christian minister' Pat Robertson speaking about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on his popular TV show, The 700 Club.
The evangelist was responding to allegations that the US was plotting to assasinate the communist Latin American leader. Robertson said on Monday that Chávez had destroyed the Venezuelan economy and made his country a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent". Ninety-eight percent of all Venezuelans are Roman Catholic or Protestant.
A spokeswoman for Robertson, Angell Watts, said to the Associated Press that he would not give interviews on Tuesday and had no statement elaborating on his remarks.
In response, Venezuela's Vice President José Vicente Rangel accused Robertson of making terrorist threats: "It's the height of hypocrisy for the U.S. to continue talking about the war against terrorism when at the same time you have someone making obvious terrorist declarations in the heart of the country."
The U.S. State Department called the remarks "inappropriate" but did not condemn them and insisted that they do not reflect official policy and that the U.S. is not nor ever was planning to take "hostile actions" against Venezuela.
Robertson is no stranger to controversy. Right after the September 11 tragedies, Robertson along with fellow evangelist Jerry Falwell agreed that the attacks were caused by "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU and the People for the American Way." During the US program This Week, on April 30, 2005, Robertson was speaking about judicial activism when he said, "Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that’s held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings." This statement prompted outcry from several September 11th support and survivor groups.
Robertson repeatedly supported former Liberian president Charles Taylor in various episodes of his 700 Club program during the United States' involvement in the Liberian Civil War
and July 2003
. Robertson accuses the U.S. State Department
of giving President Bush
bad advice in supporting Taylor's ouster as president, and of trying "as hard as they can to destabilize Liberia." Robertson has been criticized for failing to mention in his broadcasts his $8 million investment in a Liberian gold mine
. Taylor had been at the time of Robertson's support indicted by the United Nations
for war crimes
. According to Robertson, the Liberian gold mine Freedom Gold, was intended to help pay for humanitarian and evangelical efforts in Liberia, when in fact the company was allowed to fail leaving many debts both in Liberia and in the international mining service sector. Regarding this controversy, Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention
's public policy said, "I would say that Pat Robertson is way out on his own, in a leaking life raft, on this one."
Robertson has also flip-flop on the abortion issue. Despite claiming to be pro-life, Robertson spoke out in favor of China
's one child policy
, enforced by forced abortions. In a 2001 interview with CNN Wolf Blitzer
, he said of that the Chinese were "doing what they have to do," though he said that he did not personally agree with the practice. His comments drew criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.
Hugo Chavez does not have a stellar record when it comes how he runs his government. Chavez has close ties to Fidel Castro and is known as a up and coming leftist leader in Latin America. He has also mingled with suspected Islamic terrorists in Iran. However, with this said is there any logic to a man of God such as Robertson to make such a statement?