(ENI) Christian leaders representing both conservative and liberal constituencies have lambasted Christian minister/broadcaster Pat Robertson for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Robertson’s call “is appalling to the point of disbelief,” National Council of Churches general secretary Robert Edgar said on Aug. 23 following Robertson’s statement, delivered on the Christian Broadcast Network.
“We have the ability to take him [Chavez] out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,'” Robertson, a former Republican Party presidential candidate, said on his Aug. 22 television show, The 700 Club, of the Venezuelan president, who has often been at loggerheads with the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. “We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong arm dictator,” Robertson said. “‘It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”’
In response, Edgar said it “‘defies logic that this self-proclaimed Christian leader could so blithely abandon the teachings of Jesus to love our enemies and turn our cheeks against violence. … It defies logic that this so called evangelist is misusing his media power not to win people to faith but to encourage them to support the murder of a foreign leader.”
The Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council in Washington, D.C. said: “I have always held Pat Robertson in the highest esteem, but his remarks today about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez were at best indiscreet and probably crossed a serious moral and ethical line. Reverend Robertson must immediately apologize, retract his statement and clarify what the Bible and Christianity teaches about the permissibility of taking human life outside of law.”