Al Mohler is a clear, cogent thinker and his analysis of the current events is frequently both insightful and helpful. Yesterday, he posted his take on Pat Robertson’s remarks regarding Hugo Chavez. It’s worth quoting in full.
All human beings are capable of making outrageous comments,
fraudulent claims, and scandalous conversation. That is part of the
human condition — part of being a sinner. Language is a powerful gift,
but the evil use of language can do great and grave damage.
This is painfully clear in the aftermath of Christian Broadcasting
Network founder Pat Robertson’s comments about the potential
assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Here are Robertson’s
comments from Monday’s edition of CBN’s “The 700 Club:”
“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has
come that we exercise that ability,” Robertson said of Chavez in
Monday’s broadcast of “The 700 Club.” “We don’t need another $200
billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a
whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and
then get it over with.”
With unmistakable clarity and an apparent lack of
self-consciousness, Robertson simply called for an assassination,
presumably to be undertaken by U.S. military forces in violation of
In so doing he gave the Venezuelan leader a propaganda gold mine,
embarrassed the Bush administration, and left millions of viewers
perplexed and troubled. More importantly, he brought shame to the cause
of Christ. This is the kind of outrageous statement that makes
evangelism all the more difficult. Missing from the entire context is
the Christian understanding that violence can never be blessed as a
good, but may only be employed under circumstances that would justify
the limited use of lethal force in order to prevent even greater
violence. Our witness to the Gospel is inevitably and deeply harmed
when a recognized Christian leader casually recommends the
assassination of a world leader.
Hugo Chavez is a dangerous and reckless factor on the world scene.
His extreme nationalism, combined with Marxism, has led his country
directly into conflict with the U.S. and much of the civilized world.
He has befriended Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and given support to
forces of global anarchy. Credible sources link him to support —
direct or indirect — of groups involved in terrorism.
Nevertheless, Pat Robertson’s comments lacked any indication that he
even understood the gravity of his proposal. He has brought
embarrassment upon us all.
I am thankful for every person who has been reached for the Gospel
through Pat Robertson’s vast ministry. I am thankful for his brave
support of unpopular Christian causes. I respect what he has done
through Regent University. He has been courageous in defense of many moral causes when others were silent.
Now, with so much at stake, Pat Robertson bears responsibility to
retract, rethink, repent, and restate his position on this issue.
Otherwise, what could have been a temporary lapse of judgment can
become an enduring obstacle to the Gospel. Mr. Robertson, it’s back in
your court. Your Christian brothers and sisters must love you enough to
tell you the truth — and encourage you to set the record straight.
Update on morning of 8/24: It’s sad to say that, as of Wednesday morning, Robertson has begun to lie about what he said earlier…
What he said then
“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of
assassination, but if he thinks we are trying to assassinate him, we
should go ahead and do it,” Robertson said Monday. “It’s a whole lot
easier than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will
What he says now
“I didn’t say ‘assassination,'” clarified Robertson
during a broadcast of his “The 700 Club” Wednesday morning. “I said our
special forces should go ‘take him out,’ and ‘take him out’ could be a
number of things, including kidnapping.”
He blamed The Associated Press for making him seem to advocate the assassination of a foreign leader.
are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing
him,” Robertson said. “I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens
all the time.”
(Quotes taken from FoxNews.com)
Let’s hope & pray that Robertson soon sees the heinousness of his words and that God brings him to repentance…
Update on evening of 8/24: Pat Robertson apologizes, quoted in part:
Is it right to call for assassination? No,
and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we
should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him.