No doubt envious of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's now infamous fatwa calling for the death of writer Salman Rushdie, American Christian Evangelical minister Pat Robertson this week decided to issue his own fatwa calling for the assassination of Venezuela's dictatorial President Hugo Chavez.
Declaring the United States could ill afford to spend billions of dollars on another war, the televangelist and diet supplement pitchman, advised members of the 700 Club the US government's covert operatives could, and should, do the unseemly deed of dispatching Senor Chavez, as it would be more efficient and economical than a full fledged Pentagon invasion. This Discount Buyer's Club assassination would presumably leave much more of that after-tax American discretionary income available for donations to the 700 Club Ministry, and the purchase of that yummy Robertson concocted diet supplement.
Despite the fact that no one in the US government, or anyone in its agencies actively involved in monitoring events in Latin America, ever suggested an invasion of Venezuela was being considered or even desirable, the Righteous Religious Robertson saw fit to blaze a new trail in modern Christian theology by suggesting the murder of another nation's elected official was the Christian thing to do.
What is most striking about this event is not Robertson's suggestion that the world, and in particular the Venezuelan people, would be better off with Hugo Chavez on the other side of the Great Divide, or his implication that anyone seriously trying to impose the completely discredited short term Soviet economic band aids of Collectivization and Land Reform, should be stopped at all costs; what is really significant about this episode is the glorious possibility that the slow, but steady erosion of 229 years of US governmental Secularism, precipitated by the ever increasing influence of bible pounding evangelicals in private communication with the Deity, may be finally coming to an end.
This event is hopefully just what the country now needs to reverse the regrettable influence the Religious Right has had upon the present Administration. While the American public has long been accustomed to the spectacle of the self destructive trajectories of the holier-than-thou crowd as they crash and burn from an assortment of sexual predations, pederasty, embezzlements, and hysterical lachrymose outbursts; even the most cynical of Americans must take note that the advocation of an individual's murder by a Christian evangelical minister represents a new and un-welcomed development in Western Christian theology and religious political influence.
One cannot help but wonder whether the members of the Western evangelical brotherhood don't in their heart of hearts envy the Mid Eastern Imams, Sheikhs, Mullahs, and assorted Ulema their totalitarian and oligarchic powers. Do Americans, even devout Christian Americans, really want America to become a "Christian" nation in the same sense that Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen and Sudan are "Islamic" nations? Do we really want our Religious leaders choosing from the pulpit those who should be marked for political assassination? Can Americans afford to have the ill informed, ignorant, and magisterially mystic interfere in our country's relations with other nations?
Hugo Chavez may very well need a well administered "attitude adjustment", but it is the prerogative of the duly elected Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government to determine through the democratic political process what this nation's foreign policy should be. If the Righteous Reverend Robertson wants to concern himself with the likes of Hugo Chavez, let him tend to the dictator's immortal soul, and let the American Polity decide when and how to deliver Senor Chavez's mortal remains to his Maker.