The prayer goes simply: Lord, protect me from your followers. Amen.
Over the last 10 days, most people have heard about the comments made by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson in regard to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. You can be watching any news channel and see the headlines scrolling across the bottom. You could hear a feature story about the incident. You can hear the eyes rolling and the heads of most Christians smack into their hands at disgust. Robertson said that the Israeli leader had a stroke because God was upset about the "carving up" of the Holy Land.
At this point, I'm not sure how many times Robertson has practiced the foot in mouth exercise. One can only speculate it's worse in person because he should be guarded on the air. I remember the comments about 9/11. I cringed at the comments about the hurricane hitting New Orleans because the city is deaconate and the result being the wrath of God. Then last fall, Robertson said we should "take out" Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. And during the apology sited Dietrich Bonhoeffer's action in Germany during WW 2, as if his misrepresentation was justification for an assasination attempt...
The actual quote went like this: "Here he's at the point of death. He was dividing God's land, and I would say: Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the E.U., the United Nations, or the United States of America. God says: 'This land belongs to me. You'd better leave it alone.'" The good news from this is that religious leaders and political leaders are in agreement that it was a dumb thing to say, to say the least.
"Those comments are wholly inappropriate and offensive and really don't have a place in this or any other debate." - White House spokesman Trent Duffy.
"I'm appalled that Pat Robertson would make such statements. He ought to know better.... The arrogance of the statement shocks me almost as much as the insensitivity of it … He speaks for an ever-diminishing number of evangelicals, and with each episode like this the rate of diminishment accelerates." - Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Evangelical author and social commentator Os Guinness put his reaction this way: "I know hundreds of people who are just terminally frustrated with the idiotic public statements of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and the idea that these people represent us. They don't." Thank God for that.
"Pat's comments were most unfortunate. I don't think this served our cause very well." - Donald Wildmon, head of American Family Association.
Unfortunate, idiotic, insensitive, inappropriate and offensive. That's a good start in describing Robertson's comments. The leader of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, said "It is outrageous and shocking but not surprising..."
Robertson's spin doctors say that he was only quoting scripture. They justified that the comments were made based on Robertson's understanding of the writings of the Prophet Joel. The worse part seemed to be that the opinion about Sharon's medical problem should not be a surprise because "this (punishment due to the giving away of the "promised land") is nothing new to the Christian community."
If God was in the business of removing those individuals from power or life itself who didn't agree with him, I'd think that there wouldn't be many people left on earth. Robertson tried to soften his comments when he commented that Sharon is "a very tendered hearted man and a good friend." If Robertson would say this about a "good friend", I hope and pray that I will never be called a friend of Pat's.
Lord, protect us all from your followers. Amen.