The Common Good

Robertson for Rudy

Sojomail - November 8, 2007


I am not happy when people ask, "How is the situation for Christians?" Those who kill don’t kill only Christians. They kill Muslims as well—the situation is the same for both .... The Christian house is next to the Muslim house. Each has his own religion, each defends his own home, each defends his religion. But your faith is for God, the country is for everyone.

- Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of the Baghdad-based Chaldean Church, which has existed for nearly 2,000 years. The pope recently named him, along with 22 others from around the world, to the College of Cardinals, making Delly the first Roman Catholic Cardinal from Iraq in modern history. (Source: The New York Times)

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Robertson for Rudy

Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president is simply astonishing. Robertson - the television preacher who founded the 700 Club and once ran for president himself - has made opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage his political north star and has been a relentless champion of traditional marriage and family values.

Remember Robertson's merciless attacks on President Bill Clinton's lapses of sexual morality with Monica Lewinsky? Or his comments about how the 9/11 attacks were the result of America's tolerance for homosexuals and abortion?

Now Robertson is for Rudy, a thrice-married adulterous husband, who is estranged from his own children and is both pro-choice and pro-gay rights. According to Robertson's twisted moral logic, forgiving the social conservative shortcomings of Republicans is a Christian virtue, so long as the same virtue is never applied to Democrats. But Pat thinks Rudy can beat Hillary, and Pat really cares about winning for the Republicans.

What exactly goes on in Pat Robertson's head has puzzled many of us for a long time. This endorsement ranks as one of the most unprincipled in recent political memory. Maybe principles never mattered much to Pat Robertson after all. Perhaps the pro-business economic conservatism of the Republican Party was always more important to the televangelist than saving unborn lives. Robertson's long-standing support of murderous Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, and his diamond investments thanks to Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko speak louder than words when it comes to Robertson's ethic of life. And that's not to mention the more than $400 million Robertson's empire made when he sold his International Family Network to Rupert Murdoch, after building it on tax-deductible contributions of thousands of CBN donors, many of modest means. He has been putting profits over principles for years.

Richard Land, spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, has taken a more consistent position. Land has clearly said that he won't support Giuliani if he becomes the Republican nominee, explaining in a recent Newsweek interview, "I'm not willing or able to violate my moral conscience. It would be like asking an African American to choose between Strom Thurmond and George Wallace, or asking Abe Lincoln to vote for a pro-slavery candidate. I personally can't do it." Land predicts that many social conservatives will just sit out this election if the Republicans decide to run Rudy. That's called standing for principle.

Pat Robertson clearly has taken another position. His endorsement of Rudy Giuliani will seem to many to be unprincipled hypocrisy.

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