Pat Robertson: God Punished Sharon for Giving Up Land
Conservative Christian evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson on Thursday linked Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke to God’s Ã¢€œEnmity against those Ã¢€˜who divide my land.Ã¢€™Ã¢€ Ã¢€œHe was dividing God’s land and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations, or the United States of America,” Robertson said on his television program, Ã¢€œThe 700 Club,” Broadcast from his Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach. Ã¢€œGod says ‘this land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.Ã¢€™Ã¢€
Last year, Sharon, a longtime hawk and supporter of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, changed tack and withdrew from the Gaza Strip and some settlements in the West Bank – as the best hope for achieving a peace deal with the Palestinians. The unilateral pullout was supported by the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States. But it was strongly opposed by many members of Sharon’s right-wing Likud party, prompting the prime minister to quit and form a new centrist party. Some U.S. evangelical Christians also opposed the Israeli withdrawal from lands that they believe constitute the biblical land of Israel and link to prophecies foretelling the second coming of Christ.
Robertson said that he had personally prayed about a year ago with Sharon, whom he called Ã¢€œa very tender-hearted man and a good friend.” He said he was sad to see Sharon in this condition. Robertson also said that in the Bible, the prophet Joel Ã¢€œmakes it very clear that God has enmity against those who Ã¢€˜divide my land.Ã¢€™Ã¢€
Ã¢€œGod considers this land to be his,Ã¢€ Robertson said. Ã¢€œYou read the Bible and he says Ã¢€˜this is my landÃ¢€™, and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says Ã¢€˜noÃ¢€™, this is mine.Ã¢€
Is this God or Woody Guthrie we’re talking about here?
Steve Clemons links the video and writes that, “I was no fan of Ariel Sharon, but no one deserves this kind of perverse commentary.” Agreed. He also muses,
Perhaps a good initiative to try and inject some divisions among the social conservative right would be to query whether Congressmen and Senators endorse or condemn Pat Robertson’s statement. Robertson has long been a potential wedge issue for the sensible parts of the Republican and Democratic parties to push. Maybe we should start seriously pushing.
While Robertson is in no way representative of even most conservative Evangelicals, he has a huge following. The question would indeed be uncomfortable for many politicians.
Amy Sullivan observes,
I seem to remember that a few years ago Pat Robertson spent some time battling prostate cancer. What was God punishing him for then? It’s not hard to think of some possibilities, including Robertson’s gold-mining deal in Liberia with the vicious Charles Taylor.
I’m told God works in mysterious ways. . . .
Duncan “Atrios” Black disagrees with Sullivan and me on the unrepresentativeness of Robertson:
So who would represent the views of conservative evangelicals better than Pat Robertson? It’s a serious question – I have no idea – but most of the prominent media figures who are supposedly representing those views don’t seem to be significantly different from Robertson to me, though maybe I’m just not picking up on the differences.
I’m not trying to be snarky here, it’s a serious question. I’d quite like the views of religious conservatives to be represented by people who are less nuts than Pat Robertson even if I subscribe neither to their religion nor the politics. Let’s put these people on TV!
Of course, those who appear on television–and many prominent bloggers and pundits as well–are not a very representative sampling of normal people. Regular preachers (like Donald Sensing, for example) have congregations to attend to, after all.
Update: Atrios responds in the comments below.
I wasnÃ¢€™t objecting to the premise, just stating that Robertson doesnÃ¢€™t seem all that much different than most of the rest of the people I see on TV. Perhaps you can correct me on that count , I may just not be able to think of anyone, but I donÃ¢€™t claim to know who should be out there representing Christian conservatives. My point was that if Robertson doesnÃ¢€™t represent them well then I donÃ¢€™t think anyone on TV does. I wasnÃ¢€™t claiming the people donÃ¢€™t exist Ã¢€“ I was asking who they were.
I think we’re in agreement. Robertson seems to be quite representative of televangelists but not very representative of Evangelical Christians (of which, I hasten to add, I am neither). This is true in the same sense that Howard Dean isn’t particularly representative of mainstream Democrats or Al Sharpton of most African Americans. That they all have a following, though, is indicative of something, though. I’m not quite sure what.
Update (1/6): See Who Speaks for the Evangelicals?