by JewsOnFirst, March 16, 2006
It's hardly news anymore when televangelist Pat Robertson says something offensive. His prounouncement that Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's punishment for withdrawing from Gaza leaps to mind. What is newsworthy about Robertson's latest statement -- that Islam is "satanic" and bent on world domination -- is that none of the major organizations of the religious right dissociated themselves from it. Does that mean they agree with it?
In fact, one religious right preacher, Franklin Graham, son and heir of Rev. Billy Graham, all but affirmed Robertson's calumny.
Here's what Robertson, commenting on a news report about Muslims in Europe, said on his 700 Club television show on Monday, March 13th:
These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with.
The goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not, is world domination... And by the way, Islam is not a religion of peace.
Franklin Graham, who in 2001 called Islam "a very evil and wicked religion," told an interviewer for Wednesday's edition of ABC News "Nightline" that he hasn't changed his mind about Islam. A widely distributed Associated Press report recounted that and several other derogatory statements Graham has made about Islam. The report, which included a quote from Robertsons March 13th statement, appears to be the most widely distributed record of that statement.
Americans United calls attention to Robertson statement
Americans Untied for the Separation of Church and State called attention to the Robertson broadcast soon after it was aired. In a news release accusing Robertson of inflaming inter-religious tensions, the organization reported that soon after the live broadcast, the statement was deleted from the Internet version of the 700 Club.
The Washington Post's "In the Loop" columnist Al Kamen wrote that a spokeswoman for Robertson's network, Angell Watts, told the Associated Press the comments were expunged from the Web site because they might be misinterpreted.
When we e-mailed Watts to ask why they were censoring Robertson, she wrote back: "We did not censor Pat's comments. We sent out the attached statement with Dr. Robertson's comments in their full context." (But the commentary is still not on the Web site, only in the press statement.)
In an editorial, the Decatur (Alabama) Daily admonished Robertson for painting Islam with "too broad a brush." Noting his recent stream of "injudicious" statements, the paper said: "We hope Muslims don't judge all Christians by Mr. Robertson's behavior."
Noting Franklin Graham's remarks to Nightline and the silence from organizations on the religious right (Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition, etc.) we would not blame Muslims for concluding that the politically powerful religious right organizations share Robertson's hostility toward Islam.
UPDATE: After we posted this article, we found this item in a blog associated with the Christianity Today website. We quote it in full:
Pat doesn't like Islam
Pat Robertson shoots his mouth off more frequently than Billy Graham preaches evangelistic sermons, and yet papers around the country keep treating it like news. For some reason, reporters and editors think there's something newsworthy in Robertson disliking the radical Muslims who are calling for the death of those who published Muhammad caricatures. The papers are shocked that he thinks radical Islam is "satanic." The news story here, folks, is that he's actually saying something that most evangelical and Pentecostal Christians agree with for once. Usually it seems he's just saying crazy stuff.