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Pat Robertson attempts to link Americans United to Neo-Nazi killer


WASHINGTON--TV preacher Pat Robertson's attempt to implicate Americans United for Separation of Church and State in neo-Nazi Benjamin Nathaniel Smith's deadly shooting rampage is "ridiculous and outrageous," according to AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn.

In a July 8 letter to Robertson, AU's Lynn said, "I watched with great interest and dismay the July 6 episode of 'The 700 Club,' and heard you suggest that my organization is somehow responsible for the horrific shooting spree of neo-Nazi Benjamin Nathaniel Smith. Your comments and assertions were unusually offensive, and I am asking for a prompt on-air apology."

Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) program featured a report on Smith's actions and his neo-Nazi group, the World Church of the Creator. After the report, Robertson traced the violence to organizations that "attempt to take religion out of the public square."

Naming Americans United, Robertson said, "Their total goal is to eliminate Christianity and eliminate religion from  the public square, take all vestiges of supernatural religion out of our state and make us a totally secular group.

"If we take the knowledge of the true God and the restraint of the Holy Spirit from society," concluded Robertson, "we will have this kind of violence. It's time that Christians and others in this nation wake up and realize we must pull together to once again reestablish the Bible as our guidebook for faith and conduct."

AU's Lynn responded in his letter to Robertson, "As you might recall, you have attacked me and the organization I lead on your program on several occasions. On separate episodes, you have told your viewers that I am 'lower than a child molester,' a 'liar' and an 'intolerant jerk.' However, even extreme epithets like these seem mild compared to your suggestion that Americans United deserves some of the blame for the actions of a hate-filled serial murderer.

"Despite your ridiculous and outrageous accusations," Lynn continued, "Americans United is committed to protecting religious freedom by supporting the First Amendment and the principle of church-state separation. Our efforts seek to protect America's religious pluralism, the opposite goal of Smith's World Church of the Creator....Americans United seeks to ensure that Christianity, and indeed all religious and philosophical traditions, are able to flourish in an environment free of government aid or opposition."

Lynn commended Robertson for exposing the racist and anti-Semitic character of Smith's neo-Nazi group. The "700 Club" episode noted that the World Church of the Creator's web site falsely claims that Jews "control the media, banking, government and the Federal Reserve."

But Lynn reminded Robertson that his own book, The New World Order, also spread conspiracy theories that observers regarded as having anti-Semitic origins.

"I remain troubled," wrote Lynn, "that CBN continues to sell your book, The New World Order, which also advances conspiracy theories about control of the media, financial markets and the Federal Reserve. As you know, objective observers have demonstrated that your conspiracy theses rely on bibliographical sources that are widely considered to be anti-Semitic."

Lynn noted, for example, that two separate articles in the New York Review of Books established conclusively that many of the concepts in Robertson's book seem to be drawn directly from anti-Semitic works such as Nesta Webster's Secret Societies and Subversive Movements and Eustace Mullins' Secrets of the Federal Reserve.

"Continued circulation of your book, therefore, can only fuel the flames of anti-Semitic conspiracy mongering,"concluded Lynn." As such, I implore you as a religious leader to repudiate the book and withdraw it from sale on the CBN website."

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