Theocracy Alert

The war against 'infidels'

By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

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May 13, 2005�It was just a matter of time before the power-crazed leaders of the evangelical Christian Right began jockeying for better position come the 2008 presidential election, but they are all united in a faith-based political belief that marginalizes even more Americans.

As Tom Hamburger reportedin the Los Angeles Times earlier this month, Pat Robertson liked Rudolph Giuliani as a 2008 presidential candidate. Dobson said �no,� unless Rudy renounced his unholy belief in equal rights and civil rights (a.k.a. gay rights and women�s rights vis-�-vis abortion). Dobson liked Bill Frist because he has obediently toed the evangelical line and would, therefore, in the �king maker�s� eyes make a fine presidential figurehead. Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition agreed with Dobson about Giuliani. But all three self-appointed political spokesmen for �God� agreed on one thing: American Muslims should not hold any important government office, and �they� should definitely not serve in the judiciary.

Robertson articulated their commonly held belief: �They [Muslims] have said in the Koran there�s a war against all the infidels. Do you want somebody like that sitting as a judge? I wouldn�t.�

Televangelist Robertson has a rich history of denouncing other religions and demeaning their �people of faith.�

The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society.�Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, December 30, 1981
When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. �What do you mean?� the media challenged me. �You�re not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe in the Judeo Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?� My simple answer is, �Yes, they are.��Pat Robertson, The New World Order, 1991
If anybody understood what Hindus really believe, there would be no doubt that they have no business administering government policies in a country that favors freedom and equality. . . . Can you imagine having the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as defense minister, or Mahatma Gandhi as minister of health, education, and welfare? The Hindu and Buddhist idea of karma and the Muslim idea of kismet, or fate condemn the poor and the disabled to their suffering. . . . It�s the will of Allah. These beliefs are nothing but abject fatalism, and they would devastate the social gains this nation has made if they were ever put into practice.�Pat Robertson, The New World Order, 1991

The following is an excerpt from Robertson�s answer to �Are God and Allah the same?

QUESTION: I was watching television last Sunday and heard a �minister� say that Allah and God were the same. What are your thoughts, and what are the distinctions if they are not the same?
PAT ROBERTSON: Under no circumstances is Jehovah, the God of the Bible, and Allah, of the Koran, the same. First of all, the God of the Bible is a God of love and redemption, who sent His Son into the world to die for our sins. Allah tells people to die for him in order to get salvation, but there is no understanding of salvation. Allah was the moon god from Mecca. That is why Islam has the crescent moon. The flag of Turkey has a crescent moon with a star in it. Well, the crescent moon is because Allah was the moon god, and that is the deal. But we don't serve a moon god. We serve the God of creation, the Creator of everything.
They are not the same. To translate Allah as God is wrong. When you see something in there and it says Allah, you translate it Allah. Don't call it God because it is different. God is Elohim. He is the Creator, the Jehovah God, Yahweh. Yahweh of the Old Testament was the Father who brought forth Jesus into the world.

Robertson�s also had damning remarks for other Christians:

You say you�re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don�t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.�Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 14, 1991

That was also the message of what was euphemistically called �Justice Sunday�: only the beliefs of radical evangelical leaders are valid. People of other religious faiths and political beliefs simply don�t count. Indeed, Louis Sheldon thinks of Christians who don�t agree with his political-religious fanaticism as leftist �sock puppets.�

They [Muslims] have said in the Koran there�s a war against all the infidels. Do you want somebody like that sitting as a judge? I wouldn�t.�Pat Robertson, 2005

How very bigoted. How very hypocritical. Robertson, Dobson and Sheldon have been waging their own �holy war� against any �infidel� judge who didn�t rule as they demanded, not to mention their ongoing war against American citizens�Christian and otherwise�who object to religious fanatics trying to seize control of all branches of government. Moreover, as Peter Wallsten reportedin the Los Angeles Times in late April, and Ron Chernow reportedin The New York Times on May 6, evangelical leaders and their political minions are pursuing efforts to cut funding for courts that don�t rule as the Christian Right tells them to.

Needless to say Robertson�s comments drew immediate fire from Islamic organizations and media outlets: �Pat Robertson has taken his far-right-wing rhetoric to absurd levels,� said Arsalan Iftikhar, national legal director for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). In its own statement, CAIR immediately �called on mainstream political and religious leaders to repudiate �hate-filled� remarks by evangelist Pat Robertson,� and further documented the televangelist�s view of other religions and their believers:

During a 2002 appearance on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes program, Robertson smeared both Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. About Muhammad, Robertson said: �This man was an absolute wild-eyed fanatic. He was a robber and a brigand. And to say that these terrorists distort Islam, they�re carrying out Islam . . . I mean, this man [Muhammad] was a killer. And to think that this is a peaceful religion is fraudulent.� Robertson also called Islam �a monumental scam� . . . Robertson has also repeatedly defamed Islam and Muslims on his Christian Broadcasting Network 700 Club program. He called Islam the �religion of the slavers� and said Americans who converted to Islam exhibited �insanity.�

A �religion of slavers.� Strange. I don�t remember any Muslim slave owners in America. I believe they were all �Christians.� The most fervent among them used their religion to justify slavery, just as some Christian fundamentalists used their �religion� to defend segregation.

A �religion of slavers.� On January 27, James Dobson�s Focus of the Family�s (FOF) website promoted a call to slavery. The �Teens� section of the website featured an article by Susie Shellenberger that had been resurrected from FOF�s Breakaway magazine (which is aimed at male teens) and other FOF venues. The article was titled �Bought, Branded, Bonded.� The promo read: �Slavery is a bad thing, unless you�re enslaved to Jesus. But what does it mean to be a slave to Jesus?� What it means is that since Yeshua of Nazareth long ago departed this mortal plane (and opposed slavery while he was here), what Susie advocated was becoming a slave to the dogma of the perverted form of Christianity espoused by politically motivated �religious leaders� like Dobson, Robertson and Sheldon.

To be sure, Sheldon, Robertson and Dobson currently command considerable political clout through the politicians beholden to them. They also command media empires, vast financial resources, and a cadre of supporters who, for some inexplicable reason, believe that the hate-filled, derogatory, shamelessly mean-spirited rhetoric of the trio has something to do with �Christianity.�

Although he was not part of this most recent attack on people of other faiths, the grand old man of religious bigotry has a long history of damning Christians who don�t believe as he tells them to, as well as condemning other religions and their �people of faith.�

In July 1984, the Rev. Jerry Falwell was forced to pay gay activist Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle. During a TV debate in Sacramento, Falwell denied calling the gay-friendly Metropolitan Community Churches �brute beasts� and �a vile and Satanic system� that will �one day be utterly annihilated and there will be a celebration in heaven.� When Sloan insisted he had a tape, Falwell promised $5,000 if he could produce it. Sloan did so, but Falwell refused to pay and Sloan sued, successfully. Falwell appealed, with his attorney charging that the Jewish judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost again and was forced to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.

In his speech to a pastors� conference in Kingsport, Tennessee, in January 1999, Falwell claimed the Antichrist is alive today and �of course he�ll be Jewish.�

In March 1993, despite his promise to Jewish groups to stop referring to America as a �Christian nation,� Falwell gave a sermon in which he said, �We must never allow our children to forget that this is a Christian nation. We must take back what is rightfully ours.� And how does the leader of the Moral Majority Coalition plan to do this?

He provided an answer in his May 3, Falwell Confidential newsletter: �In the long run, we need to educate and train an army of future lawyers and judges with a Christian world view. This is exactly what we are doing with the new Liberty University School of Law.� Falwell plans to create �an army� to fight in this latest incarnation of the Holy Crusades against �infidels.�

With every new utterance, Robertson and Falwell, Dobson and Sheldon confirm their desire to turn America into a backward looking, isolated theocracy engaged in a holy war against its own citizens and the world at large.

Keep up the ranting and raving, boys. You�re sure to alienate more and more Christians. You�ve already alienated Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and other people �of faith.� Continued success in burying yourselves�and the politicians in your pockets�in your communal bigotry and narcissism.

In their own words they are making the case: religious beliefs must be separate from professional responsibilities. In other words, church must be separate from state.

The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Online Journal.
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