Pat Robertson endorsed Rudolph Giuliani today, thereby following in the footsteps of his personal Lord, Savior, and Action Hero by performing a miracle all his own. He somehow made the Giuliani candidacy even less appealing.
I will freely admit that I wasn’t quite expecting this one. I thought Robertson might eventually come around to Mitt Romney, as Mitt is the one plausible Republican most aggressively courting the Christian right and who tried, early in his candidacy, to shed his Massachussetts image. Given that, I figured Robertson would stand behind Romney on the basis of their shared Christian principles, even though Romney’s version of them is really weird. But instead, there was Pat in Washington today, slapping Rudolph on the back and lavishing glowing, almost baroque praise like “a proven leader” and, my favorite, “more than acceptable to people of faith.” I can’t tell you how many nights I spent as a lad, choking back tears of disappointment, and wishing that one day my father would tell me that he found me “more than acceptable.”
How Giuliani is A-OK for people of faith is a puzzler. When he entered the race, he made it a point to re-affirm his support for gay rights, abortion, and gun control, the kinds of opinions that don’t get you invited for an afternoon of milk and wafer at Regent University. Robertson condemns abortion in the strongest language possible. He not only condemns it as evil, but runs the full crazy mile by linking it to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. To wit:
“You know, it’s just amazing, though, that people say the litmus test for [Supreme Court nominee John G.] Roberts [Jr.] is whether or not he supports the wholesale slaughter of unborn children. We have killed over 40 million unborn babies in America. I was reading, yesterday, a book that was very interesting about what God has to say in the Old Testament about those who shed innocent blood. And he used the term that those who do this, “the land will vomit you out.” That — you look at your — you look at the book of Leviticus and see what it says there. And this author of this said, “well ‘vomit out’ means you are not able to defend yourself.” But have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected in some way?“ (700 Club, September 12, 2005)
Giuliani, on the other hand, has bluntly stated throughout his public career that he is pro-choice; he doesn’t even support a ban on partial-birth abortion. Pat Robertson endorsing a guy like Giuliani is like a vegan marrying Colonel Sanders.
So I wasn’t expecting this, but I am not surprised in the least. This will (or, should) come as news to no one, but Pat Robertson is of the most repugnant breed of Christian. The strain that uses the unique place of Christianity in American society as nothing but a vehicle to achieve power and influence, power and influence of the kind that are based upon fear, bigotry, prejudice, sanctimony, and divisiveness. He has made his reputation by telling his followers who they should hate, who is evil, and who is out to get them. I’m a Catholic, which means I don’t read the Bible much, but I’m pretty sure that Jesus didn’t get as popular as he is by advocating those sorts of things – but I don’t own the King James version, so maybe that stuff’s all in there. In any event, while it’s somewhat unexpected that Robertson endorsed a candidate whose views are rejected by those people foolish enough to believe what the reverend says every week, it’s not at all surprising that Robertson has completely abandoned many of his core principles when he chose to back a candidate. Robertson doesn’t have values, or even faith, only a lust for power – and Giuliani is the leader in the Republican polls.
So forget those unborn kids that Robertson professes to love so much…if he hitches his horse to the right wagon, he could end up with a good buddy in the White House, one that owes him a few favors. And what better way to regain the influence that Robertson has been steadily losing amongst Christian conservatives? If it hasn’t been proved already, it certainly has been now: the question for the reverend isn’t What Would Jesus Do, it’s What Is Best For Pat?