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The God of Terrorism

June 21, 1998

By Jeffery Jay Lowder

On June 8, 1998 on "The 700 Club", Pat Robertson made the following comment in reference to the "Gay Days" event held recently in Orlando, Florida:

If you're going to have one month dedicated to waving the flag of the homosexuals, it isn't a very wise thing with the hurricane season coming up to wave a flag under God's nose.

Robertson was promptly blasted in countless editorials by the American media, prompting him to make the following remarks on "The 700 Club" on June 15, 1998:

Ladies and Gentlemen, before we get back to any more stories, I want to point out something that was said on this program on Monday that dealt with Orlando, Florida. The statement I made was relatively simple. It said, `If you're going to have one month dedicated to waving the flag of the homosexuals, it isn't a very wise thing with the hurricane season coming up to wave a flag under God's nose.' Now that's what I said, but an ultra-liberal group in Washington ... took my statements, chopped them up, took them out of context and then sent it out across the nation that I said that Orlando was going to get hit by hurricanes and a meteor, which just isn't true. I didn't say that, and I never intended it ... But I would say this ladies and gentlemen, we in the United States of America are facing severe crises around the world. We are a target. We have been a target. Not only are we seeing violent weather, but we're seeing violent uprisings of people who are terrorists. And my statement now and my statement shall ever be that we need the protection of God Almighty. And if we continue to slaughter unborn children, if we continue to engage in various types of sexual conduct which is displeasing to God, then this country will not have the defenses we've enjoyed for such a long time. I said it then. I say it now. But I did not make those extreme comments. (emphasis added)

This 'clarification' is apparently supposed to make Robertson's position more palatable. God doesn't actively inflict natural disasters upon homosexuals; instead, he passively allows natural disasters to wreak havoc among homosexuals by failing to protect them.

But wait a second. Is Robertson's latest statement really more palatable than the last? How is the distinction between actively inflicting natural disasters on the one hand, and passively allowing them to happen on the other, morally significant? Suppose the news media reports that someone set a church on fire. The accused arsonist responds by issuing a press release which states, "I did not set the church on fire. However, I did watch someone else set the church on fire and I did not do anything about it." Wouldn't you hold that person responsible for the church arson, just as much as the person who actually lit the match?

There are other problems in Robertson's pronouncement as well. For example, even if we accept the idea that God disapproves of homosexuality, is homosexuality the sort of 'crime' that really warrants the death penalty by natural disaster? How does Robertson know how God will judge homosexuals? And, in Christian theology, aren't all sins -- with the possible exception of "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" -- equal in the eyes of God? What makes the 'sin' of homosexuality any worse than, say, adulterous heterosexual affairs? Will God be selectively inflicting natural disasters upon people engaged in adultery as well?

Then again, maybe Pat Robertson's God could do something actually useful, and instead bombard with meteors people committing murderous hate crimes, like the three monsters who recently dragged a handicapped black man to his death behind their truck in Texas. Would Pat Robertson have us believe that God would kill homosexuals, but not racist murderers? What sort of God is that?

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Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity by Bruce Bawer (1997) (Off Site)

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