08/28/2005: "An Asterisk on the Ten Commandments!"
Every once in awhile an event occurs that perfectly encapsulates what’s wrong with the Right Wing. For my money, the succession of events linked to Pat Robinson’s statement to his 700 Club views about assassinating the President of Venezuela qualifies as the most telling event of the summer. Here’s specifically what he said: “if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.” To put this in context, here is what Robertson had to say about the recent Supreme Court decision requiring the removal of massive Ten Commandments displays from State Courthouses: “it's time to declare ourselves free from judicial tyranny. We uphold the rule of law, but tyrants should not be tolerated.” In one quote he’s upholding the rule of law and the importance of the Ten Commandments as a guide for government operations, and in the next he’s advocating the killing of democratically-elected leaders, an act that clearly violates the 6th Commandment. Presumably we need to carve an asterisk by item six on those big stone 10C displays to the effect that God didn’t mean it to apply to taking out pesky elected leaders sitting on lots of His oil! But wait, there’s more! When the predictable firestorm erupted, he gave the Standard Right-Wing Dodge: his remarks had been taken out of context by the liberal media. Specifically he said “I didn’t say assassination.” So if he didn’t say “assassination,” why does that word appear in the middle of the sentence he uttered to his viewers? And there’s still more, apparently lost in the hubbub over the ass-word in his original statement. I’m speaking of the second half of his quote: “It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.” The clear implication is that the US would be perfectly justified in yet another preemptive war, this time against a really elected leader (not pseudo-elected, like Saddam). Clearly the mess that remains from the first optional invasion hasn’t diminished Pat’s enthusiasm for another. So to recap, we have a politically-active religious leader who wants to see more influence of the Ten Commandments in government except when it constrains preemptive killing and preemptive war. A perfect summing up of the moral bankruptcy of the political religious right!