Televangelists and Telepoliticos

Those who missed televangelist and founder of the Christian Coalition, Pat Robertson, on ABC's This Week (5/1/05) missed quite an unmasking.

Gone was the garb of the preacher. On went the suit of a campaign advisor. Anyone who caught the appearance and is still laughing at his blasphemous use of God and the Bible in pursuit of a larger political agenda should stop laughing and focus on how symbiotic our T.V. politicians and our Televangelists (T.V. angels) have become.

A review of some of the soundbites he offered seems to show a man mired in inconsistencies. A man who can't possibly be taken seriously when talking about religion. Perhaps. But religion is not what he's talking about. Religion is the sword and the shield he employs to cut and to keep from getting cut.

Some of the quotes jumped on by the media were the following:

That the judiciary, as it is currently composed, is a greater threat to this nation than Al Qaeda is and the Nazis, the Japanese, and the Civil War were; and

That in his coversations with God, God had predicted the passage of George Bush's Social Security Reform, Tax Reform, and a conservative court being appointed by George Bush.

It is important to note that the judiciary, the only branch of government that interprets and determines the constitutionality of laws, was seen as the greatest threat to the country sice its inception. Equally notable is that all of God's predictions had to do with political measures and undertakings which reflected the agenda (in the form of laws) of the current Administration.

When pressed about how come God took such an interest in "our" personal affairs but did not do anything about the devastating Tsunami that cost over a hundred thousand of "their" lives, he broke into a completely scientific explanation over earth movements, plate shifting and flatly stated that God does not interfere with the ways of nature.

In other words, even as he is chasing science out of the classroom, he employed science to exonerate a God apparently too busy privatizing Social Security to worry about a catastrophic event resulting in a tremendous tragedy. That's a prime example of Robertson "watching God's back". He knows that God, by lending his name to the Robertson empire, will return the favor tenfold by helping him achieve and/or maintain his own personal, narrow agenda.

He continues stretching God (and Catholicism) into something that fits only within a political calculation. When asked about Republican presidential contenders in 2008 he mentions Brownback of Kansas and Allen of Virginia as two particularly fine men. That is to be expected. Their lips have been super-glued to the posterior of the conservative Christian movement for a long time. He still needs them to think he'll marry them someday as they proceed to fall all over themselves in an effort to please him as they carry his water.

But despite his kind words, his true love rests with the image (and popularity) of another.

Twice divorced and with a liberal view towards gay rights and abortion, at first blush, Giuliani does not seem to fit in very well with the platitudes about sin that Robertson offers on his T.V. show and on appearances throughout the country. And yet, he fits in perfectly.

Despite his transgressions against Catholicism, Robertson calls Giuliani a "dedicated Catholic" who'd make "a good president". There's only one explanation for this obvious convenience of marriage- Giuliani is palatable to the mainstream of the American public.

This is mandatory in the upcoming election because the writing is already on the wall. Whoever the nominee is in 2008 for the Republicans, he will face "Bush Fatigue" and an extremely depleted country both at home and abroad. That's why the candidate for the Republicans will need to appeal to and exploit every constituency- not just conservative Christians. Robertson knows he can deliver a good chunk of them to the table regardless of the candidate's standing in "the" church if he obtains the appropriate reciprocal promises from the candidate.

In the realpolitik that is Robertson's religion, God throws softballs to the electable. Giuliani, likeable because he's a moderate on social issues and wearing the hero hat (deserved or not) after 9-11 can ride the 9-11 horse even after Bush beats it close to death and rides off into history.

Senator Frist can't. That's why Robertson tosses him aside like a cheap suit. To Robertson, God has already thrown two fastballs and a change-up by the Senator. His cadaverous appearance on television, his awkwardness while giving speeches, and a warmth factor that makes Tom DeLay seem like fun-loving, kindly uncle Tommy, makes him a disaster for the pro-business God that Robertson knows so well.

What many saw in that interview was a buffoon of a preacher. What they were looking at is a man very interested in protecting his various business holdings and not shy in jettisoning some pesky Bible passages in the name of cultivating his private and lucrative earthly interests.


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