Memo to Pat Robertson: Shut Up
Sounds hard to believe, but Pat Robertson really is a smart guy. He's a Yale Law grad who transformed a single UHF TV station in Virginia Beach into a televangelism empire. Along the way, he started the 700 Club, founded a major Christian university, and made a smart bet against conventional wisdom in the broadcast business, founding a family-oriented channel that he sold to Fox for almost $400 million.
That's why it's hard to believe that Robertson routinely makes such incredibly stupid statements. A few months back, he advocated the assassination of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez (good idea, Pat, but not exactly something that should be broached publicly, just in case we're cooking up a coup, or Chavez uses your comments for a preemptive purge, and tightens his security detail).
Now, Robertson says that Ariel Sharon's stroke was a "punishment" from the Lord for dividing God's land, aka the State of Israel. Based on Pat's reading of the Bible, Sharon incurred God's wrath by handing the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, just as Israel's ancident kings were punished by the Almightly for various sins.
By that logic, former Prime Minister Begin should have been struck down for reaching a peace accord with Egypt. Afterall, Begin gave back the entire Sinai Peninsula (land that has been a part of Israel at various times), and the site of some of the most important events in Judaism, including Moses's receipt of the 10 Commandments.
According to Robertson's theology, former Prime Minister (Ehud Barak) would be another candidate for a bolt from above. During the Wye River summit with the Palestinians, Barak offered to give back both the Gaza and the West Bank, "dividing" God's land on a scale that was absolutely mind-boggling. At last report, Mr. Barak was alive and well, and Prime Minister Begin lived to a ripe old age. So much for that theory.
Pat Robertson is a classic example of a bright guy whose mouth tends to overload his brain. And, unfortunately, he has a global platform to spout his views, which are most unhelpful at a difficult time in the Middle East. Dr. Robertson would be well advised to think before he opens his mouth, or just keep it shut.