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Two Faced Politics

by Jeff Wehr

  ON October 2, 1984, Pat Robertson said to his 700 Club audience, "There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that sanctifies the separation of church and state." The Most Dangerous Man in America?, 70. Then just a year later Robertson told the National Press Club in Washington that he believed "in a separation between church and state that is complete and inviolable." Ibid., 72.

In March of 1994, Robertson offered viewers of his CBN program a fact sheet titled "Church & State: America's Myth of Separation." The sheet restated the Christian Coalition's position against the 'wall' of separation of church and state. Then about a year later, the Christian Coalition printed a booklet titled Ten Myths about Pat Robertson and Religious Conservatives. The booklet states, "Robertson repeatedly has stated his belief in the separation of church and state and the evil of an established church." Ibid.

These are examples of one of the most disappointing characteristics of the Christian Coalition, namely, two-faced politics. One of the most beautiful things about true Christianity is that it is transparent. No one should have to second guess what a Christian believes. If a man holds a certain religious conviction, he should always hold to that conviction regardless of the circumstances, as long as his convictions are founded on the Bible and on the Spirit of Prophecy.

It is sheer disappointment to see Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition speak out against the principles that provide the freedoms they enjoy. Pat Robertson is able to attend any church that he wants. He can print and distribute his own religious opinions. He can operate his own radio and television ministry. He can establish a university and appoint his professors. He can run his own social service ministry. He has the freedom to proclaim his moral and political views without paying one dime in federal, state, and local taxes. To what principle does Pat Robertson owe all this freedom? He enjoys these freedoms because of the separation of church and state.

Yet, the Religious Right gives the distorted picture that they are the victims of "religious cleansing" in America. They liken this cleansing to the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia and the extermination of six million Jews under Nazi Germany. Keith Fournier said, "Just as ethnic cleansing attempts to rid certain ethnic groups and their influence from public life, so religious cleansing attempts to do the same with religious groups, their beliefs, and their values." Ibid., 216.

In war-torn Bosnia, women have been raped, men murdered, children left to suffer the pains of hunger, and families divided. How can anyone compare the court rulings of striking down the displaying of religious symbols on government property to the atrocities of Bosnia? How can anyone compare the murder of six million Jews to asking a high school valedictorian to refrain from turning his graduation speech into a sermon at a mandatory public school audience? Such a comparison is to show a high degree of insensitivity to the pain and the sorrow of those who have truly faced persecution.

Fournier has even compared the American "wall" of separation of church and state to the Berlin Wall. However, behind the Berlin Wall, all religious expression was illegal. Yet, Mr. Fournier has full freedom to attend his Catholic Church in the United States. These shameful distortions can hardly be said to be Christian.

It is indeed strange for these men to tear down the "wall" that provides their freedom of religious expression. Instead, they highly esteem the times of the Pilgrims during early colonial times in America. Pat Robertson wrote in his book, The New World Order, "The founders of America--at Plymouth Rock and in the Massachusetts Colony--felt that they were organizing a society based on the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. They perceived this new land as a successor to the nation of Israel, and they tried their best to model their institutions of governmental order after the Bible. In fact, the man who interpreted the meaning of Scripture to them, the pastor, was given a higher place than the governor of the colony. These people built an incredible society because they exalted 'the mountain of the Lord's house' above the other mountains." The New World Order, 246.

What Robertson fails to realize in his exultation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony as an "incredible society," is that his practice and preaching of Pentecostal theology would not have been tolerated. His speaking in tongues would have been considered blasphemous. There was only one form of religious worship in the colony, with no room for two. Is this Robertson's idea of a "Christian" nation?

In 1991, Zambian President Frederick Chiluba declared his country to be a "Christian nation." When Robertson interviewed Chiluba on the 700 Club, he lamented that no such declaration had occurred in the United States. Robertson told Chiluba, "Your country is a standard for not only Africa but the rest of the world." The Most Dangerous Man in America?, 203. After the interview, Robertson asked the audience, "Wouldn't you love to have someone like that as president of the United States of America?" Ibid.

So what has taken place in Zambia's "Christian nation"? The country is guided by fundamentalist Christianity. People who belong to the Islamic, Hindu, and animistic faiths, which comprise an estimated 25 to 50 percent of the population, were told that they would have to build their own schools, while fundamentalist Christians can inundate the public school system. The state-run radio and television stations will broadcast only fundamentalist Christian programs. All other religions must establish their own facilities. Are these the characteristics of a tolerant "Christian nation"?

It is unfortunate that so many commentators today do not see the very real threat of the political ambitions of the Christian Coalition. It is not just an organization with an assortment of rhetoric. Robertson's CBN ministry successfully brings in $75-95 million each year. This political ministry is sitting on an endowment of one billion dollars, with plans to double that by the year 2000. Of course, CBN represents only a part of the wealth behind the Religious Right's financial power and influence.

This immense wealth of the Religious Right will go far in influencing politics in America. For example, in an average election, only 60 percent of all adults who are eligible to vote are actually registered to vote. Of this 60 percent only about half will actually cast a vote. Therefore, you only need about fifteen percent of all eligible voters to swing an election. For local elections, you can determine the outcome with only 6-7 percent of eligible voters. Consequently, polls are not a true reflection of what will actually take place in the ballot box.

It is the conviction of this author that Sunday laws are imminent. The likely players who will push for Sunday legislation are already on the scene with power and momentum. Time is short. Our probation will soon close. I pray that we will all be ready to be judged by God. I pray that we will all be prepared to defend the faith, for all will be brought to the test. I pray that we will


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