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A Lesson in Selective Morality

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A Lesson in Selective Morality: Reverend Pat Robertson Does It Again

In true Christ-like fashion, televangelist and former presidential candidate Reverend Pat Robertson once again shows why God's love is "the love that surpasses all understanding" (http://www.globaloutpouring.com/LovePower.html) with his decree that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent stroke is divine judgment (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10728347/from/RS.3/).

Of course, the fact that the man will be turning 78 on February 27th of this year can't possibly come into play when one sees nothing but Old Testament-style retribution and punishment at every turn. Yet using Robertson's logic, wouldn't one then have to wonder what other 77 year old men who experience strokes are being punished for as well?

Simply said, the Reverend Robertson's declaration is just the most recent in a long line of ignorant, radical fundamentalist gibberish, as when he expressed the Christian principle of turning the other cheek by advocating the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in August of 2005 (
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-08-22-Robertson-_x.htm).

Hmmm...did anyone else miss that lesson in Sunday School?

Having vast experience reading and researching both the Bible and many, many religious faiths, I could readily turn this blog into a point-by-point refutation of Robertson's theology, but the exercise would undoubtedly be one of futility. Both Robertson and his one million daily viewers (
http://www.cbn.com/700club/ShowInfo/About/about700club.asp) are virtually immune to intelligent, rhetorical debate, preferring instead to tout their own version of sophistry, one which combines fringe Christian theology with ultra-conservative politics in a medieval, alchemical-like fashion, choosing for their crucible the American media in a style reminiscent of Machiavelli's El Principe.

I believe that statements such as Robertson's are the direct result of a culture in America today that breeds contempt for reason and rationality, a sort of neo-Counter Reformation to even-temperament itself. Such a social and political environment - as we have all seen today - shuns diplomacy for war, integration for segregation, and inclusion for exclusion. In a society that increasingly esteems the public opinion poll and Act Utilitarianism (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism) more than ethics and the 14th Amendment, citizens appear eager to isolate those ideas and individuals which are not popular by labeling them "liberal," "unAmerican," or even "godless." Instead of democracy which protects and preserves the rights of the minority, we've grown into some Aristotelian monstrosity where the only equals of the dominant party are themselves! Everyone else is seemingly relegated to inconsequentiality where the will of the majority usurps all. And much of the responsibility for this culture of exclusion rests on the shoulders of our elected officials.

The following passage from Niccolo Machiavelli's El Principe, or The Prince, speaks poignantly to the issue today:
"A prince...must appear to all who see and hear him to be completely pious, completely faithful, completely honest, completely humane, and completely religious. And nothing is more important than to appear to have that last quality. Men judge more by their eyes than by their hands, because everyone can see but few can feel. Everyone can see how you appear, few can feel what you are, and these few will not dare to oppose the opinion of the multitude when it is defended by the majesty of the state."
(
http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~wldciv/world_civ_reader/world_civ_reader_1/machiavelli.html).
So, as the Reverend Robertson quotes the Old Testament prophet Joel in supporting his edict of condemnation, perhaps he should re-read Mark 12:28-31, where the law of love and inclusion replaces the law of exclusion and judgment.

Which law are you following today?

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