By Rob Boston
March 20th 2007
TV preacher Pat Robertson is worried about a Muslim takeover of the United States.
Such a thing would seem remote, at best. While hard numbers are difficult to come by, most demographers say there are about 3 million Muslims in America. In a country of 300 million, they haven’t made a huge dent.
But last year, the first Muslim was elected to Congress, and Muslims have been elected to a few state and local offices as well. Recently, a Muslim group announced plans to register more Muslims to vote and encourage civic activity. All of this has Robertson worried.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, there you’ve got it,” Robertson said on his “700 Club” today. “It’s interesting, isn’t it? You know, the Protestant churches, there’s no doctrine of faith that I know in any Protestant denomination that calls for the takeover of the government and making other people second-class citizens. I don’t know of one denomination, Protestant or Catholic, that has that agenda. But yet, Islam has just that agenda, that they want to take over the government and that everybody else is a second-class citizen. That is the primary doctrine of Islam.”
Having Pat Robertson lecture you on the dangers of a religious takeover of government is simply too much. The man’s hypocrisy is staggering. Taking over the government, implementing a “moral” agenda according to his interpretation of the Bible and relegating millions to second-class citizenship has been Robertson’s goal from day one.
In a 1997 speech to the Christian Coalition, Robertson outlined a secret plan to secure control of Congress by conservative Republicans and put a “born-again” president in the White House in 2000. He made it clear he would then insist that they toe the line.
“We just tell these guys, ‘Look, we put you in power in 1994, and we want you to deliver,’” Robertson told the crowd. “‘We’re tired of temporizing. Don’t give us all this stuff about you’ve got a different agenda. This is what you’re going to do this year. And we’re going to hold your feet to the fire while you do it.’”
What was that agenda? Robertson outlined it: No more legal abortion, a rollback of gay rights and passage of a constitutional amendment to put coercive forms of prayer in public schools, foster tax funding of Christian projects and merge fundamentalist Christianity and government in other ways.
Hmmm. That sounds like a takeover of government! It’s important to remember that Robertson was not aware he was being recorded at the time and thus spoke with extreme frankness. (Americans United later released a tape of the closed-door session, and news media outlets across the country reported the information.) He put his goals right out there before a friendly crowd. It sure sounded like a theocratic platform to many.
Of course we don’t want a merger of mosque and state in America. But we don’t want a merger of Robertson’s brand of Christianity and state either. We need to protect religious liberty for all but with the understanding that the power of government will back no particular sectarian view. The best way to do that is to maintain a high and firm wall of separation between church and state.
During today’s rant, Robertson even found a way to take a shot at Americans United. Speaking of conservative Christians, he carped, “We’ve been harassed by People For the American Way, we have been harassed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, we have been harassed by the federal court system.”
Please. Pat, take a look at the studios of your multi-million dollar televangelism empire (all tax free!). Ponder the political influence you have. (U.S. Sen. John McCain was on the show today.) Consider your daily TV audience. (It’s just under 1 million.) No one is harassing you.
And, Pat, if you really are worried about a possible takeover of the American government by a religious group, there is a way to prevent that. It’s called the First Amendment. Why don’t you try supporting it for a change?