By Stan Goodenough - Jerusalem Newswire - January 11, 2006
“Instructive” is a good word for describing the reaction to Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) President Pat Robertson’s remarks about the stroke that incapacitated Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week.
Certainly it took immense courage of conviction for an influential man like the former candidate for the American presidency to say something he knew would enrage many people and put ammunition into the hands of his avowed enemies, and to nonetheless say it because he believes it is true, and because his conscience directs him to do so.
He had something of a trial run a few months ago when he came out in support of the idea that the USA assassinate Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.
But when Robertson expressed his views about Sharon just that this past week, hell itself seemed to unleash its fury against him.
Speaking on his flagship program, “The 700 Club,” Robertson said that God had removed Sharon from power because of the prime minister’s expressed determination to redraw Israel’s borders and give away great chunks of the nation’s historic homeland.
Sharon had been dividing God’s land, Robertson said. “And I would say woe unto any Prime Minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations, or the United States of America. God says ‘this land belongs to me. You’d better leave it alone.’”
Interestingly, godless people often judge the motives of God-fearing men and women in a negative light; presuming that they revel in the suffering or discomfort of those who do not believe.
Thus, while nothing in Robertson’s demeanor, expression or tone of voice suggested that he felt anything but compassion and concern for Sharon, his words triggered a tsunami of outrage that has yet to subside.
A columnist in The Jerusalem Post (January 11, 2006) declared that Robertson had been “gloating over Sharon’s collapse.”
The same edition of the Post labeled Robertson a “PM Basher” and reported that the Israeli Tourism Ministry had, in reaction to the comments, cancelled a multi-million dollar joint tourism project for which CBN was to be one of the chief fundraisers.
CBS News described Robertson’s remarks as “stinging.”
The self-styled People for the American Way – a group that denies the Christian origins of the United States and champions that country’s surrender to secularism – lashed out at Robertson’s “insensitivity and arrogance.”
Ynetnews’ “Christian” Arab commentator Ray Hanania called Robertson an “American racist,” a “demagogue” who was “worse than Islamic extremists.”
Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention told the Los Angeles Times he was “appalled that Pat Robertson would make such statements. …The arrogance of the statement shocks me almost as much as the insensitivity of it.”
The executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Reverend Barry Lynn, accused Robertson of “making callous political points while a man is struggling for his life.”
The Anti Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman said Robertson’s remarks were “un-Christian and a perversion of religion.”
Even the White House was embarrassed, calling Robertson’s statements: “wholly inappropriate and offensive” and saying they “really don't have a place in this or any other debate.”
We strongly differ with the Bush administration on that one. How the Almighty feels about the international effort to steal Israel’s land has a very definite place in the debate. It’s a major topic in His Word.
A friend of mine says that, to know what is important to God, just look at where the devil is directing his attacks; to know what Satan fears and loathes, identify the focal point of his hatred and rage.
All this anger is being aimed at Robertson for one primary reason: He told the truth (and yes, he told it in love), and the truth hurt.
Robertson’s words were not an attack on Sharon. He was not kicking an already injured man. He was not wishing for the prime minister’s death or saying the stroke “served him right.”
The Christian broadcaster was alerting any future Israeli leader, and any American leader too, to the divinely-ordained consequences of dividing up the land of Israel.
And he was expressing the conviction held by many Christians, as well as by many Jews in Israel.
But what about the timing of Robertson’s remarks?
Among those who agree that God did intervene to stop Sharon from implementing his policies, some have opined that Robertson should not have spoken out so soon after the stroke. For a variety of reasons they would have preferred it if he had perhaps waited for a little while before saying anything.
One wonders how successful Moses would have been in winning freedom for his people if he had waited for injured bodies and raw emotions to heal before appealing yet again to Pharaoh to let his people go.
Had Moses waited respectfully for the mourning and burial of Egypt’s first born to be over before demanding the Israelites’ release, they would never have been set free. As it was, within hours of burying his own son, Pharaoh was in hot, vengeful pursuit of the just-emancipated slaves.
Sometimes it is important and most effective to strike while the iron is still hot.
Putting a hand to the division of the Land of Israel is not some irrelevant political action that could be forgotten or re-addressed in a few weeks or months.
It is a potentially deadly business that demands a quick and forthright response.
Why deadly? Because those committed to creating “two states for two people” out of the Jewish people’s patrimony are actively (and in some cases it can be strongly argued, purposefully) pushing the nation of Israel down the road to destruction.
Whether being driven by US President George W. Bush or Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, ancient and recent history solidly attest to the fact that this vision endangers the very existence of Israel’s Jews, who themselves comprise the remnant of those who, within living memory, were mass-murdered on the European continent.
God will not sit still while this continues. He is furious with the nations, and has resolved to deal with those who so threaten His own.
Every good citizen of God’s Kingdom should proclaim this truth from the rooftops, echoing Robertson when he said:
“Woe to any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations, or the United States of America.”
Thanks to the wide reach of CBN, and the incensed response to what Robertson said, this warning has now been proclaimed around the globe.
Whoever wants to hear it will hear it. None who reject it will be able to say: “We were not warned; we did not know.”
May God honor Pat Robertson, who has kept his vow never to turn his back on Israel or to abandon her.
Identifying the diplomatic process that means to establish an enemy Arab state on Israel’s land, he spoke out of love for the Jewish people and out of concern for their wellbeing.
To have done anything less would have been a betrayal of his beliefs. Any true friend of Israel’s should see this, applaud it, and emulate it.