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NORFOLK, Va. - Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for "dividing God's land."

"God considers this land to be his," Robertson said on his TV program "The 700 Club." "You read the Bible and he says `This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, `No, this is mine.'"

Sharon, who ordered Israel's withdrawal from Gaza last year, suffered a severe stroke on Wednesday.

In Robertson's broadcast from his Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, the evangelist said he had personally prayed about a year ago with Sharon, whom he called "a very tender-hearted man and a good friend." He said he was sad to see Sharon in this condition.

He also said, however, that in the Bible, the prophet Joel "makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide my land.'"

Sharon "was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU ( European Union), the United Nations, or the United States of America," Robertson said.

In discussing what he said was God's insistence that Israel not be divided, Robertson also referred to the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who had sought to achieve peace by giving land to the Palestinians. "It was a terrible thing that happened, but nevertheless he was dead," he said.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement urging Christian leaders to distance themselves from the remarks. Robertson made similar comments as the Gaza withdrawal occurred, it said.

"It is outrageous and shocking, but not surprising, that Pat Robertson once again has suggested that God will punish Israel's leaders for any decision to give up land to the Palestinians," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the group, which fights anti-Semitism. "His remarks are un-Christian and a perversion of religion. Unlike Robertson, we don't see God as cruel and vengeful."

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said a religious leader "should not be making callous political points while a man is struggling for his life."

"Pat Robertson has a political agenda for the entire world, and he seems to think God is ready to take out any world leader who stands in the way of that agenda," Lynn said in a statement.

Robertson spokeswoman Angell Watts said of critics who challenged his remarks, "What they're basically saying is, `How dare Pat Robertson quote the Bible?'"

"This is what the word of God says," Watts said. "This is nothing new to the Christian community."

In August, Robertson suggested on "The 700 Club" that American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has long been at odds with U.S. foreign policy. Robertson later apologized for his remarks, saying he "spoke in frustration."
 

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I don't know that he will ever stop. The man is clearly disturbed. I think I sent this to you Sinister, but I will post it here as well for the board to see. I receive a weekly column from the progressive retired Christian bishop John Shelby Spong - a voice of sanity in a country besieged by fundamentalist thinking. The good bishop recently had this to say about Robertson: (I've bolded the funniest parts)

Christina writes:
"How do you respond to the Rev. Pat Robertson when he warns the citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania, that God might strike them with a disaster since they voted out the School Board members who favored "Intelligent Design?" "

Dear Christina,
Pat Robertson has said so many silly and ridiculous things that I wonder why anyone would pay much attention to him on any subject. He warned Orlando, Florida, that God would send a hurricane to destroy them when Orlando's decision makers added "sexual orientation" to that city's civil rights ordinance making it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person because of race, ethnicity, gender, creed or "sexual orientation." He suggested that Hollywood would be the victim of an earthquake because that is where Ellen Degeneres works. With Jerry Falwell he agreed that the 9/11 disaster was brought upon this nation as God's judgment for harboring "feminists, abortionists, homosexuals and the American Civil Liberties Union." He suggested that the CIA should assassinate the duly elected President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. He has said that the feminist movement is about those women who want to "leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft and become lesbians." The tirade of absurdities goes on and on.

This country treasures the precious gift of free speech and Pat Robertson can obviously say any foolish and ignorant thing he wishes. When he pretends to speak in the name of God, however, I think his fellow believers have a right, indeed a necessity, to speak a word of judgment on his behavior since his words slander the Christian definition of God as Love given to us first by the author of the First Epistle of John and even more important, lived out by Jesus, who called us even to love our enemies.

I want to make only two points about this issue. First, I wonder who, other than Pat himself, designated Pat Robertson to be God's spokesperson? How dare Pat assume that the God revealed in the Jesus I serve is filled with all of Pat's peculiar prejudices. Why does he not understand that God is God and Pat Robertson is not? Why does he not see that when he tells the world with an unashamed certainty what God thinks and what God will do, he is only revealing what he thinks and what he would do if he had God's power? Pat needs to understand that he is acting out the very meaning of idolatry. He has confused God with himself.

Second, some one needs to inform Pat Robertson that the idea of God sitting on a throne above the clouds manipulating the weather in order to punish sinners is so primitive and so naïve that it is staggering to the educated imagination. It is bad enough that his mind cannot embrace the thought of Charles Darwin from the 19th century, but Pat has yet to embrace the thought of Copernicus from the 16th century or Galileo from the 17th century. No educated person today believes that the earth is the center of the universe and that God lives above the sky, playing with low-pressure systems and planning revenge on those who are not believers in Intelligent Design. Indeed why would anyone be drawn to the demonic deity who emerges in Pat's thinking and teaching? It is surely not a God of Love who punishes New Orleans' poorest citizens with a hurricane that New Orleans' wealthiest citizens could and did manage to escape at least with their lives, because they had cars. Did God kill the poor in New Orleans in order to send a message to New Orleans's prostitutes and those who create its raucous nightlife? Is that a rational concept? Did God cause two tectonic plates to collide under the Indian Ocean because there were some 350,000 evil people, with fully one-third of them children, whom God desired to kill in a tsunami wave? Is that how God communicates divine displeasure? Is that a God worthy of worship? Were the 3000 who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 or the 2100 members of our Armed Forces who have thus far died in Iraq during this war somehow worthy of this ultimate punishment either because of their own evil or because God sacrificed them to send a message to someone else? Those ideas are so ludicrous as to be laughable, except for the fact that for anyone to suggest such incredible things is still painfully hurtful to those who are the victims of both natural and human disasters to say nothing of their surviving loved ones. I, as a Christian, am embarrassed by the public face that Pat Robertson puts on the religious tradition to which my life is dedicated.

I have known the Robertson family for a long time. His father was the Democratic Senator in my state of Virginia from 1946, when he was first appointed to succeed Senator Carter Glass who had died in office. He was re-elected by the people of Virginia in 1948, 1954, and 1960. In the Democratic Primary in 1966 he was defeated in a very close vote by my first cousin William Belser Spong, Jr., who went on to fill that seat in the United States Senate. Pat is a 1955 graduate of the Law School at Yale University and received a Master in Divinity degree from New York Theological Seminary in1959. He cannot possibly be as dumb as he sounds in his wild and thoughtless utterances. If ignorance is not his excuse, then one has to wonder what motivates him. In academic theological circles he is treated as a buffoon. No one takes his thought seriously. It is a pity that some people do actually believe the things he says, but they are far fewer than he imagines. It is an even greater pity that the news media think that his continued utterances are worthy of any public attention at all.

-- John Shelby Spong
 

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I couldn't even come up with a good rejoinder when I first read Sinister's post--I was so floored. Unless he's always been this way, it sounds like Robertson is exhibiting early Alzheimer's dementia. Thanks for posting something from a voice reason in the Christian camp, doug--it's encouraging to see that not all Christians thing along the same lines as Robertson and his ilk. Unfortunately, these rational minds will not get the same level of media coverage. If Robertson's god truly is the vengeful and wrathful being he touts him to be, then old Pat better be ready for a divine smackdown for his weather/disaster predictions.

According to Deuteronomy 18:18-22 "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.' And if thou say in thy heart: 'How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?' When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him."
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yep, I hear ANGRY thunderclouds roiling over Pat's house any old day now. The bad thing about his ranting is there are others of like mind out there who think the same way. They're all ticking time bombs who just need a detonator, and Robertson is all too happy to fill that particular role. Religion is very dangerous in the wrong hands.
 

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grapegrl said:
According to Deuteronomy 18:18-22 "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him...."
A witch who can quote scripture - sexy!
 

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I don't know... whenever I see these religious 'nuts' (Thats my kind way to put it.) anywere but I can't help but laugh. I know it does **** people off but their just so... well I don't know but I just find it funny. But then my mom pushes me along the waterfront and tells me not to look.

The bottom line to me is these are people with a closed mind and take it upon themeslves to do "Gods work".
 

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If there really were a God up there, I find it incredibly hard to believe that he would truly care what the hell happens to a plot of land. I mean, isn't he suppossed to be a PEOPLE person? Now we're to think God is, what, some crazy real estate baron, or something? It brings a whole new God picture to mind. Instead of some old man in a white cloak and long beard, God is now, the Monopoly Guy.:googly:
The whole thing is assinine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
TipoDeemin said:
If God looked like the Monopoly Guy (Uncle Pennybags?), I might start going to church.
That's too funny Tipo. You could park in "Free Parking" and then go into the palatial digs on "Boardwalk" and pay an exhorbitant "Luxury Tax," and not "Collect Two Hundred Dollars" on the way out. Roll those dice! :D
 

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Hey, you can get taken for money in church these days than you lose in any Monopoly game. And you get less for all that money.:devil:
 

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MONOPOLY is a funny word to type.:p
 

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Too little, too late.

Robertson apologizes for saying stroke was a divine punishment

By Brian Murphy, Associated Press | January 13, 2006

TEL AVIV -- Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster, has sent a letter of apology for suggesting that Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip.

Robertson's comments drew condemnation from other Christian leaders, President Bush, and Israeli officials, who canceled plans to include the evangelist in the construction of a Christian tourist center in northern Israel.

In a letter dated Wednesday and marked for hand delivery to Sharon's son Omri, Robertson called the prime minister a ''kind, gracious, and gentle man" who was ''carrying an almost insurmountable burden of making decisions for his nation."

''My concern for the future safety of your nation led me to make remarks which I can now view in retrospect as inappropriate and insensitive in light of a national grief," the letter said.

''I ask your forgiveness and the forgiveness of the people of Israel," Robertson wrote.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon coverage

The day after Sharon's stroke, Robertson suggested the prime minister was being punished for pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip last summer. The pullout was seen by many evangelical groups as a retreat from a biblical prophecy of Jewish sovereignty over the area.

''God considers this land to be his," Robertson said on his TV program, ''The 700 Club." ''You read the Bible and he says 'This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No, this is mine.' "

Despite the apology, it was doubtful that Robertson would be brought back into the fold of the proposed Christian Heritage Center in the northern Galilee region, where tradition says Jesus lived and taught.

The exclusion carries a special irony for a preacher who helped define television ministries: The planned complex, if approved, would include studios and satellite links for live broadcasts from the Holy Land.

Rami Levi, director of marketing for Israel's Tourism Ministry, said the government remains ''outraged" by Robertson's remarks.

Israel's tourism minister, Abraham Hirchson, said Wednesday that Robertson's help was no longer welcome.

''But, of course, we continue full engines ahead to construct it because the Christian community around the world -- the evangelical community -- are friends," said Levi, who is responsible for coordinating tourism contacts between Israeli groups and other faiths around the world.

Christian groups have become an important source of revenue.

Evangelicals funnel millions of dollars each year to Jewish settlers in the West Bank and provide aid for those evicted from Gaza.
 

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What's worse, really:
Robertson and his assinine comments, or "Day-O" singer Harry Bellafonte calling the president "The greatest terrorist on the planet."?
They're both a couple of boobs as far as I'm concerned.
 

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THAT may be the most shocking thing about it all....:googly:
 

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What do you expect. Pat Robertson's 700 Club Organization was the same one that spawned those other idiots Jim & Tammy Faye Baker.

grapegrl - exactly the very reason I take these so-called Psychics of today with a grain of salt. Like that verse you quoted said if 100% of their predictions don't come true then they're false prophets. I've never heard of ANY present day psychic that was even close to 100% right every time.
 

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May I report another intelligent post from the Bishop? I think this world needs it:

Marcia writes:

"Why do others such as Tim LaHaye and certain church groups, who I presume are well educated on biblical matters, insist that every word in the Bible is inerrant. Have they never been introduced to Biblical criticism? Could they be afraid to question?"


Dear Marcia,

Religion is a strange and sometimes even an irrational thing. People have an amazing ability to compartmentalize learning so that various things never have to interact in their minds. So it is that apparently educated people can actually suspend their thought processes and reject evolution for "creation science," seek to deny that homosexuality is a given rather than a chosen way of life or even believe that miracles occur whenever they pray for them. It is not that their minds are closed so much as it is that they cannot allow anything into their minds that threatens the core of their security-giving religious faith. As I get older, I am impressed by two constant truths
It is not easy to be human. Anxiety and mortality have to be embraced by self-conscious creatures and that is what makes our humanity so unique among the creatures of this earth.
Religion is primarily a search for security and not a search for truth. Religion is what we so often use to bank the fires of our anxiety. That is why religion tends toward becoming excessive, neurotic, controlling and even evil. That is why a religious government is always a cruel government.
People need to understand that questioning and doubting are healthy, human activities to be encouraged not to be feared. Certainly is a vice not a virtue. Insecurity is something to be grasped and treasured. A true and healthy religious system will encourage each of these activities. A sick and fearful religious system will seek to remove them.
 
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