What They Are Saying: Evangelicals Speak Out On Pat Robertson
Posted: January 9, 2006
In the days since Pat Robertson suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had suffered a stroke because he angered God with his policies to "divide" the land of Israel, a number of Christian evangelical leaders have spoken out to denounce his words.
In remarks on "The 700 Club" on January 5, Robertson called Sharon "a delightful person" with whom he had prayed, but added: "But here he's at the point of death. He was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the European Union, the United Nations, or the United States of America. God says: 'This land belongs to me. You'd better leave it alone.'"
The following is a selection of reactions from Christian evangelical leaders in their own words:
"I'm appalled that Pat Robertson would make such statements. He ought to know better. The arrogance of the statement shocks me almost as much as the insensitivity of it."
– Richard Land, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention
Robertson "… does not seem to be weighing his words. Ariel Sharon is 77 years old. He's grossly overweight. He's been under pressure his whole life. So I think any doctor could have predicted he was going to have health problems. I doubt that God sovereignly is punishing him."
-- The Rev. Ted Haggard, President, National Association of Evangelicals
"I wonder whether, consciously or subconsciously, this is an effort on the part of an individual who has significant influence in the church and the country and recognized that influence is waning. He continues to try to maintain that influence by increasingly controversial statements — perhaps statements out of desperation, perhaps statements out of (wanting) more attention."
-- Rev. Kevin Mannoia, Chaplain, Azusa Pacific University and past President, National Association of Evangelicals
"I know hundreds of people who are just terminally frustrated with the idiotic public statements of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and the idea that these people represent us. They don't.''
-- Os Guinness, prominent Christian writer and social critic
"In some of these remarks and incidents, he's not speaking for the rest of us, particularly overseas in places like Venezuela and the Middle East where evangelicals have a lot of mission work. Statements like these make that mission work more difficult. In Venezuela he may have done serious damage.
"… being responsible parts of the political process requires prudence, and a number of the statements he's made have not been prudent, to say the least."
-- Alan Wisdom, Interim President, Institute on Religion and Democracy, a Washington political action group