Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A tale of two Christians

On Monday, televangelist Pat Robertson urged the U.S. government to assassinate Hugo Chavez, the elected president of Venezuala. On Tuesday, Brother Roger Schutz, founder of the ecumenical Taizé community, was buried in a funeral liturgy that attracted 10,000 mourners from every continent.

Robertson calls himself a Christian, and so did Brother Roger, but are their gods the same?

Pat Robertson's god is the military messiah of Armageddon theology. Like some other evangelicals (not all, thank God) Robertson reads the Bible as a fantasy novel about revenge. His Jesus is the muscular action hero of pop culture: a Punisher, Terminator or Darkman who exterminates his enemies with brutal efficiency. But for Robertson, the Bible is not so much a revenge novel as it is a copy of tomorrow's newspaper that arrived miraculously at his front doorstep. There's not much room for the cross in Robertson's vision of god: the crucifixion was merely a hiccup in God's plan for the ages. A divine seizure of political power through apocalyptic warfare is the destination of human history.

Brother Roger's god is the crucified One whose arms reach out in an embrace wide enough for all humanity. His god has no enemies list, and neither did Brother Roger. In "The Wonder of a Love" he quotes the early Christian theologian Diognetus: "There is no violence in God. God sent Christ not to accuse us, but to call us to himself, not to judge us, but because he loves us." For Brother Roger and Taizé, the reconciliation of humanity through Christ is the goal and object of history.

Which god is the true God of Israel and the church? And if Robertson's Jesus is not god, then who, or what, is he?

Pat Roberston

Robertson calls for Chávez assassination (AP)
Hugo Chávez vs. America (700 Club)
'I personally thank Robertson for warning the nation'
Left perspectives on Venezuela

Brother Roger

Solemn funeral for Taizé founder (BBC)
Resurrection eucharist for Brother Roger of Taizé (ACNS)
Taizé website with funeral coverage
The spirituality of Taizé (Spirituality Today)


At 7:49 PM, Anonymous David said...

Robertson is the visible face of Christian Fascism in the US, which is in ascendency just now. It is a tragic irony that Brother Roger was the one who fell victim to the type of violence advocated by Robertson.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger RevJen said...

I appreciate the Pat Robertson/Brother Roger entry, Andy. In all the commentary I watched yesterday, no one but Bob Edgar, head of the National Council of Churches, said that Pat Robertson was saying stuff of which Jesus, his supposed Lord and Savior, would have disapproved.

Edgar was on Countdown with Keith Olberman, who had a whole array of
people saying what an idiot Robertson is. On Hardball, Tweety (Chris Matthews) had Blanquita Cullum, some conservative radio commentator, and Al Sharpton as guests, who both obediently said that Robertson was out of line.

But Robertson will just go all squinty-eyed, pray for all the American heathen who don't think Jesus calls on us to assassinate people (heck, Jesus did prove that assassination/execution aren't permanent, after all, did he not?), and go on being the &%$#%^&* that he is.

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous greg peters said...

I don't understand why you liberals are attacking Robertson for saying the obvious: isn't it more moral to take out an anti-American leftist, an ally of Castro, who controls the biggest oil reserves in the Western Hempisphere? Who knows how much damage Chavez can do to our interests? Your hero Bonhoeffer conspired to assassinate Hitler; what's morally wrong with assassinating Chavez? I guess it's moral if your target is a Nazi, but immoral if he's a Commie.

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Vadis said...

I don't know if Mr. Peters' comment is genuine, or is to be taken tongue in cheek; irony is often defeated by a reality that is more ridiculous than irony could possibly be.
In either case, it points to a moral vacuity at the center of Mr. Robertson's values. In these terms, a geopolitical position and possession of an expensive resource trump values like being against murder. What's more, commandments against coveting or appropriating a neighbor's goods are turned on there heads; coveting Venezuela's oil is deemed altogether normal and appropriate, not sinful; stealing it is justified on the basis of the covetousness; and murder is justified based on the theft. It's no wonder that Robertson and his allies seek to limit the sphere of morality solely to issues of sex and sexuality, as it seems that they admit no restraints in any other moral arena. This is perhaps not surprising, but from self-styled Christians, it is very disappointing.

At 11:57 PM, Anonymous nuffsaid said...

For your information Mr. Peters, conservatives such as the late Senator Barry Goldwater from Arizona had concerns of the direction of the GOP when he declared that it was being taken over by " a bunch of kooks" in reference to Robertson and his followers. I am sick and tired of people like you declaring that anyone who disagrees with you and people like you by assuming they are all Anti-American or sinners.
As a Christian, and as an American, it sickens me greatly to see him in film clips holding hands and praying one minute, and the next minute talking and acting in ways contrary to the teachings of Christ.In addition, I do not recall anywhere that Jesus made distinctions between conservatives and liberals.
Mr. Peters, you're probably a good person, but there are some of us Christians that are fed up with people like Pat Robertson.

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Heather said...

Wow, I don't know if I can compete with the political "big words". So forgive me if I sound simple. From what it sounds like to me, Mr. Robertson has a view of God similar to me. That does not mean that i agree with everything he says, but I do have a belief that God is my father -like Mr.R. A perfect father who has made us all human. Humans capable of making small and huge mistakes. He spoke out of anger. How many of us do that? I would not compare him to Brother Roger or any other looney so called christian, because i firmly believe God has given him a gift. Now maybe he misuses it at times. Do you misuse your gift at times? I do. I feel sorry for it,but luckily my God, my Father forgives. Show some forgiveness. Maybe not forget it, because it was a big comment, but find some new more distrubing news to talk about. What about the other horrible things that go on in the world? By the way I was just wondering, if your are a true left Democrat and a Christian -do you believe in Abortion? That is the killing of babies all over the world and yet the killing of a shady man (Chavez)provokes more thought.


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