VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson is urging prayer before Election Day to stave off an imminent Mideast war he said could bring nuclear attacks on the United States.
In a letter on his Web site, http://www.patrobertson.com, Robertson said his opinion was that Israel would bomb Iranian nuclear sites between Nov. 4 and the inauguration of the United States’ new president.
Robertson tied his warning to biblical prophecy.
His letter, which starts out describing his concerns about Russian aggression in Georgia, predicted that Russia would also enter the war, though the United States wouldn’t.
“However, we may not be spared nuclear strikes against coastal cities” in America, he wrote.
A version of the letter was sent in September to members of Regent University, where Robertson is founder and president. He is also founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and host of its daily show, “The 700 Club.”
Rob Boston, a spokesman at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said Robertson had a history of “rather outrageous statements” forecasting natural catastrophes and disastrous conflicts that didn’t occur.
“I guess he believes he has a direct pipeline to God,” Boston added . “Given the number of false predictions he’s given, I might question who’s at the other end of that pipeline.”
Hmmmm, what could possibly tear Pat away from bench-pressing a ton with his legs?
From The Nation:
Pat O’Hara, a journalist who served on the Wasilla school board for twelve years, remembers how the religious right made her feel like a stranger in her own community. The Mat-Su Valley, which includes the neighboring towns of Wasilla and Palmer, had once been a libertarian sort of place, full of blue-collar individualists who didn’t fit in elsewhere. “I had the dog team in the woods, the cabin in the woods. My friends were teachers, farmers, construction workers,” she said as she stood with about 1,500 demonstrators at a September 13 anti-Sarah Palin rally in Anchorage. “It was kind of a working, very much Democratic community. And then it changed.”
It wasn’t until the 1990s that local churches like the Wasilla Assembly of God, which Palin grew up attending, became aggressively political. A few years before Palin became mayor, a group of preachers confronted the school board with questions about social issues that had never before surfaced in local politics, according to O’Hara, who wrote first for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman and then for the Anchorage Daily News. “They started asking me, ‘Would you allow a homosexual to teach in schools?’ and ‘Do you favor abortion?’” she said. “At the time, I didn’t know what was coming. I said, ‘This is not a school board issue. We have overcrowding. We have funding problems.’” The last time O’Hara ran, conservative pastors mounted an effort to defeat her, saying she favored hiring homosexuals, but they failed. Nevertheless, in 1996, feeling increasingly alienated in a place she’d lived for twenty-five years, she quit the school board and moved to more liberal Anchorage.
“The whole community changed,” she said. “It became extremely rigid and intolerant, and you can see that in every election since.” Palin, said O’Hara, “represents the worst of those values. She feels that because she’s a member of the right church, she’s chosen by God to inflict her values on everyone.”
With her vice presidential nomination, Sarah Palin has become the ultimate religious-right success story. Ever since the Christian Coalition was formed using the infrastructure of Pat Robertson’s 1988 presidential run, the movement has focused on building power from the ground up, turning conservative churches into little political machines.
Palin’s nomination, and the energy she has injected into the GOP, show that, once again, reports of the death of the Christian right have been greatly exaggerated.
Palin–who opposes gay rights, believes abortion should be banned even in cases of rape and incest, and supports the teaching of creationism–wasn’t known as a leader in Alaska’s religious right, but she clearly had ties to it, and to some of the more extreme fundamentalists in the United States. As has been widely reported, her husband, Todd, was a member of the separatist Alaskan Independence Party. She reportedly attended the party’s 1994 convention, and as governor she gave a video address to the group’s gathering this year in Fairbanks. Less well-known are the Alaskan Independence Party’s ties to the theocratic Constitution Party–a vice chair of the former is the state representative for the latter. According to its platform, the Constitution Party aims “to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations” and advocates criminalizing gay sex and abolishing Social Security.
[Curt Menard, mayor of Mat-Su Borough (which includes Wasilla)] recalled that the area had been solidly Democratic until the rise of politicized right-wing religion. “Pat Robertson, when he organized the Christian right…that’s when this area really changed,” said Menard. “To my knowledge, I would say [Palin] was supportive of the movement” [...]
When Palin ran for governor in 2006, Christian conservatives mobilized to help elect her–the Alaska Family Council, a group that formed that year and is loosely affiliated with Focus on the Family, distributed a voter guide showing Palin’s alignment with its ideology. [...] Her record nevertheless offers some evidence that in Washington she would likely continue George W. Bush’s injection of religious dogmatism into government appointments and policy-making. Opposition to abortion is, for her, a litmus test.
Like McCain, Palin appears to believe that the United States is a Christian nation. As governor, she signed a resolution declaring October 21-27 Christian Heritage Week in Alaska, in order to remind Alaskans of “the role Christianity has played in our rich heritage.” Written in the mode of some right-wing revisionist historians, it describes the nation’s founders–including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson–as “Christians of caliber and integrity who did not hesitate to express their faith.”
The conviction that America is a Christian nation could be especially worrisome when coupled with the kind of apocalyptic beliefs espoused by the Wasilla Assembly of God, since the combination suggests a profoundly messianic foreign policy. In a widely seen video taken just months before she received the vice presidential nomination, Palin stood onstage in her old church with pastor Ed Kalnins as he explained how, in the last days, Alaska would be a refuge for Christians fleeing the Lower 48. [...] Palin’s current religious home, Wasilla Bible Church, is rather more moderate and low-key, but it, too, subscribes to a theology that includes a literal belief in a biblical End Times scenario. In August, it hosted David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, who told the congregation, “But what we see in Israel, the conflict that is spilled out throughout the Middle East, really which is all about Jerusalem, is an ongoing reflection of the fact that there is judgment…there’s a reality to the judgment of unbelief.”