All I can say is thank God for Pat Robertson.
As frequent visitors to The Last Chance Democracy Café know, the regulars here tend to be very worried about the growing power of radical religion in the United States. What scares us most, of course, is the very real possibility that American democracy is being corrupted into at least a quasi-theocracy.
Theocracy is defined as government “by a deity (or by officials thought to be divinely guided).”
As you might guess, we’re not all that worried about the direct government “by a deity” facet of the definition. Notwithstanding the grave (and more than a little freaky) warnings by the rapture boys and girls, we here at the café aren’t exactly holding our breaths in anticipation of Jesus’ early return to personally govern the earth for 1,000 years (following a divinely ordained tribulation, consisting of the wholesale slaughter of people like us).
No, it’s the second leg of the definition of theocracy that gives us pause — government “by officials thought to be divinely guided.” Or in other words, government controlled by the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Tim LaHaye (and, yes, George W. Bush).
And as Kevin Phillips persuasively argues in American Theocracy, the United States of 2006 is already at least teasing the boundaries of this definition, with the Republican Party, now firmly in control of all three branches of the federal government, acting increasingly like a fully owned subsidiary of the Religious Right.
But here’s something funny: I’ve been noticing lately that it seems like every time my worries about the Religious Right reach a new crescendo, those moments when I’m close to giving up all hope, I almost always receive a gift (from God?) in the form of Pat Robertson saying something so incomprehensibly stupid that it makes everything feel alright again.
Because that’s when I realize that no matter how powerful the leadership of the radical Religious Right becomes, at the end of the day you can always count on them to fuck it all up by saying something moronic. (Go here for a particularly disrespectful list of such statements from Robertson himself.)
Well, Pat’s at it again.
Robertson: God Says Tsunami Possible For U.S.
The Rev. Pat Robertson says God has told him that storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America’s coastline this year.
The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network has told viewers of “The 700 Club” that the revelations came to him during his annual personal prayer retreat in January.
“If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms,” Robertson said May 8.
He added specifics in Wednesday’s show.
“There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest,” he said.
Okay, so this isn’t in the same league as the time Robertson agreed with Jerry Falwell that the 9-11 attacks were the fault of the ACLU, gays, feminists and the like because they caused God to withdraw protection from the United States. But then, nobody, not even Pat Robertson, can be counted on to stick his foot in it that catastrophically every single time.
And, besides, this one is none too shabby in its own right: Pat Robertson — God’s own weatherman!
Outside of the most hardcore of Religious Right followers, this sort of thing sounds patently silly. And Robertson just keeps delivering these gems again and again.
And speaking of silly, what’s this business of Robertson saying that all this will happen, “”If I heard the Lord right”? What? God went to all the trouble of sharing his weather forecast with Pat, but then couldn’t be bothered to speak up?
The Religious Right has suffered some significant wounds lately, mostly of their own making. By far their most damaging recent political misstep was, of course, the overreaching in the Terri Schiavo case. But unintended self-ridicule of the type Robertson specializes in has also been taking its toll.
So thank God for Pat Robertson. May he never lose his voice.