Along with “Bush admits Iraq was a mistake” and “Joe Riley heads effort to stop downtown flooding,” I don’t think I could have imagined a headline more shocking than “Rev. Pat Robertson endorses Rudy Giuliani.” But it’s true.
The televangelist, who once suggested that America’s permissiveness toward abortion and homosexuality caused 9/11, has joined forces with the pro-choice, pro-gay, former New York City mayor because, as Robertson explained, Giuliani is an “acceptable Republican” who can “win the general election.”
What exactly Christians or Republicans might be winning with an electoral victory by Giuliani — who on every social issue is nearly indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton — was not addressed.
As someone who believes the historic faith of these United States — Christianity — deserves a place in our national culture above and beyond all other faiths, it’s also hard to imagine a group more detestable, un-American, and dare I say unChristian, than the leaders of the Religious Right.
The origin of the modern Religious Right was the late Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, an organization that promised to deliver political power to evangelicals who believed their faith had come under attack by activist federal courts, particularly on issues like school prayer and abortion.
Giving up on school prayer a long time ago, each election cycle evangelical voters were instructed by their leaders to vote for Republican candidates who promised to overturn Roe. v. Wade during campaign primaries. Of course, these candidates never had any intention of addressing the abortion issue once receiving the GOP nomination, which never seemed to bother the Religious Right, as both their leaders and the Republican Party continued to play the rank-and-file for suckers for decades.
Which brings us to Pat Robertson. The televangelist’s alliance with Giuliani is but the most recent example of what any observer of the Religious Right has long known — that their leaders care more about political power for themselves than any substantive moral victory. I remember well in 1996, when after winning the New Hampshire Republican primary, Pat Buchanan was set to take the South Carolina primary by storm. Finally a principled leader, many thought, that Christian voters could count on to deliver the goods.
That is, until Religious Right leaders got involved, or as James Wall wrote in Christian Century Magazine in March 1996, “Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition quietly passed the word that it was time to stop playing with Pat Buchanan and get practical with (Bob) Dole. With his victory in South Carolina, Dole halted the momentum that Buchanan gained with his win in New Hampshire.” Continues Wall, “Dole’s antiabortion stance is not nearly as solid as Buchanan’s, but since Buchanan cannot win the nomination, Reed reasoned that his troops should not waste their votes on Buchanan. His maneuver in South Carolina led political columnist and TV panelist Eleanor Clift to observe that ‘Bob Dole owes Ralph Reed, big time.'”
Reed later went on to become the state chair for the Republican Party of Georgia.
As evidenced by Reed’s sellout of Buchanan in 1996, Robertson’s alliance with Giuliani — and even Bob Jones’ recent endorsement of Mitt Romney, who proclaimed himself pro-choice as late as 2005 — there’s no doubt that for awhile now, the Religious Right has been more concerned about being “right” (Republican, that is) than “religious.” This once promising movement that Robertson and others have intentionally reduced to cheap talk on abortion and bashing gays has had little positive to offer the American body politic for some time. By endorsing Giuliani, now they don’t even have that. Hopefully, their last rites have been read.
No doubt, Republican lapdog and talk show host Sean Hannity is elated that Robertson has endorsed his Rudy, and pro-choice Rudy is no doubt happy to accept accolades from pro-lifers. But even pro-lifers must admit that when it comes to the life issue, is it not amazing that such “men” seem to have no problem wagging their fingers at young women forced to make difficult decisions, yet give our president a free pass, as his unwinnable war continues to take numerous lives with each passing day? For all the love Hannity, Robertson, and their ilk pretend to have for unborn children in this country, it apparently doesn’t bother them one bit to kill both women and children in other countries, so long as it is a Republican who is pulling the trigger.
One wonders what Christ himself would think of such men?
While I have my suspicions, I personally would never commit the blasphemy of pretending to speak for God, although Robertson seems to have the Almighty on speed dial — and yet he somehow still insists on continuing his lifelong effort to send his faith, his country, and quite possibly his soul straight to hell.
Catch Southern Avenger commentaries every Tuesday and Friday at 7:50 a.m. on the “Morning Buzz with Richard Todd” on 1250 AM WTMA.