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The World Reacts to Robertson

In the global chatter about U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson‘s remarks calling for the assasination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (for which he later apologized), there is much reflection on religious extremism – and the extent to which it is tolerated in various countries.

Calvin Ng, a Malaysian Christian, condemns “Mad Mullah Robertson” but then concludes: “My challenge to Muslim bloggers to similarly speak out that their own Mad Mullahs are wrong still stands.”

As Haitham blogged in this roundup post yesterday, a number of Middle Eastern bloggers have been commenting. A Kuwaiti Online is unimpressed by the U.S. government's mild reaction to Robertson.

Indian blogger Harini Calamur writes at Point of View: “When Osama asks for Bush and Blair’s head – he is a nasty terrorist. …It would be interesting to see the Bush Administration bring charges of ‘encouraging terrorism’ on Robertson.” (Via Sabbah's Blog.)

U.S. based Indian-born blogger Arnab digs up some of Robertson's past anti-Hindu rants, among other things.

Jewels in the Jungle, who blogs on Africa from Germany, has a long roundup and asks: “What about all of those new anti-terrorism laws Congress passed last year? Isn’t this kind of thing against the law in America?” Jewels also points to discussion of Robertson's ties to Liberian dictator Charles Taylor.

The Devil's Excrement, who is no fan of Chavez, thinks the whole Robertson thing has been blown way out of proportion and didn't deserve the attention it got in the blogosphere. He thinks the Venezuelan government did the right thing by shrugging off Robertson's remarks as a loony rant.

David Sasaki followed regional Latin American reactions in his daily roundup posts here, here, and here.

What do you think? Do you think the Robertson story got way too much attention or does it have broader significance when it comes to how the U.S. is perceived around the world? Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

  • j

    Fatwas are often issued, and typically not condemned by various Islamic governments.

    What Reverend Robertson has done, he has publicly retracted and regretted.

    The over-reaction to Robertson, by those tending to “hate America,” is indicative of too much willy-nilly opposition to a superpower, just because it has power.

  • Pingback: Learning The Lessons of Nixon »()

  • Travis

    Agreed, J (well, to a point). Pat Robertson is a deluded old man. Actually, I think he’s borderline insane. From my vantage point, the only thing seperating him from the piss-soaked freaks in the park chanting about Jesus is better hygine and good dental work–neither really understand what Jesus actually had to say. However, he is not involved with the organized killing of thousands, has not declared open war on a civilisation, and, most importantly, nobody really cares what he thinks. He is–at best–perversly amusing, who calls for the elimination of gay teletubbies and, sometimes, the overthrow of corrupt, left-wing Latin American rulers. The moral equivilance just isn’t quite there.

  • karl luck

    karl luck 2005-08-26 11:21
    Observer is correct about Pat Robertson(White Racist Evangelical/Zion leader) but Pat represents one of the most powerfull groups who helped elect George Bush.

    Hugo Chavez holds support of 70% of the Venezuelan voters, and was re-elected in a Democratic vote. He has helped his poor & downtrodden by sharing the wealth to improve, their Health Care, Education & Standard of Living. America opposes this kind of Democracy.

    In regards to Christian beliefs; it must be noted by the rest of the world that Pat Roberston does speak for the American Christians and the Zionist coalition; the most powerful movement in America.

    What that means to the rest of the world is open to debate, but that truth is undeniable..Karl Luck
    Observer 2005-08-25 22:36
    Pat Rebertson is the face of Jewish Supporting extra redical Christain Fundamentalist. Christianity is a good relegion, which preaches harmony and peace, however, these Jewish controlled Christain groups and sects, are Anti-Christ groups preaching hatred and believes which are quite contrary to the Christain believes.
    P.S. The murder/assination/poisoining/Accidental death of Hugo Chavez would mean the greatest lost for the majority of the world’s people, who most accurately see him as a saviour, for all mankind. Most undoubtedely and by majority(democratic) concensus; Hugo Chavez is a Hero, for the world’s suffering, that includes most Americans…Karl Luck

  • It’s a huge over reaction. Robertson is not near as influential as he is given credit for. But the left finds him an easy target and likes to use his mistatements to bash all of the people of on the right and all people of faith. Thus they make him seem more important to the rest of the world who tends not to understand the US anyway. There is a lot of projection on the part of many outside the US. They see the influence their own religious leaders have and assume, incorrectly, that US religious leaders have the same influence. It is a shame that many of the same people who say that Americans need to try harder to understand them to not make the same efforts to understand Americans.

  • This is such a great roundup from all over the world. Tim has a good post on the impact of Roberton’s comments in El Salvador.

  • GZ Expat

    Great thing about a democracy…everyone has their say. You just don’t have to listen. The blogosphere gave Mr. Robertson a ton of free advertising space, which he didn’t deserve.

    The best way to stop people like him in a democracy…stop watching his TV show…stop sending him money…stop talking about him.

  • It is not first time that Robertson acts like this. Years ago during
    Reagan period he called rebells against Nicaragua’s goverment (Sandenist)army of God…Even I think they (his foundation) supported
    it. But let’s face it you can ALWAYS EXPECT ODD things from tele evangelists (Not all of them of course). Do u remember Baker Oral Roberts…

  • Stomaphagus

    What’s funny is that a few days ago he did an on-air segment where he made high-protein, low-sugar pancakes, and was completely charming. I think he’s just beyond his level offering national commentary. Pancakes are more at his level. That must be why he didn’t get the Republican endorsement when he ran for President (remember that?).

    The _700 Club_’s lead-in world news segment is a hoot. At the end of every story segment they say, “Pat?” and he chimes in with a loosely homespun interpretation, sometimes Biblical, sometimes just his simple-folk homilies, shaking his head at all the “crazy” (he uses that word a lot) things that people nowadays are up to. Then, it’s back to CBN’s Man in the Field in Africa, for a report on food distribution to African Christians. The format is just unbeatable.

  • “Thus they make him seem more important to the rest of the world who tends not to understand the US anyway.”

    I wonder if the the rest of the world really understand the US *less* than the US understands the rest of the world.

    Are you trying to to say that Bush isn’t highly influenced by what right-wing Christians in the US think. Or that right-wing christians in the US aren’t influenced by people like Robertson?

    Sure, Bush won’t try an assassination *because* Robertson thinks its a good idea. But does that mean that the government won’t learn to what extent playing hardball against Chavez makes the Christian constituencey feel good.

    BTW What is it Chavez is meant to have done that inspired Robertson’s threats? Or been the cause of what Condi calls “instability”.

    This? : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4155936.stm

    This? : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4181528.stm

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