From ........... National Catholic Reporter

October 6, 1996

page 24

EDITORIAL

ROBERTSON SHOULD BE EXPOSED, NOT GIVEN PAPAL INVITATION

You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians, and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.

That was Pat Robertson, formerly the Rev. Pat Robertson, during his "700 Club" TV show back in January 1991. The same Pat Robertson who has wangled an invitation to meet the pope.

The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, antifamily political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.

That's what Robertson once wrote in a letter to help Iowans raise funds to defeat a ballot initiative. All but the most desensitized Vatican bureaucrat would blanche at that kind of language. But Pat's getting to meet the pope in the capacity of an American religious leader.

I know this is painful for the ladies to hear; but if you are married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period.

That enlightening tidbit comes from a Robertson newsletter.

When the poor rise up it's because there's an upper-class reformer somewhere stirring them up.

That's from Robertson's 1991 book, The New World Order, a paranoid tract laced with a thinly disguised anti-Semitism, that sees dark conspiracies engineered by wealthy and powerful "Illuminati" at work to destroy the moral fabric of America.

The Illuminati even presidents, he says, are unwitting tools of the conspiracy are, in Robertson's apocalyptic imagination, satanists, Masons, secular humanists and occult devotees, all directed by the Evil One over a long historic sweep, to bring down Christianity and American capitalism. As he put it in the book:

All of it migh seem laughably nutty if Robertson, through his broadcasts and especially through his political arm, the Christian Coalition, had not developed such considerable leverage over the country's political processes. The growing march of his Christian Coalition troops he believes God intends the country to be led by Christians and he believes, too, that the separation-of-church-and- state concept was a Soviet communist invention is frightening enough. Even more appalling is that he is being aided and abetted by high-ranking Catholics.

Robertson has been invited to join religious leaders in meeting the pope at Cardinal John O'Connor's residence Oct. 7. The invitation is scandalous.

If the abortion issue is removed momentarily from the political landscape, the rest of Robertson's agenda, detail by detail, fairly contradicts the social stands that the U.S. bishops have historically taken and most of the social teachngs of the larger church during the past century.

Has the church become so unimaginative in dealing with abortion, and so desperate for a political answer, that its leaders are willing to cut deals with someone who, on almost every other measure, should be viewed an antagonist?

Robertson's brand of religion should be soundly discredited and rebuked, not rewarded with a papal audience.

His politics should be countered and exposed for what it is bigoted, intolerant and intellectually bankrupt. It should not be embraced.

If O'Connor needs an example of how to deal with Robertson and his henchman, Ralph Reed, head of the Christian Coalition, he can take it from Bishop Walter Sullivan of Richmond, Va. Reed recently announced a campaign, called the Catholic Alliance, to recruit [Roman] Catholics for the coalition. Sullivan wrote a letter warning his parishes to beware.

The letter repeated the diocesan policy prohibiting the distribution through churches of "voter guides." The voter guides are a tactic the coalition uses to endorse candidates while pretending not to do so bu ensure its "neutrality." In part, Sullivan's letter continues, "The church must maintain its independence and the integrity of its social teaching. We cannot allow the church's agenda to be captured by any group."

It is time for neoconservative Catholics and Catholic leaders to delve into the fine print of Robertson's ambitions. He doesn't spout the crazy stuff too much in public, where he wears a syrupy and ingratiating smile. Others have begun to catch on. His book has been exposed in several mainstream media outlets for the screed it is and a report prepared by the Interfaith Alliance Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State details the odd mixture that makes up the Robertson ideology and how it is realized through the political workings of his Christian Coalition.

It is time to wake up, before another Robertson claim becomes true:

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