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The tragedy of being Pat Robertson - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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The tragedy of being Pat Robertson [Jan. 14th, 2010|09:51 am]
Zoethe
I'm going to take you on a journey into your imagination. I have to ask you to trust me, because this is likely to be one of the more frightening exercises you've ever undertaken. But bear with me. I think the results will be...illunminating.

Picture, if you will, that you are Pat Robertson.

Oh, damn. Get the smelling salts, Myrtle. I shoulda known it would be too much of a shock. Let's try again.

Picture, if you will, that Pat Robertson actually believes the crap he spews forth on his television show. I know that even this much is asking for a lot of suspended disbelief, but try to stay with me.

What is the foundation of your message to the world? It's that God (insert the number of syllables you prefer in pronouncing The Holy Name) God is in control of everything. God controls the sun and the moon and the stars and the planets, and he controls the fate of his Chosen People. God makes the sun shine and the plants grow and the rain fall. And, yes, the earthquakes come. God controls all of this, and his Chosen People receive his blessings and prosper because he is a good and loving God. God is completely holy and completely good, and because of this bad things only happen because people turn away from his completely holy and good light.

Then a giant earthquake shatters an already-impoverished region of the world, leaving thousands dead, thousands more wounded. Many of those dead are little children. Many more are Christians. And in the light of this tragedy, Mr. Robertson has to get on his TV show and explain to people across the country why God, who is all knowing, all powerful, and all good, let - no, made - this earthquake happen.

He cannot look at the camera, shake his head, and say that this is a tragic natural disaster and that all the money donated to the 700 Club in the next week will be sent directly to Haiti.

He cannot say this, because there is no such thing as a natural disaster. Nature does not exist outside of God. Nature is not a force in and of itself. It is God's little stage. To acknowledge things like nature being its own force would be to acknowledge that God is not all-powerful. And unless God is all powerful, Pat's world falls apart.

So Pat is left with two choices: accepting a fickle God who allows tragedy to strike, and therefore is not All Good; or finding a reason why an All Good God would strike out with righteous wrath against an impoverished island nation.

And so, not because he hates Haitians, not because he hates people of color, not even because he hates poor people who can't send him money, but because his own narrow, broken theology leads him to a reductio ad absurdum that would tax the patience of a debate coach, but is Pat's only refuge, he flails back to 1804 and an alleged "pact with the devil" that has cursed Haiti. He makes statements that are vile, ignorant, disgusting. Because his narrow view of God leads him to a creator who is as petty as he is whimsical.

My prayer in all of this? That Pat will keep talking. Because the more absurd and stupid he sounds, the more people might come to recognize the foolishness of his message.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: indelikatt
2010-01-14 02:58 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely pointing some of my friends in the direction of this entry, simply because it puts it rather eloquently and gets to the point: rationalization. *sigh*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks. As always, referring is allowed and even encouraged.
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[User Picture]From: custardfairy
2010-01-14 02:58 pm (UTC)
I love you.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:00 pm (UTC)
You too!
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[User Picture]From: jfargo
2010-01-14 02:59 pm (UTC)
What scares me is that I think he DOES believe exactly what he's saying.

What scares me more are the OTHER people that believe what he's saying.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:04 pm (UTC)
Of course he believes it. He has no choice. And yes, it is sad. And there will be people who swallow his crap. But under the right of free speech, I will defend his right to his ignorant, offensive, wrong-headed opinion. The crazier he sounds, though, the more likely that others will recognize how crazy he sounds. That is my hope.
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[User Picture]From: jojomojo
2010-01-14 03:04 pm (UTC)
I've always thought something like Catharism made much more sense as an explanation for the problem of evil, myself. If the Devil's as powerful as God, then it's possible to blame tragedies on him.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, not a worldview that Pat's gonna endorse.
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[User Picture]From: ronin_kakuhito
2010-01-14 03:06 pm (UTC)
The problem of hoping that the opposition becomes totally isolated in their absurdity is that this isolation tends to make the ones who do stick around much harder deal with. As his memes become more and more absurd, his followers become more and more invested in his infallibility. They become more isolated from mainstream America and have an easier time dehumanizing everyone outside of their own limited memespace. They also hone the persecution complex that is latent in most American Christian groups to a point that it becomes a great deal more dangerous than their more rational counterparts. I would far rather have him be a little more reasonable and rational and thus bend his followers toward the same. I'd rather him have more followers who can be countered and challenged without a real risk of them turning violent in the face of their Satanic oppressors.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:27 pm (UTC)
I disagree. There will always be the entrenched, but the fewer of them there are, the less impact. Ref: KKK.
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[User Picture]From: lordindra
2010-01-14 03:07 pm (UTC)
Now if we can get him to go one step further to ponder why God would allow this pact to occur in the first place...

Worst case? He comes up with a way to explain that away that is entertaining in it's absurdity, that I'd enjoy in the same way I consider Jack Chick to be one of the most brilliant comedians of all time.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:34 pm (UTC)
Jack Chick is brilliant that way.
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[User Picture]From: hyrkanian
2010-01-14 03:11 pm (UTC)
I had some of the more devout Christians on my Facebook saying this morning that Pat Robertson had gone too far and should apologize. So perhaps your last paragraph is a real possibility.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:36 pm (UTC)
Here's hoping.
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[User Picture]From: shy_one79
2010-01-14 03:19 pm (UTC)
I was referred to this post and this is pure awesome. I really wish more people would understand that what he is saying is no of God. Well stated.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: interactiveleaf
2010-01-14 03:46 pm (UTC)
He cannot look at the camera, shake his head, and say that this is a tragic natural disaster and that all the money donated to the 700 Club in the next week will be sent directly to Haiti.

No, he can't, but I would like to point out that his comment came in the middle of a guest appearance on CBN that was specifically a fundraiser for Haiti. He does believe, so far as I can tell, that Haitians are "cursed" because of something their ancestors did, but he also believes that it is his place as a Christian to help them when tragedy strikes.

So far as I can tell, both those beliefs are very Christian.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:54 pm (UTC)
The necessary justification, and the notion that God would be so unforgiving as to curse the children many generations out, are NOT Christian. They are decidedly Old Testament.
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[User Picture]From: ladyofheartsong
2010-01-14 03:50 pm (UTC)
I am a reader of your husbands lj and would like permission to post a link or this entry on my lj.

Eloquently put!

Carmen
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:55 pm (UTC)
Permission always granted; all I ask is notification just because I'm always curious as to where incoming referrals are from!
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[User Picture]From: caudelac
2010-01-14 03:54 pm (UTC)
All I have to say on this topic is a direct quote from dear Ol' Pat himself:

"True story."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 03:57 pm (UTC)
Of course I'm hearing it in Neil Patrick Harris' voice, which makes it even funnier.
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2010-01-14 04:03 pm (UTC)
It should be pointed out that, by saying that this is the Devil's doing, he's claiming Satan is co-equal with God, which is the Dualist heresy, and counts as both heresy and blasphemy.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 04:08 pm (UTC)
No, Satan is not doing this. God is doing it because of a pact with Satan. It's punishment visited on the descendants of disobedient, devil-dealing people. A later statement from his organizations pointed out that "theologians and scholars agree" that Haiti has been an impoverished country because of their curse. God just got a hair up his butt, apparently, and dealt out a big one.
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[User Picture]From: anivair
2010-01-14 04:10 pm (UTC)
You are 100% right. Pat had no option but to dump this on the feet of the people of Haiti. And it is also correct to say that this makes Pat Robertson the lowest sort of scum I can think of.

Actually, that's not true. There was another reason and it's an easy one. Pat could have said "I have no idea why this happened, but we should do what we can to help the people of Haiti because they need us."

See, that would have done 2 things. 1) it doesn't presume to know the mind of God (who in Pat's case is an all knowing, all powerful being of infinite age who made and knows everything ... a task that Pat Robertson is just not up to on his best day). 2) it doesn't lay the blame at the feet of those who are suffering.

rather than admitting that he, a mortal man, doesn't understand everything about infinity, Pat Robertson decided to blame the victims. And for that he should be left to slowly impale on a pike.

But even if you accept that Pat was just following his heart, there is no excise for not declaring plainly that his heart is wrong. Pat is entitled to believe whatever he wants. it's a free country. but that doesn't make what he says correct. It doesn't mean that anyone is under any obligation to listen to him or even entertain the possibility that he *might* be right. And it certainly doesn't make him immune to the expectation that he behave like a decent person.
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[User Picture]From: anivair
2010-01-14 04:14 pm (UTC)
Also, I am finally remembering to ask if you mind me friending you. I always like reading the stuff Ferrett links to and I just rarely remember to say anything.
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[User Picture]From: thessalian
2010-01-14 04:14 pm (UTC)
I've always wanted to tell Pat Robertson the following:

"If the wrathful, unforgiving 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' Old Testament means more to you than anything Jesus Christ actually said or did ... how are you a Christian again?"

'Cos seriously, I thought the New Covenant was all about peace, love and understanding. The 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' thing was all Old Testament, and Christ doesn't really feature there, on the grounds of not being born yet. So ... Christian without the Christ is ... what, exactly?
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[User Picture]From: bodybag_pilgrim
2010-01-14 04:22 pm (UTC)
In fairness, the Catholic doctrine of original sin is highly petty-fire-and-vengeance.
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[User Picture]From: mystic_savage
2010-01-14 04:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-14 05:16 pm (UTC)
Glad people are understanding it.
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