In any sane political contest, candidates would run from a Pat Robertson endorsement like it came lathered with an especially virulent STD.
But, we're talking Republican primary political contest, so such a scourge is nevertheless regarded by the press and received by the participatory prehensiles as "a coup."
A coup, mind you -- the shamanistic blessing of a senile televangelist who revels in fantastical spooks and demonology, and who can't even keep his spooks and demons straight.
Yesterday, for instance, while endorsing Rudy, Mr. Robertson said "the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the blood lust of Islamic terrorists," although it wasn't that long ago that Robertson breathlessly declared that "activist judges" were the real and uppermost danger to the United States, "probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."
I could, of course, offer a long list of Robertson's other verbal jewels of certifiable dementia -- from his chiming agreement with Jerry Falwell's own peculiar demonologies to his open espousal, in Jesus' name, of political assassination -- but they're so well known, why bother. The man is bughouse daft, and he's made a career of advertising it.
But, however fleeting, he also has flickers of rationality. Pitch his dwindling support to some purist, third-party candidate who hasn't a hope in hell of prevailing, as his conservative brethren of Dobson and Perkins have threatened?
Yet more among the flock might have retained some smidgen of respect for Robertson had he done so. For his mixture of realpolitik with God's dicta just doesn't fly with the hardest core of believers, even though the taboo of that requisite mixture has always undermined the political potential of right-wing Christianity and ensured its ultimate electoral doom.
In brief, God doesn't do compromise. Accordingly, "compromise" is nowhere to be found in truly righteous, truly conservative Christianity's lexicography.
The Big Guy doesn't take calls from the likes of a Pat Robertson to offer special dispensation on, let's say, gay rights, just so a sniveling, secular supplicant like Rudy Giuliani can thereby eke out a few more Iowa caucus votes.
No, God doesn't play politics with His celestial attitude. There is no relativity to be had, no corners to be cut, no deals to be made -- all of which are the essence, of course, of politics.
Fudge in any way, to any degree, and you've left God's plantation. It's just that simple.
And that, just as simply put, is what Robertson has done. He has declared himself a moral relativist: a broker of secular power derived from a tainted Christianity -- one, that is, that abides even a brush, however opportunistically, with gay or abortion rights.
Which, for True Believers, makes Robertson's endorsement utterly shameful. All genuine T. B.s prefer the rapture of going down in electoral flames before ever selling out -- God bless 'em.
Somewhat aside from the above, I couldn't resist conferring on you these choice lines from Mr. Giuliani himself, so unctuously made on Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network a couple months ago:
"I believe in God, I pray to God, pray to Jesus for guidance and for help. I have very, very strong views on religion that come about from having wanted to be a priest when I was younger and having studied theology for four years in college" -- he majored in political science, by the way -- "it’s an area that I know really, really well academically. I understand the history of religion. Man and women's relationship to God is one of the strongest, if not the strongest motivating thing in human history."
Did I detect a trifle apostasy there? "If not"?
It seems to me that if nothing else, such damnable hesitation would incline the Believerhood to be very, very skeptical of this really, really accomplished demagogue.
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