By Scott Tibbs, September 3, 2003
I am losing respect for Christian conservative activist and televangelist Pat Robertson. Matt Drudge quotes Robertson's remarks about California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger in an interview on MSNBC:
Well you know, I'm a body builder. I do some pretty heavy weightlifting, so I think the weightlifters of the world need to unite. I tell you what those guys in California could use a big bruiser to knock some heads together. I mean they're out of control over there. So what are they gonna do? I mean you gonna have Bustamante who is sort of the governor Gray Davis lite? They don't want anymore Davis, so who else you gonna put in? I think you don't have anybody else that's coming up on the radar so the other alternative is just stay home.
Pat Robertson is the founder of the Christian Coalition, and has been a proponent of conservative issues for years. The CC, led by Robertson and Ralph Reed, was a major force in American politics in the early 1990's. I have, in the past, admired Robertson's tenacity in advancing the issues he believes in. Robertson's advocacy for the right to life of unborn children is one of his better known positions. Schwarzenegger openly favors keeping abortion legal. I find it disheartening that Robertson would turn his back on unborn children in hopes of a Republican “victory” in California.
Robertson's statement that no one else is "coming up on the radar" is inaccurate. A prominent pro-life organization is endorsing State Senator Tom McClintock. Conservatives can elect one of their own in this recall election, but only if they unite behind a candidate who shares their views. Conservatives can do much better than choosing to "stay home".
This is not the first time Robertson has displayed the spine of a jellyfish. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Robertson's fellow televangelist Jerry Falwell suggested that the disaster was God's judgment against the nation, brought on by abortionists, homosexuals, feminists, and others. Robertson agreed with him.
The outrage that followed this statement led to Falwell apologizing, but Robertson blamed the controversy on Falwell and claimed he did not understand what Falwell said. While Falwell took responsibility for what he said and addressed it, Robertson ran from responsibility and betrayed Falwell. Robertson's behavior was not unlike the behavior of disgraced ex-President Clinton when he was in the White House.
As a leader among Christian conservatives, Pat Robertson has a responsibility to stand firm on the issues that millions of conservative Christians believe in. Robertson should not abandon his principles in hopes of a major political "victory".
Even if Schwarzenegger wins, will this be a "victory" for Christian conservatives? No. Having a Republican governor of California is not worth the cost in human lives that will come from the leader of California's Republican Party being pro-"choice". Supporters of abortion rights have the Democratic Party, and the GOP should (and indeed must, for the survival of the party) remain a pro-life party.
Pat Robertson's endorsement of Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a boon for the Schwarzenegger campaign; instead, it serves to discredit Robertson. The clear choice for Golden State conservatives, both supporters and opponents of the recall, remains Tom McClintock.