Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Friday, January 06, 2006

Robertson, Sharon and judgement from God

Televangelist Pat Robertson thinks that God may be punishing Isreali Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for divvying up the Promised Land.

In case you hadn't heard, Sharon suffered a severe stroke this week. After teetering on the edge of death for a bit, seems to be making a comeback. Doctors apparently relieved some pressure on his brain today by draining away some blood that had been building up in Sharon's skull. He's in serious but stable condition, according to the press reports.

Robertson, when it looked as if Sharon might die, said on his television show "The 700 Club" that the Bible -- specifically, the book of Joel -- "makes it very clear that God has 'enmity against those who divide My land." Sharon, who's tried to broker a peace deal with the Palestinians by giving (or returning) land to them, has ticked God off, Robertson says; politicians and religious leaders are outraged, but Robertson's not backing down.

Now, I think it's important to keep in mind that Sharon is 77 -- an age at which it seems most people might be prone to health issues and hospital visits outside the realm of God's judgement.

But Robertson's reasoning didn't fly out of the left-field bleachers. In the Bible, God is constantly smiting sinners for one reason or another, and a good chunk of Americans are, in many respects, "fundamentalist" -- that is, they read the Bible as a literal, factual text. Heck, everyone knows that Robertson is a fundamentalist, and he is expected, in many respects, to comment on issues of the day.

So, the question is this: Is Robertson guilty of being insensitive? Are other religious leaders guilty by demanding Robertson to be more politically correct? Or is it a little bit of both?


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