We all have a relative that always says the inappropriate thing; an uncle who always shares his racist opinions; a cousin who discusses bodily functions during dinner; a sister who is always looking for a fight.
As Americans, we share a common relative who has a problem speaking before engaging his mind – the Rev. Pat Robertson.
Good ole’ Uncle Pat stepped in it again this week while commenting on the devastation in Haiti following a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. As the world watched in horror to see this tiny, desperately poor nation take another hit from Mother Nature, Robertson said this latest blow to the Haitians was part of a “curse” due to “a pact with the devil” made more than 200 years ago by their ancestors.
This isn’t the first time Robertson has blamed disasters, both natural and man-made, on God’s wrath. He called the 9-11 attacks God’s retribution on our nation for our sinful ways and Hurricane Katrina our punishment for allowing the sin of homosexuality to continue in the U.S. Both times, the public pushback to his comments was overwhelming.
This time, I’m publicly pushing back at Robertson because his comments are making it difficult for everyone who calls themselves a Christian, especially those who work in the ministry. His comments cast well-meaning, hard-working and caring pastors, priests and teachers into his cold-hearted, empty-minded light.
I’m a conservative Christian and I’m married to a Lutheran pastor. My husband spends his days ministering to the sick and imprisoned. He doesn’t have a television ministry or collect millions in donations to support his work. He holds his personal beliefs in his heart but is open to his patients and inmates beliefs, never judging them or giving them all God’s wrath without any of His love.
Robertson goes at his ministry a bit differently. He batters people with the law, pointing out all their flaws, without offering any of God’s grace. He blames all that is bad on God’s wrath without explaining God’s love. He paints a picture of vengeful God, as opposed to a picture of a loving Father. He hates the sin, but never seems to love the sinner.
I cringe every time Robertson opens his mouth on a world event. His comments reflect badly on the men and women who happen to share a title with Robertson. He speaks without thinking, adding nothing to the conversation and hurts those who are most in need, just to make a conservative political point.
I only have two requests: One that Robertson shuts up. And two, that those who hear his comments realize that he doesn’t represent those of us with faith and to judge us kindly.