Nobody, but nobody clarifies a controversy like Rev. Pat Robertson.
On Sunday, Rev. Robertson helped the nation put this whole flap about activist judges, filibusters and "nuclear options" into perspective while talking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC. He offered a perspective few of us have considered -- the threat from liberal judges is more serious than Islamist terrorism:
"It depends on how you look at culture. If you look over the course of a hundred years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings. I think we're going to control al Qaeda. I think we're going to get Osama bin Laden. We won in Afghanistan. We won in Iraq, and we can contain that. But if there's an erosion at home, you know, Thomas Jefferson warned about a tyranny of an oligarchy and if we surrender our democracy to the tyranny of an oligarchy, we've made a terrible mistake."
The oligarchy, I take it, is composed of judges he disagrees with.
To be fair, Robertson has never been impressed with al Qaeda. A few days after the attacks of 9/11, Robertson had Rev. Jerry Falwell on his "700 Club" show. Falwell said the terrorist attacks on the U.S. were "probably what we deserve."
Robertson immediately said, "Jerry, that's my feeling. I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror."
Robertson's remarks were not a gaffe or a slip of the tongue. In an essay distributed by his Christian Broadcast Network, Robertson wrote, "We have insulted God at the highest level of our government. Then, we say, "Why does this happen?" It is happening because God Almighty is lifting His protection from us…. But I want to say as surely as I am sitting here today, this is only a foretaste, a little warning, of what is going to happen."
So I guess part of what Rev. Robertson means is that if we continue to let the oligarchy of liberal judges insult God, God will lift "His protection from us" and more terror like 9/11 will come to the nation. That's really scary.
To be completely fair, here's an extended argument on how the "nonelected oligarchy" is shredding the fabric of our culture that Robertson published on his Web site:
In 1962, they ruled prayer out of the public schools.
In 1963, they ruled the Bible out of public schools.
In 1973, they applied a "right of privacy" not found in the Constitution as the basis for opening the door to the slaughter of more than 43,000,000 innocent unborn children.
Subsequent federal courts have ruled the Ten Commandments were illegal in schools, that statues of Jesus were illegal in public parks, that prayers on a map in North Carolina were illegal, and that it was illegal for little elementary school children to give thanks over their milk and cookies at snack time.
Now, the Supreme Court has declared a constitutional right to consensual sodomy and, by the language in its decision, has opened the door to homosexual marriages, bigamy, legalized prostitution, and even incest.
The framers of our Constitution never intended anything like this to take place in our land. Yet we seem to be helpless to do anything about it. Why? Because we are under the tyranny of a nonelected oligarchy. Just think, five unelected men and women who serve for life can change the moral fabric of our nation and take away the protections which our elected legislators have wisely put in place.
But there is a higher tribunal than the United States Supreme Court. There is the Judge of all the earth. We must earnestly come before Him now and cry out for redress of our grievances. He loves America as much as we do, and He does not wish to destroy it. But no culture has ever endured which has turned openly to homosexuality. And no society has ever been spared the wrath of God which has been guilty of slaughtering tens of millions of the innocent.
Rev. Robertson's God doesn't want to destroy America, but Robertson seems to have no doubts that unless He is appeased, al Qaeda and 9/11 will be small potatoes.
I'd like to know what the victims of 9/11 and al Qaeda think about that.
Dick Meyer, a veteran political and investigative producer for CBS News, is the Editorial Director of CBSNews.com, based in Washington.
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By Dick Meyer