Democracy Under Assault
Theopolitics, Incivility and Violence on the Right

Michele Swenson

Pat Robertson's American Theocracy

Revisionist American history advanced by Pat Robertson and others holds that the original English settlers migrated, not for the right to worship freely, but to "claim the land for Christians." Robertson regards the Constitution a document for self-governance by Christian people - in the hands of atheists, non- and neo-Christians, the Constitution is used to destroy the Christian foundation of society. Rep. Tom DeLay assured a Christian Coalition gathering in 1998 that political opponents donít understand the inerrancy of the Bible, the fact that the Constitution "comes directly out of the Bible."

More than half of mainstream Christians are likely to end up in hell because they reject biblical inerrancy and the doctrine of salvation through Christ alone, preaches Robertson. Furthermore, their alignment with good social causes since the Ď60s is heretical, because good works are intended solely as a means to proselytization. Robertson allies regard civil war inevitable if Christian revival fails - there will be no peace until Godís people are granted their proper place of leadership. One either works for Jesus or for Satan, admonishes Robertson, who brands political opponents "Satanic forces," and holds that prayer is "demeaned" by "false religions." Judging the "termites" in charge, he has called for a "godly fumigation" in order to take back America for "Godís representatives destined to rule and reign."

Robertson et al read the Bible as contemporary political commentary - Armageddon is imminent, and biblical covenant status has been transferred from Israel to America. With little time to seize national power before final conflict and the second coming, the mission statement of Robertsonís Christian Broadcast Network is to hasten apocalypse by converting 500 million souls and establishing Godís kingdom on earth. Vowing Christian domination over every area of culture, Robertson preaches "prosperity theology" that rewards only the true faithful. He warns, "Capitalism without God breeds chaos." "Godís capitalism" defines family as consumer unit, with men in submission to God, women and children in submission to men.

Viewing his role to expedite the final period of history as part of "Godís 500-year plan for America," Robertson warns, "Weíve introduce false gods into what used to be a Christian nation." Any global cooperation is named "capitulation to Satan." Every opposed policy is a vehicle for "Christian persecution"ó welfare, government regulations, taxes, gun control, the United Nations, public schools, Planned Parenthood, AIDS research, abortion, media, non-traditional roles for women, etc.óall represent consequences of a "nonbiblical ordering" of society. The culture is trying to marginalize Christians, "like Hitler did to the Jews," declared Robertson. In his 1991 book The New Millenium, Robertson accused liberal Jews of wanting "to destroy the Christian position in the world."

All elections are deemed "spiritual warfare" to Robertson, who celebrates low voter turnout as a means to the ends of a "bullet-proof" Republican majority. A self-styled kingmaker, Republican candidates have flocked to Robertson seeking his benediction since the 90s. Advising that it doesnít matter what you say so much as how you say it, Ralph Reed shaped the Christian Coalition into Godís instrument for establishing Christian governance. A pugilist for Christ, Reed has vowed political opponents will "be in body bags before they knew what hit them."

To Robertson, a sign reading "Celebrate Religious Freedom" signifies "We are preferring othersí rights to the rights of Christians," and groups like the ACLU have stripped the nationís "true Christian heritage." Moral decline follows the wrong acceptance of church-state separationó a "lie of the left" and a "communist invention," declared Robertson. Turning the First Amendment on its head, Robertson calls tolerance for other religions "intolerance for Christianity" and gay civil rights "an infringement of freedom of religion." Such anti-Christian forces as feminists, gays, and humanists are conspiring to oppress and persecute Christians by denial of prescribed school prayer and support for gay rights. Welfare and womenís rights, too, are perceived to challenge historical supremacist hierarchies. All disfavored groups are consistently linked to crime, pornography, high taxes and immorality. Social decline is attributed to humanist public schools that teach "antibiblical evolution," the evilness of Western civilization and instruct about non-Christian cultures.

Robertsonís supremacist theology parallels that of Christian Identity adherents and Christian Reconstructionists. All denounce democracy, and name select Christian males sole heirs to power. Multiculturalism is denounced as "denigration of men of European descent," undermining the foundersí intended Christian nation. Theirs is a Bible-as-weapon wielded against disfavored groups, justifying segregation and inferior status for women. Robertson has invited the wrath of God, in the form of natural or financial disasters or nuclear destruction, against homosexuals, feminists, political opponents and other "infidels." His prayers, he claims, have changed the direction of hurricanesó deemed a signal from God that he should run for president in 1988. He envisioned a 1988 presidential win a transitional stage to usher in the Apocalypse, observed theologian Walter Capps.

Even an account of the historical Jesus, "From Jesus to Christ." was named by Robertson hereticaló proof that leftists hate Christians and want to destroy them. Non-Christian religions are "demonic," says Robertsonóthe growing Muslim religion is a greater threat than communism. To Jews, he preaches conversion as condition of salvation, even as he condemns "unbiblical" Israeli-Palestinian peace accords that seek surrender of West Bank lands to Palestinians. Jews expanding West Bank settlements are praised by Christian Zionists for doing "Godís will." Anyone blocking the flow of prophecy in Israel is "in great danger," warned Robertson, naming Yitzhak Rabinís murder a judgment by God for his proposed relinquishment of West Bank lands in the Oslo Peace Accords. A similar assertion by Robertson about Ariel Sharron represents the same old song, different verse.

Intolerant fundamentalism like Robertsonís is a primary contributor to the cycling of sectarian violence throughout the world today.